SANTA CLARA -- Offensive coordinator Greg Roman on Thursday said he had plenty of confidence in quarterback Colin Kaepernick as he prepared to make his first NFL start, but even he was somewhat surprised by Kaepernick being so good from the outset.

"I felt really good before the game," Roman said of Kaepernick starting against the Chicago Bears in a Monday night game Nov. 19. "I remember seeing (some people) walking around the field before the Chicago game, saying, 'Hey, we're in good shape. It's all good.' But you never quite know until somebody goes out and shows it on the field."

Kaepernick sparkled in his first start, in place of injured regular Alex Smith, and he played well enough to unseat Smith for the rest of the season.

Now, Kaepernick is preparing to lead the 49ers in the Super Bowl against the Baltimore Ravens on Feb. 3.

Like everyone else on the 49ers, Roman witnessed Kaepernick's preparation, intense work ethic and performance in practice. All that was missing was Kaepernick carrying that over into a game.

"I could stand up here and say I knew it all the time, but that's not the case at all," Roman said of Kaepernick taking the league by storm with his dynamic ability to succeed passing and running.

All along, Roman and others sensed that Kaepernick was ready for a starring role. One attribute stood out above all else, and it's something that has enabled Kaepernick to succeed in trying circumstances.

"Colin's just a very, very intense competitor," Roman said. "We saw that, even when he wasn't the starter. He's very focused. He has the ability to draw some really intense focus.

"That's something we love in a quarterback because there's going to be different challenges. The ability to block out all distractions and focus on what's relevant is critical at that position."