Thanks to a pair of Pro Bowl starters and a trio of Pro Bowl alternates on the offensive line, the San Francisco 49ers boast the league’s No. 4 rushing attack.
The 49ers running game excelled in 2012 thanks to the hard work of Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone and Anthony Davis.
Those efforts were chronicled in our season finale Gameday magazine. The “Five Guys” on the offensive line came into greater focus thanks to team photographer Terrell Lloyd and team graphic designer Ben Mayberry, who used an outdoor setting to showcase the unique personalities on the offensive line.
Get to know those “Five Guys” in this story.
Tags: Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Joe Staley, Jonathan Goodwin, Mike Iupati, Mike Solari, Tim Drevno
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Both head coach Mike Singletary and newly hired offensive line coach Mike Solari addressed the Bay Area media in separate conference calls on Thursday. Singletary went first to answer questions on Solari’s arrival and his previous relationship with the newest 49ers coach. Solari’s interview took place 45 minutes later and covered largely the same topics.
Check out some selected quotes from Singletary and Solari’s conference calls.
Head Coach Mike Singletary (Click here to listen to full audio of conference call)
On whether former offensive line coach Chris Foerster was one of Singletary’s assistants who was contacted by other teams:
On whether he’s surprised that Foerster went to Washington:
“Yes, it was.”
On why he granted permission for the Redskins to interview Foerster if Singletary wished to retain him:
“I’ll tell you how it went. First of all, I was contacted by our office here that said that Washington wanted to [inaudible]. And I said, well, at what position? It would be a lateral move, and I said no. That was my initial response. So, I was done with it. I got a call from Chris Foerster later on that really expressed that his family is out there, out east. He loved it here, loved what we are doing, but if there was any way to be closer to his family, he’d really appreciate it if he could do the interview and go from there. I think, for me, his family is important. Family is very important. It’s something that I talk about. I could not not do that, give him the chance to be closer to his family. He’s got a kid in high school, senior last year – all that sort of thing. So, I granted it.”
On how he was able to get Mike Solari so quickly:
“It’s really interesting how it happened. Mike Solari is a guy who, when I was interviewing for head coaching jobs around the league, he was my No. 1 guy. The fact that I would be able to get him at this juncture and how this happened is really amazing. I think it’s a win-win situation. When I talked to Chris this morning, I just told him that I believe things work out for a reason. I told Chris this morning, best of luck to you, and I hope everything goes well. I had an interview set up with Mike Solari and my wife and I felt like that would be – everything would work itself out.”
On what he likes about Solari as an offensive line coach:
“Well, first of all, I like him as a person, first of all. From there, I like the fact that where he’s been, the experience that he’s had, and I guess he’s really done a great job when I look at his track record. I think he knows what I’m talking about, in terms of the physicality that I’m talking about bringing, in terms of the mental make-up that I would like to have as an offensive line because everything starts with the offensive line. I think he understands that very well and I talked to him a few times, and there’s a lot to like about him.”
On whether physicality is a part of Solari’s background:
“Yes it is, particularly when he was at Kansas City. He had a very physical offensive line there, very mentally tough, dominating-type of an offensive line. The fact that he has experience as a coordinator, the fact that [offensive coordinator] Jimmy Raye is familiar with him, I think it’s an ideal situation.”
On whether he will be accompanying the rest of the staff to the Senior Bowl:
“Yes sir, he will.”
On whether he will get to have a say on who the team picks in April should it target an offensive lineman:
“He will get to have an opinion, yes.”
On how much input offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye had on Mike Solari from their three years together in Kansas City:
“Well, first of all, I had already contacted Mike Solari, and Jimmy was calling after I had talked to Mike, initially made contact with him, and Jimmy was calling to make me more familiar with him. I just told Jimmy that I knew about him, and he was my No. 1 guy when I was interviewing for o-line guys. So, I just kind of helped Jimmy understand that I had a good idea of who he was and what he was about.”
Offensive Line Coach Mike Solari (Click here to listen to full audio of conference call)
On whether he had made contact prior to this with Coach Singletary at any point about joining his staff if Coach Singletary were hired as a head coach:
“Yes, we had. When I was in Kansas City, we spoke and I always really admired Mike from afar and I always looked forward to the opportunity to work with him. I was excited about the possibility when he was up for some different head coaching jobs in the NFL.”
On how their styles and philosophies mesh:
“I think in the sense that we understand that the most important part of the game are the big people up front on the offensive line being able to be physical and come off the line of scrimmage together and being able to orchestrate as one. I think we are very similar in the sense of understanding, in the sense of fundamentals and techniques win championships. It’s a matter of those five guys coming together and orchestrating as one.”
On how familiar he is with what the 49ers have on the offensive line:
“I know that the offensive line – the San Francisco 49ers have some young offensive linemen and it is exciting for an offensive line coach to have those men to be able to coach and get them to play at a level they want to play at. I’m really looking forward to coming in and working with them with their techniques and fundamentals.”
On working with former 49ers offensive line coach Bobb McKittrick in the mid-90s and what he takes from him and whether what he did then is still applicable today:
“The key thing about Bobb, he was a great line coach. It was great to work with him. I learned quite a bit from Bobb. The thing about Bobb was the details and how no stone was unturned. It was the little things and the blueprint of building a championship and the blueprint of building an offensive line unit in the sense of technique, fundamentals, crowd their sled, development of offensive linemen into very good football players. I learned a lot from Bobb and I still use those fundamentals today, in working with the offensive line, no matter where I’ve been, whether it be Kansas City or my time in Seattle, Bobb was a tremendous coach and person.”
On whether there are similarities between what the Chiefs ran with Jimmy Raye and what the 49ers do here:
“I believe so. Jimmy Raye is an outstanding football coach and he has tremendous knowledge in the game. I was really fortunate to work with Jimmy those many years and learned a lot from him. Again, he loves the power running game very much, like Coach Singletary. Being physical at the point of attack, coming off the line of scrimmage and again, Jimmy is the same, in the sense that he understands you win with technique and fundamentals.”
On whether the personnel matches up with what the Chiefs had a decade ago:
“I think it’s a little bit different. I think the San Francisco 49ers line has a little bit more youth that needs to be further developed. When I was at Kansas City, we had [T] Willie Roaf at the end of his career and we had a little bit more of an offensive line with a [G] Will Shields and a [C] Casey Wiegmann, [G] Brian Waters was the young player then. Here, there’s more youth on this offensive line and like I said, it’s kind of exciting to come in and being able to coach some of these young guys, like a [T] Joe Staley and [G] Chilo [Rachal] at the right guard position. I’m looking forward to working with them.”
On how much input he will have in devising the run game:
“Well, I have to sit down with Jimmy Raye and again, whatever Jimmy needs to be successful, I’ll do and again, the most important thing is we are all pieces of a puzzle put together as a staff and our job is to make sure that Jimmy has whatever he needs to be able to call the game that he needs to call up to win and that will be decided by Jimmy Raye and what he needs done by me on my part.”
On how much, percentage-wise, he incorporates zone and man blocking techniques:
“Well, what happened this year with Coach [Jim] Mora, we went with the theory that it was going to be -we were going to go with zone blocking, wide zone and tight zone, to answer your question. I guess what I should be saying is, you need a little bit of both, the wide zones, the tight zones, [inaudible], but also you need to be able to run a power scheme, have man blocking and variations. Now, with more teams going to the 3-4 front, you need some variation because the wide zone, what they are doing is taking away the wide zone and you are seeing that from the 34 front teams they are biting those outside linebackers and they are penetrating them up the field where your back can’t press the line of scrimmage and get a good cut off that first step which is very, very important in the wide zones. You need to change up the variations of your blocking scheme and you need to do what the strength of your personnel is with your runner and your offensive line.”
On what the 49ers strength is right now:
“Again, I need to do more work and look at the film. Again, the offensive line is a group of young men that are talented with some different things. But again, that’s something that Jimmy Raye is right on top of and he is an outstanding coach. He’s on top of that with what their strengths are and so forth. That’s where I need to get caught up to speed, watching some film on these guys and then also having some suggestions on what I think, what I believe that they can do, but Jimmy Raye has a great deal of that.”
Tags: jimmy Raye, Mike Solari
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