Fans of the San Francisco 49ers and football aficionados everywhere have been taking note of the great work Jim Harbaugh has done with essentially the same team that Mike Singletary had, turning them into a 5-1, division-leading squad hopefully on their way to the playoffs. As for Coach Harbaugh, he's taking nothing for granted, keeping no laurels to rest on, and loving every minute of it as he prepares his team for the Cleveland Browns after the bye week. Coach took some time to talk with Murph & Mac on KNBR recently about the team's hype, their defensive effort, and fourth-quarter road comebacks.
Coach Harbaugh is making sure not to buy into the hype surrounding his team, even though the majority of people elsewhere may already be doing so:
Are you feeling the buzz around the 49ers around town?:
"We really just kind of live in a cocoon here and make it about the next challenge. ... You definitely do see the trophies when you walk into the building and it fires you up every single day and you know the bar is set extremely high here. But it's also important to keep an eye on what we can do to reach that level. It takes quite a bit of focus. That's what I mean when we're concentrating and living in a cocoon."
Have you talked to your guys about the added national hype or expectations surrounding your team?:
"Yes, it's something that we talk about as a team and have been for weeks, going back to training camp. Not to feel the hype, not to walk into the trap. The cheese is there and you see it and let's not walk into the trap and have it be sprung on us."
Harbaugh loves him some euphemisms.
As for the 49ers defense, Harbaugh explained his reasoning for calling last Sunday's game against the Lions the best defensive performance he'd ever seen:
You said after the game that it was the best defensive performance you've ever seen. Do you still believe that a couple days later?:
"It was definitely the most exciting game that I think I've ever been a part of or watched. ... There were 16 series in the game, which is a lot, and our defense had three-and-outs or one first down and out on 11 occasions, nine of them being three-and-outs, against an outstanding offensive team. ... We were 15 out of 17 we got off the field on third down."
Yeah, that's decent.
Harbaugh was asked about Alex Smith joining the ranks of Joe Montana in the 49ers history books as well:
What do you think when you hear that Alex Smith is the first 49ers quarterback since Joe Montana to lead three fourth-quarter comebacks on the road?:
"I wasn't aware of that. I was aware that he's had three fourth-quarter comebacks, all on the road. ... I think it just puts a punctuation mark on the fact that you don't have those kind of comebacks on the road unless the quarterback is playing well and contributing in the fourth quarter. Alex has done that. He's our guy and he's done an outstanding job. It's something to really build on and we'll attempt to do that."