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Jim Harbaugh At Stanford: The Statistics

Yesterday I focused on Jim Harbaugh's brief tenure at the University of San Diego. I looked at, and analyzed their offensive statistics under Harb. As you can imagine, information in regards to the Toreoes was hard to find, however, I was able to see some game film and analyze it through that perspective. Needless to say, those statistics were eye opening. San Diego led FCS in scoring offense, passing yards and 1st downs for two consecutive seasons. This after Harbaugh took over the previously failed football program there.

This morning I am going to take a look at Harbaugh's extremely successful tenure at Stanford. I am going to give you the statistics and together we can analyze them to see what they mean for the 49ers moving forward. 

2007 Season

Record: 4-8 No Post-Season Game

T.C. Ostrander: 56.8 Completion Percentage- 1422 Yards- 7 TD- 2 INT- 116.4 Rating

Tavita Pritchard: 50.0 Completion Percentage- 5 TD- 9 INT- 97.5 Rating

Anthony Kimble: 509 Rush Yards- 4.4 AVG- 8 TD

Jeremy Stewart: 343 Rush Yards- 3.3 AVG- 3 TD

Richard Sherman: 39 Receptions- 651 Yards- 4 TD

Mark Bradford: 51 Receptions- 642 Yards- 3 TD

Points Per Game: 18.9  Total Yards Per Game: 322.5


2008 Season

Record: 5-7 No Post-Season Game 

Tavita Pritchard: 57.9 Completion Percentage- 1633 Yards- 10 TD- 13 INT

Toby Gerhart: 1136 Rush Yards- 5.4 AVG- 15 TD

Anthony Kimble: 717 Rush Yards- 6.0 AVG- 6 TD

Ryan Whalen: 41 Receptions- 508 Yards- 1 TD

Doug Baldwin: 23 Receptions- 332 Yards- 4 TD

Points Per Game: 26.3 Total Yards Per Game: 351.8


2009 Season

Record: 8-5 Lost to Oklahoma in Sun Bowl 

Andrew Luck: 56.3 Completion Percentage- 2575 Yards- 13 TD- 4 INT- 143.5 Rating

Toby Gerhart: 1871 Rush Yards- 5.5 AVG- 27 TD

Stepfan Taylor: 303 Rush Yards- 5.4 AVG- 2 TD

Ryan Whalen: 57 Receptions- 926 Yards- 4 TD

Chris Owusu: 37 Receptions- 682 Yards- 5 TD

Points Per Game: 35.5 (21st NCAA) Total Yards Per Game: 427.6 

2010 Season

Record: 12-1 Beat Virginia Tech in Orange Bowl 

Andrew Luck: 70.7 Completion Percentage- 3338 Yards- 32 TD- 8 INT- 170.2 Rating 

Stepfan Taylor: 1137 Yards- 5.1 AVG- 15 TD

Doug Baldwin: 58 Receptions- 857 Yards- 9 TD

Ryan Whalen: 41 Receptions- 439 Yards- 2 TD

Colby Fleener: 28 Receptions- 434 Yards- 7 TD

Points Per Game: 39.8 (9th NCAA) Total Yards Per Game: 472.5 (14th NCAA)

Analysis: Just like we saw at San Diego, Jim Harbaugh's teams seemed to progress each season. This is obvious if you look at Stanford's points per game and total yardage statistics each of the four seasons Harbaugh coached the Cardinal. 

Talent level is a primary reason for Stanford's progression under Jim Harbaugh. I am not sure how many teams would succeed with Tavita Pritchard as your starting QB. The difference between Harbaugh taking over the 49ers and when he took over Stanford is talent level. The 49ers have the talent to succeed, they just need the system and play calling that best suits their skills.

Yesterday I mentioned the fact that Harbaugh loves to utilize tight ends in his WCO scheme. But, what stood out to me was his ability to utilize the running backs. Stanford averaged over 213 yards rushing per game last season, But, with the talent they had in Stepfan Taylor and Anthony Wilkerson that is not surprising. What is surprising, however, is the fact that Stanford averaged over 5 yards per rush in four seasons under Harbaugh. 

A lot has been said about Harbaugh being a "QB friendly" head coach, which is true. However, he finds a way to utilize all the talents on offense whether it be in the passing or running game. It doesn't hurt that you have Owen Marecic blocking, but the scheme does show a lot about how effective an offense is going to be. 

The use of play action roll-outs really kept defenses off balance in 2010 against Stanford. You would see the play action but not know where Luck was going to go with the ball. Now, some of that has to do with his great ability to disguise the play. However, some of it has to do with the scheme Stanford was running. Their offense molded throughout the last couple seasons and ended up becoming a true juggernaut. It is a thing of beauty to see an offense run flawlessly, from the QB to the Head Coach. This is something I am looking forward to for the 49ers in 2011. We have been missing the fluidity that is necessary in the NFL, and Harbaugh's scheme should enable us to see that moving forward.