SANTA CLARA — Colin Kaepernick nearly needed a crowbar to wedge himself through the cluster of gathered media. His place was reserved in the eye of the storm.
The day was Thursday. Good practice for what is ahead.
The microphones almost brushed the whiskers of Kaepernick's goatee. The questions were delivered quickly, the answers even quicker.
"I just try to keep my head down, keep working and not worry about anything else."
Advice from Steve Young? "Just keep going."
"If you prepared going into the game, you'll be confident when you go out there."
Kaepernick, the wunderkind from Turlock, already has locked on his game face. In his idea of a perfect world, Super Bowl XLVII would have been contested three days ago.
He and the San Francisco 49ers depart for New Orleans today, one week before The Big One against the Baltimore Ravens. Kaepernick looked the part of a gunslinger, the 25-year-old quarterback who can't wait for his shot in the sun.
Thursday's brief meeting with the assorted minicams and voice recorders was only a dress rehearsal for the upcoming madhouse in the Big Easy. But rest assured, Kaepernick already has his lines down.
The odds of him igniting some Super Bowl Week drama can't be less than 5,000-to-1. He'll draw attention to himself with his touchdowns, not with sightings on the French Quarter.
If you saw the 110-degree glare in his eyes at 49er headquarters, you witnessed further affirmation of the Essential Kaepernick: He is hot-wired to the task at hand. He is about the game, not the pregame. All energy will be directed toward a sixth Lombardi Trophy for the 49ers, thank you.
He let down his guard long enough to acknowledge all the love coming his way from the valley. Pitman High, his alma mater, has served as a gracious and helpful host to the visiting media cross-checking all those Kaepernick teenage feats.
A guess: He could do without the coast-to-coast adulation. He'll savor it, though, if it's generated from the Ol' 209. And another: The young man does not burn down bridges.
"That (the affection) means a lot. That's where I'm from, that's where my roots are," Kaepernick said. "The fact that people that I grew up with are still saying good things about me is a good sign."
That said, he's already found a pressure-release valve.
In most years, his story the swashbuckling runner-passer, the quarterback leading his team to the championship game in his 10th career start would have served as the week's anchor. He would have been accorded the treatment reserved for a Joe Montana or a John Elway or a Dan Marino.
Instead, Kaepernick has been dropped down the Super Bowl's Q rating by even better talking points. He can't compete with the Brothers Harbaugh, Jim and John, coaching against each other in what has to be the NFL's gene-pool miracle.
There's also no argument about the Ravens' Ray Lewis, a let's-not-even-vote Hall of Famer who has stretched his farewell tour to the game's glitziest stage. "Kaepernicking" is still starter-set stuff compared to Lewis' dance.
"I'm not one to try to get intimidated. I'm just going out to play," Kaepernick said. "Ray Lewis has kind of been the icon of what a linebacker is supposed to be and how the intensity of the game is supposed to be."
If Kaepernick is ranked No. 3 on the buzz chart this week, he's no doubt good with it.
If he had his way, he would reduce his world to the practice field and a study room. Just him, the playbook, his teammates, coaches and the game plan.
"He's got the ability to draw some really intense focus. And that's something I love in a quarterback, because there's going to be different challenges," offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "The ability to block out all the distractions and focus on what's relevant is critical to that position."
So don't expect Kaepernick to moon any helicopters (Jim McMahon, 1986), or request the services of an undercover female police officer posing as a prostitute the night after he received a moral-character award (Eugene Robinson, 1999), or party all night (John Matuszak, 1981).
The quarterback from Turlock will arrive in New Orleans today with blinders fastened. Maybe he'll save his fun for Mardi Gras.
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2302. Follow Ron via Twitter, @ModBeeSports.