And just like that, the San Francisco 49ers have an offensive coordinator. A few moments after Alex Marvez reported that Anthony Lynn withdrew his name from consideration for the 49ers OC job, Adam Schefter reported the team is hiring Curtis Modkins for the job.
Modkins has been working with the Detroit Lions running backs and serving as run game coordinator the last three seasons, and was promoted into a bigger role earlier this season. The Lions struggled out of the gates on offense, and the team decided to fire offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi two offensive line assistants. Jim Bob Cooter took over as offensive coordinator, and Modkins became his primary assistant.
The Lions ground game surged in the latter half of the season. After failing to top 100 yards rushing the first nine games, they reached the number five straight weeks. Cooter gave Modkins credit for that work. Any good coach will spread the love, but it is still good to hear this kind of stuff:
"He's played a big role," Cooter said about Modkins. "He's done a good job organizing our run game and getting it headed in the right direction, giving me a lot of input and giving me a lot of wisdom. He's been around a while and he's seen a lot of things and he's given me as much information as he can and really trying to help me. He helps me during the game with certain plays he likes or certain concepts he may like, and does a really good job for us."
Cooter said Modkins did a lot of work cleaning up the call sheet. Chip Kelly will be handling play-calling on game day, but there will be plenty of work done leading up to the game to get the team ready for any situation.
What was interesting about this search was the focus on running backs coaches. The team did not interview a lot of candidates, but both Modkins and Lynn have extensive work coaching running backs. Kelly runs a fast-paced offense, but the ground game is still a key component. The NFL is a passing league, but a strong run game can be critical to setting up the pass.
Here's a look at Modkins' career to date.
2013-present: Detroit Lions - Running Backs/Run game coordinator
2010-2012: Buffalo Bills - OC/Running Backs
2009: Arizona Cardinals Running Backs
2008: Kansas City Chiefs - Running Backs
2003-2007: Georgia Tech - Running Backs
2002: Georgia Tech - Defensive Backs
1998-2001: New Mexico - Cornerbacks
1997: TCU - Tight Ends
1996: TCU - Secondary
1995: TCU - Graduate Assistant