49ers Blog and Q&A

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

January 15, 2014
Jim Harbaugh Q&A: Relaxed coach talks Johnny Cash and Dickies

Super-fast transcriber, Matt Kawahara, got the jump on Jim Harbaugh's Wednesday transcript today. The 49ers head coach was loose, funny and -- for him -- expansive. That tends to diminish as the week goes on, and Harbaugh is scheduled to speak Thursday and Friday, too. So enjoy....

Q: How would you describe your relationship with Pete Carroll? Is there any animosity?
A: Animosity, no. Erroneous, erroneous. It's football, it's competition, it's winning.

Q: You guys interact?
A: We've had football. Competition. Winning. That's what we've had. Great competition.

Q: Colin is a good QB. Is there an intangible that makes him stand out?
A: Yes. A-plus in all those regards in terms of intangibles. Poise, big stage never seems to bother him. And his leadership ability. Players love him, coaches love him. Work ethic off the charts. A-plus-plus.

Q: Does he have the same composure in a big game like this weekend as in a regular season game?
A: Just noticed it watching him play even going back to college when I first started watching him play. The big game, the big challenge, the big task, he has that special ability the great ones have to elevate their game in those situations.

Q: Do you have to give him stronger emphasis in the playoffs on protecting the ball?
A: We do that with the whole team, in terms of protecting the ball, daily, hourly.

Q: How so?
A: Remind them to protect the ball. Daily and hourly.

Q: When it comes to protecting the ball against Seattle, what are the biggest challenges?
A: The Seattle defense is looking to get the ball at all times, create turnovers in any situation, generate them on all downs. They're looking to take the ball away.

Q: Why have they had success in the past doing that against Colin?
A: Well some they have, some they haven't in previous matchups.


Q: Do you feel Aldon's performance and behavior since his return justifies the way you handled his situation with the arrest?
A: I feel very good for Aldon. He's carried the water, the biggest share himself. There's been a lot of people that have helped, he's got a great family, his mother and father, A-plus-plus. He's handling his business. We all tend to forget the reason we got smart is because we learned from our mistakes. And that's how you get smart, by learning from your mistakes. He's been really good as a teammate and on the field he's been outstanding. Teams that want to block Aldon Smith one on one are whistling Dixie. That's the way he's playing right now. Therefore he's getting quite a bit of double teams, shifts, help from the backs and the tight ends. He's playing very well.

Q: In two games in Seattle Colin has had his struggles. What makes you think this one will be different?
A: Uh, our preparation is what we'll lean on for every game that we play. And have a great day of practice today, meetings have been outstanding, we're trying to make those the best of the season. Make our practice the best of the year. Make our drills the best drilsl we've had all season. That's wehre you get confidence from.

Q: How early did you notice Boldin taking a leadership role here?
A: How early on? I don't remember exactly. But early on.

Q: Is that rare for someone to come in and assert that right away?
A: Anquan Boldin is a valuable, valuable player and every player should aspire to practice and play the game of football like Anquan Boldin. So it doesn't take guys long to see that. It's not saying anything, it's the actions of him doing. And you'd be pretty unaware not to notice it.

Q: Is being a tough guy important at the receiver spot, especially on this team? Is that a different thing in him?
A: Different than ...

Q: Another receiver.
A: Well, I mean, there's a lot of tough receivers out there, there's a lot of good receivers, a lot of good players. He's a great player as well.

Q: Last year Randy Moss said he wasn't that happy with his role. Has that role changed because of Anquan, the receiver other than Crabtree?
A: Um, well first of all I don't even know what you're referring to. I don't remember him saying that. He never said that to me. Maybe he said that to you but he didn't say it to me. And to go any further. ... Anquan Boldin, my goodness, he's been a valuable, valuable player. He's a real football player. Of course we're going to utilize him.

Q: Jim your offense does a lot of pre-snap motion, how tough is that in Seattle with the noise?
A: There's tough things about communication in a loud stadium, on the road. ... But tough, this is only for the tough, this kind of game, this point in the season. And our guys are very happy about it, they're very excited, very much looking forward to this being a lot of fun. This kind of game, I was thinking of the things I would trade to be able to compete as a player in this game. It's pretty significant.

Q: What would you trade?
A: There's a lot.

Q: If Carlos is healthy does he go back to his old role?
A: You can't just - there's a subset of questions other than the question will Carlos start if he's ready to play. In terms of do you come back at 100 percent, 90 percent, 95 percent, that all will be determined on the practice field, those subset of questions will be answered out there.

Q: So those four cornerbacks, there'll be competition to figure out those roles?
A: We'll practice and the players that we feel give us the best opportunities in certain situations, nickel, dime, base, we'll play them there.

Q: Would you trade a house?
A: Oh easy, yeah. I thought you were going to be tough, like a body part. Would I do without my left arm or one eye? I was kind of going to those extremes.

Q: Would you go Ronnie Lott and trade a finger?
A: Oh, easy. That would be an easy decision. Could I play with just one eye?

Q: Would you trade Frank Gore?
A: No, what would I give up myself personally.

Q: Would you give up your college degree?
A: To play in this game?

Q: Yeah.
A: Yes. I was thinking, like a body part. Could I do without an arm?

Q: What would you get from playing in it that you won't get from coaching in it?
A: Well there's nothing better than playing. Coaching is the second-best thing, because you are competing.

Q: What commonalities do you see in your game and Colin's and do you think the NFL has developed in a way that your skills would be even more valuable if you were coming out now?
A: There's a lot to think about there, too many layers for me right now. And I don't think it's that relevant to what we're trying to do this week. So maybe for a later time.

Q: What's been missing for your team on the road in Seattle?
A: We're spending the time getting ready for this game and preparing to play our very beset and that's what it's going to take. We're going to play our very best football against a real quality team in a tough environment. We're spending more time thinking about that, answering those questions, than going back six months or 12 months, 13 months.

Q: You've done something no coach has ever done, three straight years in the NFC title game. If you lose Sunday, how do you characterize this year?
A: We've always taken the approach that no matter what you did and no matter how good it is, no matter what you did last week or two weeks ago or yesterday, if you're still talking about that then you haven't done anything today. So we're trying to do something great today. We're trying to do as much as we can possibly fit in today to make ourselves better so tonight when our head hits the pillow, we look back on the day and feel joy that we made today better than tomorrow. We're better today than we were tomorrow. And our goal will be to be better tomorrow than we were today.

Q: You've spoken about your admiration for Frank. How soon did you develop that?
A: The very first time I talked to him was right up on that balcony right there, never forget that, about a half-hour conversation and I really felt like I walked away knowing a lot about Frank Gore. It's been daily, hourly, since then. My admiration is high admiration. Every time I think it's ten out of ten in that regard, he finds another rung on the ladder. I think he is a mystical man, I think he sees things that we don't see. He's got a spiritual connection and he can be inward, he can think about things or he can walk up and down the sideline and talk to anybody on the sideline. We're showered with his attributes and his character and just the kind of man he is.

Q: What's the most interesting question he's asked you?
A: I'll think about that and let you know.

Q: What are your thoughts on Marshawn Lynch?
A: Outstanding. Consistently been great, game after game, and huge task for us and challenge for our defense, that that's the kind of competitive struggle that we all anticipate and that's what makes it just so much darn fun.

Q: Vic Fangio said Aldon's attitude has been really great since he returned. Have you noticed a difference?
A: Yeah I would have to agree with that. I concur. Been very good as a teammate, as a friend. Strong guy.

Q: Practice this week, what can you tell us about what you're preaching, emphasizing?
A: Not so much. Don't see the advantage to saying that right now.

Q: What kind of tone would you like to set in Seattle?
A: I don't know about tones. Setting tones. What is that exactly?

Q: That means do you need to go in and be physical right away?
A: No desire to talk about ....

Q: How have tough road environments the last two weeks helped your team prepare for this week?
A: Tough situations. I think it builds a callous for the football team. Been in a lot of situations, been in a lot of venues and think that helps build a callous on a football team. We've been everywhere, man. Reno, Chicago ...

Q: Going back to Colin's college career, the Boise State game, do you remember what you saw in that tape?
A: Yes that was one of many games that I saw him play and was really impressed. But that kind of stage, that kind of big game, cream rising to the top definitely.

Q: Your relationship with Richard Sherman?
A: Yeah great memories of Richard Sherman when we were teammates at Stanford University. And now we're adversaries, competitors. But I still wish Richard great success and happiness in his career. I can't wish him luck this week because we're playing him. But great memories, fond memories of Richard.

Q: Sarah on the radio show ...
A: (missed the first part) ... The Levi's, the Nike and the Dickey makes a flat khaki. So happy wife, happy life. As far as tucking in the shirt, though, if I'm the last person that tucks in their shirt that'll be great, I'll feel like an innovator.

Q: Those didn't cost $8 though?
A: These Dickies cost $23. They were on sale.

-- Matt Kawahara



MATTHEW 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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