O'Sullivan not looking ahead

J.T. O'Sullivan has all but been anointed as the 49ers' starting quarterback for the season opener, but the sixth-year veteran refuses to look beyond Thursday's exhibition game against the Bears in Chicago, which will mark his third consecutive start for the team. O'Sullivan demonstrates his focus during this wide-ranging interview that sees him settling into the media aspect of his new role.

Q: J.T., a lot of people think that starting this third straight game, you're going to be the starter for the season. How do you feel about that?
O'Sullivan:
I'm just worried about this week and I don't really let myself feel anything about it. I'm really trying to kind of worry about the preparation for this game this week. You know, it's a short week. We're kind of crunched for time so I'm just spending as much time as I can getting ready for Chicago.

Q: J.T., traditionally the third game in the preseason is when teams install the biggest part of their game plans, they use their starters the most. In the past, have you started a third preseason game for a team?
O'Sullivan:
Yes, I started the third game last year for Detroit.

Q: And, in your mind, how important is this game for preparing for the regular season?
O'Sullivan:
It's the next opportunity we have to go out there and show we can play and play well, be consistent. Just another good opportunity. Hopefully it's more playing time and I have no idea how we're going to handle that. But I'll be ready to play the whole game and go from there.

Q: How valuable have the extra reps been since August 7th and on?
O'Sullivan:
Reps are cherished in this league as a quarterback, so I mean every single rep, whether it be a game or practice, I try to make the absolute most out of. So these reps have been great. Obviously everybody wants to play, so I just try to make the most of every single one.

Q: You've been in this situation before where you haven't always had the reps. So, how hard is it to feel ready?
O'Sullivan:
It's your job to be ready, so whether you feel it or not you've got to do whatever you have to do to make sure that you're ready when your opportunity comes. I think the way to answer it is: it's not easier, definitely, without getting more reps, but it's your job to find a way to make it happen.

Q: J.T., do you feel like you're settling into the role now or does it still feel foreign to you in any way?
O'Sullivan:
It's never felt foreign. It's not something I feel like I'm settling into, but it's something that I'm just trying to get better every single day. Try to understand exactly what the coaches are asking me to do and play as well as I can play. It's not…I've never felt uncomfortable. It's just a matter of going out there and trying to play well.

Q: How are you reacting to all the work you're getting? I mean, you've never really experienced this consistent work for the first team and the games. How are you reacting?
O'Sullivan:
I think everyone wants to play, so I'm excited that I get the opportunity to get reps in practice and then to translate that to reps during the preseason games. So, it's exciting. It's fun. But it's my job to go out there and play well.

Q: With the increase in reps with the first team, are you starting to feel a lot of chemistry with certain receivers and have you started feeling like you've got go-to guys?
O'Sullivan:
I mean, I think we all have a pretty good feeling with all the receivers. I think that's the fun thing about this offense is every single guy is responsible to be where they're supposed to be whether it's the first team guys or people further down. So those guys have to get where they have to get and I have to put the ball exactly where I'm supposed to put the ball. So it doesn't matter who's out there. The ball's going to come out on time where it's supposed to be.

Q: Any concerns that Bryant [Johnson], Arnaz [Battle] and Isaac [Bruce] haven't been in the rotation much for you as we get closer to the regular season?
O'Sullivan:
Concern for me? No. I'm going out there to try to play my position as well as I can. Things that I can't control, the health of other guys, is…I hope they're ready to go just like you want your best players out there all the time, but it's another opportunity for someone else to step up and make plays.

Q: J.T., you always talk about taking one game at a time. As you look towards Thursday, is there any anticipation building up inside you for September 7th? It's pretty obvious you're going to be playing that game, too.
O'Sullivan:
September 7th? I don't know what that…is that the first game of the season? No. I keep telling you guys that this is camp. This is everyday. This is my job to get ready for Thursday. If I let myself get caught up in stuff that I can't control, like who plays September 7th, I'm really letting my performance be effected on Thursday. So no, I haven't thought about it. I'm not worried about it. I'm worried about Thursday.

Q: So you don't feel any anticipation building for the regular season at all?
O'Sullivan:
I think everybody gets excited during camp for the regular season, but this game, this third game, everybody knows it's a big game in the preseason. It's when everybody gets to play a little bit longer, so you know I'm excited about this Thursday and going out there competing against a very good defense and see where we're at.

Q: J.T., what have you done in training camp to earn the right to start the third preseason game? In your mind, what have you done well, what have you done consistently…?
O'Sullivan:
I just try to play the position as well as I can. You'd have to ask the guys who make the evaluations.

Q: You have an opinion on how well you've done, obviously. What do you think you've done well?
O'Sullivan:
I don't sit there and evaluate how well I've done something or how well I haven't done something. I know that there are things that I'm possibly trying to work on, whether it be the perfect decision, timing accuracy things like that are daily things for me. I think that every quarterback is worried about those things so I'm going out there to try and play as well as I can play. My performance, how I'm preparing, what I know about Chicago.

Q: Is there a sense of satisfaction that you've taken advantage of the situation and you put yourself where you are today?
O'Sullivan:
I'm not satisfied to be the starter coming into the third preseason game. It's not a goal of mine. I think that everybody wants to play [and] be the guy. So we'll go from there but this is another opportunity to play well this week. Be consistent.

Q: How comfortable are you feeling now in the offense with the first team?
O'Sullivan:
The way that I approach that in that kind of role however it plays out, a lot of people talk about it as a leadership role being in the quarterback position. I think the fastest way to get to that is to play well. So that's my approach, that's how I'm preparing to go out there and play well then those sort of things, your personality, those things take care of themselves.

Q: Do you feel like your teammates have sort of rallied around you now?
O'Sullivan:
They'll rally around whoever it is. I think at our position, you want to play well at the position between everybody. We're all excited for everybody to get out there and play well. It doesn't matter who it is, the games or the preseason. We're interested in playing well when it's all said and done.

Q: How well do you need to play in order to start during the regular season?
O'Sullivan:
I feel like I need to play well on Thursday, then I need to play well today at practice, tomorrow at practice, those sort of things I don't get to make a decision on what exactly I need to do to be the starter. It's my performance that I'm worried about.

Q: What is it that you feel you need to do?
O'Sullivan:
I think that I need to play the position well, meaning make better decisions, move the ball, score touchdowns, be efficient as far as what they're asking me to do to make good decisions, put the ball where it needs to be when it's supposed to be there.

Q: This decision making, was it something that you were conscious about improving from the first season game to the second preseason game…is that something that you've pinpointed?
O'Sullivan:
I think that it's something that never stops for the quarterback. It's all about making good decisions and being accurate with the ball. It's something that gets more focused on in game situations as opposed to when you're out here at practice all the time. But as far as playing the game, it's all about making good decisions and being accurate.

Q: How have you handled the dynamic and transition of playing with a new team, new teammates and new coaches and kind of coming in here and taking over the QB position?
O'Sullivan:
My standpoint is that I'm going out there to worry about my play. [I] don't worry about the transitions. I think the team wants the best player to play at each position. The way I approached it was I going to try to play the best that I can play and if I'm the best guy then hopefully I get the opportunity.

Q: In your mind, have you clearly been the best player?
O'Sullivan:
I haven't thought about it. I don't get to make the evaluation. All I can control is how well I play and how hard I play. So I try to do those things as well as I can do them.

Q: Doesn't the position your in right now kind of give the answer?
O'Sullivan:
I don't think of it like that. That's my honest answer to it. I'm worried about how I play the plays that I'm given on Thursday.



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