49ers OC learned formation from Kaepernick’s coach


Coaches are constantly talking to other coaches, looking for something they can steal.

So when 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman was coaching at Stanford, he made the trek to Reno to learn about the “pistol” formation from its master, Chris Ault of Nevada.

Ault had developed the formation in 2004 (a shorter drop than the traditional shotgun formation, with a running back behind the quarterback), and had a skinny legged quarterback named Colin Kapernick running it when Roman dropped by for a visit.

“About three years ago, made the trek to Nevada and visited with him and his staff,” Roman said, via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. “That was very valuable time spent. He was very accommodating and it was very interesting as a coach to go really learn something totally new. And he’s a very good football coach. . . . So it was good.”

Watching Kaepernick clearly made an impression. He was the only Division 1 quarterback to throw for 10,000 yards and run for 4,000 in his career.

So they’ve tried to implement some of that into their current offense, which has many fathers. Roman grew up working on George Seifert’s staff in Carolina, and there’s a heavy West Coast Offense element.

But incorporating the “pistol” — the 49ers call it “Q” because they want to keep play calls to one syllable — began in training camp. It can now grow with Kapernick starting, thanks to the time Roman spent with Ault.

“I think you can gain a lot if they’re willing to tell you,” Roman said. “You can gain a lot with an upside, the downside, what other teams do to try to stop it. When they do that, what do you do? Every little nuance. It’s just so much in terms of how you might sequence things, the downside, the upside. And definitely what people have tried to do to combat it or defend it, and then the next logical step for them. So, [it was] great information.”

The fact they’re looking at others puts them ahead of the game. Like Patriots coach Bill Belichick trying to incorporate spread elements he learned from Oregon’s Chip Kelly, the best coaches are the ones who recognize they don’t know it all already, and continue to learn.

16 responses to “49ers OC learned formation from Kaepernick’s coach

  1. Think this is a good move for Kaepernick. He nearly ran it to perfection in Nevada and if Vernon Davis can get involved niners offense should take off.

  2. Unlike Andy Reid, who thinks he knows everything about football and stubbornly refuses to adapt. Greg Roman, come to Philly!

  3. New England will need to bring its “A+” game to Sunday night’s matchup with the 49ers, whose defense is well suited to slowing down Brady & Co. I have a hunch the game will turn largely on Kaepernick’s performance more than any other single factor. If he’s hot in the cold, rainy conditions expected tomorrow night in Foxboro, then the 49ers will likely win. If not, or in the unlikely event there’s enough cold air aloft to support snow on the ground at game time, then the edge should go to New England. In any event, I’m expecting a relatively low scoring game—in the neighborhood of 24-17—as opposed to a blowout.

  4. raiderlyfe510 says:

    It’s refreshing to see coaches give each other credit. Too bad Sean Payton doesn’t give Gruden credit for teaching him his system.
    And Gruden’s system, of course, sprung fully grown from Gruden’s massive ego. It wasn’t adapted from anything else that had ever been done in football history.

  5. Why call it “stealing” when you go on to make it perfectly clear that coaches share, all the time? College staffs travel every summer to other teams’ camps to learn about new wrinkles. It’s not stealing if it’s being given away.

  6. Too bad Colin Kaepernick is not a good QB he has ZERO passing touchdowns in the last 7 quarters of football. As a niners fan i have seen enough of this kid to know he is not ready to be a starter. He cant audible, he cant ready defenses and he loves to run. he might as well be one of our many RB’s.

  7. “the best coaches are the ones who recognize they don’t know it all already, and continue to learn

    So true. Lovie Smith take notice. Any good team you face knows you’ll play nothing but cover 2 and carves it up.

  8. Do I believe Kap is the future of the Niners? Yes. The future should’ve been at least next season minimum. I can’t help but, feel the season has been blown putting this kid in for Alex Smith. Smith seemed to have total control of the offense. And it just has NOT looked smooth since he’s taken over. We will see tomorrow night in the Sunday Night Lights what he’s got. I am a Niners fan and I just think it was too soon. We had at least a NFC title type run waiting.. Now I am not sure about 1 and done. If Seattle don’t get us.

  9. Kaepernick has looked good so far, but that’s been against mediocre defenses who didn’t have film on him.

    He’s got two road games against New England and Seattle over the next two weeks that will be a real challenge. If the Niners lose to NE, the next week in Seattle will determine who wins the NFC West. Seattle at home to decide the West? I wouldn’t be surprised to see Harbaugh switch back to Smith for that game. Foolish to go into Seattle with a young inexperienced QB against one of the best, young, aggressive defenses in the league. Nothing against Kaepernic, who has impressed, that would be hard for anyone in their first few games in the NFL.

  10. I hope Emery is looking at Greg Roman to replace Lovie in Chicago
    or Pete Carmichael Jr. of the Saints
    because the Bears need a offensive minded coach.

  11. All I know is I’m excited to watch CK play tonight; quite an athlete. I agree that weather conditions could slowdown the scoring a bit. Mostly, I hope the Refs have a good game.

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