Jim Tomsula spent eight seasons as a 49ers assistant before taking over as head coach a couple weeks following Jim Harbaugh’s departure.
He has never been a coordinator in the NFL. And he said he is not going to start now.
Tomsula said he plans to rely heavily on offensive coordinator Geep Chryst and defensive coordinator Eric Mangini. He assembled a staff that includes a group of former NFL head coaches and coordinators, including Tony Sparano, Chris Foerster, Jason Tarver, Tim Lewis, Clancy Pendergast, along with former college head coaches Steve Logan and Eric Wolford.
“If you really sit down, and you know what you’re looking at, and when you look at that staff, and now when I tell you, 'I’m not going to call the offense and I’m not going to call the defense, OK?' ” Tomsula said at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix.
He cited the advice he received from a Pittsburgh-area legend, the late Ron Lancaster, who played and coached in the Canadian Football League, after Tomsula took over the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe in 2006.
“He sent me note and said, ‘Don’t be the offensive coach. Don’t be the defensive coach. Be the head coach. It’s hard enough,’” Tomsula said. “I always remember that. He also said, ‘Head coaches can be meddlers or enablers. Try to be the second one.’”
Tomsula set the tone early with his staff, as he insisted on schemes that are tailored specifically to the strengths of the 49ers' roster.
“We’re trying to look at it, piece by piece,” Tomsula said. “We want to run the ball. We’re built to run the football. We want to accentuate what Colin (Kaepernick) does well, but all the players on offense.
“The one thing I asked the guys to do when they came in was don’t bring the playbooks in the room. Let’s start off, let’s look at the players we have, let’s look at our core, see what we have, and then grade that, take a look at it, then come together and talk about who we think we are and what we think we can do best, and let’s start making the playbook from there.”
Tomsula said the coaching staff is in the process of putting together their plans on both sides of the ball that will be presented to the players after the offseason program begins on April 6.