Sunday, August 3, 2008

Setting a theme for the season

Great approach Stanford head football coach Jim Harbaugh is using as the Cardinal gets ready for the 2008 season.

Coach Harbaugh and his staff recently passed out blue gas station-style work shirts to every member of the Stanford football team, complete with an embroidered name plate on the front-left chest. It's a fun way to engage his guys and get them focused on the season.

Here's what a couple of his players said about this season's theme:

"We're going to be more blue-collar. We want to keep coming into camp with a working mentality. We had a little success last year, but it wasn't what we wanted. We want to get to a bowl game."

"Coach Harbaugh gave us a long speech last night. He used a metaphor. He told us we're the outsiders, a little lower than USC, Oregon and ASU. He said they're like the white-collar programs and we'll be like the blue-collar program. We're going to work hard and get mean."

Coach Harbaugh has also talked to his guys about "building a wall."  

"We need to go out there each day and feel like the wall we are building is getting built.  It's like in olden times, in kingdoms, people lived towns and they brought everybody inside the cities. They brought them from the farms and put them inside the city and built a wall around the city and that wall has got to be high and it's got to be strong and can't be any weak rocks.

"When people come to attack you, they are looking for the weaknesses, so we've got to go out every day in our technique and our alignment, everything we do, and put a few of those rocks in every single day in the right spot."

If his players buy in, as they did when Harbaugh coached at the University of San Diego, Stanford could be a team to watch this season.