A Joyful 49er Homer

written by Andy Hawk, ESPN 1320’s resident 49ers Homer

Steve Young, Jerry Rice, and Brent Jones sure do look great this year.  At 6-1, The 49ers are ranked by ESPN as the #2 team in the NFL.  Don’t mind me, I just have that tingly feeling anytime someone says anything about the NFL or even football in general.  Come on… six and freaking one!  How did this happen?  It’s felt like an eternity since our team was a dominant force on Sundays.  I mean Alex smith is our QB!  I thought we had holes in the offensive line?  I thought the Niners were too weak at the WR position?  Isn’t Frank Gore too old?  No, nope, nah, and not at all.  The San Francisco 49ers have improved every week in almost every facet.  The defense is so good they’re physically knocking star players out of the game every week. 


The 49ers run the ball and can’t be run on.  This spells very bad news for the hapless Redskins on Sunday.  John Beck, you’re in trouble.  I’m so excited for Sunday at 10AM, I can’t stand it!   As the playbook is evolving we are starting to see some serious creativity coming from coach Harbaugh.  Never in our wildest dreams would anyone have guessed Joe Staley and Isaac Sopoaga would both have huge catches for first downs.   I’m not even going to try and predict what trick play we might see on Sunday morning


I’m Andy Hawk, your San Francisco 49er homer, reminding you to catch the game this week on ESPN 1320 and hold on…pregame at 9:00am, kickoff at 10:00am, with Ted Robinson and Eric Davis.

November 4, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Brian Lopez's Blog, Uncategorized | No comment

It’s Not Too Early…

Written by ESPN 1320’s resident “49ers Homer”, Andy Hawk


Remember when we were talking about the Niners starting really slow because of the lockout?  How a new coach and new system would have San Francisco starting slow, but in a weak division with constant improvement, winning the division at 8-8 would be a hopeful possibility?  That seems so far away now, after a 45 point win and being undefeated on the road while taking out the 5-0 Lions.  Coming off the bye with a favorable schedule everything has changed in just under two months.  Now, Niner fans are already looking ahead and are expecting a 12-4 season.  Kind of scary right? Boo!


While I have been preaching how much better this team is than the sports world has given them credit for, I have to be honest and say that even I, your Niner homer, is surprised at the 5-1 record.  5-1 with the schedule they have played can’t be understated.  Being this excited about San Francisco is the real deal as playoffs will happen this year.  As a fan you can now look forward to winning, a feeling for Niner fans that has been gone for almost a decade. 


The Browns come to San Francisco this week with the 27th best offense in the NFL.  The 49ers have the fourth best defense and the best run defense.  Harbaugh has them very motivated, as they need to prove to all the doubters that these six weeks are not a fluke.  No let down or trap game this week.  Join me in catching the 49ers go 6-1 on ESPN 1320, Sunday afternoon!

October 28, 2011 at 10:07 am | Brian Lopez's Blog, Uncategorized | No comment

4-1 With No Respect

written by ESPN 1320’s resident Niners Homer, Andy Hawk

No one wants to read me bragging about how I’m the only one on the planet who has predicted the 49ers start.  I know I don’t.  The 49ers are 4-1 and have looked better every week.  The last two seasons the Niners were predicted to win the division;  they had the most talent in the NFC West, and it made a lot of sense. Unfortunately, Singletary proved to be the worst coach in the NFL, which led to severe underachievement in the city by the bay.  This year they signed a half dozen quality free agents, and had a decent draft.  It’s like no one saw this coming.  They’re now more talented, with VERY good coaching.  Harbaugh is not only a much better head coach than Singletary, but most importantly, his staff is exponentially better with Greg Roman and Vic Fangio.  So, no, this great start at 4-1 was not unforeseeable.  The really exciting part is that these wins are coming out of division with a 2-0 start on the road.


Which brings us to this week… Niners and Lions, the game of the week.  4-1 vs. 5-0.  We have learned nothing is impossible for the 2011 49ers.  Subtract one long play from Megatron last Monday night, and one long run from Jahvid Best, (and honestly the Lions did not look like some imposing force), and both teams would be 4-1.  Detroit’s last opponent, the Chicago Bears, offensive line has looked as bad as any team in the NFL, and they still ran the ball well on Detroit.  By the way the Cowboys and the Vikings moved the ball pretty easily, too.  With a 49er offensive line and running game putting it all together over the last two weeks I see the Lions having their hands full.  I’m Andy Hawk, your Niners Homer and I can’t wait for 10:00am Sunday on ESPN 1320.

October 12, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Brian Lopez's Blog, Uncategorized | No comment

Excited About The 49ers Yet?

Written by our resident 49ers Homer, Andy Hawk


Digesting everything that happened last weekend, with the Niners winning another game on the road that no one (NO ONE!) thought they would win, are you pumped on this team yet?  With the lockout,  a new coach,  and Alex Smith returning as QB it seemed that if everything went as well as possible a 2-2 start would be perfect after four games.  If you read my last couple of Niners Homer blogs I practically predicted this play per play, with a big apology to Frank Gore.  Frank I’m sorry and stand corrected.  Frank Gore has gas left in the tank!  Kendall Hunter is less Gore’s completion but maybe the best thing that has happened to him.  With a two back system the burden is not solely on Frank, and less touches will help Gore last a lot longer this season.


The 49ers front seven is as good as it gets right now with the #1 run defense in the NFL.  Isaac Sopoaga is finally playing his true position, plus Ray McDonald and NaVorro Bowman are joining Willis and Justin Smith as standouts at their positions.  Not to mention rookie Aldon Smith is starting to look scary-good.  The secondary is gelling, the tight ends are being used correctly, and Alex Smith has not been making mistakes.  The offensive line finally putting it all together against the Eagles last week seemed to fix every problem.  Funny how that works? All hail Coach Jim Harbaugh!  Like I said no one thought San Francisco would be 3-1.  Except me!  I know we covered that.


Tampa Bay will be tough but they have to travel after playing a Monday night game.  That puts them in a tough spot, and a perfect equation for your San Francisco 49ers to go 4-1.  I’m Andy Hawk your San Francisco 49ers Homer reminding you to join me in listening to the Niners beat Tampa Bay this Sunday on ESPN 1320.

October 7, 2011 at 10:00 am | Brian Lopez's Blog | No comment

A True Homer Is Ready For A Change

Written by ESPN 1320’s resident 49ers homer, Andy Hawk

You might be expecting me to go off on how an ugly win on the road is a good win, and we should get pumped on this team.  The Niners are 2-1 which is a great start.  Heck, if the 49ers beat the Eagles on the road this week I might start talking Superbowl. Well, maybe I’m getting carried away.  However, it will be crazy if they head home 3-1 with complete control of the NFC West.  At this point we can surely talk playoffs.  Besides, an injured Vick with no Maclin could struggle against San Francisco.  LeSean McCoy has looked invincible, but could the Niners #1 defense against-the-run make Philadelphia very vulnerable against the 49ers this week?  Hmmm?


What I, and many other 49er fans, really want to see is the beginning of a new era, or at least a look, in  the backfield.  Frank Gore has looked terrible this year. TERRIBLE.  None of us want to see an injured Frank Gore NOT be able to hit the holes and stumble for 2 yards a carry, again and again.  Hunter and Dixon were the highlights of the NFL pre-season.  Let’s see what they can do!  PLEASE!  Let Gore get healthy or right.  C’mon, he’s had bad ankles for years, bad knees, and he’s coming off hip surgery.  I’m not surprised he has looked the way he has.  Seeing Kendall Hunter exploding through small holes and catching the ball out of the backfield, and moving the chains is what I’m looking forward to watching and listening to on Sunday morning on ESPN 1320.


I even have a new Niner shirt to wear this week. 3 and 1, coming home baby!

September 30, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Brian Lopez's Blog | No comment

A note regarding “Mike & Mike” and “The Herd”

Effective Monday, September 26th, “Mike & Mike In The Morning” can now be heard from 6:00am to 10:00am on ESPN 1320.  While they used to only occupy the 3:00am to 7:00am slot, we feel this additional prime-time exposure will serve you (the audience) on a high level, providing top-tier guests, intriguing discussions, and light-hearted sports entertainment on-par with the best in the country.   “Mike & Mike” are the ONLY sports morning show in Sacramento, viewed both locally and nationally among the most credible, respected duos in the business.  We are excited to share their style with a larger audience, and look forward to having them be a greater player in our commitment to being the best sports radio station in the area.


In adding “Mike & Mike” to this later morning period, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” has been removed from the lineup of 1320.  The reasoning has everything to do with the potential benefits that Mike & Mike bring to you (our audience), and shouldn’t reflect poorly upon “The Herd…”  Cowherd had been a part of the station since we signed on in 2007, and he has provided consistently compelling radio.  We would welcome the opportunity to return his show to our airwaves in another time-frame, should a proper opportunity present itself.  At this point in time, that is not feasible.


On a positive note for fans of Colin, you can still hear “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on Sacramento radio.  His show will continue to be broadcast live every weekday (7:00am to 10:00am) on 107.9 FM’s HD-2 signal.  You will need an HD-Radio receiver in order to hear this broadcast.


As always, I invite you to send me an email if you have further questions or comments.  We appreciate your support of sports in our region, and thank you for listening to ESPN 1320.




Brian Lopez

Program Director, ESPN 1320


(916) 349-1320

September 26, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Brian Lopez's Blog | 3 comments

Get Ready For 1st Place After Week 3

Written by our resident 49ers Homer, Andy Hawk


On a week after a heartbreaking loss where QB Alex Smith had a secret concussion, the starting WR’s are injured and out of the lineup, and Frank Gore looks a step slow and ineffective – is there a reason to be a 49ers HOMER this week?  Sure, mainly because the Niners are playing The Cincinnati Bengals this week.  Hey, the Bengals are young and hungry, but they are still the Bengals.  The Niners, even with their struggles right now, are favored on the road this week to win plus 2 and half.  That’s how little the Bengals are thought of.  San Francisco to start 2-1.  Yeah, I can still be a Homer this week.


We can say for sure the 49er run defense looks great.  That’s not a problem.  SF should figure out their issues with the secondary this week against a rookie QB and batch of very young receivers.  While the Bengals have shown promise, there won’t be Pro Bowlers like Witten and Austin on the field this week.  Last week may have been some good medicine the Niners secondary had to take preparing them for better for the rest of the year.


With limited weapons Harbuagh is certainly going to earn his money with a creative game plan this week.  I’m predicting a 24-16 win on the road this week, and will be listening early on Sunday morning on ESPN 1320.

September 23, 2011 at 9:59 am | Brian Lopez's Blog | No comment

West Coast for the Win

written by Andy Hawk, our in-house “49ers Homer”

Tony Romo has lost 7 of his last 8 starts, while Alex Smith has won his last two starts. OK now I am being a homer. Seriously, while both teams have been really bad the last couple of years, there is still a sort of magic about a Niners/ Cowboys battle on a Sunday afternoon.


With the Niners winning their opener against Seattle it is nice to be excited more about our local team than my Fantasy Football  Leagues.  Both lost the first week, that’s a whole different saga but thanks for asking.  Some would say that San Francisco is nothing to be excited about since they beat an awful team in Seattle.  I agree here, Seattle is terrible.  They are so bad they could end up with Andrew Luck next year(don’t get me started on how bad that would be). It is that Seattle was so bad Harbaugh had the luxury of calling a conservative game, and it WORKED, IN THIS CASE.  Alex Smith did everything asked of him completing 15 of 20 passes mainly throwing short passes with a few throws down field to Vernon Davis that were all successful.  With a bad team like Seattle this strategy was brilliant.


The 49ers had zero turnovers and gave up no sacks.  You see my points!!!  There is reason to be fired up about this team even if the pretty part of the game was on defense and special teams.  By the way, in the last eight years this has not been the case.  Perfection on special teams and solid overall defensive front is very welcomed over here. Oh yeah it is!!


Now, this week will have to be different. Dallas is starved for a victory and does have explosive offensive players.  I expect to see the west Coast offense that we have heard so much about on full display this week with a variety of Harbaugh trick plays. This week is what we have been waiting for and I can’t wait for the game. Niners and Cowboys Sunday on ESPN 1320. 

September 15, 2011 at 10:24 am | Brian Lopez's Blog | No comment

The Niners in 2011 = Surprise

The following is the latest entry from our resident “49ers Homer,” Andy Hawk.


Can you say this years Tampa Bay Bucs?  I think we can.  SURPRISE!  The element of surprise will work this year for the Niners.  Everyone looked at a very talented Niner roster last year and said 9-7, maybe 10-6 if all goes well.  Subtract some bad luck with bad bounces of the ball and the Niners are 8-8 easy last year.  Plus, anyone in the NFL will tell us that the Niners were the worst coached team in league last year. 


Now with a stronger roster and a much better system for Alex Smith and the young offensive line, everyone in the national media is predicting our favorite team from the Bay to be terrible.  SURPRISE!  Talent wise with the West Coast offense, solid running game, and improved defense, 10-6 is realistic.  San Francisco is this year’s Tampa Bay. SURPRISE to all not paying attention.   You heard it here first.


I mean you believe a team led by Patrick Willis, Frank Gore, and Vernon Davis can’t win the division, why did you think so last year?  So, now that we feel confident about the coaching and system is everything I just said really a fantasy?  Nope.  While the NFL is overlooking the 49ers, we will see some surprising rookie performances from Aldon Smith and Kendall Hunter, along with breakout seasons from Navorro Bowman and Ahmad Brooks leading the way to a 3-1 start filled with 27-17 victories.  SURPRISE SF to be NFC West Champs.


I’m Andy Hawk your 49er homer and I will be listening to the first Niner win this Sunday on ESPN 1320.

September 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Brian Lopez's Blog | No comment

Notes from The 49ers Homer 8/24/11

The following is from special contributor, Andy Hawk.  He’s our resident “49ers Homer.”  Enjoy…


Let’s not get THAT  excited about the dominant pre-season win over the Raiders last weekend!!  Besides, the Raiders are REALLY bad.  If the Raiders win only three games this year would anyone honestly be surprised?  Just look at their schedule and try and find 4 wins.  Now I am not saying the Niners are going to win 12 games this year either, but they certainly don’t have to.  Weekly improvement will get the job done in the NFC WEST .  Improvement is what we saw last week and will continue.  Let’s look at what the Niners have.


1.    An improved secondary through free agency at almost every position.

2.    Improved pass rush with Brooks looking strong and first round draft pick Aldon Smith looking more accomplished at the position in two Pre-season games than Manny Lawson did in five seasons.

3.    Improved at the wide receiver position with a hungry, or should I say starving to prove himself Braylon Edwards.  Plus the scheme of a West coast offense will show much better numbers for the receivers as a whole.

4.    Believe it or not, even with the awful pre-season game in New Orleans – the offensive line will be better this year.   Honestly, that first Pre-season game might prove to be the best thing that ever happened to them.  The line will be more

mature this season, they are currently healthier, in much better shape, and are better at the Center position by acquiring Goodwin from the Saints.


AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, the coaching will be 100 percent better.  The 49ers were the WORST coached  team in the NFL last year.  They have a ton of talent, but good talent and terrible coaching lead to 6 wins last year.  What will slightly improved talent with good coaching do?  hmmm.


Winning the NFC WEST does not seem that far off at all when you spell it all out.  The Seahawks still have a worse QB situation than the Niners and the Cardinals have a QB with a huge contract who has a lower career QB rating than Alex Smith.  Are we really ready to anoint THE RAMS to kings of the division? I’m not.  Weekly improvement under Harbaugh CAN win the NFC West this season.


I’m  Andy Hawk your official 49er homer and I can’t wait to take in the 3rd pre-season game vs. the Texans this Saturday on ESPN 1320.   Click here to email me.

August 24, 2011 at 10:49 am | Brian Lopez's Blog | No comment

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