Jim Harbaugh Meets With the Media in Advance of the Start of Spring Practice

Feb. 26, 2010

STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford head football coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media on Thursday in advance of the Cardinal opening spring drills on Monday. Here are a few excerpts from that news conference:

On the new coaches
I don't look at it so much as assistants and head coaches, but more like a bunch of executive VP's coming together. At the end, it's a matter of what the players know and not what the coaches know. Our new coaches have the ability to transfer a lot of knowledge and expertise to our football players.

On Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio
You couldn't have a better football coach in America coaching our defense. The players in Baltimore used to call him, 'Vic Fangio: Defensive Specialist.' He has the focus of a wolf every time you are around him.

On the coaching search
I talked and interviewed hundreds of people and candidates. I talked to a lot of people in the profession about certain guys - some we hired and some we didn't. There are a lot of good coaches out there all levels. I feel good we got the best coaches possible not just because of who they are as coaches but who they are as people.

I felt it was a great opportunity for Stanford football to strike while the iron is hot. This is a great place to coach at. In every position where we had an opening I tried to get a better guy than we had before and that was tough to do because we had some pretty darn good coaches here who left.

You have to stay with the lead pack or you'll fall behind. It's the philosophy of our athletic department and University our student-athletes deserve the best coaching they can get. Stanford deserves the best in everything.

Coaching titles and responsibilities
The way we do things is ultimately my responsibility. Greg Roman will be responsible for the offense and Vic Fangio is the lead voice on defense. From there, semantics and titles aren't important to our guys and coaching staff. What is important is the product we put on the field.

One of my favorite sayings is, 'It's amazing what can get done when no one is concerned about who gets the credit. That is very appropriate for coaching. It's about the players and putting them in the best possible situation to succeed.

On the running back situation heading into spring
Toby is off to the NFL and getting on with his life. Like all players who graduate from Stanford, we want them to be leaders in their chosen field. We are forever proud of Toby Gerhart.

I don't think we can replace him with one person but I do believe we can replace his production in combination and tandem with the likes of Jeremy Stewart, Stepfan Taylor, Tyler Gaffney and Usua Amanam. I'm hoping we can find some tandem that adds up to one Toby Gerhart.

Fresh Starts
New roles have to be earned and established. You would like to go into spring ball with a fresh slate. Guys that go from freshmen to sophomores can grow leaps and bounds. Other guys who haven't played much can reinvent themselves in a year. Other guys who have contributed in the past can't take anything for granted going into a new year. They have to continue to improve.

It's a clean slate, especially with five new coaches. We like to be competitive around here.

Getting an early start to Spring Practice
We like to start spring ball early to give some carryover feel from the end of the season. Being in a bowl game gave us all of those extra weeks of practice so I expect our team will be even sharper when we start on Monday.

On playing the Cardinal and White Spring Game at Kezar Stadium
It's the cradle of Bay Area football. The 49ers and Raiders go their starts there and the East-West Shrine Game had a long run at Kezar. There couldn't be a better setting for our spring game.

We try to get the people of San Francisco to come down to Stanford to watch our games and this gives us the opportunity to take our team to them and let them know how much we think of our San Francisco alumni and football fans in The City.

I've never played there, myself, but I've see the footage of John Brodie, Y.A. Tittle and others. We'll educate our players on the tradition of Kezar Stadium and what a special place it is.

On Owen Marecic
Heading into spring, Owen is one of our starting middle linebackers and starting fullback. He will be working with the defense all spring. We know what he can do offensively. Do I think he is one of our four best linebackers? No doubt about it.

On Alex Loukas
We know he can be an outstanding offensive player but we are really intrigued with him as a safety right now. He is such a big and strong athlete that should be playing somewhere on the football field. I believe there's football in his future after college. We'll take this spring to evaluate what his best position is. He will be our starting safety if he remains on defense. We know what he can do offensively. He is multi-talented guy who we want to put in the best situation as possible to help himself and our football team.

Some days he reminds me of Justin Armour and other days he reminds me of John Lynch.

On Andrew Luck
From what I've heard, he is throwing fine and the finger is not bothering him. I know he has been running real well. I can't wait to see him with a ball in his hand again on Monday.

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