Since being hired by the San Francisco 49ers in January a lot of talk has surrounded his ability to groom quarterbacks and the new dynamic he promises to bring to the 49ers offense in 2011 and moving forward.
Well, Harbaugh's statistical successes and/or failures at both San Diego and Stanford. This morning I will look at how Harbaugh's teams performed statistically during his tenure at San Diego from 2004-2006.
QB Statistics: 59.5 Completion Percentage- 3029 Yards- 22 TD- 7 INT
Josh Johnson: 54.5 Completion Percentage- 135 Yards- 1 TD- 1 INT
Rushing Statistics: 1729 Yards- 4.1 AVG- 11 TD
36.1 Points Per Game (3rd in FCS)
Josh Johnson: 70.7 Completion Percentage- 2881 Yards- 31 TD- 8 INT- 169.0 Rating- 345 Rush Yards- 4 TD
J.T. Rogan: 940 Rush Yards- 5.3 AVG- 7 TD
Adam Hannula: 65 Receptions- 907 Yards- 14.0 AVG- 9 TD
Nick Garton: 50 Receptions- 605 Yards- 12.1 AVG- 8 TD
40.9 Points Per Game (1st in FCS)
Josh Johnson: 66.3 Completion Percentage- 3320 Yards- 35 TD- 5 INT- 169.9 Rating- 720 Rush Yards- 11 TD
J.T. Rogan: 1002 Rush Yards- 5.3 AVG- 13 TD
Wes Doyle: 52 Receptions- 909 Yards- 11 TD
John Matthews: 32 Receptions- 649 Yards- 7 TD
43.7 Points Per Game (1st in FCS)
Analysis: Obviously if you lead Division II football in points per game, passing yards per game, total yards per game and 1st downs per game, like San Diego did in Harabaugh's final two seasons, you are doing something right. I don't care too much about the level in which Harbaugh was coaching. It isn't like he was coaching top level recruits against sub par competition. There was a reason that his players were not recruited by Division I schools.
The thing that stood out the most to me was the fact that San Diego's rushing game was extremely solid as well. Harbaugh is known as a "QB-friendly" coach, but his running backs performed at high levels for the Toreros. It was extremely hard finding video of San Diego's offense, but the videos that I came across showed a superior strategy against opposing defenses.
Harbaugh appeared to spread the field real well with the play calling, getting play makers in the open field with mismatches. More often than not, I saw safeties guarding receivers on the outside, which as well all know, normally doesn't work out well for the defense. I noticed really stout play calling in terms of the most talented individuals seeing the ball often. Bubble screens were a big part of San Diego's success under Harbaugh.
It didn't hurt that Harbaugh had the ultra athletic Josh Johnson starting for him during his final two years at San Diego. Watching video it was apparent that his talent level was so much more superior than the teams San Diego was playing. For those of you that are local to Southern California, you have to understand that Azusa Pacific really isn't top level competition for the likes of Josh Johnson.
That said, you need an offensive system that is going to utilize that talent, and the talent of others around him. The roll out formations, double tight end spreads, and mix matching of different plays within the same formation seemed to keep defenses on their heels.
I envision that Harbaugh will be able to utilize the talents of Delanie Walker and Vernon Davis in double TE formations, while still being able to spread the ball around enough so that Michael Crabtree and Frank Gore see it enough. Our Tight Ends seem to be the perfect fit for Harbaugh's hybrid WCO, he can line Walker up on the outside while using Vernon up the middle. This promises to bring about a tong of mismatches going forward.