Jim Harbaugh was interviewed Friday morning on KNBR. Here is a transcript.
Q: What goes on in a late-May OTA?
HARBAUGH: There are nine weeks that we can be with the players in the offseason. It is broken up into three phases. We are now in Phase 3, Week 5. Ending Week 5. There will be three more weeks after this. The phase that we’re in now, we can coach the players on the field. We can do seven-on-seven. We can have team offense versus defense. Work on technical skills and fundamentals. About a two-hour practice. We have meetings with the players. They’re allowed to be here for six hours during the day, and they also do strength and conditioning.
Q: So, it’s like a training camp day abbreviated?
HARBAUGH: About half of what a training camp day would be. A training camp day is about 12 hours, 13 hours.
Q: How much 2013 review are you doing, and how much 2014 install are you doing? Do you tinker with the playbook and make new plays? Is that something that gets done in a camp like this?
HARBAUGH: I consider it all 2014. This is preparation for the season, getting ready for the games, getting ready for the next game against the Dallas Cowboys. That’s the way we look at it. Are there new plays going in there? Sure. There are ideas coaches have, we study film, review 2013, and then can’t wait to implement it. That’s what we’re doing now. That’s what our players are absorbing and practicing.
Q: What is the next step for Colin Kaepernick?
HARBAUGH: It’s a very good question, because he has been so good so quickly as a starting quarterback in the National Football League. In some ways it’s unprecedented. When he first played in 2012, he came into the lineup mid-season and had a great game on Monday night against the Chicago Bears and really has taken off since then. In his debut season, he takes his team to the Super Bowl. Comes back in 2013, and I thought that he improved, made strides. I thought he was playing at such a high level that it’s going to be tough to see incremental growth. And the growth would be incremental. It wouldn’t be big inflection points because he is playing at a high level. But I really see him this offseason as maybe there is going to be another inflection point here because he has that look. He has that confidence, that knowledge. Tremendous athletic shape. He’s been throwing the ball with pin-point accuracy. I’m expecting an inflection point. I’m expecting him to make great strides. And that is not unprecedented when a quarterback gets into his third or fourth year playing that they make a big jump. It has that feel to me. That’s in my opinion.
Q: Do you coach Colin Kaepernick on how to deal with the off-field situation in Miami?
HARBAUGH: Where I stand is due process. I stand opposed to punishment without due process, to the rush to judgment without hearing the other side of the story. I think we saw that in Colin’s case.
Q: How is Aldon Smith doing in OTAs?
HARBAUGH: He’s doing well. He’s showing up. He’s working hard. He’s listening and he has an opportunity to do what he says he’s going to do and that’s what we’re all hopeful for. I want you to know where I stand, and that is due process. And another place that I stand is I can help someone, we can help someone. Someone comes to us and asks for help, I don’t want so ever say, “I can’t help you.” We’ll help somebody or find somebody who can, and that includes working with a player like Aldon. And some changes have to be made. And some of those changes ought to be made at the top. I’m not at the top-top, but I’m at or near the top and I’ll do anything it takes to get something done or to improve something. That’s where Aldon is. That’s what Aldon has said he is going to do. We give him that opportunity to do what he said he is going to do.
Q: Your brother John made some strong statements against his players’ off-field troubles. You haven’t. Do you think it’s time to make strong statements like the ones your brother made?
HARBAUGH: I have said those things, similar things. I want our players to be above reproach. I want them to strive to be above reproach in all things that they do. That’s a daily process, that’s a yearly process, that’s a lifelong process and I don’t think any of us would offer counsel that would be any different. That’s what we want, that’s what we’re striving for, that’s what we’re going to work to help these young men do.
Q: Are you concerned about Vernon Davis and Alex Boone missing time?
HARBAUGH: I don’t think it benefits anybody to talk about contracts publically. That’s just my opinion. That’s what I choose to have a stand on. These workouts right now are voluntary. Sometimes jokes are made that they’re voluntary, but they’re really mandatory. They are just that – they are voluntary workouts. Reporters come out to practice and rather than talk about the players that are out there, it’s who’s not there like we’re taking attendance. Who’s hear? Who’s not here? Why aren’t they here? Where are they? What’s the reason? Do you know the reason they’re not here, Coach? Yeah, I know the reasons. I’ve talked to the players. If it comes to contracts and you want to speak about contracts, I’m not going to speak for another player. I’m not going to speak for another man or what they’re trying to get done with their contract. If they think it’s beneficial for them to talk about it publically, then they will choose to do that. Certainly you could have Vernon or Alex on the show and ask them or talk to their agent if that’s something they think is beneficial. I just choose to not do it.
Q: But are you concerned about them missing time?
HARBAUGH: I’m concerned about the guys that are out here. We’ve got some exciting things going on. We’re going to coach the heck out of them. I’m going to adhere to these being voluntary workouts. Somebody that’s not here is not going to lose their job because they’re not at a voluntary workout. We will coach the guys who are here.
Q: Any moments from the OTAs that stick out to you so far?
HARBAUGH: There have been several. This has been a really good rookie class. They’ve studied extremely hard. They’ve prepared themselves. They’re in great shape, and mentally have done a great job of picking up the system and applying it on the field. It’s one thing to get it on the chalk board and answer questions in the meeting room, but to go out on the field, line up, you call plays in the huddle and then they execute it, they get their alignment right – that’s big. We don’t stand out there with cue cards and tell them where to line up. These guys are doing a heck of a job absorbing the information and then executing it. Very excited about it. A bunch of the players have stood out, new guys. I feel really good about our team. I think we’re going to be darn tough to beat. We’ve got some firepower, we’ve got some ammunition and I’m excited as heck about it.