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San Francisco 49ers: Who Will Be the Offensive Coordinator for the Harbaugh Era?

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 14:  Quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave of the Atlanta Falcons directs play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers  at the Georgia Dome on December 14, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Casey CrailCorrespondent IJanuary 8, 2011

Almost 24 hours ago, Jim Harbaugh was announced to be the San Francisco 49ers 18th head coach in franchise history.

After a few dramatic weeks in which the 49ers, Miami Dolphins, Michigan Wolverines and his old team, Stanford Cardinals, all were thought to be the favorites for Harbaugh's services in 2011, Jed York hit his much-needed home run.

Yesterday Harbaugh was introduced to the media and revealed a number of important things about the 49ers future.

He stated that he would be involved in the play calling, and that the West Coast offense would be re-adapted by San Francisco.

The question now is who will be the offensive coordinator for next season.

Mike Johnson has been improving steadily since taking over for Jimmy Raye in Week 3; however a new coach and a new scheme almost certainly means a new coordinator. Unless Harbaugh thinks Johnson would be good in converting schemes, he will likely be unemployed soon enough.

David Shaw was Harbaugh's OC in Stanford, but it is being speculated that he is likely to take over as Stanford's head coach.

A likely unpopular candidate would be ex-Vikings head coach Brad Childress. "Chilly" has experience with the WCO during his tenure as the Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator. Though Andy Reid called the plays, Childress would bring experience that could help a first-year head coach.

Josh McDaniels is getting a lot of attention from teams in need of an OC; however earlier this week McDaniels stated he was not interested in being the 49ers head coach, so him coming to the Bay Area to be a coordinator seems a bit unlikely.

Bill Musgrave is the quarterbacks coach for the top team in the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons. Recently promoted to assistant coach, Musgrave could have no desire to leave. However, if Harbaugh likes him, he could make him the coordinator and give him an assistant job similar to the one he has in Atlanta.

Musgrave would be a good fit because he developed Matt Ryan into an ideal franchise quarterback, and the Falcons run the WCO. Also, Musgrave has ties to the Niners as a player from 1991-1994.

Nothing can be determined until it becomes clear if Harbaugh likes Mike Johnson or wants to name his own coordinator. There should be plenty of options if Johnson is relieved, and Harbaugh should look for someone with experience with the WCO and developing quarterbacks.

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