Solari, Drevno rapport developed during lockout

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Solari, Drevno rapport developed during lockout

SANTA CLARA -- Offensive line coaches Mike Solari and Tim Drevno agreed to sit down together for an interview this week in the meeting room that's set aside for their position group.
They agreed to carve out a 20-minute slice from their work day. But the interview had to take place at 7 a.m. -- before the bulk of their work day began.
The Q&A is split up into two parts. In Part I, Solari and Drevno talk about their unique work arrangement:Did the NFL lockout have any benefits for you?
Solari: "It did in the sense that it gave us more time to get on the same page and talk. Greg (Roman) did a great job of organizing the meetings and putting us all on the same page."As far as the interaction that has to take place between you two guys, did that help in getting to know each other better?
Drevno: "Absolutely, because you're spending time, looking at film, talking through things. We had a lot of time to talk through all the different types of situations. It was really good for the relationship, to trust one another. It was good growing time."Did you know each other before that?
Solari: "No."
Drevno: "No."What was your first reaction when you knew Tim was coming over from Stanford?
Solari: "It was good, just because you knew that Tim had been with Jim (Harbaugh) and Greg, so there's a resource that he knows exactly what they're thinking and he's got great insight."You knew of Mike Solari, how did you react with that possibility of coming here?
Drevno: "I was really excited about it. With Mike, being in the NFL so long, what a great opportunity it was for myself to be able to work with him and learn the lay of the land in the National Football League. I was really excited. When you're with a great coach like Mike Solari, he's seen a lot of football in his life. And I knew our team was going to be stronger because of him."So this was an chance to learn the NFL game from Solari?
Drevno: "Yeah, there's so much . . . at this level, it's so different from college. The volume of the looks, what you can get every Sunday. It's a learning curve. Football is football at the end of the day, but there's more volume at this level, and there are better football players."And you could lean on Tim a lot for the system that was coming in?
Solari: "Yeah, and Tim is a very fine football coach and he had some good ideas and does some nice things. He has some thoughts on techniques that have helped. So it's good."Have you ever been in a set-up quite like this?
Solari: "No. It's been very good, though."What's been good about it?
Solari: "The benefit of having somebody like Tim, his ability, to have two good line coaches who can lean on each other and share ideas, the insight, the trust and when you look at it, that's the most important thing. The trust factor that Tim's an outstanding coach and a good teacher. He's good in his presentations. He does a nice job. And when you have trust, that's the strength of the staff, when you can trust each other."Did the lockout help in building that trust?
Solari: "I think so. When we talk about that, that's what that did. It gave us more time to get to know one another. That's the hardest thing with a new staff, and we had all that time, great time. It eliminated a lot of mistakes and miscommunication because you're communicating more, talking more, seeing more, as a staff. That was a benefit in that aspect."Was there any uneasiness coming in with Mike already here?
Drevno: "No. This was a great opportunity for us to be successful. I learned that every day you want to learn as a football coach, and there was no uneasiness at all. As a coach, you got to check your ego at the door. There are a lot of people who have great ideas, and to be able to learn from Mike has been awesome."How do you divide up the duties?
Solari: "We talk to each other about what we have to do in meetings or the practice field, whatever we need to get done to get the players to perform at the highest level. That's the most important thing: To get them on the same page. That's our responsibility in this room."Do you talk the night before?
Solari: "It's a daily thing. It could be arranged the night before when we look at film, in the sense if we see something we're not doing at a high level. We talk about, 'We need to get this done.' We need to do this. It's sharing ideas. It's at all times. It could be a last-second in the sense of looking at film in here with the players and something glaring or a highlight, 'He's not doing this properly' or 'This technique is not at a championship level.' So we get it done. It's constant. In game plan, it could be anywhere from a Monday night or a Tuesday prior to the players coming into the facility. So it's constant. And you have your highlights. And during the week if something shows up on the film that they're not performing or technique that they're not doing, so you might want to put emphasis on it for the next day or that practice, immediately."Is there any delineation between who's working with guards and centers or tackles?
Drevno: "No, we just coach them together."Was there ever a concern of having two voices in the room, so one coaches isn't saying one thing and the other something else?
Solari: "That's critical. That goes back to what you asked earlier about that time during the lockout. That's what allowed Tim and I to do, in the sense of making sure we had the same verbiage and the same teaching points. That was constant. Tim and I kept sharing ideas and we came up with the best way to do it. That was very, very beneficial."What is your day like? You guys are here at what time?
Solari: "We get in early."You guys are practically married to each other?
Solari: "The whole coaching staff is. . . . Everybody gets in early and leaves late and we do what we have to do to get the job done."Do you guys like each other (asked with a laugh)?
Drevno: "Mike's a great guy. I respect the heck out of him."
Solari: "It's awesome."

49ers specialists get drenched in preparations for inclement weather

49ers specialists get drenched in preparations for inclement weather

CHICAGO – The 49ers trained for the expected low-30s temperature and snow at Soldier Field with a week of workouts in the 80-degree heat of Florida.

However, the team’s specialists got some practice handling wet footballs during the 49ers’ final practice in Orlando, Fla.

Special-teams coordinator Derius Swinton and his assistant, Michael Clay, made a game of it. Long-snapper Kyle Nelson had to execute 10 perfect snaps to holder Bradley Pinion for field goals. Then, Pinion moved back to punt formation, where another 10 in a row were required.

But they had to be perfect while Swinton and Clay squirted water on the ball and at the hands of Nelson and Pinion, who also received a blast of water in his ear hole at one point.

“We always look up to see if there’s a chance of rain or snow, and we go, ‘Wet-ball drill,’ ” Nelson said. “They (Swinton and Clay) get to have fun, squirting water on us and use the water bottles.

“They make it as bad as possible.”

Nelson and Pinion teamed up to execute perfectly on all 20 field goals and punts.

“If I can do this, in a game it’s going to be even easier,” Nelson said. “They make it a lot harder in practice than it is in a game, so when we get to a game, everything is not as fast.”

The weather conditions on Sunday against the Chicago Bears will likely challenge Nelson, Pinion and kicker Phil Dawson as much as anyone. Dawson has been tracking the weather forecasts for more than a week to get mentally prepared for what he might face.

“Soldier Field is notorious for being a tough place to kick because of the wind and the field itself,” Dawson said this week on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “The footing is pretty poor. So when you add snow and moisture to the equation, it’s going to be one of those days.

“You need to have conversations with your coaches and let them know – be honest with them – about the difficulty. But you have to do that without it affecting your confidence to go out and get the job done.”

Said Nelson, “It takes more focus in bad weather. The snaps have to be a little more perfect. Bradley has to focus more on catching the ball, and Phil has to concentrate on the approach and be more cautious.”

Mark Helfrich provides insight into Chip Kelly's line of thinking

Mark Helfrich provides insight into Chip Kelly's line of thinking

Mark Helfrich had a strong indication he would be fired as Oregon’s head coach. And he said he told Chip Kelly recently he would have no hard feelings if Kelly left the 49ers to return to coach the Ducks.

Kelly this week said he is not interested in abandoning his job with the 49ers to coach in the college ranks. Helfrich suggested during a radio interview on Friday that Kelly told him the same thing privately.

When it was suggested that Kelly hated to recruit, Helfrich did not disagree.

"That's a fact," Helfrich said in an interview on ESPN Radio's Russillo and Kanell. "I don't know hated recruiting. . . a dislike. A strong dislike. But I think Chip has that challenge in his mind right now to make it right in the NFL.

"I had some of those conversations with him a couple weeks ago when it looked like this was going south. That was a very awkward converation, but (I) just wanted to let him know that to take our personal relationship out of it in every way, shape or form if he wanted to consider this.

"But, me, reading between the lines, I think he wants to make it right in the NFL. I think he wants to win at that level. He's had a rough go of it this year, but he'll get it right."

Kelly compiled a 46-7 record in four seasons in Eugene, Ore. He left after the 2012 season to accept the head-coaching job with the Philadelphia Eagles. Kelly was fired late last season and took the 49ers job two weeks later.

In Kelly’s first season with the 49ers, the club is 1-10. The 49ers are on a franchise-long 10-game losing streak entering Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

Helfrich was 37-16 in his four seasons at Oregon after his promotion from offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Kelly said he spoke with Helfrich the morning after he was fired.

“I just felt bad for Mark. I love him like a brother,” Kelly said. “He’s a tremendous person. He’s a hell of a football coach, but he’s an even better person. Just felt for him and the rest of the guys on that staff. It’s an unfortunate thing that goes on in this profession. We all know about it when we sign up, but when it happens you’re still taken aback by it.”

Kelly said he hoped his denial of any interest in the Oregon job would end all speculation about his future. When asked if intends to remain with the 49ers, Kelly said on Wednesday, “Yep. So we're all done with that, I hope."