Harbaugh turns down heat in 49ers' kitchen

January 12, 2012, 11:32 pm
Share This Post

SANTA CLARA -- Coach Jim Harbaugh appeared unusually comfortable this week in his dealings with the media.Harbaugh wanted his 49ers team to be loose this week in preparations to face the New Orleans Saints on Saturday in an NFC divisional-round game. And Harbaugh seemed to set the tone for his team when the cameras were focused on him.
"Coach Harbaugh really preaches, 'Don't overcook it,'" 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree said. "Really, just take it as another game we're playing in. Guys are hyped, though. You can feel the tension. Guys are hyped."Harbaugh said he did not want the 49ers to doing anything different than what propelled them to a 13-3 regular-season record. The 49ers enter the playoffs Saturday against the New Orleans Saints, as the club advanced to the postseason for the first time since the 2002 season.
"Go into this thing and trust our own instincts, trust our gut," Harbaugh said on Friday. "Make it about the team. Trust the team. A guy doesn't have to do too much. He's got to do his job and has the ability to trust his team because he's on a good team."Prepare and understand the Saints as well as possible -- focused and loose at the same time."Harbaugh said he was "focused and loose" this week -- though he questions whether that would make any difference to the outcome of Saturday's game.
"It never really matters much how I am. I'm just a coach. I'm just going to be standing over there on the sideline," Harbaugh said. "To me, it's the players. Where are they at in their preparation? In their understanding of this gameplan? And what their morale is? And how they feel physically? If they feel good, I feel good."I go off of them. I ask guys all the time, 'How do you feel?' And they say, 'How do you feel, coach?' And I say, 'How do you feel? If you feel good, I feel good.'"The 49ers held their final full practice of the week. Most of the work has been done to prepare for the Saints, and the players appear comfortable and confident."We're relaxed," 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers said. "It's about going out and having fun. It's still just a game. We're having fun and we have a lot of confidence."The major point Harbaugh tried to make to his players was that their approach should not change even though the stakes are much greater. One player who knows about that is center Jonathan Goodwin, who won a Super Bowl ring two years ago with the Saints."You don't want to get too caught up in it being a playoff game to just go out and do what you're coached to do," Goodwin said. "It's still just football." Harbaugh cited an oversight for the reason the media was kept out of the beginning of practice Thursday. Teams must open a portion of practice daily to the local media.The only player who did not practice on Thursday, Harbaugh said, was tight end Delanie Walker. Harbaugh confirmed previous CSNBayArea.com reports that Walker would not be available to play Saturday due to a fractured jaw. Walker is scheduled to be re-examined on Monday.

More Team Talk