San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh talked about his former players at Stanford, cornerback Richard Sherman and receiver Doug Baldwin.
Harbaugh said he made a mistake in not taking Baldwin in the draft. The Niners drafted USC receiver Ronald Johnson in the sixth round instead, who’s no longer with the team.
“Well, I should have drafted him,” Harbaugh said. “Yeah, I’m kicking myself for not doing that. And at the same time I’m really, really happy for Doug. I’ve watched him this whole year whenever we’re watching crossover tape. Or I’ve sometimes put on the tape, just to watch him and Richard. And I’ve seen him really grow the whole season.”
On Sherman’s transition from receiver to cornerback his junior season at Stanford, Harbaugh said that Sherman initiated the move.
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“Richard suggested it,” Harbaugh said. “He texted me, and wanted to move to corner. And I said, ‘Sure, let’s do it.’ And he’s really blossomed. Does it surprise me? No. He’s a talented, talented athlete. He loves football. He has a real respect for the game.”
San Francisco defensive tackle Justin Smith put it simply when asked what the difference is between last year and this year for the Niners.
“We’ve got 11 wins, that’s the difference” he said. “It’s pretty simple. We’ve won some games that we didn’t win in the past. We’ve been able to close out some of those tight games and hold onto the leads that we haven’t been able to in the past. So just the little things really that add up to big ones.”
Smith gave Harbaugh credit for creating an atmosphere of winning by putting together a good, knowledgeable coaching staff, along with an attention to detail in the team’s weekly preparation for games.
“Everything you do is a reflection of your head coach, one way or another,” Smith said. “And he’s just a no-nonsense, football guy. And I think it’s done wonders for this team.”
Smith gushed when talking about Marshawn Lynch and Seattle’s running game.
“I think he’s one of the top backs in the league,” Smith said. “I mean the way he runs, the plays he makes. I’d put him definitely at one, or two or three for sure. He’s a top back in the NFL.
“The way he runs, the way he can make one, two, three or four guys miss, I mean it’s amazing. And the power he has with his size, he’s got the speed – everything. He’s the total package. So that’s who we have to focus on, and that’s who we have to stop. It’s not going to be easy.”