National Football League

Former College Coach Could Help 49ers

Chris Ault, architect of the Pistol offense and mentor to Colin Kaepernick, might be a nice addition to staff

To consider Chris Ault for the head coaching job of the 49ers would be out of bounds.

The former University of Nevada coach, who is 68, has had a long football career and been an innovative, winning coach, but his only experience in the NFL has been as a consultant with the Kansas City Chiefs, who brought him aboard in 2013.

But as the 49ers search for a head coach to replace Jim Harbaugh, Ault’s name has been brought up by 49ers fans commenting on news stories about the struggles of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Hey, they say: Why not bring in Ault to help the 49ers set up the offense to best take advantage of Kaepernick’s unique skill set?

It’s certainly an interesting idea to consider.

Ault developed the Pistol offense at Nevada, and Kaepernick ran it beautifully. It fit in perfectly with his ability to run, move and throw.

After retiring at the University of Nevada, Chiefs coach Andy Reid brought in Ault to consult on how to stop the Pistol, which was being run by the 49ers and a few other NFL teams. Ault told the Reno Gazette-Journal after the experience, however, that he learned as much as the Chiefs did.

“I was constantly putting notes together and constantly filling up my notebook on the kinds of things I can add to this Pistol offense,” he said.

Ault says it was time for him to step down from full-time coaching, but he also said he isn’t closing the door to future opportunities.

What if the new 49ers head coach – whoever he might be – decides to bring in Ault (either as a consultant or assistant) to help design the 49ers offense to better suit Kaepernick’s abilities?

It certainly would be a creative, no-lose idea.

“I still have an influence going on nationally,” Ault told the Reno paper, speaking of the Pistol scheme and its popularity. “And I’d like to see where this could lead, especially with some of the things I’ve learned. … We’ll just wait and see.”

No matter what, Ault remains a strong advocate for the Pistol. In his mind, it’s a very effective offense for the NFL.

“The Pistol is here to stay,” he told the New York Times. “It’s not like the wishbone. You’ll still have guys like Andrew Luck who can drop back, throw the thing, sit in the pocket. But I’m going to tell you, he could run the Pistol. He’d be great in the Pistol. So would Aaron Rodgers.”

So would Colin Kaepernick.

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