49ers fans are rejoicing with the news announced on Friday — they got their guy. Jim Harbaugh will become the new head coach of the fabled 49ers, signing a five-year deal. After years of doom and gloom, there is renewed hope for Niners fans that the sun will come up tomorrow.
Harbaugh had become the most highly sought after commodity in football after leading his Stanford Cardinal to a 12-1 season and a 40-12 BCS Orange Bowl beat down over Virginia Tech. Already a fan favorite in the Bay Area, Harbaugh is choosing to stay close to home, which will be a perfect fit. The victory starved fans in the Bay Area are a loyal bunch — give a little and they will give back more. Market St. never looked better than during a victory parade, just ask the Giants.
This was a very smart hire for the 49ers on several accounts. A fertile offensive mind like Harbaugh’s will free the weary fans from choking on the three clouds of dust and the punt they have been forced to witness time and time again. Season ticket holders will no doubt be much more inclined to renew. They will want to see what Harbaugh can do with a group of players many people felt should have performed better.
Last season 49ers fans had big expectations for the team. They believed San Francisco had plenty of weapons at the skill positions in Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, and Michael Crabtree, and they were hoping even an average effort from quarterback Alex Smith would be enough to get them into the playoffs in a sub-par NFC West. But as it turned out, they were mistaken. The system put into place by Mike Singletary was by all accounts one of the simplest offenses ever put together in the NFL. They went into the season with a very one-dimensional approach to pound the rock and wound up with a fired offensive coordinator.
Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc had some words 49ers fans will be happy to hear.
“The 49ers were the worst schematic team in the league,” Williamson said. “That starts with Singletary and goes down to the way they handle quarterbacks, put together game plans, have no stability. Harbaugh will erase all that. He is worth more to the Niners than any other team in the league.”
Harbaugh is known as a guy who constructs complex schemes to position his players to maximize their skill sets. He uses all weapons including multiple tight end sets, and he likes to use a power run game too. Harbaugh is a deft play caller; he realizes the need to change up the play calling and hit you with the play action when you’re expecting run. Just look how Andrew Luck was able to dissect Virginia Tech after they had the running game going.
A former NFL player and Stanford graduate assistant Aaron Moorehead said about Harbaugh’s Cardinal that “They were doing things at the college level that a) you never imagined you could do at the NFL level and b) his depth of knowledge on Xs and Os is incredible.” This was pretty much the opposite of Coach Singletary’s simplistic approach.
Not only does Harbaugh seem to understand how to coach a football team from an Xs and Os perspective, he also has the hunger to be a great coach. Former NFL quarterback Brock Huard said he wasn’t surprised Harbaugh took the next step “Being with him twice this year and having him rave about the NFL being the highest level of football with the cutting-edge schemes, the best of the best, it did not surprise me at all.”
Jim Harbaugh’s entire life has revolved around football. As a kid he used to roam the sideline of his father’s teams and dream about playing and coaching at the highest level. He wound up playing quarterback for four teams, reaching the Pro Bowl once. He coached at the University of San Diego and Stanford before moving on to San Francisco, joining his brother John in the NFL.
The pedigree is there. The knowledge is there. The desire is there.
Former Stanford coaches have enjoyed tremendous success with the 49ers. Bill Walsh went 17-7 in two seasons on The Farm before moving onto the Niners in 1979 and leading them to three Super Bowl titles. The hope is for this former Cardinal will do much of the same.Google+
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