The 49ers look to Kaepernick

23 January 2013 11:34:54 EST

The San Francisco 49ers head to New Orleans for the Super Bowl with one significant change since their 16-6 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens last season.

Colin Kaepernick is now the starting quarterback rather than Alex Smith. And truth be told, Smith can feel a little hard done by the demotion after suffering a concussion in the middle of the season. Current Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, who was Smith's coach at Utah, commented when the QB was taken first in the 2005 draft that Smith would struggle in any system until he knew it inside out, but once mastered would excel.

The 49ers then proceeded to change coordinators and offensive schemes each year for the first seven years of his professional career until Jim Harbaugh took over as the head coach in San Francisco. True to form, Smith played well in 2011 and had played even better, as Meyer predicted, in 2012 before becoming injured.

Meanwhile, Harbaugh had drafted Kaepernick in the second round out of Nevada last year and had seen something special in the rocket-armed quarterback. Possessing a 92-94mph fastball in baseball, the 25-year-old may well deliver the ball with more zip than any other signal caller in the game. Yet it is with his feet that Kaepernick has transformed the 49ers offense rushing for long gains despite speed that would not be considered world class.

That dual threat has hampered opposing coordinators who cannot have the linebackers and secondary play off their men in anticipation of a run as Kaepernick's arm strength can pick them apart.

The 49ers are 15/8 to score first with a touchdown, while the Ravens can be backed at 5/2.

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