Fangio emphasizes pass defense; zings Saban

Niners defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was on KNBR on Monday afternoon. A few highlights:

* Surprise. Fangio didn’t come out and announce that he wanted Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller or LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson in the draft. But he did make it clear that stopping the opponent’s passing attack, through coverage or pressure, was crucial when he was asked to identify the most important position on defense.

“Obviously in the NFL with the quality of the quarterbacks, and the receiver play, and the diversity of the passing game with it being spread out, you’ve got to be able to hang in there stopping the passing game at some point in the game,” Fangio said. “Particularly if you’re a good team and you’re protecting a lead in the fourth quarter. So everything involved in defending the pass, which means pass rush and coverage, is always at a premium. So I don’t think you can say any one position. Being able to help the team stop the pass is of utmost importance.”

* Fangio, a special assistant to the head coach with the Ravens from 2006-09, got to know Jim Harbaugh through his brother, John, Baltimore’s head coach. Fangio said Jim Harbaugh had asked him to come to Stanford a few times before he finally accepted the invitation in 2010 to become the Cardinal’s defensive coordinator.

How did Fangio, a 24-year NFL veteran, like his year in the college ranks?

“What’s not to like about 12-1,” he said.

* Fangio said it was much easier to build a team in college, through recruiting, than it was in the NFL, through the draft. His point was that it’s possible to get a handful of the nation’s top players in a recruiting class – a trick not so easily accomplished when waiting for 31 other teams before making your next draft pick.

Noting parity wasn’t for everyone, Fangio mentioned a former NFL flameout.

“That’s basically what drove (Alabama coach) Nick Saban out of the NFL and back to college,” Fangio said. “He didn’t like it as fair and competitive.”

Saban went 15-17 with the Dolphins from 2005-06. He left after a 6-10 season in ’06, his only losing year as a head coach.

• The Lions have announced they have no immediate plans to institute furloughs, layoffs or paycuts due to the lockout. The Jets have said business-side employees will be asked to take one week’s unpaid furlough during each month of a labor impasse (they will be reimbursed if no games are missed).

The Niners are among many NFL teams that have not publicly announced if they will take any cost-cutting measures during the lockout. A team spokesman said the team “is not sharing their plan at this time.”

• The Niners have made their season-ticket holders aware of their refund policy in the event any preseason or regular-season games are missed:

“… A full refund will be issued for any cancelled preseason or regular season home games. Refunds may be received in either the original form of payment or as a credit towards future games.

“For those choosing a direct refund of their payment, interest will accrue at an annual rate of 1% from the date of the first announcement of cancelled games through the date that a refund is processed, which will be no later than 30 days after the final determination of how many home games will be played during the 2011 NFL season.

“For those choosing to apply their refund and interest towards future tickets, interest will accrue at an annual rate of 3% from the date of the first announcement of cancelled games through the end of the calendar year (December 31, 2011).”