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Harbaugh-Carroll rivalry jumps from NCAA to NFL

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Harbaugh-Carroll rivalry jumps from NCAA to NFL

Sept. 7, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
SANTA CLARA -- Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll actually agreed on something Wednesday afternoon.

Both men stated they have not experienced much personal interaction through the years. Professionally, it's another story.
Their unique rapport is best summarized by a five-second midfield exchange two seasons ago after Stanford's 55-21 victory over USC at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Harbaugh ordered a two-point conversion attempt late in the game, which was widely seen as a slap in the face of the Trojans.
"What's your deal? Are you all right?" Carroll asked Harbaugh, as captured by a TV camera and microphone on the field.
"Yeah, I'm great," Harbaugh responded. "What's your deal?""Nice game," Carroll said.Harbaugh and Carroll are no longer a part of the Stanford-USC rivalry. Now, they're NFC West opponents and will square off for the first time Sunday at Candlestick Park when Carroll's Seahawks face Harbaugh's 49ers.
"Tune in to see what the coaches are going to say to each other before the game, after the game," Harbaugh quipped on Wednesday. "Anything that's been said before has pretty well been documented and over-documented. And in the end, it's an 11-on-11 game."Is it really that exciting, that intriguing, to find out what they're going to talk about? What's relevant is this game will be determined by the players and the coaches."
Added Carroll, "Better listen very carefully -- better see a lot of boom mikes when we're talking out there. Got to get the straight scoop on what's really up."What's really up -- what's really the deal -- is that is that while they're certainly not friendly, Harbaugh and Carroll both claim to have respect for the other. Carroll talked about Harbaugh's toughness and competitive nature. Harbaugh complimented how Carroll always has his teams well-prepared.And the roles are reversed from a year ago, when Carroll was making his coaching debut with the Seahawks.
The 49ers remember what it's like to prepare to face the uncertainty of a team that features a coach coming directly from the college ranks."I can specifically remember going into the game and they were very vanilla all the preseason and we had no idea what we were going to get," 49ers quarterback Alex Smith said. "We were watching USC film and trying to anticipate what we were going to get. So it was difficult."Carroll described the 49ers' offensive approach of the exhibition season as "basic." Both offensively and defensively, the 49ers were careful not to reveal too much of their identity.And that even carried over into Wednesday, when Harbaugh declined to talk about the percentage of the offense that was featured in the 49ers' four tuneup games."When you're in a division, you get to know your opponent a little bit and you see them play other teams," Carroll said. "It's a different level of familiarity. In both of our cases, we've played against each other a few times."It's a little more like a division matchup, where you have some background. Whether that benefits anybody, I don't know. But that's what it feels like."The Seahawks this year are the ones studying college film to try to get a handle on what the 49ers might do.Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson said he has watched film of the 49ers during the exhibition season. But he has also studied Stanford's schemes from a year ago in an attempt to gain insight into 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's approach.
Jackson has solicited input from former Stanford receiver Doug Baldwin. He also plans to speak with cornerback Richard Sherman, also a rookie from Stanford."(Baldwin) gave me some insight on what the defensive coordinator likes to do," Jackson said. "He knows him and watched him a lot. I'll probably get with (Sherman) today or tomorrow and ask him a couple things -- different indicators he can help me out with."Who knows if he's going to keep doing the same things he did at Stanford, so we have to be prepared for both. So I have to make sure I go back and do some history on that."

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Kyle Shanahan is, self admittedly, not a patient person. As he watched quarterback C.J. Beathard run the scout team over the last couple of weeks -- how he visualized an unfamiliar play, went through his progressions and handled the defensive coverages -- the head coach saw rapid improvement every day. But he suppressed any urge to play the rookie before he was ready.

“I tried to wait for the right time for him and the right time for the team,” Shanahan explained.

Down 14-0 to Washington halfway through the second quarter with starter Brian Hoyer struggling, Shanahan knew Beathard’s time had come.

“I felt the team needed it right then,” Shanahan said. “It also made me more confident to do it because I thought he was ready for it, also.”

Moments after the game was over, Shanahan named Beathard the starter. Watching the game tape on the flight home only bolstered his decision.

“By no means was he perfect, missed a couple of things, but that always happens,” Shanahan said. “I thought he came in there, didn’t hesitate, competed. The moment was not too big for him. Made a few plays in rhythm, made a few off schedule plays and was a big reason we got back in that game.”

Beathard led the 49ers on two scoring drives and finished 19-of-36 with 245 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception, though it came on fourth-and-20 on his final pass attempt of the game. On his 45-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson, Beathard extended the play when the fifth year receiver wasn’t where he expected him to be.

“He was supposed to go to the post for a certain coverage, and they had a busted coverage, so he just hung out there which is why C.J. didn’t see it right away,” Shanahan explained. “We had enough protection where he could take a couple more hitches. He drove the pocket and saw where Aldrick was, and he didn’t hesitate. Made that throw with that arm strength.”

Shanahan smirked at his not-so-subtle dig at those who questioned Beathard’s arm strength during the draft process. He sees a quarterback who can make all the throws, and make them from the pocket, and scramble when he needs to. All he needs now, Shanahan contends, is experience.

“It’s about playing in the game and reacting to defenses, reacting to coverages, reacting to adjustments. He’s going to see a lot of things he hasn’t seen before, and that will change each week. It will probably change each quarter.”

Helping Beathard continue to grow through those experiences will require patience, but in this situation, it’s the kind the head coach can handle.

“You’re never going to get a quick answer. You see over time, but he’s got the ability to do it. He’s got the mental toughness to do it. I think he will get better the more he plays.”

Armstead to undergo surgery on broken hand, out indefinitely

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Armstead to undergo surgery on broken hand, out indefinitely

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead will be out indefinitely with a broken hand, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan announced Monday.

“He’s going to need surgery, so it’s going to be some time,” Shanahan said of Armstead, the 49ers' first-round pick in the 2015 draft.

The 49ers will discuss placing Armstead of injured reserve, which would rule him out for at least eight weeks. The 49ers will also be without defensive end Aaron Lynch this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Lynch is week-to-week with a calf strain.

“The more guys you lose, the less you like that depth,” Shanahan said. “Losing Arik, which could be some time. We’ll have to discuss IR. We have to do that over the next couple of days. We know we’re going to have Lynch out, too, for at least a week or most likely more. That takes away two guys who were helping.”

The 49ers might make a roster move to add a defensive lineman to their 53-man roster. The 49ers also expect outside linebacker/defensive end Dekoda Watson to return to action this week after missing two weeks with a groin strain.