RE: I assume you're not going to wear a suit and tie on Sunday?**
RE: Comfortable sideline attire?
"Yeah. I'm fine with that. Yes sir, I am."
RE: When you first started thinking about coach, I remember that you tracked down Bill Walsh and asked him how to prepare for the job. What did you learn from him?
"I've got more notes from Coach [Bill] Walsh than I do any other coach. Bill Walsh was, to this day…I don't know why he took the time with me. But I remember calling him when I was in Chicago, he said, 'Hey. You fly out. I'll spend all day with you. We'll go to dinner.' He just walked me through everything. So, I'm very appreciative of him. I'm very thankful for him giving me that time."
RE: When would this have been? What year?
"Let's see. Five-and-a-half years ago."
RE: Before you got in with the Ravens?
"Yes. About six months before the Ravens thing came up. He and I were talking about it, so it was interesting."
RE: On previous Sunday's, you blend into the sidelines and concentrate on your units and your guys. Now you're going to be upfront with a lot of camera exposure. Have you thought about, especially with this being your first game, all of the attention on you?
"You know what? In all honesty, and I mean this when I say this – it's not a cop-out or anything – I'm only thinking about one thing, and that's winning the game. That's it. There are some little things in terms of our guys executing and making sure that we execute the game plan flawlessly; making sure that we match the tempo and exceed the tempo of our competitors. But, as far as the other things, the drama or whatever, when it's all said and done, it comes down to, did you win? Or did you lose? It's not about me, it's about them. The cameras may be on me, but the game is on them. So, preparation has to be ready, perfect executed and we'll let everything take care of itself."
RE: What kind of help did you get along the way from the Fritz-Pollard alliance?
"John Wooten has been a great help. I talked to John Wooten often. John was a guy that's like my grandfather or my father. He's just a wise man and he's always encouraging about things that I need to do in preparing for the job – things that I need to think about, people that I need to think about. But more importantly, just the preparation that's involved. Just be quiet, keep your nose to the grindstone and that time will come. Just make sure it doesn't come, and you're not prepared. So, that's pretty much what he's always said, and I take it and run."
RE: Have you gotten any contact since you've become head coach from your old head coach Mike Ditka?
"I have not heard directly from Coach Ditka. Just a few of my teammates that tell me 'Hey, I was talking to coach [Mike] Ditka last night. He was saying this and he was saying that about you and he's proud of you.' I will call Coach Ditka before this game as well as all of the other coaches that I've had in honor of them and I will also call Coach [Mike] Nolan. Those are my friends, those are my mentors and without them, there would be no me so I had to learn that the hard way. I am very thankful for all of my mentors. I will be contacting every one of them before this game."
RE: Who are some of the Ex-teammates that have contacted:
"Dan Hampton [and] the guys that protected me. Dan Hampton, Steve McMichael, Richard Dent, those are all my guys and of course those on the backend: Sean Gill, Leslie Frazier- those guys. Before it's all said and done they'll all call and call me all kind of names and whatever, but good stuff. They're a great group of guys."
RE: Calling you names because you're coaching the 49ers and not the [Chicago] Bears?
"Yes, [such as] 'trader', 'how could you do that'. No, but it's all in good fun. Like I said, they're a great, unique group of guys. A unique group of guys."
RE: Do you plan on making any changes to the replay challenge mechanism that's in place?
"I'm thinking about it, but I don't know yet. In all honesty, we'll figure that out as we get closer to it. All the replay and this and that, I'm not really thinking about it. I'm thinking about [the game], this is the most important thing right now, I'll get there. We talked about setting up a meeting for it and talking through, we'll get there. But that's a small part of winning the game so that's where that is."
RE: And yet that seems to be magnified in importance because that's one gesture, one act that really falls on the head coach and whether it's right or wrong, people seem to really focus on 'why did you throw that flag?' or 'why didn't you do this or that?':
"You know what, I learned this along time ago: whatever you do, somebody's got to comment about it and if I'm going to sit back and [say] 'well what are people going to think if I do this'? Ultimately what it comes down to is did you win the game or did you lose the game and [other than that], I don't care what happened. Did you win the game [or] did you lose the game. I'm sure I'm going to make some bone-head decisions. I've already said I'm going to make some bone-head decisions, get that out of the way. But there are guys that have been coaching for 20-30 years and head coaches for 20 years and they make bone-head decisions so how do I think I'm going to be any different. So I understand that going into it, but at the same time, I know where my focus needs to be and I'm not going to get lost in the peripheral, I'm going to stay right here where it really matters and that's these guys."