Jim Harbaugh Coaching Staff: The Value Of Close Lieutenants

49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has slowly begun assembling his 2011 coaching staff and right off the bat he has brought in three of his former Stanford assistants: Vic Fangio, Greg Roman, and Tim Drevno. While each of these men made a contribution to the best Stanford football season in school history, Fangio and Roman have received additional credit for their work.

Fangio was brought in this past year to develop the Cardinal defense and his switch from a 4-3 to 3-4 helped turn it into a very strong unit. Roman has received his own share of credit for some of the offensive scheming at Stanford. Harbaugh called plays some of the time but there is no real clear information as to how frequently. However, Roman is given credit for his development with the running game and overall game-planning alongside former OC and now head coach David Shaw.

As Harbaugh fills out his staff, at first glance one might be a little concerned about the additions of all these college coaches. I've noticed some comments with this concern, but if people check through our coaching staff updates, you'll notice the extensive NFL experience these Stanford coaches bring to the table. Vic Fangio has 24 years of experience in the NFL, including 11 years as a defensive coordinator. Greg Roman has 13 years experience with a variety of offensive positions. Harbaugh's two coordinators do not lack for necessary experience.

Successful college coaches have tried to make the jump to the NFL and failed numerous times for a variety of reasons. While it's an issue in the back of my head, my gut has me feeling a bit more comfortable given the context of this situation. Even before the coordinator hires I was somewhat comfortable with Harbaugh's limited NFL coaching experience because of his extensive QB experience and the fact that he is from a coaching family.

However, bringing in guys he is comfortable with, who also have extensive NFL experience has me feeling even better about this. It could still turn out poorly, but thus far Coach Harbaugh has put himself and the 49ers in a position to succeed. There is plenty still to be done, but having close lieutenants on his staff should be a boon for Harbaugh. At the same time we'll see enough new faces and previous 49ers faces that there should be sufficient balance. The coordinators are the top two assistants in regards to game-planning, but I feel there will be enough alternate opinions to prevent any sort of group-think from developing.

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