Davis on defense

Billy Davis talks about becoming a defensive coordinator for the first time and the 3-4 scheme he brings with him to the 49ers.

Q: Bill, what will it be like for you to be coordinator instead of a position coach for the first time?

Davis: Well, I'm very excited about it, first of all. This is my 13th year in the NFL and I've been with a lot of great coaches and have learned from some of the best coordinators and have been able to watch them, observe them and take notes. This has been an aspiration of mine my whole life. I grew up in the NFL and I've always wanted to be a coach and climb the coaches' ladder. I've enjoyed every step along the way. I've thoroughly enjoyed being a position coach and I'm looking forward of tackling the challenge of coordinating a defense for the first time. I'm excited about some of the people that are already on the staff. I've got a background with some of them. It's an exciting time for me and my family. Again, I've been preparing for this for a long time. I know there is a learning curve that goes on and I'm anxious to attack that and just keep growing on the job, put my head down and work as hard as I could possibly work, and hope good things happen.

Q: Do you consider most of your background to be in the 3-4 defense?

Davis: Yes. It's my 13th year that I'm going into and I've had nine years in the 3-4 and four in the 4-3. Most recently with the New York Giants, Tim Lewis came from the Pittsburgh Steelers which you know is a 3-4 defense, the Bill Cowher scheme. We turned into the 4-3 and kind of went back and forth a little bit. The 3-4 was just a change of force this past year. I was with Phillips in a 3-4 scheme and Vic Fangio in Carolina and Dom Capers and in Pittsburgh with Bill Cowher. I had a couple of one-year stops in the 4-3 with Bob Slowick in Cleveland and Ed Donatell in Green Bay and then Donnie Blackman in Atlanta my first year there. Those are my 4-3 experiences. A lot of my 3-4 stuff was out of the Pittsburgh Steelers 3-4 scheme.

Q: Can you run a 3-4 with undersized linemen?

Davis: Yes you can. A lot of the 3-4 linebackers that you end up drafting and making into outside backers are ends that were in college that were special pass rushers, very athletic and a little bit of tweener type. Not quite heavy enough to be a defensive (lineman). Having moved enough as a linebacker and going backwards to playing linebacker every down. So, they find a home a lot of times in the 3-4 because they have the ability to rush and that is the beauty of a 3-4. The offense is really on their heels trying to figure out not only who your fourth rusher, but who your fifth might possibly be. When you have those guys that are athletic and dynamic enough to both rush some ability and really cause some problems for an offense and that are also athletic enough to drop, you really gain a faster more athletic defense that really makes a lot of things happen. It increases a lot of havoc on the offense.

Q: Is there any hesitation of going with a head coach who has been a defensive coordinator?

D-coordinator? Davis: Absolutely not. It's actually, he's going to be a great asset and I plan on using him as often as I need him. Like I said, I've been preparing my whole life for this opportunity. I've been studying the people that do it. The preparation is something that I will dive into and be prepared as humanly possible. I know that I always will have coach there to bounce ideas off and anything I may get stuck on. It's about preparation and it's about things you don't know of until you do it, but I know the ones that have been the best that I've been around are the ones that have been the most prepared. One of those guys that I spent a lot of time with and that I'm very close with is Dom Capers. Spending years with him, there is nobody that gets more prepared. There is no one that leaves no stone unturned like Dom did. I really was raised the first seven years of my NFL career under Dom. I've been kind of taking those things that he instilled in me and developed them from a position coach. But Dom never called a game before he got to Pittsburgh and he was very good at it because of his preparation in the things that I learned through guys like him and other coordinators that I've worked with. In this situation, I'll always have Mike there to bounce ideas off and if I get stuck, then he'll be there to help me through it.


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