Harbaugh, Niners still searching for lost treasures

Here’s the rest of this morning’s Jim Harbaugh interview with Murph and Mac on KNBR. For everyone’s sanity, the Alex Smith portion of the interview is not included:

Q: What’s the difference between walking into the building today versus walking into the building on day one? What sort of different feelings do you have?

JH: Well, you talk about walking into the building and the first thing that happens to me when I walk into the building is I get chills now. Because you walk in and there’s five Lombardi trophies in a trophy case as you come through the door. And you see the pictures – Montana and Rice. Clark and Bill Walsh and George Seifert and you realize the bar is set very high here. About as high as it can be set. So you start thinking, ‘Man, we’ve got to somehow match that. Equal that. Get to that.’ To me, that’s where you want the bar set. If you don’t want it set there then there’s something wrong with you. So it’s just the kind of feeling where you get chills and then you go to work. And you go, ‘Man we’ve got a lot to work to do.’

Comment: Harbaugh clearly has a genuine respect and appreciation for the franchise’s history. He’s a football junkie who talked about watching John Brodie as a kid during the fan forum earlier this week. But forget Brodie – I’m guessing he could speak intelligently about the flaws in Scott Bull’s footwork.

Q: There are tapes of the Bill Walsh installing the West Coast Offense that exist. Is that something you would look at and use for research?

JH: Yeah, absolutely. You know, it’s interesting you ask that. When I became aware of that it was after (Harbaugh’s introductory) press conference. We were riding back and I was riding with back with Trent Baalke and Jed (York) and (public relations director) Bob Lange. We just started talking about it. It came up and I said, I’ve got to get those tapes. We’ve got to have those tapes. Where are those tapes? So over the last month-and-a-half we’ve been tracking them down.

It’s very interesting because what they are are installation tapes that Bill Walsh had made of Bill Walsh installing the offense. Teaching in meetings. Practice tape. Game tape and mainly the installation tape. I mean, that’s 49er property and a great legacy and archive. But what we’ve come to find out is that there’s a lot of guys that took that. Took it out of the building and took it for themselves. So it’s been a process. And the guys here have been great in the building. Bob Lange, Trent and Jed — we’ve been tracking it down through NFL Films and trying to retrieve some of that intellectual property that belongs to the San Francisco 49ers. So we’re trying to build that library back up and that legacy back up. I can’t wait to watch it. So we’re making progress.

Comment: For any ex-Niners coaches with the stolen booty: Google this … Jim Harbaugh, Jim Kelly, punch.

Q: What you have done as far as evaluating the roster you have. Is it watching game tape? Is it watching practice tape? Is it interviewing guys in the building? How are you learning about the men on your roster and how they play football?

JH: Great question. It’s mainly watching the tape. Watching the game tape and watching the practice tape. There’s one on ones – there’s wide receivers (against) DBs (in practice). You can learn from that. Also, and the main thing is watching the game tape. And watching the latest, healthiest tape on each player. And then also watching tape of other players around the league at the same positions and evaluating where our guys stack up. So you ask what I’ve been doing — that’s what I’ve been doing.

And also doing the hiring of the coaching staff. That was something from just day one, just got immersed in that and that’s something that I really grind on and obsess about. And make sure that we’re doing the best job for the organization to get great coaches in here and I’ feel like we’ve done a great job as an organization doing that. Then it transitions into the draft, looking at free agents, studying our systems. How we want to call things and what we want to do both offensively, defensively and special teams.

Comment: In studying tape from the first 10 games of the 2010 season, were you able to locate Brian Westbrook, coach?

Q: If you had to describe (offensive coordinator) Greg Roman to somebody how would describe him and why you would hire him?

JH: Proven football coach. One of the brighter minds that I’ve ever come across in coaching — in the National Football League or in college. Greg coached for 13 years in the National Football League and we coached together at Stanford for two years. So he’s someone that I know extremely well. I know what his capabilities are as a teacher, as a creative mind that knows the game of football. (He’s a) tremendous football coach and person.

Comments: Harbaugh is a head coach in the National Football League. The 49ers are a National Football League team.

Q: What about Vic Fangio? Why did Jim Harbaugh hire Vic Fangio and what can he tell us about him?

JH: A cold-blooded, stone cold, serial killer (laughing). He’s outstanding. I mean his track record is proven among one of the really great defensive minds — and football minds, too. Vic is a savant in terms of just knowing the game of football. From strategy, clock management and creative defensive schemes. Loves aggressive defense. Blitz. Get after you. Knock-you-back physical type of play. The one thing when I think about Vic Fangio, and the best quality in a defensive coordinator is that he’s got answers.

Comment: My favorite part of the interview: “A cold-blooded, stone cold, serial killer.” Such high-quality, off-the-wall humor is a rarity in our National Football League coaches these days.

(Harbaugh went on to discuss Brad Seely …)

The other one when you talk about coordinators is Brad Seely, our special teams coordinator. Coach Seely is our assistant head coach and the best in the game in terms of special teams coaches. It’s worth mentioning, I mean our organization really stepped up in getting Brad Seely to come to the 49ers. You’re talking about a guy who’s proven. A known quantity and highly regarded across the National Football League as being the best, or one of the best, at what he does. There’s no question about it. He won three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots. And you think back about those Super Bowls and the walk-off game-winning field goals at the end of those games. Brad Seely has a lot to do with it. I’m really fired up about him. And a great resource for me. I mean, I’m a new coach in the National Football League and to have Brad, and Greg, and Vic and all of our coaches here is a great asset for me.

Comment: “Our organization really stepped up in getting Brad Seely to come to the 49ers.” Translation:  Brad Seely earns lots more money than we do. Also, Harbaugh knows something about special teams coaches – his brother, John, was the Eagles’ special teams coach for nine seasons.

Q: Taking the job in this particular year could put you behind the eight ball if there is a lockout. There could be a shortened training camp and a weird season. How are you strategizing for that potential situation?

JH: First of all, the strategy is that there won’t be a lockout and everything that we’re doing is planning in that regard. And then we’ll adjust if there is and for how long that it is and we’ll figure it out. There’s something I really like about being in uncharted waters. Everybody in the National Football League is in uncharted waters as we approach March 4. We have to have the attitude that whatever obstacles are there, we can, and will and must overcome them. But there’s just something I like about being in a different situation, uncharted waters and having to figure it out. So I’m not worried about it. We’ll get it done.

Comment: Harbaugh has repeatedly said that he loves challenges and enjoys being underestimated. Is it possible a part of him might actually relish the challenge posed by a lengthy lockout?

Q: (Wrapping up) … Get those tapes backs. It’s like a Scooby Doo episode — we’ve got to send the detective out.

JH: Exactly. Let’s get James Garner from the Rockford Files down here. You’re right, though. We’ve got to attack that. Aggressively attack that because that’s 49er property.

Comment: Wow, Rockford Files (for the youngsters in the audience:  Google). Did Mike Singletary ever invoke legendary 1970s TV shows?

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