49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

January 8, 2008
Martz speaks ...

Just got off the conference call with the Mikes -- Nolan and Martz. Here are the key points they made:

* Martz thinks that Frank Gore will be the centerpiece of the offense. He said he compares favorably with Martz's most famous protege, Marshall Faulk. There are differences between the two, he said, but he thinks that an offense can revolve around Gore like his Rams' offense did around Faulk. He complimented Gore's pass-catching ability.

* He said accuracy will be the key issue as far as who wins the quarterback job. Both men sounded confident that Shaun Hill would return next season, and that either Hill or Alex Smith would win the starting job outright. "I don't think there'll be a whole lot of gray in that decision," Nolan said.

* Nolan will continue to round out the offensive staff with an assist from Martz. Nolan has dismissed running backs coach Bishop Harris and offensive assistant Mark Nori. It seems, however, that o-line coach George Warhop and receivers coach Jerry Sullivan will be retained. In fact, Martz said something that Nolan has said on numerous occassions -- that he thinks Sullivan is the best in the business.

* Martz said he would not try to replicate the offenses he had in St. Louis and Detroit. He used the word "pragmatic" when talking about his vision. That is, he will build the team around the players he has available.

* One of the players who excited Martz the most was offensive tackle Joe Staley. Martz said that the 49ers were far ahead of where the Lions were in 2006 in terms of talent. "The pieces, in my opinion, are there. We just need to tie it together," he said.

* Nolan said he talked to seven candidates for the job. Martz and Chan Gailey were the only two to officially interview. He spoke to the other over the phone. He would not divulge who they were, although cam Cameron and Brian Billick likely were on the list.

* Also, just was told that Ted Tollner will remain on the staff but his exact title at this point is unknown. It could be that he becomes Martz's quarterbacks coach.

Here's an update on the 49ers' offensive assistants. It seems very likely that two of the most embattled assistants last year, receivers coach Jerry Sullivan and offensive line coach George Warhop, will be retained. Ted Tollner, meanwhile could slide in as quarterbacks coach. There has been no word yet on the status of tight ends coach Pete Hoener. In the end, the only opening could be at running backs coach and at offensive assistant.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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