Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – December 5, 2020

San Francisco 49ers

Listen to Audio I Media Center


Opening comments:

“All right guys, the injuries for this week: [CB] K’Waun Williams will be out and [CB Emmanuel] Moseley is questionable.”

How are things going? How are things gone down there? And I guess how many players are staying at the hotel? Do any of the guys, have they found apartments to kind of relocate or is everybody staying there?

“No, not everyone’s here. I don’t think many guys have gotten out of here yet. I know a couple of guys wanted to get an Airbnb and stuff like that. I’m not sure of the count, but I know a few guys did.”

Shot in the dark here, if Emmanuel Moseley can’t play, who would be your slot cornerback?

“I’m not sure. I forgot. Shot in the dark, yeah. We’ll figure it out by Sunday.”

And that means RB Tevin Coleman is a full go right now? Made it through practice okay, so you basically have the full stable of running backs at your disposal. So, what are you expecting out of the running game?

“Just like we try to do every week. We always try to stay balanced and we try to get after people as well as we can. I know their numbers aren’t up there, but I do know that they are a good run defense. They’ve been up some big ones and stuff, but if you’re not on your game, it’s like running into a brick wall, so we’ve got a huge challenge with that in the run game, which always leads to the pass game also.”

I’ve got another shot in the dark. Does OL Colton McKivitz continue to start at right guard or will you rotate him and OL Tom Compton like you had been previous to Compton’s injury?

“We’ll decide that on Sunday, also. The reason Compton didn’t get out there last week was because he sustained a concussion at practice, but he’s good to go this week. So, there’s a chance you’ll see both. We have to talk more about it.”

I know you guys as coaches don’t get a lot of downtime, particularly in the situation you’re in, but what do you do personally when you do get a little bit of time? Is there anything you can do down there to unplug a little bit?

“It’s kind of pathetic, but on downtime I enjoy watching film that I’m not stressed out trying to finish something. Sometimes it’s nice to just turn on a tape and not feel like you have to go against a deadline where you can just watch another team or watch a different type of play or something that you can’t get around to in a normal work week because you’re doing so much associated with getting the game plan in. Then you try to get home to your house at night in time before you have to drive right back, but since we’re already at our house, there’s not a rush. So, when you’re done with your work, sometimes it’s nice to just put other stuff on. It’s kind of fun to watch. I’ve always enjoyed watching football and it’s more fun when you’re doing it just because you don’t have anything else to do at the time. That was a pretty bad answer, but there’s not anything else to do. I’d rent movies in our room, but no new movies are coming out. It’s been the same stuff on there since I saw in last year’s hotels.”

I know one of your philosophies is to always be you and your players appreciate that. Do they come up to you and talk about that? Is it just a mutual understanding that that’s how you like to run your person and your organization?

“Yeah, I think it’s nice that, I mean, you have different people every year, but we have a lot of guys who’ve been together going into four years and so you develop relationships everywhere throughout the building. People know you because they’ve been around you for four years, and I know a lot of guys pretty well, whether it’s players or coaches or just anyone around the building, it makes all of us tighter. Then when you do have new people come in and they might see a coach or a player having a bad day or pissed off about something, you don’t have everyone judging you. If a lot of people know you, you can’t have a bad day, you can’t have a good day. The newer people kind of pick up on how the team sees you and how guys see you. I think it goes for everyone in our building, so it’s just been nice to be somewhere for this long and our guys are pretty close and it’s made it easier on all of us.”

I’m going to take another try at this. Has CB Jason Verrett, has he been cross-trained at all in the slot or is he in a position where you kind of want to just stick him at one spot on the outside?

“Jason is prepared to play all 11 positions. So, we’ve just got to decide where we want to put him.”

And following up, that would be all 11 positions on defense I’m sure. What are the logistics tomorrow in terms of do you guys do a walk-through there on those fields, even though the Cardinals and Rams are going to be playing? Then have you made it inside the stadium to kind of do a walk-through in there at all this week?

“No, we won’t go to the stadium until game day. We never go to the stadium anyways for any games. We’ve been to the stadium a number of times, also. I didn’t even think about that. I forgot, because I keep thinking today’s Friday just because of how our schedule is. I’m not sure how that’ll be. We plan on going over there and walking through on our practice field, but that is a good question. I’m probably going to figure that out here by the end of the day. If we can’t, I mean, we should be able to, there’s not traffic because they can’t have that many people in the stadium, so I’m sure we can walk-through right there outside.”

As far as CB Ahkello Witherspoon, obviously he’s been a healthy scratch and this is a guy that was recently a starter for you at times. What have his issues been to kind of lead him to be inactive for three weeks?

“Spoon has played for us. We’ve been with Spoon since our first year here and got to play a lot. Last year, I thought he played at his highest level before he got injured. Was playing very well and then when he came back, struggled to come back from that injury. Gave opportunity to some other guys and since this camp, we started off with a competition between Spoon, Moseley and JV. JV wasn’t quite ready to go at first and Moseley won that position. When you’re not out there as a starter and then when Moseley got hurt and JV came, JV ended up being ready and he ended up winning that. So, those two guys just went ahead of him. After that, you’ve got to make sure you put out the best special teams guys and that wasn’t Ahkello’s best area. He’s working to get better, but that’s why we got other guys up. [CB] Ken Webster came in, did a better job for us on special teams. He got hurt. I’ve loved how Ahkello’s been in these three weeks. I know it’s hard anytime you’re not active, but I think he’s been getting better while he hasn’t been up. His attention to detail, whether it’s on defense or special teams, has been great. Now there’s been some injuries and so he’s going to get up. He’s always a play away from getting out there and playing more as a starter, but now we’re going to need him on special teams until that happens. So, I’m just happy that, I know it’s been hard on him, but I’m just happy how hard he’s worked, so now his time’s coming again, and I think he’s more prepared for this moment.”

When you said you’re watching film and that’s what you do in your downtime, how does that go? Let’s say you’re watching college football, you’re watching Auburn University head coach Gus Malzahn, are you taking notes or are you watching defense? How does that film watching go for you?

“It’s usually when I’m done with work, I just go home and so that’s my hobby, just going home and hanging out with the family for a little before I go to sleep. I’m not trying to make a big deal about it, but we’re in hotel rooms and we’ve got unlimited film and sometimes I turn on other teams. I like to watch what other people are doing schematically just to give you ideas. It’s putting music on, you’re relaxed. Sometimes another guy will come down and we’ll watch it together. We’ll do stuff like that. Coaches enjoy talking ball and you don’t get many times where you can just sit there and talk ball during the week except about what you’re doing to get ready for Sunday. We all meet in Indy and we sit up and hang out and just talk football and do stuff like that, but now when we’re in a hotel and you’re done with your work for the day, turn a team on. We all get stats of whose numbers are good and stuff and sometimes you want to turn it on and see why the numbers are that way. Sometimes it’s luck. Sometimes it’s something they’re doing neat and sometimes it makes sense because of something you’re going against that week. Even though it might be a different team, you see, all right, this play worked and that’s a similar front to what Buffalo plays this week and similar coverage that Buffalo plays this week. We could try that because that’s how it looks versus this defense. So, those are things you just pick up when you have free time.”

Are you superstitious about the hats you wear? You wore that red hat to death last season, you came out with the gray hat this season, audibled to the black and you seem to be sticking with it. Is that a superstitious thing?

“I do have some superstitions. I try not to, but I have some. That was more I’m trying, it’s becoming, it sounds like a statement now, but I’m trying not to make one. So, I wore that hat last year and we did really well with it, became extremely superstitious to my wife. So, even when I got a little sick of it and wanted to change it, it wasn’t an option according to her, and so I didn’t want to start it out this year stuck with it and just put on whatever hat I feel like wearing so people don’t think I’m trying to make a statement, which it’s not working the way I wanted to. I’m just trying to put a hat on that’s comfortable for me. I am a little OCD with what’s comfortable for myself. So, I don’t just put anything on. Sorry. I don’t know if that answers it.”

I saw the other day you had asked some of your leaders to check up on guys and any potential isolation issues down the road. I’m just curious kind of who you lean on in tough circumstances in these times, your wife, your dad, general manager John Lynch, just kind of how you process all of that?

“I mean, everything starts with my wife, first and foremost, who I lean on with everything. I lean on all the people you just mentioned. I mean, the biggest ones, my wife at the end and usually start of each day, but we all are going through the same things. So, sometimes guys have better moments than others and that’s why it’s cool when you work with people that not only you respect, but you like. That’s why we don’t mind hanging out. We don’t mind working together and it’s not always happy when you’re grinding and going and being pretty competitive, trying to get a job done, but when you’ve got guys that you do enjoy inside and outside the building, we all lean on each other. We all know each other pretty well, too, just being here with each other for four years and a lot of us we knew each other before this. So, you can tell when someone’s a little bit off. I think everybody came out of quarantine just a little bit off, different levels of it, but I mean, everybody that’s in the world. So, when you know someone, you can see when someone’s a little off and that’s why everyone tries to help each other with that stuff.”