Manusky ready to get defensive

New 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky discusses his new position and the role he will play with the 49ers, including the details of his interview with the team, his experience in a 3-4 defense and his capability of calling the defensive plays on game day in 2007.

Did you have your eye on being a defensive coordinator?
Manusky:
Yes, when I was a player growing up when I was in my fifth, sixth year in the league I was with Tony Dungy and Monty Kiffin up in Minnesota. They were the first ones to say, ‘Hey, you'd be a pretty good coach.' It's been that road since. Even the number of years that I was spending in Kansas City and then even my last couple of years as a coach I was trying to push myself and think how offensive or defensive coordinator think and I've been fortunate enough to get the job.

Is the 49ers defense similar to what you already know?
Manusky:
It's a little different, but there are similarities – play calls are sometimes different like any other defense. But the calls are somewhat related and basically three coverage is three coverage and four coverage is four coverage. But there are different fire zones and blitzes that Mike has installed, same as with our situation here with the Chargers, there's different terminology in what you do.

Are you ready to call a game?
Manusky:
Yes. The last couple of years that Coach Wade (Phillips, Chargers Defensive Coordinator) has been with the Charges, I've been asking him advice over the last three years and even at the games and watching film. I've been trying to take that next step and look at it from a defensive coordinator. Even the calls during the game of what's in the game, what's not in the game and the calls that can be related to the personnel that the 49ers have. Even thought I haven't called any, I've been training myself over the last couple of years to do that.

With the Chargers were you upstairs or on the field during the games?
Manusky:
I was on the field.

Will you be upstairs or on the field with the 49ers?
Manusky:
I will probably be up in the box. The first couple of years in the league as a coach I was up in the box. The last couple of years I've been down on the field. From a defensive coordinator standpoint I think that you see a little bit more, you're actually taken back from the field and the emotions that are down there. I think that it will help you a little more if you're up in the box. It's a little bit quieter and you can get a better scheme and feel upstairs.

If Wade Phillips goes to Dallas as the head coach, would you have been the new defensive coordinator in San Diego?
Manusky:
It was never confirmed. I had spoken to Wade a number of times in regards to that, but I'm just happy and excited to be where I am right now with the 49ers and having an up and coming defense and a whole team in a situation where Mike has put players in the right spots. Now we just have to take it from here.

Have you looked at the 49ers' personnel yet? Your thoughts?
Manusky:
I've only watched a couple of games on them. Previously going up there when I had the interview I watched four or five games on them. I watched them pretty much in the early part of the season when they were in the 3-4 defense. I think for the most part they're trying to get their feet wet to the system and then later on in the season they started competing better and playing better and playing better defense.

How much did you know about Mike Nolan before you had your interview?
Manusky:
Not very much. I know that Wade and him were together in Denver and I've known of him since I came from the Redskins as a player and the people that were there knew of him. Throughout the League I knew he was at Baltimore and a couple of other places. He's well-respected and I spoke to a couple of coaches that were underneath him and they all spoke very well of him. I haven't had much contact with Mike but for the most part everybody had good messages about him.

What was the interview process like?
Manusky:
We went out the night before, him and his wife Kathy. We sat down and talked, just talked about our families. The next day we went in and spoke about football, what we did at the Chargers and the techniques and fundamentals of what players did there, the coverages and such and then we proceeded to go into film work and watch some of the 49ers games.

Does your experience at San Diego in the 3-4 help the 49ers get to a 3-4?
Manusky:
Yeah, I think it's part of it. I never played a lot of 4-4 when I was a player. I was always an over-under guy in the years that I spent playing. I knew all three positions, I was a versatile player and then to go to a 3-4 background with Wade Phillips was a great situation for me because I learned both the over-under and the 4-3 and then going to a 3-4. Everyone has their different views. Better players on the field, more athletic players are linebackers and if you do get into a situation where you get banged up you can always go to a different defense.

How does interviewing to being a defensive coordinator compare to making All-Madden?
Manusky:
You know, I told Mike during the interview process that I've never really had an interview. Coming out of college my goal was to go to pros. My only interview was, ‘Can you run as fast as you can and hit the wedge square on and make a play?' My first interview with Mike went really well and I my attitude and experience playing special teams was mostly my forte – being a back up player, inside and outside linebacker. I had a heck of a year up there in 1991 with the Vikings and I used to do a lot of practical jokes on guys. I think that's how I made the team anyway.

Was your interview on Monday at the team facility pretty exhausting?
Manusky:
Yeah, you know I always tell my players sometimes I talk too much. Sometimes they're sick of hearing my voice. It went pretty quickly initially. We had lunch there. The first three or four hours went pretty quick. I'm just excited and happy to be part of an organization that is really trying to build something right now.

Did Nolan put you through scenarios?
Manusky:
Sure. You hit the gamut of defenses you play, that he plays and then he puts you in some situations. Every offensive coordinator is different. You have to study them and try to figure out what they're going to do. Just looking at a film you're not really going to get that out of anything. You really have to get a feel for what the offensive coach is trying to attack you at. The other three or four game breakdown where you're looking at players like that and other personnel and know their match ups, you have a better understanding of how to attack offenses. So really, a little bit of that, but not much.

Do you expect to be the play caller from the get-go?
Manusky:
From the get-go, that was a major question I asked Mike because of the situation they had last year. That's the way I'm going into the season – making the calls and calling the plays. I understand Mike's responsibilities from a team aspect and it's going to be pretty hard for him to be focusing more on one part of the defense or offense. He's going to put his input in, we're going to speak and we're going to communicate just as well as the other coaches on the staff and we're going to come up with the best plan of attack for the offenses. It's beneficial to me to have a guy like Mike in there with me.


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