Saturday, November 24, 2007

jim harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh wasn't taught to simply try his best. That's not the way Jack Harbaugh raised his kids. Jim was told to attack every endeavor "with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind."

Harbaugh used the famous phrase after being announced as Stanford's football coach last year and he has lived up to those words. If the Sportsman of the Year went to the best coach or the best player or the best team, Harbaugh would never be in the running. But if squeezing every ounce out of yourself and those around you means anything, Harbaugh wins going away.

No coach has gotten more out of his team than Harbaugh has at Stanford, which went 1-11 last season. His success as a coach wouldn't have surprised Bill Walsh, who hand-picked Harbaugh for the job before he passed away last summer. During the seven months the two spent together, Harbaugh took notes each time they spoke, saving every play Walsh drew up on a napkin as well as the message last December that asked if he'd be interested in the Stanford job.

Everyone remembers Harbaugh's shining moment this season. In case you forgot, you can look up: "Biggest upset in college football history."

It was the culmination of everything Harbaugh had preached to his players since his first practice on The Farm: Stanford 24, USC 23.

It wasn't as if Harbaugh tiptoed into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He has poked and prodded USC coach Pete Carroll, saying Carroll would only be at USC for one more season. The comments irked Carroll, who wasn't used to being grandstanded by any coach, certainly not a rookie who should bow down to the Trojans' five-consecutive Pac-10 titles.

"There's no way I'd ever try to understand what that's about," Carroll said in response to Harbaugh's comments. "Thanks, Jim."

Yes, thanks, Jim for giving me some motivation to beat you by more than the 41-point spread. Thanks for giving USC's players a reason to play hard against a cellar-dweller with a 17-44 record over the past five years.

This was the equivalent of a nerd challenging the bully to a fight on his turf and poking fun at him in the process. But this nerd knocked him out and ended USC's 35-game home winning streak.

The mastermind behind the greatest upset in college football history was Harbaugh. Not so much for his Xs and Os, but his persona and prose. He inspired his team before the game by telling them they would win. He told them the game was their moment and all they had to do was believe in themselves and each other.

"All of our lives you're told so many things you can't do," said Harbaugh. "You're not fast enough, you're not smart enough, a thousand times no, a thousand times can't, until all the no's become meaningless."

On October 6, the Stanford players said, "Yes."
When Notre Dame visited Stanford Stadium two seasons ago, Cardinal quarterback T.C. Ostrander was in the same role he will be in today against the Irish: a backup. But that didn't prevent Ostrander from almost engineering a stunning comeback.

Ostrander replaced an injured Trent Edwards in the second half and led Stanford to a go-ahead touchdown with 1:46 left - only to see the Irish pull out the victory.

So much has changed since then. Notre Dame (2-9) has gone from Bowl Championship Series contender to national punch line, Stanford Stadium has undergone a makeover, and Jim Harbaugh - not Walt Harris - is calling the shots for the Cardinal.

But Ostrander's role is the same, although that wasn't his intention. The fifth-year senior lost his starting job when Tavita Pritchard led the Cardinal to one of college football's all-time upsets, 24-23 over USC. (Ostrander had suffered a seizure at a restaurant six days earlier).

So today it will be Pritchard behind center as Stanford (3-7) attempts to end a three-game losing streak - and snap a five-game streak against the Irish.

"As a competitor, it was obviously something I was disappointed with," Ostrander said this week about the demotion. "But, really, what I try to do mostly is block out all those emotions, because regardless of how I feel about the situation, constantly thinking about that is not going to help me play any better."

Like two years ago, Ostrander said he will be ready if



called upon.
"I take the same mentality that I've taken for the last four years, regardless if I'm starting or not," Ostrander said. "I'm going to prepare like the starter. My focus is going to be like I'm playing every play. That's the only way you can be successful."

Stanford hasn't experienced any success against Notre Dame in recent years. But that could change today. The Irish offense has sunk to depths that Stanford plunged to last season, ranking at or near the bottom of all the national statistics.

Making matters worse for Notre Dame, the Cardinal will have two of its top offensive threats back today - tailback Anthony Kimble (shoulder) and receiver Richard Sherman (suspension).

"As many weapons as you can get on the field is huge," Pritchard said.

Notre Dame has scored 96 points in its past three games - it scored 80 in its first eight - but its only victories have come against a UCLA team that was forced to use a non-scholarship quarterback and a Duke team that traditionally ranks among the worst in college football.

Still, Harbaugh believes the Irish are a special opponent.

"I don't think there is any question about that," he said. "It's a game that you're going to remember for a very long time, and that's one of the things that we've talked about with our team. You'll remember it five years, 10 years, 20 years down the road, and you want to say that you beat Notre Dame - not that you played against Notre Dame."

Harbaugh can say he did both. In his final two seasons as Michigan's quarterback, he led victories over the Irish - 20-12 in 1985 and 24-23 in '86.

"The two that I played in, we were fortunate enough to win," Harbaugh said. "And I feel good about that."

Ostrander nearly had that same feeling two years ago. With a bowl berth at stake for the Cardinal and a BCS invitation on the line for Notre Dame, Ostrander completed 11 of 15 passes for 197 yards, including a 76-yarder to Mark Bradford that set up the go-ahead touchdown.

"It was exciting," Ostrander said. "It was the last game in the (old) stadium. I felt like we were really prepared. When we went ahead at the end, I thought we had it. But they're a good team. It was frustrating."

Trailing 31-30, Notre Dame drove 80 yards for the winning touchdown. The Irish added salt to the wound last season, beating the Cardinal 31-10 at Notre Dame Stadium.

"The memories I have of those games," Bradford said, "is playing hard and basically not getting it done. Going against that team every year and not getting the win has been hard for me. This is my last chance to fight against the Irish. So I want to change the momentum and leave with a lasting memory of a win."
Jim Harbaugh
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Jim Harbaugh
Jim Harbaugh as the head coach of the Stanford Cardinal football team.
Title Head coach
College Stanford
Conference Pac-10
Team record 3�7
Born December 23, 1963 (1963-12-23) (age 43)
Place of birth Toledo, Ohio
Annual salary $750,000
Career highlights
Overall 32�13
Coaching stats
College Football DataWarehouse
1995 AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year,
1995 UPI AFL-AFC Player of the Year
Indianapolis Colts ROH
1x Pro Bowl selection (1995) stats
Playing career
2001 Michigan
Chicago Bears
Indianapolis Colts
Baltimore Ravens
San Diego Chargers
Carolina Panthers
Position QB
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
2007-present Western Kent. (Assist.)
Oakland Raiders (QBs)
San Diego
James Joseph "Jim" Harbaugh (born December 23, 1963 in Toledo, Ohio) is a former American football quarterback who played for the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers and finally the Carolina Panthers of the NFL. He was drafted by the Bears out of the University of Michigan with the 26th pick in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft.

On December 18, 2006, Harbaugh was named as the head coach of the Stanford Cardinal football team.[1]

1 College career
2 NFL career
3 Coaching career
3.1 Controversy
4 Head coaching record
5 Personal
6 References
7 External links

[edit] College career
Harbaugh was a four-year letterman at the University of Michigan and finished his college career in the top five in passing attempts, completions, completion percentage, passing yards, and touchdown passes for them. Playing for Bo Schembechler, he was a three-year starter (though he broke his arm and sat out the balance of the 1984 season) and led the Wolverines to appearances in the Fiesta and Rose Bowl games. As a junior, Harbaugh led the nation in passing efficiency and quarterbacked one of Bo Schembechler's best teams ever. The 1985 team posted a 10-1-1 record, a 27-23 win over Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl, and a #2 ranking in the final polls -- the highest finish ever for one of Schembechler's Michigan teams. As a senior in 1986, Harbaugh guided Michigan to a 11-2 record and Rose Bowl berth while earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors and finishing third in the Heisman balloting. Harbaugh was also named to the Big Ten's All-Academic team, as well as the 1986 AP and UPI All-American teams.

[edit] NFL career
Harbaugh entered the NFL as a first-round draft pick by the Chicago Bears in 1987. He played seven seasons for the Bears and passed for a career-high 3,121 yards for Chicago in 1991.

From 1994 to 1998, Harbaugh quarterbacked the Indianapolis Colts, and in 1995, achieved career highs in completion percentage (63.7) and touchdown passes (17). While with the Colts, he led the team to the AFC Championship game and came within one dropped Hail Mary pass of taking the Colts to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1970. In 1995, he was voted to the Pro Bowl, was named Comeback Player of the Year and AFC Player of the Year, and was runner-up in the NFL MVP voting. With the Colts, Harbaugh completed 746 of 1,230 passes for 8,705 yards and 49 touchdowns and won the NFL passer rating title in 1995 with a rating of 100.7. In January 2005, Jim was inducted into the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor as one of the most successful and popular players in the club's Indianapolis era.

After leaving the Colts, Harbaugh started for one year with the Baltimore Ravens in 1998, sometimes splitting playing time with Eric Zeier. Then he played two years with the San Diego Chargers. In 1999 he led the Chargers to an 8-8 record, but in 2000 the Chargers finished with a 1-15 record behind Harbaugh and former first-round pick Ryan Leaf. Harbaugh signed with the Detroit Lions prior to the 2001 season, where he was expected to backup incumbent starter Charlie Batch. However, on the eve of the regular season, the Lions cut him and traded for Ty Detmer. Harbaugh then closed out his NFL career with the Carolina Panthers in 2001, where he dressed for 6 games but did not compile any statistics.

For his NFL career, Harbaugh played in 177 league games with 140 starts. He completed 2,305 of 3,918 passes for 26,288 yards with 129 touchdowns. He was nicknamed "Captain Comeback" (the second player to be so nicknamed after Roger Staubach) for his ability to win games in the fourth quarter after overcoming significant point deficits.

[edit] Coaching career
During his final eight seasons in the NFL (1994-2001), Harbaugh was an NCAA-certified unpaid assistant coach under his father, Jack, at Western Kentucky University. Serving as an offensive consultant, he scouted and recruited high school student-athletes throughout several states including Florida, Indiana and Illinois. He was involved in recruiting 17 players on WKU's 2002 Division I-AA National Championship team. His father was a football coach for 18 years, including 14 years as Head Coach at Western Kentucky.

Harbaugh was an assistant coach with the Oakland Raiders in 2002-2003. In 2002 he was an offensive assistant coach, and in 2003 he was the quarterbacks coach.

Prior to the 2004 season, Harbaugh was named head football coach at the University of San Diego. In his first year, he directed the Toreros to an overall mark of 7-4, including 5 straight wins to end the season. The following year, the team improved to 11-1 and won the 2005 Pioneer Football League Championship. In 2006, USD again went 11-1 winning their second consecutive Pioneer League title in the process.

On December 18, 2006, Harbaugh was named the head football coach at Stanford University, replacing Walt Harris. Harbaugh's father, Jack, was Stanford's defensive coordinator from 1980-1981, while Harbaugh attended Palo Alto High School, located directly across the street from Stanford Stadium.[1]

[edit] Controversy
Harbaugh stirred some intra-conference controversy in March 2007, when he was quoted as saying rival-USC coach "Pete Carroll's only got one more year, though. He'll be there one more year. That's what I've heard. I heard it inside the staff." Upon further questions, Harbaugh claimed he had heard it from staff at USC. The comment caused a rebuke from Carroll. [2] At the Pacific 10 Conference media day on July 26, 2007, Harbaugh praised the Trojans, stating "There is no question in my mind that USC is the best team in the country and may be the best team in the history of college football." The declaration, especially in light of his earlier comment, garnered more media attention.[3][4] Later in the season, Stanford was a 41-point underdog to #1 USC, but defeated them 24-23 with a touchdown in the final minute. It is among the most significant upsets in college football history.

On May 4, 2007, Harbaugh was quoted in the San Francisco Examiner making comments about the University of Michigan's football program.[5] In touting Stanford's academics, he stated "the [Michigan] athletic department has ways to get borderline guys in and, when they're in, they steer them to courses in sports communications. They're adulated when they're playing, but when they get out, the people who adulated them won't hire them."[5] Harbaugh stated that he had wanted to major in history at Michigan, but was told early in his freshman year that he shouldn't major in history because it was too demanding academically.[6] The comments generated negative reactions from members of the Michigan football program, including alumni, current players, and head coach Lloyd Carr.[7] Michigan running back Mike Hart noted that Stanford had recently taken a Michigan student-athlete as a transfer,[8] and openly questioned whether Harbaugh would be welcome to ever coach at his alma mater.[7] However, following up on Harbaugh's comments about football players being steered to easy majors, the Ann Arbor News reported that as of the spring of 2007, 82% of Michigan's scholarship football players who had declared a major were majoring in general studies.[9] This debate led to in depth research on the subject. This led to an ESPN article to identify that many of these student-athletes taking "general studies" do choose majors before their junior year.[10]


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