Archive for November, 2010

49ers all in with a new look

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

49ers all in with a new look

Jim Tomsula wears a black 49ers tracksuit with red sleeves and a gold zipper on the upper left arm during Thursday’s OTA. He tucks the jacket of the track suit into his polyester pants.

Jim Harbaugh wore khakis, a sweater and a baseball cap during practice when he was the 49ers’ head coach. He looked like a giant kid who had sneaked out of parents’ house to play football with his buddies. Tomsula looks like Paulie Walnuts from The Sopranos.

Harbaugh put himself in the thick of the action during practice. He’d participate in drills. He’d turn his cap backward and kick footballs when the special teams practiced blocking punts. He’d run routes with the tight ends and he’d fall sometimes. He laughed at himself. He kept things light.

Tomsula does not participate in drills. He stands very seriously in the middle of the practice field while the individual position groups warm up around the edges. Stands with his arms folded across his chest, hair slicked back, a wad of tobacco in his mouth while he rotates in a slow circle, spitting occasionally like a lawn sprinkler.

Tomsula is an overseer. Bill Walsh was an overseer, too.

When Tomsula speaks, he speaks in whispers to his top assistants, his prophets offensive coordinator Geep Chryst and defensive coordinator Eric Mangini. They make the rounds to the various position coaches and whisper Tomsula’s whispers to them.

Tomsula rarely talks directly to players anymore. He used to when he was the defensive line coach under Harbaugh. Now, Tomsula delegates the talking. The position coaches teach the players, the ball boys call out plays for the offense and defense during seven on sevens and 11 on 11s, and a trainer blows an air horn between drills.

For the most part, Tomsula’s practices are quiet.

Occasionally, he yells. Early during Thursday’s OTA, he felt the quarterbacks and running backs took too long to start a drill. “You just wasted a minute and a half!” Tomsula yelled from 50 yards away.

Other times, he would yell, “Tempo!” as if admonishing an orchestra if he thought they were moving too slow.

Tomsula spoke above a whisper about three or four times total during practice on Thursday. If you weren’t looking for him, you wouldn’t have known he was there.

When Harbaugh led the Niners’ practice, no way could you miss him. He stood in the middle of huddles. He called out the plays. He called them, not the quarterback. Between every single snap, he yelled “left hash!” or “right hash!” indicating where the offense should spot the ball.

And he blew a whistle. Each whistle was a different command the players understood. He was the ringmaster of a circus.

Harbaugh coached an old school, Big Ten, 1970s offense. A power running offense with sumo style blocking. Grab the guy in front of you and push him back. Impose your will. That’s Harbaugh’s style.

None of that took place at Thursday’s OTA. During drills, five offensive linemen at a time would crouch into three point stances. When Chris Foerster, the new offensive line coach, yelled, “Hut,” all five offensive linemen started sprinting to their right.

That’s zone blocking: outflank the defense and stretch them to create lanes for the running back. It’s a finesse style that requires fast offensive linemen, not powerful jerseys

It’s the running game Mike Shanahan made famous. He used it when he coached the Denver Broncos and most recently when he coached the Washington Redskins. Foerster was Shanahan’s offensive line coach in Washington, and Foerster seems to be teaching Shanahan’s techniques to the 49ers.

Tomsula is incorporating even more finesse into the offense. He’s bringing back the screen pass. The Niners almost never ran this play under Harbaugh, in practice or in games.

It was the first pass play the Niners ran Thursday afternoon. Colin Kaepernick threw a screen to Reggie Bush.

A screen is like a judo move. The offense doesn’t impose its will, it simply uses the defense’s aggressiveness against them, lets the defense rush wildly at the quarterback. Just before they hit him, he throws a little dinker over their heads to a running back.

It’s a classic Bill Walsh play that should never have left the 49ers’ playbook. Good for Tumsula for bringing it back.

The Niners have a new look offense to match their new look coach. Time will tell if little differences mean a lot.

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website.

Bill Walsh, Jim Harbaugh, Jim Tomsula

Maybe the 49ers will also incorporate some of those Roger Craig Patterns that Joe Threw to Roger in SuperBowl (23) vs. Cincinnati where their Texas patter (49ers send Rice on a Fly Pattern from left, and Taylor on long out on right, with Jones running a deep post in the center, causing the LB to drop, while Craig circles out of the back field to the vacated line backer positions; or the 49ers could run a simple swing pass, or that deep 40 yard touch pass Montana threw to Craig down the Right sideline that one requires the QB to loft the Ball 40 yards in the air, with enough velocity to beat the safety and also to drop in over the trailing cornierbacks head. If you fire the ball the DB will swat it down. It all in the game winning drive in the Superbowl.

In keeping with the philosophy of vs O line, which current O line starters do we have now that can transition to this style?

Teams within our division have defensive lineman that utilize strength and speed. Harbaugh employed an offensive scheme that relied more on power at the LOS vs speed (on the O line).

Can Staley, Davis, Kilgore, and Boone provide the speed needed to employ such a scheme?

Brandon Thomas looks like the odds on favorite right now to fill the other O line position, but he was drafted to fit Harbaugh scheme.


Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Fishing is really hot right now.  You can get a cooler full of spots from the piers, especially right after a storm.  Use small pieces of shrimp or bloodworms on small double rigs and catch them two at a time.

Whiting are in the river and in the surf.  Use the same rig for them that you would for spots.  Shrimp or sand fleas work best.

Red drum are in the surf and the channels.  Use shrimp, live mullet, live menhaden, salt mullet or Gulp! on a jighead.

Specs are starting to move a lot.  Fish for them like you would for Reds or throw a Gotcha or Mirrolure.

Flounder are doing well right now.  Fish for them like a Red as well.

You can also find some nice Blues.

Remember to come by the store for all your fishing needs.  We give free fishing tips as well.