Posts Tagged ‘49ers coaching staff’

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Recently, I came across a scathing article by Jeff Pearlman, a columnist for, in a feature he did for Esquire.  If you are an Alex Smith “hater”, you will revel in it’s repugnant nature.   However, if you are anything like me, you are excited about the efforts of this year’s squad, and in particular, the back story concerning how much hardship Smith has undergone in order to reach the level of play he has attained today.

There is so much that goes into putting together a winning team, let alone a successful offense that doesn’t detract from your efforts to win games by turning the ball over or squandering scoring opportunities.  It just seems that, with the evolution of fantasy football, the 400 yard, 3 touchdown performance is the only thing that people value anymore.

Here are a few jabs from the author.  First, in regards to Smith’s transformation this season:

In the best season of his seven-year career, the 49ers quarterback has been repeatedly — and enthusiastically — praised as “smart,” “adaptive,” “instinctive,” and “an excellent game manager.” All of which are ear-friendly descriptions, and all of which mean the exact same thing: For a crap player, this guy hasn’t fully embarrassed himself. In other words, that Alex Smith kid really can’t throw or run, but the Niners sure have found ways around it!

Then on to his performance on Monday Night Football against the Pittsburgh Steelers:

Smith delivered what Smith has all season, a series of dinks, dunks, and dils (a word I just invented — Definition: to throw a ball in the manner of former Vikings quarterback Steve Dils). Blessed with Davis, as well as receivers Michael Crabtree and Ted Ginn and the otherworldly running of Frank Gore (as well as a coveted position in the NFC West, the most dreadful division in the recent history of organized sports), Smith doesn’t have to accomplish much to win. And that’s important, because he’s incapable of accomplishing much.

Save another time – my argument against the fallacious reasoning supported by arguments (like this one) that the NFC West is some downtrodden version of what everyone believes is true competition.  Finally, he trivializes Smith’s role as a player who simply does what is asked of him:

Though a nation’s longing eyes turn toward Tebow, they should be focused upon Smith, an average man doing average things for an excellent team. When Coach Jim Harbaugh tells Smith to roll out and throw a three-yard screen to Gore, he does so. When Harbaugh tells Smith to hit Crabtree five yards out on a slant, he does so, too. The whole thing is uncomplicated and precisely scripted, the updated version of NFL Quarterbacking for Dummies.

You can read the entire article here.

Really, Pearlman?

That final line … “The whole thing is uncomplicated and precisely scripted, the updated version of NFL Quarterbacking for Dummies” … it really doesn’t sit well with me.  It’s like he is holding in contempt the whole idea of quarterbacking and team oriented football that we, as 49ers fans, have been trying to get back to for years.

I prefer to look to someone a bit more knowledgeable on the subject than Pearlman for inspiration.  In fact, I’ll go straight to the God Father of modern offensive football, and the architect of this once proud 49ers franchise – Bill Walsh – to decide if Smith and the 49ers apparently should be doing more than what the coaches ask them to do.

In his book, Finding the Winning Edge, Coach Walsh described how the impetus for the West Coast Offense came about when he was a coach with the Cincinnati Bengals:

“We decided that our best chance to win football games was to somehow control the ball. As a result, we devised a ball-control passing game in hopes that if we could make 25 first downs in a given game and if we also had good special teams play, we would have a reasonable chance to stay competitive in the ball game, In the process, hopefully something good would happen”

Hmm? … sounds like a game manager is exactly what this system calls for … and this sure sounds like the blueprint for Jim Harbaugh’s overall philosophy this year.

I remember when Joe Montana was labeled as a “system quarterback” who was only able to flourish due to the dink and dunk style, which ultimately led to the “finesse” label.

Who knows what Joe would have been without Walsh and his “system”?

4 Super Bowl Championships say that it doesn’t matter.

The strides that the 49ers offense makes this year to next will speak volumes about whether or not Smith will become the next “system quarterback” to flourish in the West Coast Offense.

For now, I think the only thing that will quell some of the intense criticism of a man that simply, “does what is asked of him”, is a trip to, and victory in Super Bowl XLVI.

And that is what I am rooting for…

After all, the “West Coast Offense amounts to nothing more than a total attention to detail and an appreciation for every facet of offensive football and refinement of those things that are needed to provide an environment that allows people to perform at their maximum levels of self-actualization” (Walsh ’98).

I don’t know, but it seems that most of these players (this TEAM) have encountered that environment that Walsh describes – here and now – with Harbaugh and this staff (who will throw all the credit back to the players).

I would say that many players are realizing their full potential and I am excited to see more as the season unfolds.  And, I hope to see more players doing simply what is asked of them.


It was tough going watching the 49ers lose against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

I’ll leave the armchair analysis for the bloggers and know-it-alls.  It’s amusing to reflect back on some of the early criticisms of this year’s squad.  Remember when they were “winning ugly” by forcing the running game, playing smart field position football and relying on the defense? All I remember hearing was, “oh, the 49ers can’t win if a team takes away the run and forces Alex Smith to beat you,” and then Smith effectively “managed” the offense to a victory against the surging Giants.  It still wasn’t enough.  Steve Young went on local radio and lamented that they needed to “just throw the ball 40 times to see what happens … open up the offense.”  The team continued to win, but often not in spectacular enough fashion, for some self important critics, err, journalists.  Smith’s stats weren’t good enough, Crabtree wasn’t getting the ball enough, Davis was misused … they relied too much on the defense, they didn’t protect the passer.  The venerable Lowell Cohn of the Press Democrat, after the loss to the Ravens, asserted that the 49ers could not take anything positive from a loss.  He must know because of all the experience he has in coaching and leading men the way Harbaugh and his staff have this year.  And then this week after the Cardinals game, some were upset when Harbaugh was not buddy/buddy with the media and their probes about red zone woes, go-to players, and play-calling in crucial situations.  For me, Harbaugh said exactly what I expected him to say.  He addressed his team’s issues as exactly that.  The team’s issues.  It was more important for him to communicate that the 49ers would take accountability from within.  The message was clear when the only player to speak with the media was punter, Andy Lee.  They are going to get to work on fixing their problems so they can continue to improve as they approach the playoffs rather than sit around the locker room answering the same questions over and over.  They key is doing versus talking.  And I would much rather see them do then talk any day.  Unfortunately, for some, that’s just not good enough.

It’s refreshing to see good reporting when you do see it, however.  Instead of complaining about the lack of information, and spewing out negativity about how the 49ers season is doomed, one long time beat writer, Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News, did some actual reporting.  He got outside the box and went back to 49er roots to get some perspective on this week’s loss and this year’s team in his article titled, “Eddie DeBartolo likes this San Francisco 49ers team — a lot.”

Reading his article reinforced my feeling that the 49ers are still on the right track during this turn-around season, despite the pride swallowing loss to the Cards this weekend.  To keep things in perspective and provide some compelling parallels to the dynasties that were the 49ers of the ’80’s and ’90’s , Kawakami reached out to the one and only Eddie DeBartolo Jr, the former 49er architect of those momentous years.

The good part of regular talks with Eddie DeBartolo Jr. is that every time I call him, it’s like picking up right in the middle of a crackling conversation.

The entertaining and challenging part is that occasionally it’s like picking up in the middle of a conversation he started on his own 20 minutes earlier.

Take Monday for example, when he said hello, paused for about .2 seconds, then launched into his feelings about the 49ers’ surprising loss to Arizona on Sunday.

“What happened yesterday is the same thing that happened to me, Bill (Walsh), Steve (Young) and Joe (Montana) — just exactly like that,” DeBartolo said by phone from his office in Tampa, Fla.

“That happened to us so many times in Phoenix, it’s unbelievable. We’d go down there, and we had the better team, and they’d just pop up and come up with games.”

For example, the 49ers lost in Arizona in 1988, which didn’t derail their march to a Super Bowl title, the third of five won in the Eddie D era.

The important point, DeBartolo said, is that his nephew Jed York hired Jim Harbaugh and now the 2011 49ers are set up to win tough playoff games.

“They are so much better than our 1981 team,” DeBartolo said of the first, epic 49ers Super Bowl team.

“Now, in ’84, and ’88 and ’89, and ’94, we had really good football teams. Defensively and offensively. I can’t compare (this year’s team) to that.

“But this year didn’t surprise me a bit. I told you last year they were going to be good.”

Indeed, a year ago almost exactly, DeBartolo told me that the 49ers had a strong roster but that his nephew had to make some important decisions.

Back then, Eddie D said he knew Jed York could do it. Now, DeBartolo is a proud uncle and pleased football patriarch.

Despite the issues with the league and the law that pushed him to sell the 49ers to his sister Denise DeBartolo York, Eddie D will always be an important voice in sports.

And recently he made it for a second year as a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But more to the point, because he’s close to Jed and is the only 49ers owner to win the Lombardi Trophy, when it comes to his views of this 49ers generation, DeBartolo is essential.

“Jed’s done a good job. He’s stood back; he did what he had to do in hiring the coach,” DeBartolo said. “Gave (general manager Trent) Baalke the responsibility.

“And he kept his father (John York) the hell out of the picture.”

OK, let’s backtrack a bit. This team, which has clinched the NFC West but hasn’t won a playoff game, is already better than the 1981 49ers, maybe the most beloved team in Bay Area history?

“Hell yeah,” DeBartolo said. “All in all, they’re a better team than ’81.

“Our ’81 team, Joe was just a kid then. Ronnie (Lott) and those guys, they were good, but they didn’t have the experience that this defense has. And the offense, too.

“This team has Frank Gore. We had Lenvil Elliott, we had Earl Cooper — good solid players but nowhere near Frank Gore. My god, he just broke the (franchise all-time rushing) record.”

Now to the obvious linkage from 2011 to 1981 …

In 1979, after a fitful start to his tenure, young owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. hired Bill Walsh after Walsh’s short, successful run at Stanford, and a few years later the 49ers were champions.

Now, after overseeing some tough 49ers seasons, young Jed York hired Jim Harbaugh from Stanford and has a 10-3 team.

“Of course, it’s reminiscent,” DeBartolo said. “(But) I think that Coach Harbaugh is different than Bill in a lot of ways. He’s way more intense.

“Bill kept a lot inside of him. Bill’s intensity, he kept to himself. He was an inner-intense man. But they’re alike in a lot of ways, too.”

So make no mistake, Eddie D believes this team has a shot at a Super Bowl run. And he’s definitely paying attention to the way the 49ers measure up against Green Bay, New Orleans and the other NFC contenders.

“If any team has the makeup to go in there in adverse weather conditions and play that Green Bay machine and beat them, I think the 49ers can,” DeBartolo said.

But the 49ers need the first-round bye, DeBartolo emphasized. Which brings us back to Sunday’s loss.

“Yesterday’s game, eh,” DeBartolo said. “They clinched the division (the week before). Come on, you know as well as I do it was a down position to be in.

“Now they should’ve won the game. But believe me, that doesn’t have a whole lot of effect on the team.”

He should know. In fact, he’s still thinking about it.

That’s what made him the owner he was, and why he has such credibility now when he says the 49ers are close to getting back to what they were.


Greg Roman in the trenches with the offensive line at Stanford.

I found a good article profiling 49ers new offensive coordinator, Greg Roman.  First, a few quick facts about Coach Roman:

  • During his time at Stanford with Coach Jim Harbaugh, Roman served in several different capacities including tight ends coach, offensive tackles/running game coordinator, and associate Head Coach/assistant head coach offense (Source).
  • The new offensive coordinator also has experience coaching on the defensive side of the ball, when, early in his career, he was a defensive quality control/strength & conditioning assistant and defensive assistant with the Carolina Panthers from 1995-1996 (Source).
  • In his early years he was able to form a relationship with legendary Cincinnati Bengals coach and owner, Paul Brown, who was also one of Bill Walsh’s coaching mentors (Source).
  • Roman learned the west coast offense under George Seifert from 1999 to 2001 and most recently with Harbaugh at Stanford in 2009 and 2010 (Source).

49ers’ Greg Roman: Up through the ranks by Eric Branch from The Press Democrat:

He was a 5-foot-8 nose guard from a single-parent, cash-strapped family who earned his first paycheck long before he got his first pair of jeans.

More Information:

In other words, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman was different from many of his teammates at John Carroll University. Thanks to academic scholarships, Roman landed at the Division III college due to his intellect. But it was his over-the-top intensity that raised eyebrows.

The pricey, private Catholic school in suburban Cleveland wasn’t exactly overpopulated with hardscrabble East Coast kids.

At one point, John Carroll coach Tony DeCarlo placed a call to Dr. Ken Leistner, Roman’s tough-love surrogate father in East Rockaway, N.Y. DeCarlo didn’t know if there might be a problem. Greg, he explained, wasn’t a typical John Carroll kid.

Looking back, DeCarlo says Roman “settled down in a hurry” and became one of his all-time favorite players. For his part, Leistner, a legendary strength coach whose no-nonsense guidance helped shape his surrogate son, laughs at the memory.

“It was like they dropped a New York-New Jersey kid into a relatively genteel atmosphere in the Midwest and a bomb went off,” Leistner said. “It was all positive. But it was like ‘Is this guy for real? Is he really 110-miles-an-hour, 24 hours a day?’ Well, yeah. He is.”

Two decades later, Roman, 38, has smoothed out his rough edges, but his drive and determination haven’t diminished. In fact, it’s clear the qualities that willed him into becoming a Lilliputian all-conference nose guard have fueled his rise through the NFL coaching ranks.

Sixteen years after breaking in as an unpaid assistant strength and conditioning coach with the expansion Panthers, Roman is in his first season as an NFL offensive coordinator.

And speak to Roman’s bosses and colleagues — past and present — and a steady drumbeat explains how the NFC’s third-youngest offensive coordinator has gone from there to here.

Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers, his boss in Carolina and Houston, labels Roman a “grinder.”

Niners coach Jim Harbaugh terms him a “jackhammer.”

Bengals strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton, an 18-year NFL veteran whom Roman worked under in Carolina, calls him “one of the hardest-working coaches I’ve ever seen.”

And former Ravens coach Brian Billick says his onetime assistant offensive line coach is as gritty as the grunts he tutored in the trenches.

“Greg has built a career out of ‘OK, you best not underestimate me because I’ll kick your ass,’” Billick said.

Roman’s rugged ethos was born out of his childhood in Ventnor, N.J.

The youngest of three brothers, Roman’s parents divorced before he was born and he never had a relationship with his father, who is deceased. His mom, Carol, was a reading specialist who worked baby-sitting jobs after school to support the family.

John Roman, now 42 and a United States Attorney in Pennsylvania, and Greg often cared for Matthew, their middle brother who has Down’s syndrome. And as John entered high school, those responsibilities increasingly fell to Greg, who prepared Matthew’s meals, got him to bed and, later, became immersed in his Special Olympics activities.

Greg also took on responsibilities outside the house. Before he was 10, he began rising at 5:30 a.m. to deliver the Atlantic City Press, the first of a string of jobs he held as a child. During summers, he was a runner on the Jersey Shore — crisscrossing the beach to restock the ice-cream containers of distinctly Jersey salesmen such as “Leo the Lion.”

The money went to his family and later allowed Greg to attend a private high school — a reflection of his mom’s emphasis on education.

Roman doesn’t look back with much outward angst. He matter-of-factly explains that he didn’t own his first pair of jeans until he was in college. As an athlete, he says, he just wore sweatpants. It helped that his family was exceptionally close and remains so today.

“We didn’t have a lot,” Roman said, “but we had plenty.”

Thanks to his uncle, Jack Clary, Roman did have a unique opportunity that sparked his passion for football.

Clary is an award-winning author of more than 50 sports books, including co-writing an autobiography of legendary NFL coach and owner Paul Brown. Due to his uncle’s connection, Roman, starting at 11, was a go-fer for Brown, the Bengals president, during several of Cincinnati’s training camps. In high school, he shagged the Bengals’ practice kicks in Miami leading up to Cincinnati’s loss to the 49ers in the Super Bowl of January 1989. In college, he sat with Brown in his luxury box during several Bengals games.

Brown enjoyed the engaging, fire-hydrant-shaped kid he affectionately termed his “Little Chunk.” And Roman learned from one of the league’s greatest innovators.

Inspired by the relationship, Roman became a voracious reader of football books, many of them coaching tomes on legends such as John Ralston, Tom Landry and, of course, Paul Brown. Roman’s collection has grown to over 500, causing him to recently Super Glue one of his sagging bookshelves at home.

“I got exposed to one of the true icons of football and I got to see how this guy went about his business,” Roman said of Paul Brown. “It gave me a real clear idea of what you could be. That was always a motivating kind of flashpoint for me in my life. It was always in the back of my mind that I would get into coaching.”

Another seismic shift in Roman’s life occurred when Clary met with Leistner, Greg’s soon-to-be surrogate father, through a mutual friend. Leistner, a longtime strength consultant to the NFL and a licensed chiropractor, has trained NFL players and a legion of New York inner-city youths.

Clary mentioned his nephew needed a strong male figure in his life and Leistner, who was abandoned at birth and adopted, quickly bonded with the 13-year-old. Greg began visiting Leistner and his family on weekends. Then holidays. Then he spent the summers with the Leistners during college, bringing teammates to work out and prepare for the upcoming season with “Dr. Ken.”

Greg was soon calling his mentor “pops” — what Leistner’s three children called their dad. Leistner and his wife, Kathy, didn’t blink. Greg, they explained to those who asked, was their son.

Leistner immediately recognized the bitterness and life-isn’t-fair outlook developing in Greg. He counseled him to draw strength from his past and not let it sabotage his future.

“I tried to make him understand, there’s no free ride,” Leistner said. “If you screw up, all people know is that you screwed up. You could have a legitimate reason or you could be a crybaby … So complete your task, do what you’ve got to do, do it to the best of your ability and shut up. That’s essentially what he got from me. And that’s what he needed. He responded very, very well.”

At John Carroll, Roman became a two-year starter as an athletically challenged 5-foot-8, 255-pound nose guard, earned a 3.5 GPA and had a consulting job during his final semester of college. Inspired by Matthew, he founded Project H.O.P.E., a one-day event in which developmentally disabled children met with John Carroll students and participated in sports. The annual event is still being held at the school.

Stanford special teams coordinator Brian Polian, who was two years behind Roman in college, said his mentoring of younger players, exhaustive film study and passion for the game hinted at his future in coaching.

“Even by Division III standards, he was undersized for a defensive lineman,” Polian said. “But the guy made up for it with a desire to be great. And that came through in Greg’s approach to everything he did.”

After college, Morton, who had met Roman through Leistner, called with a proposal. He was the strength and conditioning coach of the expansion Panthers. Did Greg want to become his assistant?

Roman ditched his consulting job and entered the NFL on the ground floor, which he mopped as part of his weight-room duties. He didn’t get a paycheck, but Morton recalls the Panthers gave him a pair of shorts and a used T-shirt.

Roman didn’t have a burning desire to be a strength coach, but Carolina’s coaching staff wasn’t complete. He volunteered to be a defensive quality control coach — a second job that resulted in 120-hour work weeks and highlighted his drive and confidence.

What gave him the belief he was remotely qualified to jump into NFL coaching?

“I was going to make it work,” Roman said. “I was going to go in and just make everyone else’s jobs easier. At that time, it was just producing work. Drawing cards. Learning how to break down film. Helping produce playbooks. All the while trying to learn about coaching. I didn’t sleep much in those days.”

And when he did, he usually did so at the facility. After his alarm clock failed him one morning, he enlisted Dr. Ken to begin calling him daily at 5 a.m. from New York.

In his first year, he was part janitor, part strength coach and a full-time work-producer for Capers, one of the most detail-obsessed coaches in a profession stuffed with Type-A personalities. Capers, for example, has kept a color-coded daily journal since 1982, which includes everything from coaching notes to his resting pulse rate.

“Greg is my type of guy,” Capers said. “That first year we started giving him projects and he would take them and go above and beyond with them. I always tell our young guys, do such a good job that at the end of the day we say, we can’t do without this guy. And that’s what happened with Greg.”

Impressing Capers was one hurdle. In his second year, Roman, elevated to defensive assistant, faced a more daunting challenge: Commanding respect from stars that were in the NFL before he was in high school.

In 1996, Roman, 23, helped coach a linebacker corps that included Sam Mills, 37 and Kevin Greene, 34 — a duo that had accounted for seven Pro Bowl appearances.

Roman’s baptism-by-fire coaching philosophy: Greg, you better be right. According to Greene, he was.

“You knew he was a young kid, but nevertheless he was standing tall and holding people accountable for their work,” Greene said. “I just thought this kid was going to one day move on and eventually do something special.”

Greene is among countless players who have seen another side of the workaholic coach’s personality through Roman’s relationship with his developmentally-disabled brother.

Matthew Roman, now 40, still lives with his mom in New Jersey, but he’s been a regular companion at practices, team meals and game-day bus trips during Greg’s five-team, 16-year journey.

Former NFL tight end Billy Miller, whom Roman coached with the Texans, says witnessing the interaction between Greg and Matthew had a profound impact.

“Just watching Greg really changed my perspective,” Miller said. “Matthew was there all the time and Greg always made time for him. He was never a burden … As a society, when we see someone with Down’s syndrome, we feel like we have to talk slower. Or we have to lower our standards and expectations. Greg didn’t. He treated him like his brother. He gave him hugs and kisses and it was special for me to see that.”

Roman, who has done an internship in Washington, D.C., for the Special Olympics, says Matthew has provided life-altering lessons in loyalty, perspective and unconditional love. In return, Matthew has flourished, thanks, in part, to Greg’s lifelong support.

Matthew has worked at the Shore Mall for the past 14 years, first at an Auntie Anne’s Pretzel stand and, more recently, at a children’s museum where he became its first disabled employee.

Clary, their uncle, says the brothers’ relationship is, well, normal. Matthew has complained that “Gregory is too bossy. I can do what I want.”

“He’s got a great vocabulary,” Clary said. “He’s got a great sense of humor and he sees things and puts things into his own perspectives, which are damn interesting. I give Greg a lot of credit for that because he really took him under his wing as a kid. Greg watched over him and still does.”

Roman is fiercely proud of his brother, but he tends not to linger over the more personal areas of his life. Clary and Leistner, his two father figures, say he’s never discussed the absence of his biological father with them.

In terms of his coaching career, Roman, in keeping with Leistner’s advice to do his job and shut up, is the antithesis of a self-promoter. Universally described as a team player, Roman was initially hesitant about being interviewed for this story.

He also politely declined to have his mom or wife of nine years, Dana, interviewed. By way of explanation, he said he’d prefer to be known simply as a hard-working football coach.

“I want to be underestimated,” he said.

Why not? It’s worked out pretty well so far.

49ers GM, Trent Baalke, talks in detail to the local media about QB Colin Kaepernick’s ability to grow at the next level.  Give it a watch, and if you are a fan of offensive football in general (let alone a 49er fan), the part where he talks about Kaepernick bringing a QB driven run game to the 49ers offense is quite exciting.  You can’t help but conjure up images of Michael Vick related to the strain that he puts on a defense because of the threat that he poses in the run game.

Baalke also mentions something interesting when he alludes to the fact that they may tailor some of their offensive attack to include Kaepernick early on.  “Who’s to say that we’re not going to have him in the pistol … having some variation of that working for him,” Baalke said.

(See also: Matt Bowen’s take from the National Football Post on the 49ers ability to run the read option with Kaepernick)

Another entertaining video from is the following preview of their ‘Coach ’em up’ series.  Linebackers coach Jim Leavitt, quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst, secondary coach Ed Donatell, and special teams coordinator Brad Seely are among those featured in this clip.  Between Donatell and Seely, the staff can draw from the experience of six (6) Super Bowl Championships.  Donatell earned three (3) during his time with the Denver Broncos and Seely also accumulated three (3) under New England Patriots Head Coach, Bill Belichick.

Geep Chryst’s synopsis of Jim Harbaugh‘s coaching career and potential with the 49ers hints toward what many 49er fans may be hoping – that he is able to recreate the success he has had at each of his previous two head coaching posts.

Chryst explains what he expects based on trends Harbaugh built at the University of San Diego and Stanford:

“I knew in no short order, when he took the University of San Diego head job, that it wasn’t going to be a typical bus stop to bus stop type trip for Jim.  And, sure enough, from the University of San Diego he got hired at Stanford, which for a lot of people was quite a dramatic leap, but for Jim I think he was doing the same thing that he was doing from day one at the University of San Diego, and he’s doing the same thing here [with the 49ers], that he did day one at Stanford.”

In 2004, Harbaugh was named head coach at the University of San Diego.  There, he promptly led the Toreros to records of 7-4, 11-1, 11-1.  His first season at Stanford (2007) brought a major upset victory over 41 point favored University of Southern California, initiating a surge in the changing of the guard in the Pacific-10 Conference.  After showing moderate improvement and overachieving in his first two seasons, finishing 4-8 (2007) and 5-7 (2008), the Cardinal made a dramatic improvement in 2009, going 8-5 and being narrowly defeated by Oklahoma University in the Sun Bowl.  The improvement continued into 2010 when Harbaugh and the Cardinal finished with a school record twelve (12) victories.  His final campaign included a strong performance in a win versus Virgina Tech in the Orange Bowl, notching the school’s first ever BCS bowl victory, and finishing the year ranked 4th in both the Coaches and AP rankings (Source).

Still jonesing for more 49er breakdown and analysis?

Enjoy the following video links to catch up with Harbaugh, Baalke, and new 49er coaching staff and roster additions:

– Jim Harbaugh is featured on NFL’s Total Access in 32 Teams in 32 Days-49ers.

– Trent Baalke breaks down the latest additions to the 49er roster in Aldon Smith, Kendall Hunter and Ronald Johnson

– ‘Coach ’em up’ series focus on Secondary Coach Ed Donatell and  Quarterbacks Coach Geep Chryst.

– Official 49ers press conferences with Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman, Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio, and Special Teams Coordinator Brad Seely

– NFL Network’s feature on brothers Jim and John Harbaughs’ Thanksgiving matchup between the 49ers and Ravens.

Still want more?

– Check out’s list of news headlines here.

– Get The Bleacher Report’s stream of 49er headlines here