I remember when I met Jim Tomsula for the first time. I had seen him on the sidelines and did stories on him, but it wasn’t until an impromptu meeting with the media in the 2011 season. At the time, the media had some limitations to their access to the players under Jim Harbaugh. It was Harbaugh’s first season and understandably, he was trying to ensure that his first season went well without distractions.
However, the 49ers’ defensive line was excelling that year. Rookie Aldon Smith and fellow pass rusher Justin Smith were both making big waves. Aldon was starting to gain traction in the rookie of the year discussion and Justin was a serious candidate for defensive player of the year. (Tomsula was a major advocate for Justin Smith when the pass rusher was a free agent after the 2007 season.) We in the media wanted to speak with the coach behind the resurgent defensive line and Tomsula obliged with an almost hour-long discussion with the media in December.
Here is the piece I wrote following the discussion.