Erickson now one coach shy of a staff

Dennis Erickson's first coaching staff in San Francisco is all but one piece complete. Erickson named Eric Yarber as his wide receivers coach and Larry Mac Duff as his special teams coordinator on Monday, leaving the Niners looking only for a defensive line coach to fill out their 2003 staff.

Yarber is one of three assistants from Erickson's 2002 Oregon State staff to join him with the Niners. Yarber coached wide receivers the past four seasons in Oregon State and takes the place of George Stewart, who left the Niners at the end of January to become receivers coach with the Atlanta Falcons.

As expected, two other long-time Erickson assistants who were with him last year in Oregon State - Gregg Smith and Tim Lappano - were added to the Niners staff over the weekend.

Smith, who was Erickson's assistant head coach/offensive line coach at Oregon State the past four years and also was Erickson's assistant head coach with the Seattle Seahawks from 1995-98, will coach tight ends for the Niners. He replaces Tom Batta, who will move into scouting with the Niners.

Lappano was Oregon State's offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach the past four years. This is his fifth stop with Erickson on the new Niners' coach's 22-year career as a head coach.

Mac Duff is the first coach named to the Niners' 2003 staff who doesn't have previous ties to the team or to Erickson. Mac Duff recently was in his second stint as Arizona's defensive coordinator, where his team ranked second nationally in total defense in 1992 and 1993 and led the nation in scoring defense and rushing defense in 1993.

He was special teams coordinator with the New York Giants from 1997-2000, producing units that led the NFL in field goal defense in 1999 and 2000 and led the NFC in punt returns in 1999 while ranking second in the league that season in blocked kicks.


Niners Digest Top Stories