Mike Nolan's authority over the 49ers roster isn't all that's been stripped from him as he enters his fourth season as coach. Bet you didn't know the team has also hired a speechwriter for him.

Without further ado, here's a sneak peek at his opening address for training camp Thursday.

"Gentlemen, before we delve into our 2008 mission statement, one thing must be said from the outset: Alex Smith is our starting quarterback.

"Please, no laughing. Let me explain.

"Look, this charade has run its course. Of course Alex is your guy, your quarterback, your leader. (Gulp.) And, yes, he is my guy, my quarterback, my leader.

"I've spent the offseason proclaiming it an open competition at starting quarterback between Alex and Shaun Hill. The offseason ends today. So does our quarterback competition.

"It's imperative we throw our support behind Alex, as opposed to throwing him under the bus, as I inexplicably did last season by the way we handled his shoulder injury.

"Alex put that shoulder to the test in spring workouts. Probably wasn't the smartest thing having him throw so many passes back then. But it showed his renewed toughness, his passion to win this job and his ability to adapt to Mike Martz's hard-core scheme.

"By the way, Martz is our new offensive coordinator. Yes, I know this is getting old, introducing a new OC before every season. But Mike will lead us out of our 32nd ranking in offense. He will take us out of the grave Jim Hostler dug for us last year.

"That's the last time I will mention Hostler's name this year. He is through being our scapegoat for our failure to meet expectations in 2007. We can milk that cow for only so long.

"All these annual changes in offensive coordinators have been a detriment to Alex's development, and thus we still haven't given him a fair shot at proving he's our franchise quarterback.

"He took a dang hard shot by Rocky Bernard early last season. It wrecked his shoulder, set back our season and had us shuffling our quarterbacks. Trent Dilfer. Shaun Hill. Chris Weinke.

"Now we have reshuffled our offensive line, and we'll need you linemen to block your fannies off to protect Alex. And we have, once again, brought in new receivers. That means, once again, Alex must develop quick chemistry with those fellas.

"The quicker this quarterback situation is resolved, the better. That's why I'm taking a stand now, on Day 1 of training camp.

"But let this be our little secret, for a couple reasons. One, I want to see how long we can keep confidential information inside our locker room. Two, I need a reason to give Shaun several snaps with the first-team unit, so that when Alex gets hurt, er, if he gets hurt, Shaun can pick up where he left off at the end of last season.

"Yes, some of you may prefer Shaun over Alex. And some of you may prefer we beg the Packers to trade us Brett Favre. And some of you are so busy counting John York's money that you couldn't care less who quarterbacks us this season.

"But we cannot have a divided locker room. That's why you must pledge allegiance to Alex. United we stand.

"Last week, when the Packers found themselves in the midst of more quarterback controversy between Favre and Aaron Rodgers, a wise voice sounded off on the subject. It was Willie Davis, a Hall of Famer and Packers board member.

"He said another Favre-Rodgers soap opera could only hurt the Packers, adding: 'I think it's a decision that would split the club into several pieces. Some would be in Brett's camp, some in Aaron's camp. That's the quickest way to start getting on a losing path.'

"Indeed it is. So that's why everyone needs to pitch a tent in Alex's camp. Support him as he becomes functional in Mike Martz's scheme.

"Alex showed in the spring he's our No. 1 option. No need to prolong this competition. After all, what if he and Shaun played even throughout the exhibition season and we didn't have a sure-fire favorite? What if Shaun won the starting job, struggled, and we called upon Alex, whose confidence and credibility may have been shattered by his demotion?

"From this day forward, Alex Smith is your starting quarterback. Now, as for the other starting jobs, they're up for grabs. So grab your hard hat and get to work these next few weeks. We've got a job to save. It's not Alex's. It's mine."

Contact Cam Inman at cinman@bayareanewsgroup.com.