San Francisco 49ers

49ers release list of Tomsula’s assistant coaches

Eric Mangini moves from tight ends coach to defensive coordinator for the 49ers.
Eric Mangini moves from tight ends coach to defensive coordinator for the 49ers. AP

Nearly a month after the 49ers named Jim Tomsula their new head coach, Tomsula announced his staff is in place. In a release, he called it “a collection of passionate coaches who have wide-ranging experience at every level of the game.”

“This is a group of talented communicators who take great pride in helping players maximize their abilities,” Tomsula continued. “Throughout the staff you see bright, high-energy coaches who enjoy taking a hands-on approach to teaching the game. We are all looking forward to getting to work.”

There are 19 assistants, including entry-level positions, under Tomsula -- eight on defense, nine on offense. That’s better balance than under Jim Harbaugh, who had 12 assistants on offense and 20 assistants overall.

Offensive coordinator: Geep Chryst, 52.

The 49ers’ primary play caller has a history with Colin Kaepernick having served as the the team’s quarterbacks coach from 2011-14. With Chryst, the language used on offense will stay the same. He will try to take advantage of Kaepernick’s running skills and will concentrate on getting his players to the line of scrimmage more quickly than in years past.

Quarterbacks: Steve Logan, 62.

He’s expected to have a big say in game-planning for the passing game. Logan served as Tomsula’s play caller in NFL Europe in 2006. He’s been out of coaching for the past three years. However, he built a reputation over his career for squeezing maximum production out of quarterbacks and had success with passers -- like Kaepernick -- who can make plays with their feet. Logan likes mobile quarterbacks, and there will be several -- Blaine Gabbert, Josh Johnson, Jake Locker, Terrelle Pryor -- on the market in March. Another, Josh Freeman, is available now. Logan worked with Freeman in Tampa Bay and has spoken highly of him since.

Offensive line: Chris Foerster, 53.

Foerster is adept at coaching stretch-running schemes, something Washington successfully employed when he was the offensive line coach there. From 2010-14, Washington finished 30th, 25th, first, fifth and 19th in rushing yards. The 49ers’ two holdovers at running back, Carlos Hyde and Kendall Hunter, seem like good fits for that approach. Foerster, who served as the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator in 2004, will help design the team’s running plays. The Packers have hired the 49ers’ former offensive line coach, Mike Solari, FOX Sports reported Monday.

Ass't offensive line: Eric Wolford, 43

Wolford is a former guard at Kansas State. He spent nine years coaching the offensive line on the college level before becoming Youngstown State’s head coach from 2010-14.

Tight ends: Tony Sparano, 53

He’s one of two 49ers assistants -- Eric Mangini is the other -- with head-coaching experience. Sparano has taught NFL tight ends in four previous seasons. He’ll be tasked with trying to resuscitate a group that underachieved last season. San Francisco’s tight ends combined for 433 receiving yards in 2014. Only three other squads – Detroit, Atlanta and Houston – got less from the position.

Wide receivers: Adam Henry, 42; Ronald Curry, 35.

Henry has more experience, having served as the Raiders’ tight ends coach from 2009-11 and as LSU’s wide receivers coach since leaving Oakland. Curry, meanwhile, gives the 49ers some carryover at the position. He’s been an offensive assistant -- working heavily with the receiving group -- the last two seasons. The 49ers have gotten excellent production from Anquan Boldin the last two years but have failed to develop their young receivers.

Running backs: Tom Rathman, 52

Rathman has spanned the Mike Singletary, Jim Harbaugh and now Jim Tomsula regimes. He brings stability to the position and will factor into Frank Gore’s offseason decision making. Gore wants another 1,000-yard season and an opportunity to win a Super Bowl. The question is whether he believes the 49ers give him the best options for both.

Offensive ass’t: D.J. Boldin, 28.

He’s Anquan’s younger brother. He played at Wake Forest and spent three seasons (2010-12) as a receiver with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts.

Defensive coordinator: Eric Mangini, 44.

Mangini is one of the youngest men on the 49ers’ staff but has twice been a head coach. He’s expected to run a base 3-4 defense as his predecessors did. Mangini’s defense, however, is expected to be more aggressive than Vic Fangio’s, which relied on pressure from the front-four rushers and which highlighted its speedy inside linebackers. One of the stalwarts of Fangio’s defense, Justin Smith, has another year remaining on his contract but is contemplating retirement.

Defensive line: Scott Brown, 62

General manager Trent Baalke hired Brown as a regional scout in 2012. Tomsula now has hired Brown to coach the defensive line, which doesn’t exactly tamp down the perception that Baalke has uncommon control over the coaching staff. Brown has a long background as a college defensive line coach, having held that position for more than 10 seasons.

Outside linebackers: Jason Tarver, 40.

Tarver held this role for the 49ers from 2005-10. He’s been a defensive coordinator with Stanford and the Raiders since. His group includes a number of talented but erratic pass rushers, including Aldon Smith and Aaron Lynch. Veteran Ahmad Brooks, who was under Tarver for three years, could be a salary-cap casualty this offseason.

Inside linebackers: Clancy Pendergast, 47

He’s one of three assistants -- along with Tarver and secondary coach Tim Lewis -- with experience as a defensive coordinator. He’ll get to work with one of San Francisco’s deepest units but one on which the two stars, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, are coming back from major injuries. The 49ers had approached former player Jeff Ulbrich, who came close to accepting the job but ultimately decided to join Dan Quinn’s staff in Atlanta instead. Quinn was an assistant on the 49ers when Ulbrich was a player. They also were on the same Seahawks coaching staff in 2010.

Secondary: Tim Lewis, 53.

He’s a former defensive back who played for the Green Bay Packers from 1983 to 1986. Lewis inherits two smart safeties in Eric Reid and Antoine Bethea but also some murkiness at cornerback where Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox are pending free agents. The 49ers have had very good production from their secondary in recent years. The team led the league in interceptions this past season and tied for the league lead in takeaways in 2011.

Defensive ass’ts: Ejiro Evero, 34; Aubyrayo Franklin, 34; Mick Lombardi, 26.

Evero, who played safety at UC Davis, is entering his fifth season with the 49ers. Franklin is a former 49ers nose tackle who worked under Tomsula, a defensive line coach at the time. Lombardi is the son of Patriots assistant Mike Lombardi, who was a finalist for the 49ers’ general manager position in 2011.

Special teams coordinator: Thomas McGaughey, 41

He served as the Jets special teams coach last season. The 49ers have given their previous special teams coordinator, Brad Seely, the ability to keep coverage specialists like Bubba Ventrone and Kassim Osgood on the roster. It will be interesting to see if McGaughey gets the same lisense.

Ass’t special teams coach: Richard Hightower, 34

He joins the 49ers after spending the 2014 season as an offensive quality control coach with the Browns. Prior to Cleveland, Hightower served as the assistant special teams coach in Washinton. He also served as the Texans’ special teams coach in 2008.

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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