San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick: “You Just Have a Little Bit Different Mindset When You Know You’re Going to Start”

November 30, 2012 – 9:00 am by Eric Schmoldt

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said a couple weeks ago that he’d stick with the hot hand at quarterback and he has stuck to his word. The 49ers will once again start young quarterback Colin Kaepernick over former starter Alex Smith, the signal-caller who had led them to become a Super Bowl contender but went down two weeks ago with a concussion.

Colin Kaepernick joined Fox Sports Radio with The Loose Cannons to discuss becoming the starting quarterback for San Francisco, what it’s like to prepare every week when Jim Harbaugh is making a weekly decision on a starter, how he’s transitioned successfully to the NFL, the difference between starting and coming off the bench, his relationship with Alex Smith and having a former NFL quarterback as a head coach.

People say you have freaky skills. Do you agree?:

“Well, that’s a good thing. I’ll take that in a good way. … It’s been very exciting. For me, it was just something that I wanted to come in, show my teammates that I could play and lead this team and see where it went from there.”

Have you and Alex sat down together with coach Jim Harbaugh or how has all that gone down?:

“The same thing that everybody knows. He told me I’d be starting this week and we’d go from there. Other than that, he hasn’t really told us too much else.”

How do you prepare each week like that?:

“I’ve been preparing the same way I have been since the beginning of the season. I wanted to prepare myself like I was going to be starting in case I ever got that opportunity. I haven’t changed my routine since then.”

Is there any extra pressure in becoming the starter when it’s for a team expected to contend for the Super Bowl?:

“No, not at all. My teammates have been great; they’ve supported me through everything. And I just want to go out there and show them I can help win games, and help this team win games, so we can keep winning moving forward.”

What were the discussions like between you and Jim Harbaugh when you came to the NFL after running the pistol offense at Nevada?:

“The biggest thing with him was just footwork in this offense — making sure I could get through reads, progressions, things like that. And I think once I met with him and sat down with him and had time to talk with him, I think he felt much more comfortable with what we did in our offense in college and how it would translate to the NFL.”

On the difference between coming off the bench and going into the week as a starter:

“You just have a little bit different mindset when you know you’re going to start a game. Going in, you can really lock in to everything that’s going on. You can really focus on what your audibles are going to be, things like that. Whereas, when you’re kind of thrown in, you really have to refocus from just watching on the sidelines to getting into game mode.”

What is your relationship like with Alex Smith and has it changed since all of this has happened?:

“No, our relationship hasn’t changed. Alex has been great with everything. We still talk to each other about different reads, what we’re going to do on different plays, things like that. We just want to do what’s best for this team and whatever is going to help us win.”

What’s it like working with Harbaugh?:

“He’s very precise with the quarterbacks. He wants to make sure that we nail down every detail, so when we go into games, we’re fully prepared. I think him being a quarterback really helps us, because he knows what the position is like. He knows how different reads should go, so he’s not going to put together combinations that don’t work well.”

Listen to Colin Kaepernick on Fox Sports Radio here

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