Niners name assistant Tollner quarterbacks coach

Updated: January 30, 2008, 2:33 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan on Wednesday defined the role of Ted Tollner, naming the longtime NFL assistant as the team's new quarterbacks coach.

The appointment of Tollner continues the reshaping of Nolan's offensive staff after a 2007 season in which San Francisco suffered through what was arguably the least-productive campaign in franchise history. The 49ers statistically ranked last in the league in both total yards and points.

Nolan hired former St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz as his new offensive coordinator.

Tollner's role will be key, because he will work with three-year veteran quarterback Alex Smith, the top overall choice in the 2005 draft but a player who seemed to regress in 2007 before a shoulder injury that required surgery prematurely ended his season. Tollner was brought aboard by Nolan in a consulting role at midseason in 2007 to help then-offensive coordinator Jim Hostler, who was fired at the end of the year. After the season, Nolan said that Tollner would remain with the 49ers in a full-time role, with his responsibilities to be determined.

The veteran Tollner last coached with the Detroit Lions under Steve Mariucci in 2005, serving for 11 weeks as offensive coordinator before Mariucci was let go. Tollner finished out that season as the tight ends coach. Before his time with the Lions, Tollner was with the 49ers from 2002-05, coaching quarterbacks for two seasons before he was promoted to offensive coordinator.

Tollner began his NFL career as a wide receivers assistant with the Buffalo Bills in 1987. He moved to the San Diego Chargers, where he was offensive coordinator, a year later, serving in that capacity through 1991. He was then the quarterbacks coach for the Los Angeles Rams 1992-93.

The club also announced that Adam Gase has been added as an offensive assistant. Gase joins the 49ers after spending five seasons with the Lions. He began in the scouting department in 2003 and then began assisting the Detroit coaching staff in 2005.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.