Buy 49ers at Rams NFC Championship tickets →

O’Sullivan set to succeed

Sep 1, 2008 at 12:37 AM

The following is an article I wrote for the Sacramento Union:

San Francisco 49ers' quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan has to be pinching himself right now.

O'Sullivan, 29, was born and raised a 49er fan while growing up right here in Sacramento. This Sunday, the 6-year NFL veteran will not only be making the first start of his career, but his childhood dream come true as well.

Having bounced around the league and the world during the course of his professional career, getting the chance to play for the 49ers had to of been placed on the backburner in favor of just sticking to an NFL roster. But now that he is about to lead the 49ers into their regular-season opener against Arizona at Candlestick Park this weekend, you'd think he would be completely ecstatic. You'd think wrong, however.

"I think if I stepped back away from it, it would kind of sink in," O'Sullivan told The Union after learning he was the starter nearly two weeks ago. "But right now I am trying to do everything I can to come out here with my preperation and my performance to deal with it. Growing up a niner fan I know what this position is to the area, so I'm excited."

He may say he is excited, but his actions are speaking way louder than his words.

O'Sullivan has shown an uncanny amount of poise and confidence since signing with the 49ers during the offseason. Those traits mixed with his solid performances throughout training camp this summer as well as the teams' preseason contests have earned the constant praise of team offensive coordinator Mike Martz, as well as head coach Mike Nolan. Having played in Detroit last season while Martz was the Lions' offensive coordinator allowed O'Sullivan to have a leg up in the 49ers' open competition at quarterback which also featured Alex Smith and Shaun Hill. So, when he stepped on the practice field in Santa Clara for the first time as a 49er this past spring, he did so without ever looking back.

"They (the coaches) told me that it was going to be a competition, and that is how I approached it," O'Sullivan said. "It is just a matter of playing as well as you can when given the opportunity, and go from there."

Certainly all his friends, family and fellow supporters in the Sacramento-area are proud of O'Sullivan, and are wishing him a great deal of success. One person who has never wavered in his support of O'Sullivan is UC Davis' head football coach Bob Biggs. Biggs coached O'Sullivan as a collegiate athlete until he was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the 6th round of the 2002 NFL Draft.

"I'm really happy for him, personally," Biggs said. "He persevered the last six years, and while he was always a good player he never got in a place to get a real legit opportunity. I'm exicted for him because he is finally getting his opportunity and is making the most of it."

Not enough can be said of the way O'Sullivan has carried himself en route to obtaining the starting spot at quarterback for the 49ers, but in O'Sullivan's case, he'd rather have not much said at all. Always very focused in practice as well as in dealing with the media, it has been noted that he has an arrogant persona about him, almost to the point of thinking he is a jerk. But Biggs knows why his former player acts like that.

"He has a dry sense of humor and a quick wit," Biggs implied. "He is just playing it really close to the cuff, and although he is very excited about winning the starting position, he feels he has a lot to prove."

With all of this being thrown on O'Sullivan's plate, Biggs has played more of a cheerleader role as of late than a coach when speaking to the former Aggies' star.

"We speak all the time, and I try not to give him too much advice," Biggs said. "I'm just being supportive of him. He is a 29-year old man now, and he knows what he wants and how he wants to do things."

But, it is not so much how he wants to do things as much as it is how Martz wants to. But with O'Sullivan being familiar with the system, it just makes the most sense for the team heading into the season.

"The one thing that's very important is, the offensive coordinator and position coach have to have a comfort level with the quarterback," 49ers general manager Scot McGloughan said in regards to the reasoning behind naming O'Sullivan the starter. "Especially Coach Martz in this system, he likes to be able to come in Week 1 with all four wheels turning and going. That's not the only reason he won the job, he won the job outright, but he gives us the opportunity to put in more offense for Week 1."

So, the question remains to be answered. Will O'Sullivan be able to take charge and lead this 49ers' offense?

"He's finally gotten the opportunity, and is a great fit in Martz' system," Biggs said. "He has a great skill level, his technique is solid and his mindset is strong. There is no reason to think he won't have success."
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • No Comments

Facebook Comments

More San Francisco 49ers News

49ers WRs set a franchise record against the Rams Sunday

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Jan 13

In the 49ers' playoff-clinching performance against the division rival Los Angeles Rams, not only did the team secure a postseason berth, but they set a franchise record along the way. Last Sunday, San Francisco received not one, not two, but three 90-yard performances from wide receivers—Brandon Aiyuk, who led the team with six catches for 107 yards, Deebo Samuel, who had four catches for 95 yards, and Jauan Jennings, who had six catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-tying TD late in the 4th quarter. Interestingly enough, it's the first time in franchise history that the feat of three 90+ yard performances from receivers has occurred in the same game, per Matt Barrows of the

49ers-Packers: Jimmy Garoppolo, Fred Warner set to play on Saturday

By David Bonilla
Jan 20

As expected, it looks like both Jimmy Garoppolo and Fred Warner will be on the field for the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night at Lambeau Field. Neither was listed when the team released its game status report for injured players. Only three players—defensive end Nick Bosa (concussion), cornerback Ambry Thomas (knee), and defensive end Jordan Willis (ankle)—were listed as "questionable" for the game. However, head coach Kyle Shanahan sounded optimistic that Bosa and Thomas would be available against the Green Bay Packers. "We've got to put him on there because of the steps of the [concussion] protocol, but it's looking good," Shanahan said of Bosa. Garoppolo is still dealing with the torn ligament in his right thumb, an injury that

49ers-Packers: Nick Bosa clears concussion protocol, set to play; other roster moves

By David Bonilla
Jan 21

The San Francisco 49ers have announced that defensive end Nick Bosa has cleared the concussion protocol. During Sunday's playoff win over the Dallas Cowboys, the pass rusher suffered the head injury. He did not practice with his teammates in Santa Clara on Tuesday, was limited on Wednesday, and was a full participant on Thursday. Bosa recorded 15.5 sacks, 52 tackles, 21 tackles for a loss, 32 quarterback hits, and four forced fumbles during the regular season. He had three tackles, a quarterback hit, and half a sack during his 23 snaps against Dallas before exiting the game. Bosa was among three players listed as "questionable" for Saturday's game. The others are cornerback Ambry Thomas (knee) and defensive lineman Jordan Willis (ankle). "We've got


More by James Darian

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone