Hartman: Trestman ready to take over Bears

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 1, 2013 - 6:59 AM

 The former Vikings assistant was out of football in 1995, but his return led to being head coach in Chicago.

Marc Trestman recalled how he left a lucrative business job in Miami in 1995 after being out of football for four seasons when then-49ers head coach George Seifert offered him the offensive coordinator position and the chance to coach Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young.

Trestman has been coaching almost every year since, and said that his being named the Chicago Bears head coach this month made him believe that, "It must have been meant to be that I'm back in football."

Did Trestman ever dream that, after being an assistant in the NFL (including two stints as a Vikings assistant) and college ranks for 11 years and then becoming the head coach of the CFL's Montreal Alouettes for five years, some day he'd be a head coach in the NFL?

"I was excited but I was also cautiously optimistic," he said about interviewing with the Bears. "I felt very, very comfortable with the general manager [Phil Emery]."

Getting out of his contract with Montreal was no issue, according to Trestman, so negotiating with the Bears was no problem. But he got the news that he had the job in a telephone call that came at an unusual hour, sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 3 a.m.

"They had done another interview later in the day and they were just going through the process of re-evaluating, I guess," he said. "You'd have to ask them [why they called so late]."

Trestman called the job an unbelievable challenge, but one he feels he can successfully handle.

"Fortunately we have great ownership, a general manager who is highly supportive and the locker room has a great culture in it," Trestman said. "There's really good players in the locker room. They're coming off a [10-6] season. They could have won 12 maybe, but they won 10.

"They're a team that has a lot of good players in place and a good culture in place. It's very similar to Montreal, when I went in there, and a quarterback who has the ability to play at a high level."

Working with Cutler

The word in NFL circles is the reason that Bears coach Lovie Smith got fired is because the coaching staff had trouble working with quarterback Jay Cutler.

"You know, I've only been with [Cutler] a couple of times," Trestman said. "I was with him for a couple of days out of college, and I was with him for about 90 minutes before I got the job, when I came to visit. I think there's a connection there. I think we have a good foundation. We have a long way to go and a lot of work to do. I think we're both up to the task."

Cutler has praised Trestman's hiring in the media. As for naming his staff, Trestman said some assistant coaches he had in mind couldn't be hired because they had binding contracts.

"I think it has sorted itself out very, very beautifully and I'm excited about the staff," he said.

How will he react when the Bears come to play the Vikings and he is in his hometown being a head coach in the NFL for the first time?

"Well, the good thing is I've had some experience doing that over the years, playing the Vikings and coaching for other teams," Trestman said. "I think a little bit of that will be left alone. I'm sure I'll have some feelings because I'm standing in different shoes than I've ever stood in before. But I don't think it will take very long to get focused on the game and get ready to do the things I have to do as the head coach."

Trestman realizes there's extra pressure from fans and media on a head coach in a city such as Chicago, but he is confident he can do the job.

"We'll see," he said. "I feel strongly that with the experience and the background that I have, I'm confident I can."

Ask former Vikings coaches Bud Grant or Jerry Burns, or any number of coaches with NFL experience, and they will tell you the Bears hired not only a winner on the football field but a person that will represent the organization with great dignity off the field in Trestman.

Jottings

• Fairmont, Minn., native and former Gophers assistant coach Jerry Rosburg is the assistant head coach/special teams coordinator for the AFC champion Baltimore Ravens. Rosburg, who played college football at North Dakota State, was the Gophers' secondary coach in 1996. He has been an assistant in the NFL since 2001.

• Gophers sophomore receiver Devin Crawford-Tufts recently joined the seventh-ranked men's track and field team, according to track and field/cross-country coach Steve Plasencia. Crawford-Tufts will run sprints for the Gophers as the team prepares for the Big Ten Indoor Championships in late February. And Wally Ellen-son, the Wisconsin high school state champion in the high jump who fell only two inches short of becoming an Olympic qualifier, will join the team after basketball season.

• Roseville native Mike Muscala is having a tremendous senior season at Bucknell. He is leading the Patriot League in scoring (19.4), rebounding (11.1) and blocked shots (2.9). He is the only player in Division I basketball averaging 18 points and 11 rebouns per game.

• Randy Moss said at a Super Bowl news conference that he wasn't happy with his role this year with the 49ers.

"I don't like my role. I don't. I like to be out there playing football. One thing that I've always had to really understand was being a decoy.

"[Former Vikings] coach Dennis Green just said, 'Even though the football is not in your hand, you're still out there dictating how the defense is playing the offense.' It took me awhile to really understand where he was coming from. Later on and now in my career, I understand that [with] my presence out on the field, I don't always have to touch the ball to be able to help the offense score touchdowns. Like I said, I don't really like [not playing as much], but it's something that I'm used to."

• In the Wolves' 96-90 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, the team had 12 available players for the first time since their home loss to the Houston Rockets on Dec. 26, a span of 15 games. The Wolves went 4-11 during that stretch. ... Point guard Ricky Rubio has started the past seven games for the Wolves and has seen his production increase, averaging 6.9 points, six assists and two steals in 27.7 minutes per game.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

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