"There is no pistol offense," Roman told Around the League on Thursday. "It's just a formation. What we do is completely different than what everyone else does that happens to use that formation. It's just a formation we choose to use. We used it at Stanford. We won't use it some weeks, we will use it some weeks."
As Marc Sessler pointed out earlier this week, the 49ers have been using the formation more than ever in the playoffs. But Roman was quick to note during Thursday's media session that the pistol formation is just a part of the team's offense. The offensive coordinator believes the formation "enhances" the power sets that comprise the foundation of the 49ers' offense.
"We run the same stuff we did before. We just added a couple things," Roman said.
So why all the confusion about Roman's offense?
Let's face it: The football media, myself included, are not often experts in X's and O's. We see something new and we oversimplify. The 49ers' offense is very much an old-school, diverse running game that mixes the trap, power and wham plays with their new-school pistol and read-option plays.
Then again, maybe it's confusing because even Harbaugh used the phrase "Pistol offense" this week. The key takeaway from my time with Roman: He only sees pistol formation plays as a small part of what the team does. The 49ers are not running a college-style offense.
"What people don't realize is that we're totally different than all that (college) stuff," Roman said. "We like (it) when people don't know or mischaracterize our offense. It's an advantage."
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.