Jim Harbaugh spoke on Wednesday afternoon thinking about the former players who are on the Colts that he once coached. Andrew Luck was his quarterback at Stanford who put the Cardinal football program back on the map. The head coach had nothing but positives to say about his former quarterback.
"He is one of the top players in the league which is no surprise," Harbaugh said. "He does things extremely well. It's going to be quite a bit of reunion this week with some of the guys at Stanford we know well. That's not necessarily a good thing, because they're good."
Not only are the 49ers going to see Andrew Luck, but also three other players who are currently on the Colts roster. This includes their 2012 second round pick TE Coby Fleener, WR Griff Whalen and S Delano Howell.
The one thing that Harbaugh indicated about Luck is that his speed is underrated. While he isn't known to be a scrambling quarterback, he is faster than spectators would believe.
"He is a freakishly good athlete," Harbaugh said. "He is a lot faster than you think he is. He is stronger than he looks but you can see the evidence on tape."
In the first week against the Oakland Raiders, Luck was able to score the game winning touchdown with his legs through 19-yard run. He finished that game with 38 rushing yards on six attempts, averaging more than six yards per attempt.
NaVorro Bowman said that everything on the Colts offense revolves around the second-year quarterback. While this another good quarterback the 49ers will face, Bowman said it is better for the team to be tested right now in the long term for this season.
"The [Colts] feed off of him and he runs everything," Bowman said of Luck. "He likes to get looks at defenses when throwing. That's the challenge for us to try and disguise our coverages. Facing the [one of] best [quarterbacks in Luck] early in the season leaves room to improve later."
Last season, Luck had a solid rookie season with 4,374 passing yards to go with a 23-18 touchdown-to-interception ratio. With his help, the Colts were able to win 11 games and make the playoffs as a wildcard team.
In a conference call, Luck said Harbaugh has greatly impacted his football career besides the Stanford football program. He is intrigued not as to how the 49ers approach him directly, but the offense as a whole. The Colts quarterback downplayed the significance of facing his former coaches in Harbaugh, Greg Roman and Vic Fangio treating Sunday like any other game.
"I can't speak for coach Harbaugh, but I felt like he helped me get to where I am now," Luck said. "I attribute the positive impact that he's had on me. However, I’m not going to change how I prepare or the process because it’s Coach Harbaugh and Coach Roman and Coach Fangio over there. It’ll be sort of fun I guess to see those guys. They taught me so much about football growing up but at the end of the day it will be just another game."
-Jim Harbaugh said newly signed FB Owen Marecic will be the backup fullback behind Bruce Miller and will have a few special teams roles. He said Marecic will not be a two-way player like he was at Stanford.
-Asked why the 49ers didn't add a NT to replace Ian Williams, Harbaugh said that he is confident in Tony Jerod-Eddie as the backup nose tackle behind Glenn Dorsey.