We read the obituary on your dad, very nice. What has helped you and your family get through this time?
“Well, I think you’re just really thankful for the time we had with him. He lived a vibrant and long life, 87 years. He touched a lot of people in his life and it was evident to us yesterday when we had the funeral how many people came and expressed their condolences and reached out. He had a huge impact in his life. I think, it’s a difficult time. I think we all feel for my mom more than anything else, but it’s an opportunity to celebrate the times that we had with him and he was just a great man.”
One of the things that kind of stood out about you here is your sense of humor and that’s one of the things that really kind of came through when reading about your dad, he had a great sense of humor. Is that where you get your sense of humor?
“I don’t have any sense of humor compared to my dad. I think he was special in that manner. He just had a zest for life. He was one of the happiest people you ever met. I think he really just enjoyed what he did. He was a lifelong learner. He had a thirst for knowledge and an insatiable appetite for information and he was just always fun to be around. He tried to show that and he really did. I think the people that ever were associated with him kind of thrived off of that from him.”
It said he was a devoted 49ers fan. Was that just from this past year or does that go back beyond--?
“My dad’s loyal now. He knows where his son was. He actually got buried in 49ers gear. He did not want to wear a suit in the coffin. He wore a suit for his whole career as a trial lawyer, but he wanted to wear a 49ers sweat suit when he passed away.”
How do you get back to work? Is it difficult to do that?
“It’s difficult. But, I’m not the first person to lose a loved one. I think it’s an unfortunate part of everybody’s life. Part of it, when I talk to our players about it on Saturday, there were so many players on our team that have lost loved ones. [WR] Jeremy Kerley lost a brother. [WR] Torrey Smith lost a brother. Spent some time with them and talked to them about how they dealt with it. It’s something that affects all of us. I don’t think you can ever be prepared for it. I know it’s really the first impactful one in my life. All my brothers are alive and my mom and dad were our family, we didn’t have any cousins. So, it was the first close one to me and it was hard. But, it’s what you have to do and I think that’s how you honor them is to move on. You can think about the good times and gain strength from it to be honest with you.”
How happy are you that you don’t have to answer the Oregon questions anymore and what do you think of their choice?
“I don’t know [University of Oregon head coach] Willie [Taggart]. I’ve heard great things about him. I think with all those questions, and hopefully this is the end of it for me, is that I will never leave my job for another job while a season is going on. I don’t think that’s fair. I didn’t do it when I was in college. I never talked to anybody in the National Football League until after our bowl game was over. I think in the NFL they have a great rule; you’re not allowed to leave your job. If you’re in the playoffs you can’t go until your season is done. It’s tough with the cycle that goes on in college. So, when I’ve said that I’m not going back to college, there’s never going to be an opportunity for me to go back to college because I have a job. I will not leave a team with three games to go because I got a bigger better deal somewhere. That’s not the way I’m wired and that’s not what I would ever do. I could never look [S] Antoine Bethea or [T] Joe Staley in the face again and talk to them about commitment and then if I was the guy that had a job that was offered that I thought was better than the one I had and I took off on them with three games to go, that’s just not the way I’m wired. I think some guys do it. I would never do it. I didn’t do it when I was in college. I would never talk to the National Football League until my season was over in college. I went to a bowl game, I refused to talk to anybody until after the bowl game was over and if that didn’t fit your schedule then I’m just not your guy. I don’t know why college questions ever come up with me because I would never leave my players before the season ended and that’s what I’ve said all along and that’s the way I’ll always be. So, if that precludes me from ever being involved in a college job, then that precludes me from ever being involved in a college job. So, hopefully you guys don’t ever have to ask that question again.”
Were you offered the job?
“No. Everybody knows and if you want to contact me there is no contact. I’m not talking to anybody about any other job. I have a job. It’s one thing I did learn from my dad. I have a commitment. They’ve made a commitment to me and I make a commitment to them. I’m not searching around and looking for other jobs while I have a job. I have a job to take care of and I would be disingenuous and wouldn’t be loyal to the players that I coach and those are the most important people that I deal with on a daily basis. I talk to them about making sacrifices all the time and being all in and doing all that and then I’m looking to try to go find a job while all this is going on. My sole focus is on who we’re going to play that week.”
What’s your message to the team going into this week’s game? Maybe last week was you have to finish and play all 60 minutes or do your job. What have you tried to get across to the players right now?
“I think the biggest thing we’ll address, and we had been really good at the beginning of the season, the penalties have really hurt us and have impacted us. We had two huge gains on the offensive side of the ball that were brought back because of holding penalties, one on the perimeter and one in the interior line. The pass interference penalties I think really hurt us on Sunday and I think for us to win football games we have to kind of hit it in all categories. You’ve to win the turnover battle, you’ve to win third downs, you’ve got to win penalties. Right now, especially in the last few weeks, we haven’t been as good as we had been earlier in the year. Earlier in the year we had done a really good job with it. But, these last couple of weeks we haven’t and that’s going to be a big emphasis for us this week in training and getting ready to play the Jets.”
Was CB Tramaine Brock’s PI call a questionable one at least from what you studied?
“I’m not allowed to question. So, that’s up for anybody else’s interpretation.”
I think defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil said yesterday that that’s how he was taught to play the ball.
“Yeah. That was how he was taught to play the ball.”
You said after the Bears game you didn’t like the way that the ball was coming out of QB Colin Kaepernick’s hand.
Why not have him wear a glove on his throwing hand?
“I don’t think you can tell a guy to wear a glove that has never worn a glove and say, ‘Hey, in the middle of the game, let’s try this.’ It’s just not something he’s done or has ever been approached with him. So, for me to come up and tell him, ‘Hey, I think you need to wear a glove,’ I don’t think that was the answer.”
No one suggested it during the game?
“The glove? No. And I’ve never been around a quarterback that had not worn gloves where you come up and say, ‘Hey, why don’t you wear a glove?’ That’s a personal preference in terms of your ability to throw the football and that’s entirely up to the individual player. Some guys like to do it. I know [Minnesota Vikings QB] Teddy Bridgewater has flourished using a glove. A lot of guys don’t use a glove. I would say more don’t use a glove than use a glove.”
How quickly did you decide that you would be going back to Kap to start this upcoming game?
“We talked about it on Monday. Even though I was away, we have phones, [Sacramento Bee reporter] Matt [Barrows]. I had an opportunity to watch film and I brought tape with me. So, I could watch tape and then I had a chance to talk to [offensive coordinator] Curtis Modkins, our offensive coordinator and then [quarterbacks coach] Ryan Day, our quarterbacks coach and we kind of went through what our thought process was and we believe Kap gives us the best chance to win this week. So, we’re excited to get ready and go play the Jets with Kap.”
There was a deep ball that he threw to RB Shaun Draughn that was underthrown and went off the defender’s helmet. Normally when he misses, he overthrows passes. Was it his grip on the ball? Was it the weather?
“I haven’t talked to him about the game or a specific throw. So, I can’t get detailed with you on that. Obliviously, I saw the same thing that you saw, but how that happened and what happened I haven’t had a chance to visit with Kap at all. Literally, I just got back late last night and crunching tape this morning and getting an opportunity to get with these guys when we get on the field.”
Is there any desire to see QB Christian Ponder in a backup role or in uniform on Sundays over these last four weeks?
“We haven’t had any discussions about that so far. Really, it was just who was going to be the starting quarterback against the Jets and then let’s get forward because part of game planning evolves around who’s pulling the trigger. So, that was our conversation was just about who was going to start and I think both Ryan, Curtis and myself agreed that it was Kap.”
So, QB Blaine Gabbert will be the backup for this upcoming game?
Through the first eight weeks you guys were the least penalized team in the league. The last four weeks, the most. Anything you can put your finger on on why that’s flipped so dramatically?
“No. And that’s something I will address again and talk to those guys about it because those are the hidden yards that occur in a football game and that you have to be worried about. And I think you can control part of that. Some of them are aggressive penalties and you don’t want to take your aggressiveness away from your players. But, some of them, the offsides and things like that that I think are the ones that we can control. The biggest ones, especially for us on defense, are the ones on third down that extend drives where we have an opportunity to get them off the field and then all of a sudden we have an illegal contact or something to that effect. So, we have to again, do a good job as a coaching staff of emphasizing and understand of how much of an impact those penalties and that penalty yardage can have on us.”
This might be just my interpretation, but you’ve shot down the college stuff throughout the season but I don’t think you’ve ever done it as forcibly as you have today, kind of spelling out your philosophy--?
“Because I think that’s, and I didn’t mean to interrupt you, that’s just normal to me. Like I don’t know, very rarely, has any NFL coach ever left in the middle of a season for a college job?”
University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino.
My question is, again, perhaps it’s just me, you weren’t as forceful or haven’t spelled it out as much as you did today. Is there a reason why today you feel comfortable saying--?
“No. The reason is this, is that I’ve always felt that the reporters that covered me were so intelligent that they would understand what I was saying. So, then I learned that it’s probably my fault for not telling the exact point. I will never leave my job. I never have in the past and I’m not going to leave my job if I still have games to coach. That’s what my deal is. I have a commitment. I learned that from my father. We can talk about my dad. I made a commitment to whether it was a university I was at, I made a commitment to a football team that I was at and I just won’t do that. To me, and when I asked about it in the NFL, it doesn’t happen. I don’t know why it came up with my name, but when I just said name them, you guys have named one guy that has ever left in the middle of a National Football League season to go take a college job. It just doesn’t happen. So, that’s why, and again I don’t like having to answer the question all the time. So, it’s not going to happen. So, it’s not going to happen. I’m never going to leave.”
I’m not going to pursue it anymore. I’m glad you thought I’m so smart though.
“OK. [Laughter] I appreciate that and I appreciate the intelligent questions that we were asked today so we could clarify the whole situation for everybody.”