SANTA CLARA -- Serving as the 49ers' starting quarterback at training camp is something new for Colin Kaepernick. But it hasn't changed his mindset.
"To me, it's football. Football is football, regardless," Kaepernick said Thursday as the 49ers prepared for their first full practice. "I'm here to work, to make sure I get better, to make sure I'm ready to help this team."
Kaepernick helped lead the 49ers to last season's Super Bowl, where they lost 34-31 after their final offensive series died at the 5-yard line. During that last-series sequence, a timeout was called when Kaepernick had trouble getting off a third-down snap, but he's now downplayed its impact.
"That was just one situation. To be real honest, the problem came in the first half when we didn't perform well," Kaepernick said. "It didn't come down to those last four plays. It came down to the first half when we didn't put points on the board."
Since that defeat, Kaepernick's exposure has been in full gear, from endorsements to award show to a magazine shoot in which he wore no clothes.
He's still anticipating locker-room razzing for those photos, noting: "I haven't had anything real bad yet. I feel like they're plotting on me right now."
Here is the rest of Kaepernick's media session with reporters:
How has the offseason, 'rock star' status changed things here coming into camp?
"It's just more of an opportunity to do things. For the most part for me, I worried about playing football."
Was it awkward to deal with the crush of media going from backup to starter?
"No it wasn't awkward. For the most part to me, I was worrying about playing football. That was my only concern. Everything else was just extra."
How much have you thought about the end of the Super Bowl and how has that motivated you?
"I think about it a lot. I think about it to make sure that doesn't happen again, to put our team in a better situation the next time we're in a situation like that, an opportunity like that."
How does it feel to be the starter this camp as opposed to last year?
"To me, it's football. Football is football, regardless. I'm here to work, to make sure I get better, to make sure I'm ready to help this team."
How important is it to have leadership qualities for a quarterback?
"It's very important. If your players and your teammates don't respect you, if they don't feel like you're someone they can come to or associate with, they're not going to follow you, they're not going to play as well for you on the field, they're not going to go out and perform for you. If I can build that relationship and make sure my teammates are comfortable and feel I can help them get better on the field, I think they'll perform better."
How do you do that?
"There's a lot of different ways, from talking to them, to going out and working hard at practice, to showing them you're here to work, being willing to help them if they have questions. Anything you can do to show them you should be the leader and you're someone they can follow."
Have you seen a change in teammates asking you about maybe off-field questions more?
"Off the field, we're just having a good time together. When it comes to football, yeah, I think my teammates are more comfortable in me, have more confidence in me."
Where do you need to improve?
"Everywhere. There's not something I'm trying to get better at one thing. I'm trying to get better at every aspect of my game."
In the Super Bowl, you didn't get a play called in time (third-and-goal, final minutes). Is that an area, getting plays relayed and getting the team ready, that you're working for this camp?
"That was just one situation. To be real honest, the problem came in the first half when we didn't perform well. It didn't come down to those last four plays. It came down to the first half when we didn't put points on the board."
What's your review of the receiving corps without Michael Crabtree?
"It's a tragic situation to have that happen to a great player like Crab. At this point people have to step up. Who that is depends will really depend on how this camp goes."
Has some of the attention surprised you?
"I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about playing football and making sure I'm ready to go."
What are your thoughts on the read-option sustaining?
"The same way defenses, offenses do too. It's a chess match, regardless."
You've successfully ran and not get hit. Is that something you can practice or is that mental?
"It's a little bit of both. As a quarterback, you have to know you have to be healthy to help your team. Running down and taking a big hit from a linebacker or safety is not in your best interest or the team's. You have to be smart with your body."
What's the hardest you've been hit?
"College. Sean Witherspoon. My sophomore year. On the run, got a clean shot, hit me in the shoulders and head. Best lick I've taken. It was a scramble."
Did you come right back?
"Knock on wood, I haven't been knocked out yet."
Was Baltimore specifically having a guy on you and hitting you each time?
"I've seen that before."
Do you expect to rely heavily on Anquan or will you spread the ball?
"It depends on the play call and what the offense is trying to do. Crab was the hot receiver for a while, so we went to him, and he kept making plays, so we kept going to him. This year it really depends on what the offense is doing."
Last year, was 'Kaepernick.' Have you been thinking about what you'll do this year?
"No. I'm worried about trying to put points on the board."