1. Does Roman continue to employ the run-heavy, physical offense he ran at Stanford?
David Fucillo: There are a lot of similarities between the 49ers offense and the run-heavy, physical offense Roman, Harbaugh, etc. ran at Stanford. Even with Colin Kaepernick moving into the lineup, this is a team that is still looking to run you over. Although Kaepernick has a big arm, as a mobile QB, he can only heighten the rushing game for the 49ers. The team still uses extra tight ends and offensive linemen to impose their will on opposing teams. At the same time, even as a physical offense, they are plenty willing to throw from these physical formations. The offense is built around the run, but they are able to effectively pass from a lot of these same formations.
2. Colin Kaepernick has been effective in filling in for the concussed Alex Smith. Has the staff been using him as a pro-style QB or have they incorporated his mobility into the 49ers offense?
David Fucillo: The 49ers offense really hasn't changed dramatically with the insertion of Colin Kaepernick. They do utilize his mobility more, but the offense did use Alex Smith on some QB keeper runs (the most notable coming on his touchdown run against the Saints in the playoffs last year). They have mixed in some read option already with Kaepernick, which indicates we'll see a bit more running from the quarterback position. However, the play-calling does not appear to be drastically different, meaning Kaepernick is getting a solid mix of shotgun and under the center pass play options.
The difference in play-calling thus far has been more about countering what the opposing defenses are showing. In Kaepernick's first start against the Bears, Chicago basically lined up eight and nine men in the box, figuring the 49ers would be more inclined to run and play it safe with the second year QB. Roman and company dialed up more passes against the one-on-one options the Bears were presenting. Against the Saints, the game started similarly and Kaepernick once again was able to dice up the secondary.
3. Is Roman interested in returning to the college ranks? How much would you expect him to cost?
David Fucillo: Roman was involved in the coach search at Penn State last season but did not get the job. The full details of where he got in the search have not really been disclosed. He's from New Jersey originally and so the Penn State job appealed to him. His stock was solid after last year, and has to be rising this year. I could see him in the running for some NFL head coaching positions, but its hard to tell what the market will look like for him in the NFL. He obviously has had interest in college in the past, but I don't really know what another season of success has done in his mind regarding whether he would rather try for an NFL job. He has not really been asked anything about it since the Penn State stuff.
Cost-wise, I think there are a lot of factors to consider. I don't know much about college salaries, so take these factors and make of them what you will:
His coaching career includes primarily NFL work (good breakdown of his career timeline here and also here [Ed. Note: Warning: Previous link is to a Stanford site]). He started coaching in 1995 and has been with the Panthers, Texans, Ravens and 49ers. Of course, he also spent time at the Furd in 2009 and 2010, so there is some college experience.
From a price standpoint, I suppose I could seem him making a little more than what Jeff Tedford initially got when he came to Cal (factoring inflation into things, of course). Looking at Tedford's career, he also had no head coaching experience. Roman has been coaching a little longer than Tedford did, but Tedford had some playing experience that counts for something. Roman's experience is primarily NFL while Tedford's was primarily college, so the recruiting experience angle could come into play in his pay.
Coach 'Em Up: Greg Roman (via sanfrancisco49ers)
4. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Roman offense?
David Fucillo: The Roman offense requires a strong offensive line, but from there I think you have a lot of flexibility with the talent on the team. The 49ers don't have the best wide receivers in the NFL, and Stanford really didn't have a fantastic group of wide receivers. The 49ers obviously have talent at wide receiver, but they are generally able to do a bit more with less. The strength of the Roman offense is the ability to outsmart other teams and use their defensive schemes against them. Beyond that, the physicality is striking. When Mike Singletary was in San Francisco, his famous lines were, "We're gonna punch them in the mouth" and "We're gonna be physical with an F". Under Roman and Harbaugh, the 49ers are actually physical, as opposed to just talking about it.
Those same strengths can turn into weaknesses, however. Sometimes Roman seems to get a little too cute with the play-calling. When the team just needs to play it straight and move the chains, he will mix in a halfback pass or a double reverse, or something else that seems poorly timed. Additionally, other physical teams can cause problems for the offense. The 49ers biggest struggles have come against other teams that punch back and don't get intimidated by the physicality.
5. What kind of loyalty do you think Roman has to Harbaugh? He obviously followed him to the NFL but would he leave the Niners for the chance to be a head coach in college?
David Fucillo: While he is loyal, I do think he is very much interested in becoming a head coach. I think Jim Harbaugh was helpful in making him more of a known entity, but there is nothing to indicate Roman lacks the drive to become a head coach. And I think Harbaugh would be the first to encourage him to take a head coaching job.
6. Harbaugh seems to have pretty good relationships with his players and was a good recruiter at Stanford. Does Roman appear to have the same skills/abilities?
David Fucillo: The players appear to respect Roman quite a bit. I've heard them refer to Roman as an offensive genius and a sort of "mad scientist" on offense. There is definitely respect there, and based just on what players have said, he has earned their respect. As for Roman's interpersonal skills, the next question might be a better place for it.....
7. Have you ever had any personal interactions with him and, if so, how were they?
David Fucillo: I've never interacted with him one-on-one, but I've been to one of his practice press conferences, and I've watched a lot of them online as well. He comes across as a very engaging personality. He provides a lot of the platitudes like Harbaugh, but he is a bit more willing to engage the media's questions. He won't give a ton of info in his answers, but there definitely seems a "friendlier" vibe with Roman. I've never seen his interactions with players so it's hard to really get a full read on his personality, but in dealing with the press, he at least knows how to play that game.
8. Also what's his deal?
David Fucillo: What's YOUR deal?
Thanks so much to David and Niners Nation for answering all of our questions! Be sure and check out their great work and all of the other coach search related stuff we've got. GO BEARS!
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