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Coach's Notebook: Jan. 10


Coach Jim Harbaugh addressed the media on Thursday as his team prepares for its NFC Divisional Round matchup against the Packers. Who's going to be your kicker Saturday?
"[K] David Akers."

Why's that?
"I feel like he gives us the best chance."

Is there anything you've seen in him the past week, or just more consistency? Anything in the past few practices?
"I think, suffice it to say we feel confident in David giving us the best chance to win."

How do you feel about just how he responded to having competition out here in practice the last week and two days?
"Good. Responded like a football player does. Competed and not really more to say about it."

Will you keep K Billy Cundiff on the team?

Why is that? Why have him stay on the team?
"Just our decision. Again, what we think is best for us."

Billy won't be active on Saturday though, or is that to be determined?
"To be determined. Most likely not."

Can you talk about Packers WR Randall Cobb, the dynamic that he has for that team? And the consideration that you need to have for him?
"Randall Cobb and the many playmakers they have on offense makes it very difficult to zero in, or take one guy away. But, he is a very dynamic player, excellent returner and really has the ability to do so many things for their offense."

It seems like you have a good guy to emulate him in practice in WR Chad Hall, versatility wise he's comparable to Cobb?

Yeah, OK. That's it? What do you mean?
"I agree."

It seems like your practice squad has a lot of different types of skillsets. Is that something that you consider when you put together that practice squad?
"No, the greater share is men that we feel can contribute to our team, be future starters on future championship teams. But, it's a good observation. Guys like Chad Hall, brings a very specific skillset that's been really valuable this year in some of the teams that we've played. [WR] Ricardo [Lockette]'s done a great job. [S Michael] Mike Thomas has been tremendous all season and so on down the line. [TE] Garrett Celek was so good that he came up onto the 53-man roster, and so did [LB] Michael Wilhoite, [LB] Cam Johnson, [S] Trenton Robinson. So, been really pleased with the way our guys have worked in that regard. And it's a very good observation. I'm not diminishing what you're saying. They have done a fantastic job."

How confident do you feel about WR Ted Ginn Jr. returning punts right now and how RB LaMichael James has come along this season in practicing that role?
"I feel confident in Ted. LaMichael has really asserted himself and feel very confident in LaMichael as well. And look forward to one or both of those guys making a big play in this game."

When you look at what happened to Redskins QB Robert Griffin III, just the pounding he took in the season with the Redskins, does that make you think twice at all about utilizing an option package with QB Colin Kaepernick in general, not just in this game?
"Does it make me think about it, sure. That's something you think about, sure. Health and safety of your quarterback."

How precious will takeaways be for both teams given how well both of you guys protect the football?
"In any game, that's a key statistic. Who scores the most points is the biggest indicator of who wins and loses the game. But, turnovers are essential, are a big statistic in who wins and predicts who's going to win the game. So, taking care of the football, yeah. I think neither one of us, you or I, would be going out on a limb by saying ball security and turnovers will play a big part in the game."

How do you preach that as a coach? Green Bay, we know how Packers head coach Mike McCarthy in all these different sessions in practice. How do you preach ball security to your guys?
"Sounds pretty similar."

What unique aspects do you see Packers FB John Kuhn bring to that Packers offense?
"He's a tremendous blocker. Does a good job when he gets the ball in his hands, running the dive play. Very good pass catcher out of the backfield. He's a big part of their offense and they utilize him."

What's your favorite part about playing at Candlestick Park?
"The mystique, it's a home field advantage for us. I really feel like our fans, especially, understand playoff time. And they paint those end zones red, there's kind of a locking of the gates. And I feel like there's 60-70,000 people that are on our side, fully on our side. It creates a tremendous home field advantage for us."

Did you know about the painting of the end zones red before last year?
"No, I didn't know that."

Did somebody tell you?
"It's cool, very cool. The end zones are red, this is different. And then there will be a time you look at a play or a cutup from the season on film or TV, you know that was a playoff game."

Are you a fan of Huey Lewis and the News?
"Who isn't?"

That's right in your wheelhouse, right?
"80's? I'm an 80's guy, sure. Quintessential 80's guy, that's me."

Was that your last time on this field this week, before you guys head up to Candlestick?
"No, we'll be back out tomorrow."

Do you guys ever have any walkthroughs or anything at Candlestick?
"No, just the one practice in August during training camp. That's the only time we go up there."

Is there something to be gained? Could you gain something from going up there and spending more time in your home stadium?
"I don't think so."

With the week off and having a Saturday game, can you talk about your pacing of your practices? Are you really comfortable with the way you were and how you did this so you'd be at maximum preparation?
"Yeah we're good with it. I feel real good about the way our team prepared, the way they've studied for this test. That's what it is, that's what the meetings are, that's what the practice sessions are. And go out and compete like maniacs. So that's what we've attempted to do."

If for whatever reason at some point in the playoffs you have to turn to Billy Cundiff, from what you saw from him, how do you feel about him? What's your confidence level?
"I'm not really going to go into any kind of speculation. He's done a nice job. David has done a better job and more prepared to give us the best chance to win. Can't possibly think of anything more to say about it."

Did Akers' playoff experience factor into this?
"Can't possibly – feel like we've plowed that ground as thoroughly as it can possibly be plowed."

You said you were an 80's guy, did you ever have a mullet?
"A mullet? I've had the same haircut since I was 10 years old. Business in the front, party in the back. I've never had that. Same exact haircut. It's never changed."

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