Harbaugh on the state of the team

SANTA CLARA –

Jim Harbaugh gave an impromptu interview next to the field after practice.

He said he was only going to give us a little, but he gave us much more.

Here’s the complete transcript.

Q: How pleased are you with the last few practices?

HARBAUGH: Very pleased. Not 100 percent perfect, not 100 percent right, and if you asked me I wouldn’t want it 100 percent right or perfect, because then it wouldn’t be challenging enough. Our guys are really pressing the envelope on tempo, and practice ended 12 minutes early today because of that, because the tempo was so good. At some point that will bode well for us, it will help us win games. Each practice over the last three has gotten better.

Q: Are the Saints a good test because of how much continuity they have?

HARBAUGH: I think so. They’re a top NFL team, with a lot of pieces in place. They had a tremendous offseason. They did very well in free agency and they have a tight-knit group, so it’s a big test for us.

Q: As a first year guy, is it important to compete with the Saints just to have other guys buy into what you’re doing?

HARBAUGH: I haven’t really been concerned with that. It’s been a work-and-not-worry mentality. That’s what we ask our players to do, and I certainly am a card-carrying, flag-waiving member of that mindset.

Q: What does adding Dashon Goldson do to the secondary?

HARBAUGH: It helps. We were really pleased that Dashon decided to come back. We told him we needed him, and he wanted to be here. That adds a lot to our depth, our experience. He’s been a starting safety in the league. He’s got a physical mindset, and he adds to the competition back there. Another guy who’s game-tested, battle-tested.

Q: How much did Alex’s work in the offseason help in these last few days to be ahead of where he might have otherwise been?

HARBAUGH: Very much. It’s been very noticeable with all our offensive players that they did significant work and studying in the offseason. The camps where they got together, all those things have resulted in a unit that’s ahead.

Q: Will you have any butterflies before the game?

HARBAUGH: Well, I’m not going to hit anybody and I’m not going to tackle anybody. I think just the anticipation for our guys. Each and every guy, I have real enthusiasm for watching them play, seeing how they’ve worked and how far they’ve come in 11 practices. We’re excited for them. My time has passed to be a player. I’m pretty locked into what our responsibilities are. I want to see them go out and play hard and play like they like football, have that be evident. When they make a mistake, just do it 100 percent. Be doing it full-speed and full-throttle. Those things are what I’ll be most pleased with.

Q: What are the differences between college and the NFL in getting the plays into the quarterback?

HARBAUGH: There’s a radio communication in the helmet of the quarterback, so that’s much different.

Q: They don’t have that in college?

HARBAUGH: No, you have to use hand signals. For the most part, I’m excited about the ball game. The players, I think they’re ready to play against a different opponent, their first opponent and find out where we’re at. As far as evaluations go, it will mean something that it’s a game, but I don’t think it will mean as much as the 11 practices. I’m sure some guys will definitely help themselves. Getting into a ball game and feeling what that’s like will make our guys better football players.

Q: Are you concerned that Isaac Sopoaga and Shawntae Spencer haven’t practiced yet?

HARBAUGH: They’re working through something. I’m not in their body. I don’t really get into talking about injuries that often, you guys are out here every practice, so maybe we shouldn’t let you guys out here every single day if that’s what we’re going to talk about. Out of respect for those guys and what they’re going through I choose not to talk about it.

Q: How influential do you think the Michigan connection and your long relationship with the Edwards family was in Braylon coming here?

HARBAUGH: That question’s been asked and answered. You’ve asked that question a few times.

Q: No I haven’t.

HARBAUGH: Braylon’s here, very excited about that. To answer that one for the last time, Braylon and I both kind of were raised in the same environment. Trained under the same mindset, the Michigan way. My dad coached at Michigan, Braylon’s dad played there, all influenced by Bo Schembechler. We went to the same college. Both Michigan guys, Michigan raised as kids. Really pleased that Braylon’s here. He’s really doing a good job, he’s working very hard, he’s been a great guy in the locker room. He’s really a young man with a big heart, and he brings some juice into the locker rooms and the meeting rooms. I enjoy being around him , I really do. Maybe that’s somewhat because we’re breathing the same air, so to speak. It’s been very positive.

Q: What do you see from Chris Culliver?

HARBAUGH: The good thing about Chris, each week it’s been arrow up. I’d like to see that continue in the preseason game. He’s definitely got all the tools from a size, speed, athletic, what-it-takes-to-play-in-the-NFL standpoint. It means a lot to him to be good. I see him working extremely hard between drills, getting extra coaching. He’s got the tools but he’s not a carpenter yet. It’s a process and I look forward to him taking the next step. I think he’s going to be just fine.

Q: How ready is Kaepernick?

HARBAUGH: I think he’s really ready. He’s done a fabulous job, I would say not just Colin, but going into this training camp I was worried for the rookies, because they didn’t have the OTAs and the mini camps, and I was worried that preseason games would come and cuts would come, and the final decisions on the roster would come before the first game. Maybe the light wouldn’t go on soon enough for them because they didn’t know exactly what to do. Maybe we’d overlook a player who really had some potential to help our football team out, and you just don’t know because maybe the light didn’t go on mentally. But that’s been kind of the surprise thing for me – just how well our rookies are doing. I think that’s a reflection of the draft, and how well we did getting the right guys in here. Same goes for rookie free agency. They’ve had no background in the systems until, maybe, we’re talking three days before the first practice started. But there’s some good ones across the board. And Kaep really is leading the way in that. Of all the rookies, I think he’s the most game ready of all of them.

 

Follow me on twitter @grantcohn.