The Alex update

"I still have high expectations and high goals for myself. Every time I step on the field, I want to play to my full potential. That's the good thing. I know I can play better than (Saturday). Obviously, it wasn't horrible. I learned a lot. There were some good things and there were some bad things. I have to learn from it and move on. Learn from that game film, move on to this week, and keep getting better during camp. I've got another game this Saturday."

Q: Were you frustrated at your performance in your first NFL game during Saturday's preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders?

Smith: A little bit. I still have high expectations and high goals for myself. Every time I step on the field, I want to play to my full potential. That's the good thing. I know I can play better than that. Obviously, it wasn't horrible. I learned a lot. There were some good things and there were some bad things. I have to learn from it and move on. Learn from that game film, move on to this week, and keep getting better during camp. I've got another game this Saturday.

Q: What can you do to improve?

Smith: Work ethic. I think that's the biggest thing I can ask for myself, that when I step out here every day, I give it my all. When I'm in the film room, I give it my all. I put in all the time I can and really stay focused to go out there. I can't let little things get to me, so I'll continue to do that.

Q: How is learning a new offense going when you add to it with the scouting of new teams each week?

Smith: It is different, but you know what, installation has ended. We put our last installation in and now it will be mostly review. Continuing to review the offense and at the same time getting ready for defenses are things I'm learning. Learning to be in the middle of camp and still playing games is unusual, but like I said, I'm getting adjusted to it.

Q: What's been the most difficult adjustment going from college to the pros?

Smith: There's been a lot of adjustments. First of all, the whole lifestyle thing. You go from being a student-athlete, at school, on campus. I was comfortable with everyone. I had a ton of friends up there. Then I come here, and for the first couple of months when I was here at OTAs, I knew a couple of guys on the team and that was about it. I'd go to practice and then go home. Sitting around, I didn't know anybody and didn't know the area, so it's been an adjustment just with lifestyle. Also, I just bought a home in the area, and I'm getting that squared away, which I never thought I'd be doing at 21. There are a lot of things that I didn't expect I'd be doing at 21, along with trying to compete for a starting job. I'm just trying to manage my whole life right now.

Q: As the No. 1 draft pick in a media-crazy age, is it hard to be patient?

Smith: I think that's all I can be. I can't look at anything else, and I have got to be patient with myself. Continue to work, that's the biggest thing I have to ask myself. Good things are going to happen if I continue to do that. I truly believe I have the ability and I have the potential. It will come with time; it's just a matter of when.

Q: Do you embrace the history of 49ers quarterbacks?

Smith: Definitely. I absolutely embrace it. That's something that, as I've said all along, excites me. You couldn't ask for a better situation, to come into a winning organization. An organization not only with so much tradition winning Super Bowls, but quarterback legacy. Let's talk about (John) Brodie, (Y.A.) Tittle, (Joe) Montana and (Steve) Young. Potentially, if we get back there, my name might be next to theirs."

Q: During the Hall of Fame ceremony, did you follow Steve Young's story of how he really had to be patient?

Smith: Definitely, and I'd known about it before. Obviously, he was very successful at the college level. He was the number one pick of the USFL, and then struggled for a few years. He was a backup and had to sit. He had to be patient, but then for two or three years, he was the best quarterback this league had ever seen. He deserved it, and it's a tribute to him and the kind of patience and character he has.

Q: What kind of advice did Tim Rattay give you coming off the field in the Oakland game?

Smith: He gave me a lot of advice. For one, just to stay with it. I think it's common, especially among this group, to be harder on ourselves than we think. We're not as good as we think we are. He was there for me, giving me advice coming off the field on three-and-outs, what happened on this play, what happened on that play. He continued to encourage me. He was great.

Q: Does that continue in practice?

Smith: Definitely. I think we lift each other up. It's a great group of guys. We're always joking around, but we work hard, though. We're really trying to stay after this offense. We're taking a group approach. This is an offense that is based around the quarterback, and if the offense is going to be successful, the quarterback has to be successful, whoever is in there. We're competing right now, but understand that at the same time, we are taking a group approach.


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