Turner not torn facing former team

Is Norv Turner having a good time coaching the 49ers' offense this season? What does he do with that unit after getting shut out last week? Does Sunday's game against cross-bay rival Oakland have any extra meaning because the Raiders dumped him as their head coach earlier this year? Is he surprised how much the Raiders are struggling? The 49ers' first-year O.C. discusses those subjects and more.

Q: After getting fired as Oakland's head coach earlier this year, what are your feelings going up against the Raiders?
Every game is big and obviously it's a home game for us and this game has a great tradition. It's a great rivalry from a lot of years. The first time they played was in the '60s, when I was a kid. The one thing I get from watching their defense … They're playing good defense. And it's kind of neat for me from a standpoint of seeing the young guys that I spent the two years with, Nnamdi (Asomugha), and Fabian (Washington) one year, and Tyler Brayton a couple of years, and (Kirk) Morisson last year, and those young guys. And you can see guys from when they started, and some of them are two years into it and some of them are a year, and you can see the improvement, and you see the understanding of the game. There's about six or seven guys, either it was their first year of playing or their second year of playing… There's a process you go through for guys. And it's nice to see guys get better, and that's kind of where we're at with a lot of our guys, whether it be the new system or guys, you know, we have a lot of guys that haven't started 16 games in their career. So with that, you have ups and downs, unfortuntately, but it's nice for me to see our guys improve and understand that every week you have to get ready to play. Obviously, we didn't play the way we would like to last week, and we get another chance to do it Sunday.

Q: Has everyone been picking your brain this week?
You know, there's only so much. You look at the film and you talk about players and there's only so much you can do. Sometimes you can hurt someone by giving them too strong of an opinion one way or the other. I think there's some things that come up on field and someone will say, 'Hey, it looks like this,' and you either confirm it or you don't.

Q: What do you think about Andrew Walter and his struggles as a young quarterback?
I was excited about Andrew, and I think he's got a great future. It's just part of the process.

Q: Are you torn at all entering this game because you did spend some time there as head coach?
You know, it's just the way this league is now. I think that you have people that you care a great deal about. I haven't watched their offense, but I know what Ronald Curry has gone through, and he's a great example to me. He was on his way that first year - he caught 50-something balls in only 10 starts and then he gets hurt - he was on his way to really becoming an elite receiver. He has the torn Achilles, he struggles with with it again, now he's back playing. Those type of things, those things stay with you foreever. That's a guy, I don't care if it's 10 years from now, if we're somewhere and were together, you know, I consider him a friend and I hope he considers me one.

Q: Norv, are you have a good time coaching here this season?
People ask me that, and this game, there are a lot of things that are very enjoyable about it. The interaction with the players, the practice, the process of preparing, and when you come off the field like we did against St. Louis and you win, it's very, very, rewarding. When you come off the field like we did last Sunday it's not fun, and it never has been. The longer you do it, the losses hurt a lot more than the wins feel good. But the thing is, it doesn't help you. But you understand, I know where this team is in terms of the youth of this offensive team and I see an upside with Frank Gore and with Alex Smith and our young linemen, I think there's some guys on this offensive football team that are going to be really good players for a long time.

Q: Isn't there anything more special about this game because it's the Raiders?
It's an important game for our team, and I learned a long time ago whether it's because of my relationship with John Robinson and knowing the game, or other people I've been around, you've got to take the personal stuff out of it and just do your job. The players go play the game, and hopefully during this week we can put them in the best position to go play well.

Q: What do you do this week to make a difference after getting shut out last week in Kansas City?
We go back and (remember) we're the same guys that made the plays in the second half against St. Louis that gave us a chance to win the game. The combination of a kick returner, the defense forcing a fumble, the offense making a big play, we found a way to win it. And then, you have to go back on the practice field and do the things you do, and when you go play on Sunday, we got to go win those individual matchups.

Q: Knowing what kind of talent the Raiders have, are you surprised by their struggles this year?
I'm the wrong guy to ask. It's a week-to-week game. I know they've played very, very good defenses, and sometimes that has a lot to do with it.

Q: Has Alex Smith kind of taken over this offense a little quicker this season than you might have expected?
He's doing a nice job mentally and I think he's doing a good job physically. Obviously, in our first games, we had great production. So yeah, from that you say, 'Yeah. Wow. That was good. If we had played Kansas City in the opener and played like that, there would've been a big cause for alarm. That's why I don't over-react to the ups and downs. When you're young in this league - and when you're not young - you're going to have some good days, hopefully a lot of them, and occasionally you're going to have rough days, and then you have to crank it up again the next week. And that's a thing that Alex will learn faster than anything, to put it behind him and move on to the next challenge.

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