49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh chatted with the media Friday afternoon as the 49ers wrapped up their week of practice. A lot of the questions focused on the Kevin Gilbride saga, which has taken on a life of its own. It has reached the point where Justin Smith had to address it as well.
Jim Harbaugh does like to put his team in an "us against the world" type of position. It is getting more and more difficult to do this, so things like this are always a help. It is not quite "us against the world", but Coach Harbaugh is at least able to bring up some of motivator. Even when he says things are in the past, I would not be surprised if he took advantage of bulletin-board material in some form or fashion. One thing we never get to see is how he actually goes about motivating his players. We are left to speculation, although we certainly do have plenty of ideas of what works.
Head Coach Jim Harbaugh
Press Conference - October 12, 2012
San Francisco 49ers
We saw your statement, obviously. Can you expand on it, your thoughts on just what New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride had to say about 49ers DT Justin Smith?
"I think it was pretty - nothing to expand on. Said what I felt."
When did you first hear about these comments? And what was your initial reaction?
"Heard about them this morning and jotted down my reaction. And felt like I'd confront it right away. So, it's been addressed. Now we'll move on."
Is this something that you fear that can sort of stick in the minds of the officials and influence calls during a game?
"You know exactly how I feel on it. It's wrapped up in a concise statement."
Why? You're talking to-
"Just to address it, Matt. Confront it, address it and move on."
Well why an hour before you're going to meet with us would you send it out?
"Just to address it on the spot."
Have you heard any complaints from other coaches about Justin's tactics over the years?
"No. Like I said, it's been addressed. And I've moved on from it about two hours ago."
Has Justin commented on anything at all?
There are already a lot of emotions going into this game. Is there a risk of being too emotional for this team? Given what happened in the Championship Game, given what's been said back and forth, coach to coach going into this game?
"I think those things are completely irrelevant. The game will be played by the players, coached by the coaches. And it'll come down to the game."
What have you sensed from your players this week? Normal week?
"Been a good week. Very enthusiastic. Great focus. It's been an outstanding week of preparation."
Is this a different week? It seems like your players are really eager about this game and a lot of talk about unfinished business. But, have you noticed that it looks even keel?
"I think for our team it's new business. And they're excited about it. And it's been a great week of preparation and great focus."
What's the message in the locker room this week?
"The message in the locker room? I don't know that there is just one. Preparation. Let's have a great week of practice and prepare the best that we can. And that'll be the thing that will give us the best opportunity to be in an advantageous position on Sunday. There you go."
Are you tired of hearing about the questions and the conversations about redemption going into this game?
"Well, like I said, this is new business to us. Not tired of questions. Want to ask questions, go ahead."
Yesterday RB Brandon Jacobs said you guys have talked a couple times over the past couple of days and ironed some things out. Did you feel there needed to be stuff ironed out? Was there a need of stuff to be ironed out with his frustration with his situation?
"Well, with all the players, it's a daily ... you have daily conversations with all the guys. And it's always good, always healthy. Whatever the topic may be. So, love the communication we have with our players."
Is he going to play on Sunday?
"As typical, as we always do, we don't give out the deactives until an hour and a half before game time."
Is health the only issue that might keep him from being active?
"He had a good week of practice. I think it's been pretty consistently good. Two weeks ago ... it was better last week than it was two weeks ago. Better this week than it was the week before that. He's working hard. He's taking reps, doing the things that he can do and control."
He said that you understood where he was coming from because you're a former player and you understand facing a former team. Do you recall a scenario like that where you really wanted to play a former squad?
"I just don't really get into personal conversations that I had with the team, or the players. I don't use a public forum to discuss or dissect those conversations."
I'm not asking you about the conversation, I'm asking you whether you remember a scenario when you were playing where you were facing a former squad?
"I know I have in the past. I don't have vivid memories of them."
One more thing on Gilbride, did you reach out to the Giants staff at all, or Kevin, to relay your concerns?
"Like I said, we've addressed it and moving on."
Are you pleased with the home-field advantage that you've created at Candlestick since the postseason run last year?
"The record has been good at home. I think we've gotten a tremendous amount of support from our fans. We're pleased as can be about the support that we get from the Bay Area fans and the San Francisco fans on the peninsula. It's a great atmosphere to play."
Is this be the kind of game, I mean you talked about the Giants kind of criticizing the officiating a little bit and maybe looking to influence it in that statement, but is the kind of game where that may be important. Could this be the kind of game that does come down to an official's call?
"Could you repeat that?"
Could this be the kind of game that does come down to officiating? Could this be the kind of game where officiating is important? Where it could hinge on a call from an official or something like that?
"I believe this will be a highly competitive, rough, tough, great football game played between two outstanding football teams. And that's probably the highest compliment you could give both teams. These are good football teams."
Is this the most well-rounded, balanced team that you've faced this year?
"I don't know that. Haven't faced all the teams."
That you've faced this year?
"I thought you said that we will face this year. They're a good football team. There's no doubt about it. And we're going to have to play our best to be able to win this game."
At one point in your statement you called the analogy ‘absurd.' Are you talking about the fact that he compared holding to murder?
"I'll just stand on what I said in the statement, yeah."
That part wasn't clear. That's why I'm asking. You said the analogy was absurd. The analogy between holding and murder?
"You can read it. I think it's pretty summed up."