One of the big questions surrounding Jim Tomsula since he was hired is what exactly he will be doing as the team's head coach. He spent a year as a head coach in NFL Europe, but the bulk of his career has been as the team's defensive line coach. With that in mind, people have wondered what kind of impact he will have on both sides of the ball as head coach.
Tomsula discussed the topic at the Wednesday NFC coaches' breakfast, and while he did not get into a lot of detail, he provided some insight. He made it clear he would not generally be calling plays on game day. He did say there might be moments where he had to make some calls, but for the most part, Eric Mangini and his staff, and Geep Chryst and his staff, will be handling play-calling. Tomsula talked about being involved during the week, but getting the "cliff notes' version" of what's going on during the week.
As would be expected, he sounded excited about his coaching staff (watch here):
With all the guys that are there, if you look at the staff, there's a lot of guys who have done a lot of different things. If you really sit down, and know what you're looking at, and when you look at that staff...Now, when I tell you I'm not gonna call the offense and I'm not gonna call the defense, I'm gonna do those things that, a guy named Ron Lancaster, used to play up in the CFL, old Pittsburgh guy, when I got my first job in NFL Europe, he sent me note, he said, "Don't be the offensive coach. Don't be the defensive coach. Be the head coach. It's hard enough." And I always remember that. He also said, "Head coaches can be meddlers or enablers. Try to be the second one."
The 49ers have extensive experience on their new coaching staff, with several of the defensive assistants having coordinator experience. Tomsula would not be the first head coach to rely heavily on coordinators, but it is interesting with him given his own lack of significant coordinator or head coach experience.
Under Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers defensive was virtually all under the purview of Vic Fangio. I'm sure Harbaugh dropped in his two cents from time to time, but for the most part all indications are that Fangio was effectively "Head Coach - defense". Prior to that, there was Mike Singletary, who had no coordinator or head coach experience, and a relatively limited amount of overall experience as a position coach. And prior to that, we had Mike Nolan, who had defensive coordinator experience.
We could certainly make some comparisons to Singletary given the position coach to head coach jump, but Tomsula's own overall coaching experience is much more extensive. And furthermore, while Singletary has the previous playing experience, Tomsula has that more players' coach vibe to him that would hopefully mean he can provide a certain amount of leadership that was questionable at times during Singletary's time as head coach. We won't know anything for certain until September, but we'll keep looking for little nuggets to try and flesh out what exactly the Jim Tomsula coaching regime might bring to the table.