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SAN FRANCISCO -- This column is about 49ers' first backup quarterback, Colt McCoy. But I have something to admit up front. I have zero interest in McCoy and I bet you feel the same.

Never in my life did I think I'd write about McCoy. I would have preferred to write about the four moron fans who ran onto the Candlestick field Sunday night, but that's not football and, as the players say, I only want to talk about football.

Which brings me to McCoy who, almost certainly, is not the real McCoy. The 49ers acquired him in the offseason to play second fiddle to starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who played in the first quarter Sunday night against the Minnesota Vikings and did very well, as you would expect.

After that, coach Jim Harbaugh inserted McCoy into the game, such as it was. McCoy had been having a miserable preseason. He had looked like a very bad quarterback for a long time. His acquisition looked like a mistake.

McCoy started his latest assignment miserably. "Miserable" is a word that sticks with him. In the second quarter, he threw a pick and he completed four passes for an average "distance" of 3.3 yards. You could get more distance with a peashooter.

Rumors had been swirling the Niners were trying to trade McCoy. You could see why. It also is a fact that the team recently restructured McCoy's contract, which means they took away a bunch of dough and now are paying him the league minimum. That would be $630,000 plus incentives, a pittance to a ballplayer, although it's a ton of dough to you and me.

Why the restructure?

Well, if the Niners are paying him peanuts, he would be easy to trade. On the other hand — and this is interesting — they could be less eager to cut a guy making next to nothing.

This is the stuff you think about in preseason, convoluted stuff you hate thinking about.

And you think about this, also. Harbaugh played McCoy the second and third quarters. That's a lot of playing time considering Harbaugh had three other quarterbacks salivating to play.

Did Harbaugh play McCoy so much because he wanted to showcase the guy for a trade? Or was he giving McCoy experience in case — heaven help the Niners — Kaepernick gets hurt in the regular season and the Niners need another thrower.

Funny thing, as the game progressed McCoy played better. He actually played well. We are not talking Joe Montana-well or even Jeff Garcia-well. But we are talking respectable, professional, can do the job, whatever a backup's job is.

And after a while, it became clear Harbaugh wasn't just showcasing the guy for a trade — putting another team before his own. He was giving McCoy a chance. And McCoy was taking advantage of his chance, rising to the occasion, not being a dud.

After the exhibition game — I refuse to give the score on general principles — Harbaugh came to the interview room looking frisky. He's more talkative these days, actually answers questions instead of grunting, "I can't answer that because it's scheme."

So after someone asked a throat-clearing question about the third preseason game, I asked the head coach if McCoy is now the backup quarterback. I had no idea how Harbaugh would answer. For all I knew, he would bark or imitate a hoot owl or stare me down. Silly me.

"Yes, he is," Harbaugh said, affirming McCoy's almost-elite status. "I thought he played very well. He's progressed and played better every week. Down after down he's looking very good. I feel real good Colt's the backup."

I almost fell out of my chair at such a direct answer.

Someone asked if the 49ers tried to trade McCoy. "As you know we never talk about the things you hear on the internet," Harbaugh said. "What's on the internet must be true."

That was humor and humor is good from the over-serious coach.

After the Harbaugh confab — don't you love the word "confab?" — the media scurried to the locker room and, amid the discarded white tape carpeting the floor and the sound of the showers and the steam invading the room, we made our way to McCoy's locker. He looked all-American, like the nice boy down the street who shovels the snow off your walk in a blizzard and won't take a tip although, OK, he'll drink a chocolate malted if you make him one.

I asked if Harbaugh told him he's the official backup. "I felt like I played a good ballgame tonight," McCoy said, his voice earnest. "I feel like I've done good things this preseason, but I've also made mistakes. I think that's part of the growth within this system. There's a lot of volume, but tonight I felt good."

He hadn't actually answered my question. So I asked it again. Had Harbaugh told him he's the official second banana, although I didn't use the words "second" or "banana."

"We've talked all week long," McCoy said. "This week was probably my best week of practice. I'm gaining a lot of confidence."

So that's it for Colt McCoy as far as I'm concerned. I hope I never write about him again. He's a nice guy, a gentleman, someone you can be proud of. But he is distinctly off the point.

And you know what? You better hope this is last time I write about him. If I write McCoy any more this season, it will mean you-know-who got hurt and the Niners are in the deep stuff.

For more on sportsin general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn@pressdemocrat.com.