ARLINGTON, Texas — Jim Harbaugh was interviewed in the visitors’ media room after the 49ers beat the Cowboys 28-17. Here’s a transcript.
Q: Did the first half go exactly as you had planned?
HARBAUGH: There were some great plays, a lot of great plays. A lot of great team play and individual play. I looked around the locker room after the game and realized how many young guys stepped up in this game. And then all the veterans players, guys who have done it before and they’ve got the battle scars. They truly led the way. Some great play from Patrick Willis. Frank Gore, congratulations on 10,000 yards. A lot of people to tip the cap to.
Q: How did the backup cornerbacks play?
HARBAUGH: I thought they did well. Dontae showed up huge on the third down. Perrish Cox had a great interception. They did a tremendous job, everything you could want from them.
Q: Did you expect your defense to play the way it did?
HARBAUGH: Great team effort. You mentioned great players aren’t playing. We know that. We know guys that are stepping in there are also great players and battle tested guys. And some young guys, some rookie guys. Maybe eight rookies in all suited up.
Q: Did you notice how many rookies you were playing before the game?
HARBAUGH: I did. I noticed that. Probably 2011 was the closest we had to rookies playing in the opener like we had today. You don’t have to teach puppies how to bite. You don’t have to train them to do that. They know how. I was excited for the way the guys played. They did a great job.
Q: Why did you start Joe Looney instead of Alex Boone?
HARBAUGH: We thought he was ready to go. He practice well, played well, knew the plan inside and out.
Q: How did you think Ray McDonald played.
HARBAUGH: I think OK. I didn’t really focus in on that too much. Thought he was doing fine.
Q: Any concerns about what his mindset was going to be before the game and did you see good signs from him?
HARBAUGH: I did. I had conversations with him before the game and leading up to the game.
Q: I read on NFL.com this morning that some of your players are getting tired of you and you’re beginning to lose the locker room. Have you noticed anything like that?
HARBAUGH: No. Our players will go to hell and back for us and for the team. It’s the kind of relationship that, they know, they’ll talk, they’ll come tell me, if they have a problem they’ll talk to me about it. Or if they have a way of doing something better, an idea. They’ll be heard.
Q: Did any players come to you recently? The Baltimore practices were mentioned as something players maybe didn’t like.
HARBAUGH: No. I don’t trust the report, either.
Q: Do you have any idea where any of this stuff comes from?
HARBAUGH: Uhhh (three second pause), I don’t think it comes from our players. We’ve got the kind of relations where they’ll come and talk to me about it. They have before consistently in the past. If they’ve got an idea or something they don’t think is right or something we can do better, then they come and talk to us. That’s what I see from our players.
Q: Considering all of the adversity, how encouraging is this in terms of trying to set the tone?
HARBAUGH: Very encouraging. There’s been a lot of rhetoric on a lot of different topics. A lot of opinion. This game was about steel in the spine. When it comes to 49ers players, that’s where they excel. They’ve got titanium in the spine.
Q: Do you have titanium in your spine?
HARBAUGH: If they do, then I do.
Q: Have you been bothered by the conversation the past couple of weeks?
HARBAUGH: There rhetoric and the opinion, no. That’s talk. Sometimes people hate you. Sometimes people love you. A lot of times they don’t even know you. Some people think you’re good. Some people think you’re bad. That’s opinion. That’s talk. This was a game. This was a chance for our players to show what they’re made of — titanium in their spine as I said. That’s where they excel.