San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and quarterback Alex Smith talked to the media today in preparation for this weekend's season-opener against the Seattle Seahawks. Each of them had things to say, although it's hard to say if any of it would be terribly interesting to you.
Let's start with the head coach, where the most interesting quotes had to do with Pete Carroll. (You can listen to the full audio by clicking here.) As many of you West Coast football junkies know, Carroll and Harbaugh had a testy relationship when they were respectively coaching USC and Stanford in the Pac-10. Harbaugh didn't seem too concerned about that dynamic leading up to Sunday's game though.
When you look at Seattle, do you see aspects of what you saw at USC? Do you see similarities in that team in what you saw in the Trojans?
"A well-coached team, there’s no question about it. The thing that’s always impressed me about Pete Carroll teams is the amount of scheme that they get coached and understood by their players and an answer for just about anything you do both offensively and defensively. They’re very, very good on special teams. They’re well coached top to bottom. Specifically as you look at them, as a defensive football team, that has always been the case of Pete Carroll coached teams."
What can you take scheme-wise from what you’ve experienced from the Pac-10 against Carroll?
"When they were at USC I thought that was what stood out to me, the amount of scheme that they taught to their players. Now, it’s quadrupled with what they’re doing in Seattle and what they’ve gotten done there. I think they do a great job, not only Pete but the defensive coaches.I’m really impressed with their defensive coordinator. It’s a well coached, high volume scheme on defense. Their players play really hard. They get great effort and it’s a tough football team to run inside on. They anchor with the tackles and they’ve got speed on the edges. [Seahawks S Earl] Thomas, the safety, is an outstanding player. Their corners are physical, strong guys. It’s a heck of a defense."
Can you understand the intrigue of now seeing Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll on opposite NFL sidelines after some of the battles you guys had in the Pac-10?
"Is there intrigue? Not really. I think we’re both locked in to what we’re trying to do."
So yeah, no soundbytes for you media.
Alex Smith's conference was equally vanilla. The only interesting nugget was that Michael Crabtree is practicing with the team in full-stride.
How much practice time have you had with [WR] Michael Crabtree this past week? Are you finally throwing to him?
"Got to a little bit, yeah. Got to throw with him yesterday a little bit, so that was good. It was good to see him out there running around. He’s extremely talented. He’s going to help us a ton."
The Niners could certainly use Crabtree back and make sure the offense is functioning at optimal levels.
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