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Billy Joe Tolliver On Colin Kaepernick: D Coordinators Will Look To ‘Bend His Facemask’ This Season

Colin Kaepernick was as successful as he was last season in large part due to the element of surprise, says former NFL quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver.

“It’s going to be interesting to see what goes on this year,” Tolliver said during a press conference today at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Stateline, NV. “I mean, don’t get me wrong. I wish him all the luck in the world. I hope he does great. But, you know, you saw what happened with Cam Newton, after his first year. Everybody’s going to get a book on him.

“And all these defensive coordinators they’re sitting back trying to figure out how to stop this read option and all this game,” Tolliver said. “And now that the running backs can’t lower their head and protect themselves, it’s going to put different emphasis on the running game with quarterbacks and things like that, because your running backs aren’t going to last that long now. And defenses are out there probably I’m sure being trained to bend Kaepernick’s facemask.

“Number one, if I was a D coordinator I’d be bending his facemask every time he put that ball in somebody’s stomach and see how committed he is to running it in the fourth quarter.”

So is that a new football saying now? “Bending the facemask”? If so, please credit B. Tolliver, on the south shore of Lake Tahoe, NV, on July 17.

Tolliver is of course the former Texas Tech QB who played for seven NFL teams before retiring in 2001 with the Packers. Lately he’s been more known for his golf: he won the American Century (commonly known as the Tahoe Celebrity Golf Tournament) three times — in 1996, 2005 and 2010.

He’s been the Tahoe Celebrity golf down-home character fixture since forever — although he may have some competition this year with the addition of Larry the Cable Guy to the lineup. This is true.

Anyway, Tolliver wasn’t through saying “bending his facemask.”

“Now that Alex Smith is gone, you know, what’s Harbaugh’s mentality on how many times he’s going to risk injury on his quarterback putting him on the edge?” Tolliver said of Kaepernick. “These guys are playing for a lot. There’s a lot at stake. And I hope he makes it through healthy and everything, but just trust me, they’re going to bend his facemask this year.

“That means they’re going to hit him really hard. (Laughter).”


• During today’s presser, Tolliver was asked an off-the-wall question about what he would do if attacked by a bear: “I would hope that I would be in Rick (Rhoden’s) group because I don’t have to be the fastest guy, I just gotta outrun Rick. That’s pretty simple. (Laughter). I don’t know why people are getting chased by bears. Why don’t you just get behind a tree and let him run you around in a circle until he says, all right, forget it, I’m going to go find a fox or something.”

• Former Red Sox pitcher Derek Lowe, who was designated for assignment by the Rangers on May 20 of this season: “I was grateful for the opportunity that they gave me in spring training. But having been able to be a starter or closer throughout your career, being the mop up long relief guy, I just turned 40. Let someone else try that. But bottom line is once they said we’re going to let you go, there was no going to Round Rock, put it that way, their triple A affiliate.”

Complete player list here (Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Alex Smith, Michael Phelps are here). I’ll be mingling Thursday and Friday.

  • Anonymous

    With all due respect to Mr. Tolliver’s expertise as a former baller – I don’t think you can catch the NFL by that much surprise. Trick plays can be dissected and interrupted by getting in the way of the play’s development. Beat someone to a spot or just get to where you need to be at the right time and you can stop something that worked before. What the 49er are doing is brilliant. They are disguising their play using this umbrella of “the pistol” but in reality they are simply using the unique abilities of their quarterback who happens to be really good. When Tom Brady or Payton Manning step on the field you don’t think of them as tricksters running trick plays. You know that they are good, they practice well, and they prepare well. You can prepare for them all you want but unless your defensive can overpower their offiensive lines – you just get beat. I think this is whats happening in Frisco. You have a really good offensive line and a really good quarterback. There is no gimmick. Just a lot of talent and a lot of preparation. Defenses TRIED to hit Colin last season. But Colin believe in the concept of sliding and avoiding hits. When he does run he runs away from traffic and he is so fast he is pretty successful at it. But the guy has great accuracy and a cannon for an arm. He’s Steve Young only faster and lest risky. I think what defenses will do this year is “dread having to play” against Colin Kaepernick unless his offense is having a rare bad day like they did against the Rams and the Seahawks. Bet they fix that and I’ll bet those two matchups will be must see TV.

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