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Jim Harbaugh likes two-way players


At Stanford last year Jim Harbaugh was the only coach in major college football to use a full-time two-way player, with fullback/linebacker Owen Marecic in the starting lineup on both offense and defense. Now Harbaugh is the head coach of the 49ers, and he still likes having players work on both sides of the ball.

Rookie sixth-round draft pick Colin Jones is primarily a safety in 49ers camp, the same position he played in college at TCU. But Harbaugh is also giving him some time at wide receiver in training camp. And seventh-round pick Bruce Miller was a defensive end at Central Florida, but Harbaugh has him playing fullback primarily, with some extra time at linebacker.

Harbaugh has told young players that the more they can do, the better chance they’ll have to make the 53-man roster. That’s good news for versatile players like Jones and Miller.

Harbaugh once referred to Marecic (who’s now with the Browns) as “the football player I always wanted to be.” Two-way players are players Harbaugh loves.

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22 Responses to “Jim Harbaugh likes two-way players”
  1. hobartbaker says: Aug 19, 2011 11:37 AM

    Having non football skills like first aid, massage therapy, cart driving, custodial duty, field maintenance, etc. immeasurably improves a player’s chances of making the roster as well. Eliminating the need for costly support staff.

  2. green18blue52 says: Aug 19, 2011 11:42 AM

    Really? That’s just too easy

  3. klunge says: Aug 19, 2011 11:59 AM


  4. lawyermalloy says: Aug 19, 2011 12:02 PM

    Of course “starting” a guy on both sides of the ball
    Should result in a double salary at his position(s)!

  5. elgramo84 says: Aug 19, 2011 12:07 PM

    I love me an iron man and I think it’s about time the NFL got on board

  6. nineroutsider says: Aug 19, 2011 12:11 PM

    This story annoyed me 2 days guys when I read it on one of the beat writer’s blogs. My immediate thought was…its amateur hour in Santa Clara. If a player isn’t good enough to start at one position or play special teams, no point in trying him at a position on the other side of the ball. In college it can work, but not at this level…it usually only happens in emergencies. Those reps should be going to the actual starter or back-ups.

    Harbs gets a free pass as I’m not going to beat up a new coach in his first year, but this doesn’t instil confidence in me that they know what they are doing, but that’s nothing new around here.

  7. kingjoe1 says: Aug 19, 2011 12:14 PM

    He did not say he like two-way players, he said he likes players who go both ways; they connect better with the fan base in San Fran.

    Someone had to give it a shot.

  8. 3octaveFart says: Aug 19, 2011 12:15 PM

    ..Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  9. kellyb9 says: Aug 19, 2011 12:54 PM

    Is he the 49ers one or the Ravens one?

  10. tacofever2000 says: Aug 19, 2011 12:55 PM

    People are forgetting the only other NFL coach who likes players who cab play on both offense and defense.. Bill Bellichick. Anyone remember a guy named Mike Vrabel? Pretty good player. Used in key situations in red zone offense. Love the jokes, but in all seriousness, Harbaugh seems like he’s got a plan. Definitely needs a couple years to get the right players though.

  11. ilovefoolsball says: Aug 19, 2011 12:59 PM

    switch hitter?

  12. dmq13 says: Aug 19, 2011 12:59 PM

    “Jim Harbaugh likes two way players”

    Thats what she said….

  13. mvp43 says: Aug 19, 2011 1:13 PM

    So does Kordell Stewart….

  14. 3octaveFart says: Aug 19, 2011 1:22 PM

    kellyb9 says: Aug 19, 2011 12:54 PM

    “Is he the 49ers one or the Ravens one?”

    The picture of him wearing 49’ers gear might offer a clue.

  15. ottomanismydog says: Aug 19, 2011 1:46 PM

    This obviously doesn’t work in the NFL and is purely a gimmick

  16. realitypolice says: Aug 19, 2011 1:48 PM

    I’m sure the player safety police will LOVE having a guy line up for twice as many snaps as usual.

  17. radrntn says: Aug 19, 2011 1:59 PM

    i think that is why he chose San Francisco….because everybody there pretty much swings both way….although the preference is young boys

  18. cliverush says: Aug 19, 2011 2:51 PM

    Remember Troy Brown, WR of the New England Patriots. When BB asked him if he could help out on the defense due to injuries, Brown replied ” I’m a football player coach put me where you need me.” Brown also excelled at special team play.

  19. oxnardcalif says: Aug 19, 2011 2:56 PM

    can anyone on defense throw the ball?

  20. thermalito says: Aug 19, 2011 3:18 PM

    Alex Smith is so bad he doesn’t even count as a one way player.

  21. time2speakup says: Aug 19, 2011 3:29 PM

    And here he is coaching of all things, and getting paid – What, something around 5 mil. While here we sit.

  22. pigskinswag says: Aug 19, 2011 3:31 PM

    “Jim Harbaugh likes two-way players” = Headline EPIC FAIL

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