<
>

Colin Kaepernick: Jim Harbaugh taught me a lot

Colin Kaepernick can't single out the biggest thing former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh taught him. AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- While Colin Kaepernick is about to embark upon a new era with a rookie head coach, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback is not afraid to reflect upon his immediate past.

Jim Harbaugh, who handpicked Kaepernick over Alex Smith and was Kaepernick’s biggest public supporter, may no longer cast a khaki-colored shadow over the Niners’ complex, but he does still have an impact after leaving the organization for Michigan.

So what was the biggest lesson Kaepernick took from Harbaugh?

“He taught me a lot,” Kaepernick said Thursday afternoon in the 49ers locker room. “A lot about professional offenses, a lot about the defenses, how they can react, how they can change, based on what you’re doing and what their game plan might be.

“So, I really can’t say one thing. He’s taught me a lot.”

Under Harbaugh, Kaepernick was 4-0 on Monday Night Football with nine touchdown passes and no interceptions and, according to ESPN Stats & Info, only Jeff Garcia has thrown more TD passes (12) before being picked off on MNF.

So what is it about this stage, the one the Niners will take at Levi’s Stadium while wearing their black alternate uniforms against the Minnesota Vikings, that gets the juices flowing?

“I really didn’t know (those stats) but I love playing under the lights, since high school,” Kaepernick said. “It just kind of takes you back to the old days of being under the lights. It’s a different vibe than when you’re playing in a day game and I think everyone likes that feeling.”

Kaepernick said he’s not concerned about those who try to put a label on him.

“To be honest, I’m really not worried about what people say about me as a quarterback,” he said. “I’m worried about what my teammates think, what my coaches think about me as a quarterback. So that’s ultimately who I give that ability to judge (me) to.”

And no, he does not want people to refer to him as being a dual-threat player or having a unique skill set, despite that purportedly being the case. He’s more than that, he inferred, and new coach Jim Tomsula merely wants "Colin to be Colin" on the field.

“Once again, I’m really not too concerned about people’s opinions of what they see or view me as,” he said. “I mean, I was also (seen as just) the black quarterback with tattoos, so, once again, not something that really crosses my mind.”