Harbaugh-Carroll rivalry jumps from NCAA to NFL

Harbaugh-Carroll rivalry jumps from NCAA to NFL
September 7, 2011, 9:10 pm
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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."