SJSU introduces Ron Caragher as head football coach

caragher_ron_san_diego.jpg

SJSU introduces Ron Caragher as head football coach

A week after coach Mike MacIntyre left SJSU to take the same position at Colorado, the Spartans have found their replacement.

Ron Caragher, who coached the University of San Diego to a 44-22 record and three conference championships over the past six seasons, signed a five-year contract to become SJSU’s new head coach, director of athletics Gene Bleymaier announced Monday.

“Every athletic director is always combing the country looking for the next bright star and this was no different,” Bleymaier said Monday. “I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to follow coach Caragher’s career for some time and he’s always been on the radar and somebody that I hoped I would have the opportunity to hire at some point in time. Little did I know that it would happen as quickly as it did.”

Caragher, a native of Morgan Hill, Calif., went to high school at Bellarmine in San Jose and called his hiring a “homecoming.”

“I used to attend Spartan football camps in the Summer time and I used to come to San Jose State football games,” he said. “As a high school player, I played some games in Spartan Stadium so coming back here is really exciting to me.”

He wasted little time before thanking MacIntyre for bringing the program to what it is today: A top-25 school in all three major college football polls.

“I’d like to thank coach MacIntyre and his staff of outstanding coaches, the team and the foundation they laid,” Carragher said. “To have this program going in the right direction, they’ve definitely raised the bar, which is something that I embrace and as Gene eluded to there are some big shoes and you know what I love it. I embrace challenges and opportunity.

“This is special place, a lineage of great coaches at San Jose State University. Bill Walsh, Dick Vermiel — two guys that are the greatest coaches in the history of the sport.”

Caragher replaced current San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh as coach of USD in 2007, something Bleymaier said was a plus for the man replacing MacIntyre, who led the team to its best season in 25 years.

“This is not new for him to follow a good coach,” Bleymaier said. “He’s following a very good coach in coach Mac, who has brought this program to a new level.”

Bleymaier said Carragher was chosen from a “deep pool” full of qualified candidates and added that he is excited with the decision.

“I couldn’t feel any better,” Bleymaier said. “I had a list of tremendous coaches that I was interested in, I thought the search committee would be interested in. We were definitely prepared. We weren’t surprised to lose Coach Mac. We were sad and it was unfortunate but not unexpected.

“We had a good list and when you get to that level, they’re all good but coach Caragher distinguished himself.”

Caragher said cornerstones to his coaching style are enthusiasm and work ethic and with that mindset the sky is the limit for SJSU football.

“Look out teams because we’re excited,” he said. “San Jose State football is on the rise.”

Junior quarterback David Fales, who led Division I in passing percentage during the regular season, said he is excited to learn from Caragher, a former quarterback at the University of California-Los Angeles.

“Having a head coach that played the position is going to help understand the way it’s played and it’s going to be easier to communicate with him,” Fales said.

Fales added that Caragher seems like a down to earth man who cares a lot about his players and said he wants to meet Caragher, “hopefully really soon.”

The two met briefly after Monday’s press conference — the first of many between the former and current collegiate quarterbacks.

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

SANTA CLARA – The eldest non-kicker on the 49ers’ roster is learning a new position this offseason.

But Ahmad Brooks has plenty of experience adapting to new positions during his 12-year NFL career. He has played inside linebacker, outside linebacker in a 3-4 and defensive end in pass-rush situations.

Now, Brooks has moved to the strong side linebacker position -- the “Sam” -- in the 49ers’ new 4-3 scheme under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“He’s getting them (first-team repetitions) because he deserves them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said this week. “Watching how he played last year and then going into this offseason, you never know when a guy who has been around a bunch, if they’re going to feel that they need the offseason like other people do. And Ahmad’s been here every day and he’s needed it just like everyone has anytime you’re learning a new scheme.

“But anytime you have a veteran like that, you worry that, hey, maybe they won’t think that they do need it. But Ahmad has and he’s been here. He’s worked at everything. He’s in good shape. He’s done what we’ve asked in the weight room with Ray and he’s done everything with the position coaches and coordinator on defense. So, I think he’s learning it and he should because he’s putting the work in.”

Brooks, 33, has entered the past three offseasons with his place on the 49ers seemingly in jeopardy. But the 49ers have not been able to find a younger, better player to replace him. Brooks has tied for the team-lead in sacks in each of the past four seasons with 27 sacks over that span.

Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson and undrafted rookie Jimmie Gilbert were the other players who lined up at the Sam position during the first week of 49ers organized team activities.

Brooks and Aaron Lynch, starters at outside linebacker for the 49ers in the previous systems, have the steepest learning curves in the transition to a new defense. Lynch has moved to the team’s pass-rush defensive end position, known as the “Leo.”

“I think techniques are totally different,” Shanahan said. “How you want to take on blocks, how you want to play the run. Ahmad has been around a little longer than Aaron. So he’s probably had a little bit more crossover, some similar schemes.”