Schottenheimer gets hands-on coaching draft prospects

Kurt Schottenheimer, whom the 49ers hired Monday as special-teams coordinator, is getting a head start in preparing for the draft. He is spending this week in Orlando as defensive coordinator for the West at the East-West Shrine Game.


Obviously, he’s paying particular attention to some defenders who would be good fits on special teams at the next level. And, you can bet, he’s checking out the return specialists, too.

Schottenheimer, 60, just took part in a 20-minute conference call a little while ago with a handful of reporters who cover the 49ers. Here is what the newest addition to the team’s coaching staff had to say:


–The biggest difference in special teams now from when he last coached that position in the NFL 15 years ago is there are a “few more gimmick-type plays.” He said a lot of teams are using more formations and forcing their opponents to spend more time preparing for the different looks. But he said it’s still “all about execution and sound scheme.”


–Coach Mike Singletary said Schottenheimer’s past 15 years, spent mostly as a defensive coach, will serve him well as special-teams coordinator. Singletary said special teams takes a defensive mentality. Schottenheimer agrees. He said he emphasizes toughness, and that’s the personality of Singletary, as well as offensive and defensive coordinators Jimmy Raye and Greg Manusky.


–Schottenheimer coached special teams with the Browns and Chiefs under his brother, Marty. Every year, he let Kurt have one player solely for special teams. In 1994, the Chiefs did not have anyone worth keeping. But when Manusky was released by the Vikings, Kurt insisted the Chiefs claim him. “He ran about as fast as me, but he had heart and he was outstanding,” Schottenheimer said. “What happens when you get a guy like him, they show a lot of the other players coming out of college who might not have played a lot of special teams what it’s all about.”


–He inherits and strong group of specialists that includes Andy Lee, Joe Nedney and Brian Jennings. While coaching the Pro Bowl a couple years ago, Schottenheimer said Lee helped put some money in his pocked by contributing as a punter to the NFC’s victory.


–Obviously, the 49ers should have new personnel at the return positions. In the return game, he prefers and downhill runners who find a lane and gets up the field.


–Schottenheimer did not coach last season. He spent a lot of quality time with his family, he said. He also visited such schools as Texas A&M and Illinois to study the spread offense. He said he wanted to learn more about the principles of the scheme, as well as how to defend it.


–Schottenheimer said this is the first time he’s been to the East-West game as a coach. Most of the players are considered mid-to-late-round draft possibilities. “Our job and responsibility is to make sure everybody moves up in the draft,” he said. He said he has coached in the Senior Bowl and the ability to work with these players “gives you a tremendous advantage.”


–Here is the West roster, coached by the Schottenheimers. And here is the Romeo Crennel-coached East roster.


–When asked if he’d be joining the rest of the 49ers’ coaching staff in Mobile, Ala., next week for the Senior Bowl practices, Schottenheimer said he had yet to discuss that with Singletary.


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