Harbaugh-Carroll rivalry jumps from NCAA to NFL

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Harbaugh-Carroll rivalry jumps from NCAA to NFL

Sept. 7, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
SANTA CLARA -- Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll actually agreed on something Wednesday afternoon.

Both men stated they have not experienced much personal interaction through the years. Professionally, it's another story.
Their unique rapport is best summarized by a five-second midfield exchange two seasons ago after Stanford's 55-21 victory over USC at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Harbaugh ordered a two-point conversion attempt late in the game, which was widely seen as a slap in the face of the Trojans.
"What's your deal? Are you all right?" Carroll asked Harbaugh, as captured by a TV camera and microphone on the field.
"Yeah, I'm great," Harbaugh responded. "What's your deal?""Nice game," Carroll said.Harbaugh and Carroll are no longer a part of the Stanford-USC rivalry. Now, they're NFC West opponents and will square off for the first time Sunday at Candlestick Park when Carroll's Seahawks face Harbaugh's 49ers.
"Tune in to see what the coaches are going to say to each other before the game, after the game," Harbaugh quipped on Wednesday. "Anything that's been said before has pretty well been documented and over-documented. And in the end, it's an 11-on-11 game."Is it really that exciting, that intriguing, to find out what they're going to talk about? What's relevant is this game will be determined by the players and the coaches."
Added Carroll, "Better listen very carefully -- better see a lot of boom mikes when we're talking out there. Got to get the straight scoop on what's really up."What's really up -- what's really the deal -- is that is that while they're certainly not friendly, Harbaugh and Carroll both claim to have respect for the other. Carroll talked about Harbaugh's toughness and competitive nature. Harbaugh complimented how Carroll always has his teams well-prepared.And the roles are reversed from a year ago, when Carroll was making his coaching debut with the Seahawks.
The 49ers remember what it's like to prepare to face the uncertainty of a team that features a coach coming directly from the college ranks."I can specifically remember going into the game and they were very vanilla all the preseason and we had no idea what we were going to get," 49ers quarterback Alex Smith said. "We were watching USC film and trying to anticipate what we were going to get. So it was difficult."Carroll described the 49ers' offensive approach of the exhibition season as "basic." Both offensively and defensively, the 49ers were careful not to reveal too much of their identity.And that even carried over into Wednesday, when Harbaugh declined to talk about the percentage of the offense that was featured in the 49ers' four tuneup games."When you're in a division, you get to know your opponent a little bit and you see them play other teams," Carroll said. "It's a different level of familiarity. In both of our cases, we've played against each other a few times."It's a little more like a division matchup, where you have some background. Whether that benefits anybody, I don't know. But that's what it feels like."The Seahawks this year are the ones studying college film to try to get a handle on what the 49ers might do.Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson said he has watched film of the 49ers during the exhibition season. But he has also studied Stanford's schemes from a year ago in an attempt to gain insight into 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's approach.
Jackson has solicited input from former Stanford receiver Doug Baldwin. He also plans to speak with cornerback Richard Sherman, also a rookie from Stanford."(Baldwin) gave me some insight on what the defensive coordinator likes to do," Jackson said. "He knows him and watched him a lot. I'll probably get with (Sherman) today or tomorrow and ask him a couple things -- different indicators he can help me out with."Who knows if he's going to keep doing the same things he did at Stanford, so we have to be prepared for both. So I have to make sure I go back and do some history on that."

49ers begin final phase of offseason program

49ers begin final phase of offseason program

The 49ers have graduated back to the phase of the offseason when offense-vs.-defense drills are allowed.

Because of the hiring of Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers were allowed an additional “voluntary” minicamp before the NFL draft. That meant the 49ers were permitted to skip from the two-week conditioning phase of the offseason straight to what is allowed under Phase III.

But after the three-day minicamp in late-April, the 49ers were forced to retreat back to Phase II, when on-field drills but could not include offense vs. defense.

Beginning Monday – and over the next three weeks -- the 49ers can get back to conducting the standard one-on-one, 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 "non-contact" drills. The 49ers have the maximum number of 10 organized team activities scheduled. The official offseason program concludes with a mandatory minicamp scheduled for June 13-15.

The real competition does not begin until the pads go on during training camp. but here’s a look at the team’s most notable offseason competitions (one position you will not find is quarterback, where the depth chart of Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley and C.J. Beathard appears clearly set):

Running back: Carlos Hyde, entering the final year of his original four-year contract, has a lot of competition to hold onto his role as the featured back. He is coming off his most-productive season, finishing just 12 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark when he sustained a knee injury with one game remaining. Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner lobbied for Utah running back Joe Williams in the draft. They clearly see a fit for him within the system.

Pass-rush end: The 49ers’ pass rush was among the worst in the NFL the past two seasons. Arik Armstead will be given an opportunity to see if he can adapt to the “Leo” position. Aaron Lynch must earn the confidence of the coaching staff and front office. The 49ers added explosive, 243-pound pass Pita Taumoepenu in the sixth round.

Tight end: The 49ers confirmed Vance McDonald was available for a trade during the draft. After finding no takers, the 49ers brought back McDonald and he rejoins the competition among rookies George Kittle and Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

Cornerback: Rashard Robinson is the obvious choice to start on one side. And assuming Jimmie Ward remains at free safety, the 49ers have no other player on the roster who has started a significant number of games at cornerback. Rookie Ahkello Witherspoon, a third-round draft pick, will have a legitimate opportunity to win a starting job, as long as he displays a willingness to stick his nose into the action and play with the requisite level of physicality. Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser and Will Redmond should also be in the mix to replace Tramaine Brock, who was released shortly after his arrest after an alleged domestic incident last month.

Center: Jeremy Zuttah, a Pro Bowl performer, was added in the offseason via a trade with the Baltimore Ravens. Daniel Kilgore has been the 49ers’ center the past three seasons but injuries have limited him to just 23 starts over that period of time. Zuttah has position flexibility. The 49ers could determine the best thing for the offensive line is to move Zuttah to one of the guard positions – to challenge Zane Beadles or Joshua Garnett -- if he is not clearly better than Kilgore.

Weakside linebacker: The 49ers signed veteran Malcolm Smith on the first day of free agency, providing him with $11.5 million of fully guaranteed money. The 49ers ranked Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster as the No. 3 overall prospect in the draft. They traded up to select him at No. 31 overall. Assuming Foster is ready to compete at the beginning of training camp after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, it appears likely he would line up in that position and compete with Smith. The 49ers’ medical staff does not believe Foster will require any additional surgery, and Foster said he expects to be cleared for the opening of camp.

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spent last offseason working with Tom House and Adam Dedeaux on his throwing mechanics.

Ryan went on to set career-bests in completion percentage (69.9), yards passing (4,944), touchdowns (38), interceptions (7) and passer rating (117.1).

New 49ers quarterback Matt Barkley worked with House and Dedeaux for the fourth offseason in Southern California before reporting to Santa Clara for the team’s offseason program.

“Kyle (Shanhan) is on board with what House and those guys are doing – I think, really, because of the year Matt Ryan had,” Barkley said on “The 49ers Insider Podcast” on NBC Sports Bay Area.

“He’s a believer in that. He saw the benefits of what Matt did with some of his drops and the timing on routes, how he changed his feet on some things. So we’re kind of sticking with that plan. Everyone is a little different, but for the most part we’re all on the same page when it comes to what our drops are looking like, our footwork and how the ball is coming out.”

House is a former major league pitcher and pitching coach who founded the 3DQB training facility in Los Angeles. Dedeaux pitched at USC and is the grandson of USC baseball coaching legend Rod Dedeaux. Former NFL quarterback John Beck is a motion mechanics instructor.

Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Alex Smith and Carson Palmer are among the NFL quarterbacks who have worked with 3DQB.

“I believe in those guys and what they’re doing,” Barkley said. “They’re at the top of their game, working with Brady and a bunch of other guys. They’ve helped me.

“He won’t change your throwing motion or really tweak how the ball comes out, but he’s going to try to maximize velocity and ground force production and torque -- a lot of sports science terms. But, really, just maximizing efficiency with your motion and making sure you’re sequencing is right.”

Barkley had never played for Shanahan before signing a two-year contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency. But there are two obvious connections. Barkley’s offensive coordinator last season with the Chicago Bears was Dowell Loggains, Shanahan’s quarterbacks coach in 2014 when Shanahan was the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator. The other connection is House.

"It’s kind of funny, he worked with Atlanta’s staff all of last year, helped Matt Ryan, kind of build his base from the ground up and helped him a lot and he had an MVP year," Barkley said of House.

"There may have been talks down the pipeline, who knows. I don’t think that was the deciding factor by any means, but it never hurts.”