NEW ORLEANS -- Former Bears coach Mike Ditka recalls a young, eager Geep Chryst, who was willing to do anything.
"We were up in Platteville," Ditka said Thursday. "He started out as a ball boy. Yeah, it was an opportunity. He was a hard-working guy. He wanted to know the game of football, he wanted to study the game of football, and you appreciate people like that."
That "ball boy" is now the San Francisco 49ers' quarterbacks coach. Chryst, who worked for the Bears from 1991-95 as their director of research/quality control, deserves credit for helping turn Alex Smith into an efficient and productive quarterback after looking like a bust and for the emergence of the blossoming star that is Colin Kaepernick.
"Geep has been great," said Kaepernick, who took over as the 49ers' starter after a concussion sidelined Smith. "He is always in our ear, talking, making sure we know every situation that might come up. He's previewing situations during the game. He has been phenomenal. It's a constant conversation. It's constant work, trying to game plan trying to make sure we have every detail ironed out."