Niners OC Roman says time in Baltimore critical to development

January 29, 2013 | WNST Staff



(on how many concepts he’s brought into the team’s system in the last two years) “That’s hard to quantify. I don’t know. I think we try to be creative, try to keep people off balance, try to have fun. I think what we do stimulates our players. When they come in every week, there’s always something new and they get really excited about what’s next. So, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a great process. A lot of credit goes to the rest of the offensive staff. We’ve got a great staff. Mike Solari – who’s been doing it forever – Tom Rathman, Geep Chryst, Johnnie Morton, Reggie Davis, Tim Drevno. A lot of guys who have seen a lot of things and we’re definitely open to try something, anything, that will help us win.”


(on why some blocking patterns fell out of the NFL) “Everything became so zone blocking-oriented. I think with the incredible success that Denver had there for a while, everybody started doing that. When everybody practices against one thing all the time, they don’t quite know how to play that other stuff. So, we kind of took the opposite approach and said, ‘Let’s be counter-cultured and let’s do things that people don’t work on.’ Anything we can do to get our players an advantage.”


(on if it is more of a man-blocking scheme) “A lot of it is just schemed up. A lot of man blocking, but we’re always looking to give our players an advantage, so it might be anything. And it might be stuff that we just kind of dream up. We’ve got a great group of players and they’re very flexible with what they can do, and they get it. Frank Gore, for example, if he just sees something, he gets it. So, it makes our job that much more fun.”


(on how much the success of rookie quarterbacks could change the game) “I think it’s a unique year for quarterbacks. I’ll throw Colin (Kaepernick) into that group, too. Between Andrew (Luck), (Russell) Wilson, RGIII, the first thing that these guys are is that they’re high character guys, they’re diligent, they’re smart, they’re really good competitors. I think when you have guys like that it opens up a lot of doors for you. How much they can prepare for in a week. These guys are very accountable, dependable, reliable guys that take a lot of pride in what they do along with being great athletes.”


(on if the success of mobile quarterbacks can continue) “I think it’s important if you’re going to run the quarterback, you have to be smart about how often you run him and how you do it. If you try to do too much of it, I think it’ll be a short-lived phenomenon.”


(on how Colin Kaepernick’s 78-yard touchdown run in the preseason altered his plans about what he could do with him) “I think it was just a great example of the explosiveness that Colin has. It’s something that I always kind of felt we had in our back pocket, but sometimes you’ve got to be careful not to do something like that until you have to do it or until you need to do it. You just do it at the right time before people can make huge, wholesale adjustments for it. So, it’s just a credit to his athleticism.”


(on if the preseason touchdown run was the first time he had seen that from Kaepernick) “No, we saw it in practice one day. There was a day in practice where we couldn’t gain a yard against our defense, so we called it up and he ran 80 yards for a touchdown. So, we saw it in practice during a competitive scrimmage situation.”


(on how he sets his game plans for future games) “We’re always trying to win the game we’re playing, but we always try to have an eye for what the next team is going to be looking at, how they’re going to perceive it, how they’re going to interpret it and then any advantage we can get moving forward. It’s definitely something that our players give us an opportunity to do because they enjoy week-to-week a new wrinkle or something different. We try to explain why to them and that’s when they really get invested in it. You explain why we’re doing something, it makes sense, and then they buy in. Eventually, they take ownership of it. Week-to-week, you’ve got to give credit to all the defensive coordinators and the defenses. Great defenses, when they see something, if they get hit with something, they can probably stop it, so we try to mix it up a little bit.”




Super Bowl XLVII – Tuesday, January 29, 2013







(on how he tried to install his system) “We install a core, and then others branch off of that core. Once you install the principals, now you can build off them. Once you get that core down, then it allows you to branch off.”


(on if his system was different from previous systems) “From what they’ve done in the past, yeah, very different. It’s pretty compartmentalized and easy. It’s pretty likeable and learnable, but at the same time, it requires them to put a lot of study in and our guys have been great. They are totally devoted to trying to be the best and they understand that while we’re a little bit different, that kind of excites them.”


(on previously coaching for the Ravens) “I had a great experience with the Ravens’ organization. I think there were a lot of really good coaches on that staff and I thought Steve Boshitti was a great guy to work for. As far as growth, I think every year as a coach you’re trying to get better, you’re trying to learn, you’re trying to improve, and I’m always going to try to do the best that I can at the job I have. It’s just progression of a coach, I guess. My time there was outstanding and very, very important, as I look at it, in my development.”


(on how fun it is to coach Colin Kaepernick) “It’s a lot of fun. Colin’s very intelligent, so he just opens up a lot of different doors for what we can do week-in and week-out. He’s doing a great job. It’s about as fun as it can get as a coach.”


(on how pre-snap calls have changed from Alex Smith to a less-experienced Colin Kaepernick) “It hasn’t really changed much at all. We went into the Chicago game with the same exact game plan with Colin that we did with Alex and he executed it flawlessly. Like I said, Colin’s very smart. He doesn’t bring a lot of limitations that you would expect a second-year player to bring. He’s that intelligent and that football-savvy. So, it’s pretty similar.”


(on which coaches he credits for his belief in his concepts) “I would say Jim McNally jumps out. He was one of the first guys. Our defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio, definitely. And then you go down the list: George Seifert, Tony Wise, Brian Billick, Jim Harbaugh. It’s an eclectic swirl of very good football coaches. I’m always going to put that through my own filter. But, there are a lot of different guys, a lot of different positions, and some defensive coaches. Rex Ryan was a big influence on me. His approach to the game, in certain ways.”


(on his offensive scheme of normally using more tight ends and fullbacks in place of  three wide receiver sets) “I think that’s more of a function of our players and the talent. Delanie Walker, Vernon Davis, those are guys you want on the field. We also have a Pro Bowl fullback on the field. I think that offers a lot of different flexibility for what we can do. It’s certainly something that the defenses don’t see as much of. That’s, again, trying to put a little bit of pressure on them to do something that they’re not used to doing.”


(on if he has started to anticipate what teams will do in the offseason to slow down their offense) “There’s no question. I definitely think when you have success, coaches in this league are just that good. They’re going to find answers. It’s just inevitable. So, adapt or die, as they say.”


(on learning how to use Colin Kaepernick) “I think it started at Stanford. Colin’s got a lot of similarities to Andrew Luck when we had Andrew at Stanford. Andrew was the kind of guy that we could do some read-option stuff with to keep the defense honest, to give them something new to prepare for, as well as all the traditional stuff. With Colin, we’ve kind of been down that road. We saw Colin as a guy that we could transition smoothly into with that.”


(on what he has to do when defenses adjust to his offense) “We have to make some assumptions because there’s a great chance that they’re going to do something outside the box to try to stop it. So, it’s not like there’s a lot of evidence. We’ve got to kind of put our heads together as a staff and figure out, ‘Well, they might do this,’ or, ‘Here’s what we would do.’ So, we need to prepare for all those contingencies.”



Super Bowl XLVII – Tuesday, January 29, 2013







(on their offensive line) “We’re all personnel-driven. Everything starts with our players. We have a big, physical offensive line. All five of them are – in some form or fashion – in the Pro Bowl. We’ve got tight ends that can block, that can run 4.3, 4.2. So, I think there are a lot of different things we can do in terms of, ‘Hey, if they want to stop the run, we can take some vertical shots.’ We’ve got the personnel to do that. If they’re going to play a light box, or play it pretty straight, or mix it, we’ve got the people with Frank Gore, our offensive line, our tight ends. We can hammer away at it, hopefully consistently. That’s not taking anything away from the Ravens’ defense. They are a stout group, led by Haloti Ngata and Ray Lewis and that whole crew. This isn’t their first rodeo, we understand that. They’re a great defense and I think our guys recognize that the more they watch them.”


(on how the players react to his offense being different than many others) “Frank Gore will tell you . He was like, ‘I can’t believe this stuff.’ So, that’s exciting as a coach when you have that kind of freshness and you can bring that to the group. There’s definitely some things that we try to do that you hope nobody sees or nobody has seen before. It just keeps them off your trail a little bit.”


(on how he balances taking risks in his offensive scheme) “I would call it risk management. I know the upside, the downside. I understand things. I understand that something might go wrong and I’ve kind of calculated that. I’m willing to live with certain things. It’s all big picture, it’s all about winning. I understand every play is not going to work, this is the National Football League. But, there is a trickle-down from everything you do that sets up stuff in the future.”


(on if the NFL could evolve to the triple-option in the future) “I definitely think you’ll see some triple-option out there. We do a little bit of that if it’s appropriate.”


(on running a higher percentage of pistol formation plays in recent games) “We tried to make everybody forget about it and think that we had scrapped it leading into the playoffs. We felt like we could win our division and whatnot the traditional way. We kept practicing it and just felt like it was something we could spring on whoever we played in the playoffs.”