Praise of Tomsula highlights Singletary’s failings

Does anyone perform personality transplants?

It sure sounds as if the 49ers should target someone with a ton of Tomsula in him as they search for their next head coach.

In the aftermath of their 38-7 beatdown of Arizona in Sunday’s season finale, the Niners continued to heap praise on gregarious interim coach Jim Tomsula, who created a looser atmosphere and, his players say, a better team in his seven full days on the job.

Tight end Delanie Walker said the defensive line coach set the tone immediately. And profanely.

“He came in with the attitude of, excuse my language, but ‘(Screw it),’” Walker said. “He was just like ‘Go out there and play. Have fun. If you’re not going to have fun then why are you here?’ … I think everyone bought into it and you could tell by the way we played Sunday. Everybody was having fun. People were making plays. Not really caring about what happened. He always said ‘If you mess up, go to the next play. Forget about it.’”

Said left tackle Joe Staley, “Everybody was enjoying themselves. I think it definitely showed in our play yesterday. We just were worried about going out there and playing football … And a lot of that comes from Tomsula.”

The contrast is clear.

Mike Singletary was not known for shrugging off mistakes, imploring his players to have fun or, for that matter, uttering the words “(screw) it.”

Most players haven’t invoked Singletary’s name when praising Tomsula, but tight end Vernon Davis was a notable exception.

Davis, one of Singletary’s staunchest supporters, made a point today of crediting his former coach for turning his career around. In 2008, Davis’ transformation from underachiever to Pro Bowler began when Singletary, in his debut as interim coach, banished him to the locker room.

But Davis acknowledged many of his teammates didn’t respond so well to Singletary’s old-school style.

“I think we did play tight,” Davis said. “Guys were just a little scared. They were scared – they were more worried about coach Singletary getting on them instead of playing football. But you have to understand him. If you don’t understand the guy then you are not going to be able to relate to him. I think that’s what the problem was with most guys. They were scared, worried about dropping passes and missing tackles instead of just going out and being themselves.”

Veteran running back Brian Westbrook sounded a slightly different note when asked about Tomsula’s brief regime. Westbrook wondered if such an atmosphere could be sustained.

“It was a little bit different than what coach Sing brought,” Westbrook said. “But you never know if those things help for a 16-game season.”

The Niners, of course, will never know what a full season of Tomsula would bring.

As president and CEO Jed York spoke at a team meeting this morning about the upcoming changes in the offseason, he mentioned the search for a new head coach.

York didn’t offer any hints about the future coach’s identity, but he did get a few high-decibel suggestions.

Said nose tackle Ricky Jean Francois, “A lot of the d-linemen in the back of the room screamed out, ‘Tomsula!’”

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