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News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

January 25, 2011
What's his deal? Carroll says he has no beef with Harbaugh

Pete Carroll has no beef with Jim Harbaugh, and the Seahawks coach can't understand why anyone would think otherwise. "If you write that, it's because you think that," Carroll said Tuesday at the Senior Bowl. "Because it's not true."

A casual observer might conclude the two men aren't all that fond of one another given what transpired between them in 2009. At the time, Carroll's USC Trojans were seven-time Pac-10 champions and had thumped Harbaugh's Stanford squad 45-23 the previous year. In 2009, however, Stanford not only blew the doors off of USC, Harbaugh called for a gratuitous two-point conversion late in the game after Stanford's seventh touchdown.

The final score was Stanford 55, USC 21 and the two head coaches had a testy exchange at midfield afterward. "What's your deal?" Carroll complained to Harbaugh. "What's your deal?" Harbaugh said in return.

Carroll, however, had no recollection Tuesday about the midfield meeting. "You'll have to talk to Jim about that," he said. "I don't know anything about it. I don't care about it. It means nothing to me. That meant nothing to me. The other coaches get to do whatever they want, and I don't hold anything against them. I'm not one of those guys who is looking for issues with guys. They can do whatever they want to. I don't even remember the circumstances other than we were getting our butts kicked. Other than that I don't know."

(Stanford nose tackle Sione Fua definitely remembers the exchange. He said that "What's your deal?" became a catch phrase in the Cardinal locker room. "We'd pass him in the hallway and it was like, "What's your deal, Harbaugh?" Fua also noted that Stanford's marketing department used "What's your deal" to sell tickets in 2010.

What Carroll remembers most is having a strong rivalry with Harbaugh in the Pac 10, and he said he expects that will continue in the NFC West. "He's a really good coach, and he's going to bring them a spirit and an enthusiasm the 49ers fans are going to like," he said. "I don't know him one way or the other. I think he's a really good coach, and I really respect him."

Harbaugh expected to retain assistant offensive line coach Ray Brown, but Brown has accepted the same job with the Carolina Panthers, according to a source. The Panthers asked the 49ers for permission to interview Brown, and the 49ers granted it.

Harbaugh said last week that Brown would work with both the offensive tackles and the team's tight ends. The 49ers already have two offensive line coaches, Mike Solari and Tim Drevno, and offensive coordinator Greg Roman is expected to be the primary tight ends coach.

At a shade under 6-1 and weighing 232 pounds, Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews doesn't have brother Clay's size or power. But he is still impressing observers at the Senior Bowl. One scout said that Casey Matthews showed excellent fluidity and that there are no wasted motions when he moves. Teams are looking at Matthews as an inside linebacker in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.

Among the South's quarterbacks, Florida State's Christian Ponder and TCU's Andy Dalton are starting to emerge as favorites. Scouts say Ponder's mechanics won't need much work on the next level. Dalton has a swagger that some teams are seeking, and he's been accurate with his passes early on in practice.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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