The San Francisco 49ers are being very thorough in their search for Jim Harbaugh's replacement, and their meeting with Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Thursday reportedly went very well.
Austin just finished his first year as Lions DC, but his impact was felt immediately. Detroit allowed the second-fewest yards and third-fewest points of any team this season, an impressive feat considering they allowed the 16th-fewest yards and 15th-fewest points just a year before.
Austin was widely praised for his role in that turnaround, and the increased attention saw him emerge as a bona fide head coaching candidate this winter. Austin has also been targeted as a possible candidate by the Bears, Falcons, and Bills. Jed York is being remarkably thorough in head head coaching search, with the 49ers looking at more potential candidates than the other teams with current coaching vacancies.
A position coach for the Ravens, Cardinals, and Seahawks before coming to Detroit, Austin was also the defensive coordinator for the Florida Gators in 2010. While Austin's interview improves his chances, the 49ers are not expected to hire a coach imminently, and there are several coordinators still involved in the playoffs who they'll want to talk to before a decision gets made.
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