Senior Bowl becoming coaching swirl for 49ers

The 49ers still are searching for a defensive coordinator after coach Mike Nolan interviewed Jaguars assistant Dave Campo for the position at the Senior Bowl this week and then decided to pass on offering the veteran NFL coach the job. But as a busy week of practice comes to an end in Mobile, Alabama, some of Nolan's top lieutenants have emerged as candidates for other head-coaching gigs.

Nolan said he felt too rushed by a 24-hour window that he agreed upon with Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio to make a decision on Campo, who is the team's assistant head coach/secondary coach. He decided not to hire Campo during the allotted window.

"Just assessing the whole thing, I feel rushed," Nolan said. "I got some of my own coaches who are looking at jobs and I have to look at the big picture. If I happen to lose somebody else, whether it's a (Mike) Singletary, it would change the complexion of the staff.

"And if that happens, I want to make sure I got the thing right and not be in the position where I say, 'If I'd known that would happen, I would've done this.' I want to make sure I get it right."

Nolan and his San Francisco staff are coaching the South squad in the Senior Bowl for the second consecutive year, and a lot of other issues have been swirling around the 49ers other than just coaching the top college talent on the field.

Nolan said he has received unofficial inquiries regarding offensive coordinator Norv Turner, Singletary and receivers coach Jerry Sullivan for coaching jobs elsewhere.

He did not specify which teams are interested, though Turner is rumored to be a leading candidate to replace Bill Parcells with the Dallas Cowboys, where Turner enjoyed some of his greatest coaching success as offensive coordinator from 1991-1993, when Dallas won two Super Bowls.

The 49ers are unlikely to let any of those three coaches leave for a coordinator job elsewhere. Sullivan would be seen as a candidate to become 49ers offensive coordinator if the Cowboys lure away Turner. The 49ers are not allowed to deny permission to any coach being sought for a head coaching job.

Nolan admitted to feeling uneasy at the prospect of losing Turner, who made an impact in his first season working with 49ers young quarterback Alex Smith.

"Yes, I'm concerned, sure," Nolan said. "I'd like to think that we're being proactive with it. I want Norv to be here and Norv wants to be here, so we're trying to be proactive from that standpoint. But we're also aware that the Dallas Cowboys are a little more unique than other teams.

"I'm proactive in two ways. I want to convince Norv to be here, and if I do lose him, what do I do?"

Nolan has interviewed two candidates for the defensive coordinator position. Former Jets and Lions coordinator Donnie Henderson interviewed a couple weeks ago. Campo was seen as a strong candidate. He interviewed with Nolan on Monday night, then met the rest of the 49ers' coaching staff on Tuesday.

"I don't think he's ready to make any kind of decision," Campo said. "I think he feels like he's a little bit rushed and doesn't want to do that."

Nolan said he is looking for an experienced coordinator for the position after firing Billy Davis on Jan. 2. When he took control of the 49ers in 2005, Nolan made Davis a NFL coordinator for the first time. It did not work out as Davis wasn't ready to take control of running a defense on game days, and Nolan had to step in to help San Francisco work out some of its defensive problems.

The 49ers were on a pace to allow the most points in NFL history near midseason and ended up allowing an NFL-high 412 points. Davis quickly found another job as linebackers coach with NFC West rival Arizona.

If he does not find the right person from outside the organization, Nolan will likely promote Singletary, the assistant head coach, to defensive coordinator while retaining most of the defensive duties himself.

Nolan said he is in no rush to hire a defensive coordinator, and it now appears likely he won't do that until after he finishes his coaching duties in Mobile when the Senior Bowl is played on Saturday.

"That's my expertise - defense," Nolan said. "We're going to add some good players and we're going to get better and I want to get the right guy to coach these guys."

When asked if he runs the risk of waiting too long and being back in the same situation as last season when he was forced to handle most of the defensive coordinator chores, Nolan said the defensive staff has already been improved.

Nolan also fired defensive line coach Gary Emanuel when he relieved Davis of his duties with the 49ers. Nolan hired former Rhein Fire head coach Jim Tomsula as defensive line coach two weeks ago.

"I've already gotten better in the defensive line, knowledge-wise, and with experience and teaching," Nolan said. "And the other one is not any different."

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