INDIANAPOLIS -- Jim Tomsula on Thursday called the notion that he undermined Jim Harbaugh during Harbaugh's tenure as 49ers head coach "ridiculous."
"First of all, there's nothing to that, and it's ridiculous, ok?" he told a small group of reporters following his formal press conference at the scouting combine. "Second of all, if anybody needs to talk, just give me a buzz. Ok?"
Tomsula's comments came a week after Harbaugh, on a podcast with the Mercury News' Tim Kawakami, demurred when asked if he felt Tomsula, who was Harbaugh's defensive line coach for the last four seasons, was campaigning for his job.
“That’s a good question for him, better him than for me.” Was it awkward to hear Tomsula’s name as a possible replacement, Harbaugh was asked?
Said Harbaugh: “There was definitely a point where you walk down the halls – and, you know, I wasn’t reading a lot of the things, I wasn’t reading anything that was on the Internet, I was doing my job – but you definitely walk down the halls and people look away or they look at you and you know something’s going on. That’s really the extent of the analysis I have on it. Better question for others.”
Tomsula on Thursday said he didn't feel as if things ended poorly with Harbaugh.
"No, not at all," he said. "To me? No, Jim Harbaugh and his staff, which I was part of, won a lot of football games for the San Francisco 49ers. He did a great job. There's no disputing any of that. I don't have a negative word to say about any of that. ... I guess that's where I'm at with that. I don't see where there's something there. Don't see it."
Asked what he might use from Harbaugh's tenure as far as his own coaching style, Tomsula cited Harbaugh's energy and enthusiasm.
"Obviously, you guys were there at practice, you saw Jim," he said. "Jim loves football. And he loves the game and loves to compete."
Harbaugh “a football dude” -- At the suggestion of their quarterback coach, George Whitfield, two quarterbacks in the upcoming draft, Baylor’s Bryce Petty and Florida State’s Jameis Winston, met with Harbaugh at Michigan before heading to the combine.
“Coach Harbaugh was great,” Petty said Thursday. “Outstanding guy. Just a football dude. That’s the best way I can describe it. He just gave us a lot of advice about what to expect here, about how to handle everything,especially going in as a rookie into a camp and what he expects as a coach in that scenario, things like that.”
Whitfield worked as a summer intern on Harbaugh’s 49ers’ staff last season.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.