49ers Blog and Q&A

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

September 9, 2011
Harbaugh has an extra set of eyes at practice

Jim Harbaugh had an extra set of eyes at 49ers practice this week. They belonged to his dad, Jack Harbaugh, a 43-year coaching veteran who recently suffered a ruptured disc in his lower back but who gutted it out on the practice field this week. (The elder Harbaugh said that every now and then he'd watch from the comfort of a golf cart.)


"Tremendously impressed," Jack, 72, said of what he saw. "I'm impressed with the players. I'm impressed with the work ethic. You can just see a passion for the game."

Jack said that both of his sons - older son John coaches the Ravens -- routinely send him DVDs of games to get his perspective. In fact, Jim also sent him some footage of the 49ers' practices this summer.

But after Jim was hired by the 49ers in January, Jack said there was a bit of a change in how open both sons were to sharing information. It used to be that he was welcomed with open arms in coaching meetings. Nowadays? Jack's access isn't so free.

"Loose lips sink ships," Jack said with a smile. "Don't tell them anything."

Odds & Ends

* Jim Harbaugh said that he will be the one relaying plays from offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who will be in the coaches' booth, to the radio receiver in Alex Smith's helmet. Quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst handled that task in the first three preseason games while Harbaugh did it in the fourth. Harbaugh said it will allow him to take part in the play-calling duties just as he did at Stanford.

* Safety Dashon Goldson (knee) did not practice this week and is listed as doubtful on the injury report. With another safety, Reggie Smith, just returning to practice from his own knee injury, the starting job will fall to Madieu Williams. Williams should be as well-versed as any 49er in what the Seahawks are doing on offense having spent the last three seasons in Minnesota. Three key components of the Seahawks offense - coordinator Darrell Bevell, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and receiver Sidney Rice - came from the Vikings. Rice (shoulder) and guard Robert Gallery are doubtful to play Sunday.

* Harbaugh said there was a lot to like about Scott Tolzien, the rookie quarterback the 49ers picked up this week. He's smart, he was a winner at Wisconsin and he had a certain work ethic and love of football that Harbaugh appreciated. "He's always the first one out of the locker room," Harbaugh said. He said the 49ers considered drafting Tolzien late, then made him a priority free agent when he wasn't drafted.

* Michael Crabtree (foot) practiced all week, and Harbaugh said he figures to play at least some on Sunday. How much will he play? Loose lips sink ships.

-- 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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