I can’t decide if new Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh is full of hot air or actually is the way he is. I’ll give the guy this — he certainly has a presence.
At last Thursday’s Pac-10 media day, coaches were asked to make some opening remarks. Honestly, most of the time reporters barely pay attention to this part because nothing of note is said. Coaches will thanks the media for coming, discuss their top returning players or the strength of the Pac-10. We’re all just waiting for the one-on-one interview portion of the program so we can actually get something worthwhile.
But after making a few opening comments, Harbaugh looked out at the assembled media and said: “Here’s the plan…” It was as though he was a military commander about to give his troops top secret instructions to carry out a mission.
It actually was good for a smile or two, given the usually monotonous nature of that segment of the program. Unfortunately, what Harbaugh followed with wasn’t as exciting as a well-conceived military operation.
“I plan on doing it with a senior group that is committed to winning football games, that is tired of getting their butts kicked.”
If it only were that easy. Yes, the Cardinal may have some seniors, but the question remains if any of them are any good. It seems the best thing Harbaugh has going for him is his passion, and his players seem to be truly responding to it. Unfortunately for Stanford, that passion isn’t likely to make a 1-11 team suddenly competitive in the ultra-tough Pac-10. Those seniors may be tired of getting their butts kicked, but they can look on the bright side: At least they’ll know how to handle it when it happens again this season.
Just for fun, here is some more rhetoric from Harbaugh:
“Three things we want our players to do: Play hard, play hurt and play to win. And then, just from the love of the game standpoint, I just believe that the love of the game must be genuine. Lack of earnestness, half-heartedness will eliminate any man from a football team. Our philosophy is we’ll work like dogs and have fun doing it. We’ll enjoy the struggle of playing football. Football is different from other games. It will test a man’s courage. I want our guys to enjoy the struggle of playing football, and expect to win.”
“On Sept. 1 against UCLA, we expect to win.” They likely are the only ones.