Early in the 49ers practices, Shaun Hill, even though he's not known as a practice player, was getting the ball off quickly and fairly accurately. Meanwhile, everything about Alex Smith's body language indicated in flashing red lights: I JUST WANT TO BE THE BACK UP.
But Smith emerged during the team's final minicamp and finished OTA's strong enough to get labeled "All-Tasman." That's the street the runs along Centennial where the team facility sits. Former coach Steve Mariucci came up with the name somewhat mockingly to calm those who got a little over eager about players who excel running around in shorts and helmets.
Nevertheless, Smith's rebound was significant because he easily could have faded and made the decision on the starter relatively easy on new OC Jimmy Raye. But instead Smith threw the ball with stunning accuracy and led the team to touchdowns and field goals in red zone drills while Hill floundered.
So the competition is on in training camp and likely won't be settled until both quarterbacks perform in exhibitions.