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Mangini challenged by new role with 49ers

The SportsXchange

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- After 14 years focusing his efforts primarily on the defensive side of the football, new San Francisco 49ers senior offensive consultant Eric Mangini can't wait to get started working on the other side of the ball.

For Mangini, who worked at ESPN as an analyst the last two seasons, the opportunity afforded by San Francisco is one that will challenge him professionally and help prepare him to again become a head coach in the NFL.

"That's definitely a goal of mine," Mangini said. "Right now I want to do what I can do here as well as I can do it. But I think that's every coach's goal."

After serving as a head coach with both the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns, Mangini said he brings a unique insight to a team that hasn't had much turnover within its coaching staff since Jim Harbaugh left Stanford before the 2011 season.

"I think working 14 years on defense and being a head coach, being able to give a head-coaching perspective, that experience allows you to see things in a totally different way than when I was an assistant," Mangini said. "I think even being out of the league for a couple of years and being at ESPN and getting a broader view of what's happening in the league, maybe that can have value as well."

Harbaugh said the process that brought Mangini to the team was relatively simple.

"I was watching him on TV, and he's got a great reputation. There are other coaches on the staff who've coached with him. And I called Eric up and asked him if he'd be interested, described the role," Harbaugh said. "Came out and visited for about three days, maybe two weeks ago, and we've been in conversation since then. And explained where I thought he could really help us. I think he'll be a great addition. I think it makes us better."

The role is evolving day by day, and there is no set plan for what Mangini's responsibilities will be on game day. Harbaugh said Mangini's background as a defensive coach will help the team in its process of developing offensive scheme.

"I feel like we added a really talented, knowledgeable coach," Harbaugh said. "You look at how defenses are going prepare for us, and where we can attack defenses. That's what his role will be, helping game-planning and overall offensive scheme."

Mangini was an offensive coach his first two years in the NFL, the first of which with the Baltimore Ravens, where current Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz was the offensive line coach at the time. That experience proved vital when he later switched to defense.

"All the time when I was on defense, I could go back to that time and say, 'This is how we protected it,' and that helped," said Mangini, who signed a two-year contract with the 49ers. "Now, to be able to hopefully help explain what defenses are doing or trying to achieve, ideally I can add some value there."

--By signing wide receiver Kassim Osgood, the 49ers seemingly strengthened their special teams unit with a player with a strong track record in that phase. A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Osgood played in all 16 games last season for Detroit.

"Very good tackler," Harbaugh said. "You watch him, he's first or second every time running down on kickoffs."

--Harbaugh appeared in the audience on the "Judge Judy" show Monday. He also had a chance to meet Judy Sheindlin and plans to invite her to a game.
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