Jim Harbaugh: NCAA Football produces excellence without scholarships. Exclusive to Every Game Counts
By: Jim Harbaugh
For NCAA Football fans, game day is “D-day” but practice is where it all begins.
A football player has to trust in his training. They have to be mentally tough. Being mentally tough is as important as the physical toughness. A famous Marine General once said, “positions are seldom lost due to enemy action unless they’re first lost in the mind of the commander.” In a football game there’s always a time when both sides believe the issue is at doubt. The side that remains mentally tough, trusts in their training and leadership and refuses to believe they’ve lost- WILL WIN! The side that remains focused and committed to its mission will achieve victory. 95 men who remain focused on the mission can’t be beaten.
Practice is so important that my staff and I plan every single minute. individual team periods, 9 on 7 periods, you name it. We strive for energy and a mentality of effort from the moment we hit the practice field. We go full speed just like in a game. Players have to feel like they’re going to win Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday just like on Saturday.
We want them to believe they can do something remarkable. They sleep eight hours, eat right, go to class, practice hard, really hard. Sure they could be doing more fun things like going to the beach, being on MySpace, just chill’in. But football’s not a vacation. They’re doing something worthwhile with their lives. Because of their efforts we may go undefeated, have the best record in school history or both. They’re hungry for success. Hungry to be remarkable. Their parents will be proud of them, they go to a great school, play for a 1AA juggernaut, they probably bore their friends and neighbors with the things their sons are doing.
Our motto is “continuous effort”- in the weight room, practice, game time. Play hard every play, use good technique and success follows. The beauty of the system is that we’ve got ‘em. We’ve seen the players execute at a high level so they’ve come to expect it too.
We won a game 56-3 earlier in the season. Afterward linebacker Ronnie Pentz said he was disappointed that we didn’t get the shut out then went on to say, “we’ll get it next week.” The next day after practice I told them “practice is over. There’s no more time for practice.” I always tell the guys that with every practice you get better or you get worse, but you never stay the same.” So our red shirt sophomore, J.T. Rogan yells out and they all chime in… “did we get better Coach?” “Yeah” I said, “we got better.”
I believe in swagger. Guilty as charged! There’s genius in it. There’s magic in it! There’s power in it! You are what you do. I tell the guys we have a big X on our backs. We’re targets for every opponent we play and if they knock us off it’ll be like they won the Super Bowl.”
We can have excellence without scholarships. Here at the
The swagger has got to be there. You can get hurt if you don’t believe it. Every game is a matter of competing and opposing wills. Every game provides a special opportunity to achieve greatness. Those opportunities don’t come around that often so you have to take advantage of them. I challenge the Toreros to make history. To make the kind of history that people want to read about in Sunday’s paper. The kind of history they’ll want to read about and remember 20 years from now. Then have fun and enjoy the moment, including this weekend’s game:
Jim Harbaugh begins his third year as the University of San Diego head football coach and quarterbacks coach. Harbaugh, a former NFL quarterback who played 15 seasons in the league played in 177 league games with 140 starts since originally entering the NFL as a first round pick by the Chicago Bears in 1987. Harbaugh was a four-year letterman at the University of Michigan and finished his college career in the top five in passing attempts, completions, completion percentage, passing yards and touchdown passes.