New(old) 49ers running backs coach Tom Rathman joined local reporters on a conference call just minutes ago to talk about rejoining the organization.
Here are some highlights from the call:
–“It’s good to be back,” Rathman declared.
–Rathman said he is excited to work for coach Mike Singletary because they share the same philosophy.
“He wants to be a smash-mouth football team, a tough physical football team,” Rathman said. “That’s what I want my group to do — be the toughest guys on the football field. His approach to the game is similar to my approach to the game.”
–“He (Singletary) pulled out three or four different charts and 80 percent of the words on those charts are words I emphasize,” Rathman said.
–He said the 49ers are trying to get back to the winning ways of the 49ers tradition, and he hopes he can bring some of that back with him.
–Remember that frozen NFC Championship game against the Bears? (I know, stupid question.) Rathman said one encounter with Singletary stands out. On the 49ers’ first touchdown, a scoring pass to Jerry Rice, Singletary blitzed up the middle. Rathman made an adjustment to pick up the blitz, giving Joe Montana the time to find Rice.
–Rathman has never coached in the digit system. He has only coached in the “West Coast” verbiage. But he said that does not matter. “It’s still football,” he said. “I don’t care what scheme you run. If you don’t coach it well and don’t execute it, you’re not going to have success. The bottom line is getting players coached up.”
–Rathman said he is looking forward to working with Frank Gore. He said he has been fortunate enough to coach a lot of talented backs, and he expects Gore to work and prepare like all the others he has coached. “He’s a talent, no question about it,” Rathman said.
–The 49ers finished the season without a true fullback. That fact was pointed out, but Rathman cut off the question midway through . . . “No, I’m not coming back,” he quipped.
He said he really hasn’t looked at the personnel on the 49ers, other than Gore.
–Might Rathman be a coordinator-in-waiting? That was never discussed, Rathman said. He said his passion is coaching running backs. The subject of potential O.C. candidates was not broached.
–On his departure from the 49ers’ coaching staff, he said, “They hire a head coach and he has the liberty to bring in his own guys. Dennis (Erickson) wanted to bring in his own people.”
–On his experience with the Raiders, Rathman said it was “tremendous.” He said he coached a group of running backs that was loaded with talent from top to bottom. He said, “The organization was fantastic to Tom Rathman.” He said he was treated with “tons of respect,” and the feeling was mutual.
–He declined to answer a question about whether he had a chance to join Jim Mora’s staff with the Seahawks. “The simple fact is I’m a 49er, and I’m glad to be back in the organization,” he said.