Alex Smith comfortable not having to learn new offense

For the first time since the San Francisco 49ers invested the first pick in the draft on Alex Smith in 2005, the quarterback isn’t forced to learn a new offense in the spring.

That much right there made a big difference for him on Monday when the team opened up with an OTA in Santa Clara, Calif. Smith won’t have to feel his way through a playbook when he takes the field this time, ensuring he has the calls right and worrying about the little things when he should be thinking fast.

"It's a big difference hitting the ground running," Smith told David White of the San Francisco Chronicle. "I can't say how nice it is to be that much further ahead than we were a year ago."

It also marks the first time there isn’t uncertainty about his role. A year ago, he was forced to compete with Shaun Hill for the starting job. David Carr was signed as a backup but everyone in the organization has made it clear what role Carr occupies: He’s the backup.

"Last year, you were really just trying to take in the basics," Smith said. "We were working on huddle procedure, motions and shifts and all the fundamentals you have to build. At this point, we're so much past that and taking the next step forward.

"The great thing is I'm going to get all the reps out here and I'm going to take advantage of them."

The 49ers will wrap up their first stretch of OTA’s today. The club schedule two early like this with an eye toward having the staff evaluate the offensive line as it prepares for the draft. The team is expected to use one of its picks in the first round on a lineman. San Francisco has the 13th and 17th overall picks of the round.

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