A few days ago, we took a look at an interesting feature about Jim Tomsula from Emily Kaplan at the MMQB. In general, I echo what a lot of people have said: it's an incredibly interesting, well-written, and delightfully well-researched article. It constructs an enlightening biographical narrative that highlights some of the adversity that Tomsula has faced and clearly brings to light his love of football and for being an all-around awesome guy. But, in our initial discussion of the article, we focused a lot on the York comments because, well duh, York gonna York. But, I want to get back to the "Jim Tomsula: all-around awesome guy" thing.
In fact, one thing the article did for me was to remind me how darn much I like Tomsula. He's an easy guy to root for, and it sucks that my brain now associates his rise with the York-Harbaugh scandal of '14. Any dislike I have of Tomsula really comes from the York smell that has seeped into his wardrobe (why do you think Harbaugh was constantly at Walmart buying new khakis?).
But, I'm not convinced, nor have I been, that Tomsula is ready to be a head coach.
This is not a knock on his football smarts: Tomsula is easily one of the best position coaches the 49ers have had in a long time - and I wouldn't be surprised if he were one of the best position coaches in the NFL. Yes, I think he's that good. I also think that if he had become a defensive coordinator instead of a head coach, he would not only thrive, but we would also be talking about somebody who was on the fast-track to becoming a successful head coach. I believe that Tomsula has the stuff to be a good head coach. But just because John Milton clearly had the stuff to write Paradise Lost doesn't mean he could have done it before reading Homer, Vergil, and Dante. Achievements are built on experiences, and I don't think Tomsula has the requisite experience to be a head coach, yet.
And this is my takeaway from Kaplan's article: it reinforced how I already felt about Tomsula. I love the guy and want him to be successful, but not much about his background inspires confidence in me. As Kaplan says in her article, Tomsula even remarked that he didn't have to carry out the equipment himself anymore, like he did in Europe. And that's the most superficial of differences between his time as a head coach in Europe and what he will confront as a head coach in the NFL. Moreover, the history of the NFL makes it clear that the jump from position coach to head coach is tough.
I hope I'm wrong; I hope that Tomsula's time in Europe taught him more than I thought it would; I hope that he can be that guy who makes the jump from position coach to head coach; I hope because I really, really like the team he coaches. But, I hope maybe even a little bit more because I really, really like Tomsula too. If he does have a rough go of it, it will sting all the more because I read Kaplan's wonderful article.