49ers switch gears to Locker

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- There is no doubt the news that the San Francisco 49ers will face Jake Locker instead of Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday will change the team’s defensive plans.

Locker is much more mobile and runs some read-option plays. Locker was playing well before he hurt his hip and missed the past two games. The Titans were 3-1 with Locker and 0-2 without him.

“Well, I’ve always thought this: He’s like a running back with his ability to run the football,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said about Locker on Wednesday. “I’ve always thought that. And I’ve seen it up close, been defeated by it. He’s evolved, grown. He’s always been an extremely tough competitor.”

When the week began it appeared Fitzpatrick would start, but Locker practiced more as the week went on. Both Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said they were preparing for Locker as well as Fitzpatrick this week.

The 49ers’ defensive meetings Saturday will no doubt focus on the switch to Locker.

Harbaugh faced Locker four times when he coached Stanford and Locker was at Washington. The Cardinal were 3-1 against Locker. Friday, Harbaugh said his experience against Locker gave him no advantage.