Early this year, Jim Harbaugh accepted the head coaching position for the San Francisco 49ers. Although in recent history the 49ers have failed to reach any level of true success, expectations from Niner faithful have not lessened from the days of Steve Young and Joe Montana. Can Harbaugh be the one to restore the storied franchise to its previous glory? Maybe, just maybe, yes.
If finding great coaches were as simple as baking up a batch of cookies, Jim Harbaugh would have all of the required ingredients; solid career as a player, proven track record coaching in the college ranks, and even some time as a quarterbacks coach in the NFL.
But, believe me, it's not his time with the Raiders, or his years as head coach of the University of San Diego that have Bay Area fans believing in the 49ers again. Harbaugh's most recent performance at neighboring Stanford lends the most weight to his case. In four seasons, he led the Stanford Cardinal from the depths of the Pac-10 standings to an end-of-year number 4 ranking in the major polls. The school known more for its brain power than its tackling prowess will look to continue this performance under new head coach David Shaw.
Among Harbaugh's challenges with the Niners will be figuring what to do at the quarterback position. Starting QB Alex Smith was the first pick in the 2005 draft out of Utah and has not lived up to the lofty expectations that come with following the likes of Young and Montana. At Utah, Smith excelled under the tutelage of head coach Urban Meyer who would still be one of the top head coaches in college football had he not recently stepped down from the University of Florida due to health concerns.
Could it be that all Smith needs is a great coach with the mind of a quarterback? Well, if the labor dispute resolves in time, we just might find out. I, for one, believe that Harbaugh might just be what the ailing 49er franchise needs.
San Francisco 49ers tickets are available online now. Search multiple websites at once using the free search engine at SeatKarma.com.