Notebook: Nolan dressing for success again

The last time Mike Nolan got dressed up for a football game, both he and the 49ers were an unmitigated smash.

Nolan will be back on the sidelines in a suit and tie again this week when San Francisco hosts the Green Bay Packers at Monster Park. The NFL is allowing Nolan to wear dressy sideline apparel twice this season as a "test-drive" after Nolan first made the request to do so last year as a way of honoring his father and other head coaches from a bygone NFL era.

In San Francisco's last home game, Nov. 19 against the Seattle Seahawks, Nolan wore a black suit, white shirt and red-and-gold striped tie as he patrolled the sideline. Nolan was dressed for success, and the 49ers extended their winning streak to three games with a 20-14 victory over the Seahawks, ending a six-game losing slide against Seattle and lifting the team to the .500 level in November for the first time since 2003.

Three days after that game, the league announced that Nolan had been named NFL Coach of the Week for games played Nov. 19-20. Nolan was selected by voters on NFL.com, and he also had the highest approval of any coach that week in ESPN's SportsNation NFL Head Coach Approval Ratings.

Nolan said he hasn't yet decided if he will wear the same suit against the Packers that he wore three weeks ago against Seattle.

His second - and final - chance to go stylish will come this week instead of San Francisco's Dec. 24 home finale because, Nolan said, "They tell me what to wear. They named the two weeks, and then we'll see where it goes. The league is very much in favor of it, but obviously, Reebok pays the league a lot of money for sideline apparel. Hopefully, in the offseason, they work something out. It sounds like it's become a pretty positive thing. We'll see what happens in the long run."

The forecast Sunday calls for inclement weather in San Francisco, but Nolan said he'll be wearing his suit rain or shine.

"I'll have a raincoat with it, but I'll have it on," Nolan said.

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When it came time last offseason for teams to fill head-coaching vacancies, Nolan probably didn't think he had much to worry about. After all, who would have taken a coach off his staff when the 49ers owned the league's worst offense and the league's worst defense?

So was he surprised when the Packers hired Mike McCarthy, who spent one season as the 49ers' offensive coordinator?

"A little surprised," Nolan admitted. "It's usually the hot candidate and the pretty girl who gets the date ... (But) I was not surprised at all that they hired Mike because he's an extremely hard worker, a good football guy, he commands respect in front of players very well, has good leadership ability, is well-organized and thorough. I believe he has a lot of qualities you need to be a head coach and to be a good one."

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Rookie tight end Vernon Davis has seen his rookie season limited by injuries, but last week he played every snap in the 49ers' loss to the Saints. Nolan said Davis and the 49ers are still trying to figure out how he is best used.

Davis at 6-foot-3, 253 pounds, is an outstanding blocker who also has incredible speed.

"For him, it's a combination of being used and how to be used," Nolan said. "Because he wasn't in the lineup for so long, everybody else has moved on and he's got to see how he fits in."

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Although it was not much of a surprise that the club released veteran safety Tony Parrish, the announcement Tuesday to make roster space for linebacker Jay Foreman was met in the locker room with sadness.

"Once he got deactivated the last couple games, he knew when someone went down, it had to be him," safety Mike Adams said. "He was a real pro about it. He continued to help us younger guys, continued to practice hard, and he never bad-mouthed anybody or talked bad about the coaches, nothing."

Said linebacker Jeff Ulbrich, "I can't say what I really want to say. It's tough, more than anything, just not to see his face around here. He's a guy that we all got close to and spent a lot of years playing with him. And he was a great locker room guy, a guy that was a class act, always treated everybody with a ton of respect. So it's tough not seeing him around here. He was a friend."

Parrish was claimed off waivers Thursday by the Dallas Cowboys, who will pay the remainder of his salary for 2006, which was the final year of Parrish's contract with the 49ers.

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Last week, 49ers personnel chief Scot McCloughan received an encouraging report from offensive line coach George Warhop, who told him that guard David Baas "is ready to roll."

Baas has not gotten onto the field for one offensive snap this season after being selected with the No. 33 overall pick in the 2005 draft.

Baas was not impressive in practice last year, but he performed respectably in his five starts at right guard. The 49ers have witnessed a marked improvement in Baas' practice play in recent weeks.

"When he gets in the game, he plays well," Nolan said. "That's what you want, but it's hard because in practice you're kind of going, 'Geez, has he dropped off?' Now, he has done a good job in practice."

Baas said he has taken pride in his work on the scout team, as far as making it as game-like for any 49ers defensive lineman who is working against him during the week.

"It's real difficult but it's not going to stop me from what I'm doing," Baas said of his lack of playing time. "I know I'm out there getting better and doing things I need to do. If something happens or a certain situation arises and my chance comes, I don't have to be ready because I know I'm already ready.

"I know I can step in and do a good job. I just got to keep doing what I'm doing every single day and let them know, 'Hey, over here! I want in.'"

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The 49ers Foundation, the organization's charitable arm, took part in a project last week to paint the cafeteria at Bunche Accelerated Academy in the New Orleans suburb of Jefferson Parish. The school was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The school's library lost its roof and the book supply was reduced from 15,000 books to 300.

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Quarterback Alex Smith had three interceptions last week against the Saints, but not all of the interceptions were his fault.

One interception could have been avoided if wide receiver Antonio Bryant had used his body to shield Saints cornerback Mike McKenzie, who made a diving grab, Nolan said.

"I believe there's a position he's got to be in to keep the guy from getting the ball, sure," Nolan said of Bryant. "I was disappointed in that pick. He went up the field like he was the only guy, instead of staying in front of the ball."


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