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Article Title: Erickson Needs To Get Involved
Article Date: March 5 2003
By Bryan Hersh

Dennis Erickson has all but finished assembling his coaching staff. Recently he has promoted Dan Quinn to defensive line coach, replacing Dwaine Board, and he named Dick Tomey the nickel teams coach, and defensive adviser. Tomey will also be very involved in working with the special teams. Finally Jamie Christian was hired to fill Dan Quins former roll of Defensive quality control coach. Aside from a few entry-level coaches for two additional quality-control openings for defense and special teams, Ericksonís staff is complete. The staff is assembled primarily from hold overs from the Steve Mariucci era and from coaches that were with Erickson at Oregon, and was assembled mostly during the scouting combine at which Erickson was not in attendance.

While I am a little bothered that Erickson missed the combine, I do think he has a good enough knowledge of the collegiate players that he should be ok with the absence. Sure it would have been nice for players who the 49ers are interested in to meet with the new head coach and discuss philosophies, but certainly assembling staff was equally important.

Erickson has been doing lots of work with Gregg Knapp learning the terminology of the West Coast Offense and some of the 49ers philosophy. Hopefully though, what Erickson learns about the offense, will be how this team won over the past few years, but certainly not the bland aspects.

While Erickson has been focusing on getting organized in the offense, it doesnít appear that he has done much to try and rally the troops or win the players over. From what has been made public, Erickson has not met privately with each player, he has not met with groups of players, nor has he met with the entire team. This I find disappointing.

There is plenty of time for Erickson to introduce his offensive philosophy, and by now he likely has introduced himself to the majority of players, seeing them around the office, but that he hasnít taken the time to really get to know these guys yet, is quite troublesome. I am by no means suggesting Erickson has to be buddies with his players. He certainly doesnít appear to be the players coach Mariucci was, but he should be getting involved with the players training, explaining to them what his expectations are, and trying to get them excited for the 2003 season.

Yes it is the off-season, but coaching is no longer an 8 month a year job, neither is playing football. Erickson needs to start holding meetings and getting to know his team in order to best prepare them for the 2003 season.