T Minus-5: 8/30 Presser Notes

Scott Cooley reports on a Monday press conference that ran the gamut. Jim Harbaugh covered starters, injuries, players' personalities, leadership roles, non-conference scheduling, playing time for freshmen and more... read on!

Owusu, where are you?

There was one glaring problem with the Cardinal depth chart provided by the media relations department Monday: Chris Owusu was nowhere to be found on it.

Doug Baldwin was listed as the second starting wide receiver alongside Ryan Whalen.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh was not eager to discuss the situation only saying, "Chris is working through something physically."

When asked if Owusu would play against Sacramento State Harbaugh replied, "Possibly. He'll play when he's physically ready."

We're assuming the speedster will be on the sidelines in street clothes Saturday.

Tight-lipped

Harbaugh made it clear that the depth chart in the Stanford game notes was unofficial. When prompted about a few starting positions, he kept his cards close to his chest.

Harbaugh said the starting running back was "to be determined" and wouldn't say which punter had won the starting job. He also declined to name a starting punt returner for the game.

We all know four offensive linemen are solidified in their spots from a season ago and Harbaugh actually acknowledged the fifth. As many assumed, Derek Hall will start at right tackle.

Freshman Levine Toilolo will get the nod at tight end. Harbaugh also confirmed that Johnson Bademosi would start at cornerback and Michael Thomas earned the free safety job.

"The ultimate competitor, a fearless guy that throws his body around," Harbaugh said of Thomas.

Face of the program

Unending praise of Owen Marecic from Harbaugh has become a staple at the media luncheon. This week, he called the fullback/linebacker the "face of the team."

"I don't know if anyone could have made a better football player," he said. "A great competitor, a true warrior out there on the field. He's a hustler and understands assignments."

Marecic was quick to downplay the deity status awarded to him.

"I think a strength of our team is that we have senior leaders across the board," he said. "There is a whole group of guys that can step up and lead."

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

On the football field, Owen Marecic is not a guy you want to cross if you're wearing a different uniform that he is. Off the field, he might give you a shy smile and hearty handshake.

"Owen is really a quiet and humble kid but on the field he lets it loose," Sione Fua stated. "You would never expect it because of his demeanor off the field. But he can flip a switch when he's on it and he's going full speed to hit you in the mouth."

Hey freshman!

Shayne Skov saw more playing time than any other freshman last season, so the media wanted to know who might be that guy in 2010. Defensive back Barry Browning was the popular assumption.

"It's an awful long year," Harbaugh said. "If you had to predict a guy right now, sure, Barry Browning is going to play a lot of football for us."

Harbaugh also mentioned that Blake Leuders, Anthony Wilkerson, Ed Reynolds and Joe Hemschoot could play a role at some point this season. He said that the freshmen that do play will contribute on special teams first.

Jordan Williamson was another frosh that Harbaugh acknowledged. He said that Williamson had a strong leg and could possibly be used on kickoffs before it's all said and done.

Luck the leader

During spring practice, Andrew Luck expressed to the media that he was trying to be more of a vocal leader.

"I think I need to work on being more vocal," Luck said back in early March. "I tend to be quiet sometimes, even when I do have something to say."

On Monday, Luck said that he has put forth the effort to step into a greater leadership role on the team.

"As a returning starting quarterback you're going to have to naturally evolve into the team leader, it's part of the position," he said. "I think I talk more, so maybe guys might listen to me a little more than they used to."

Harbaugh agreed with the notion that Luck is progressing as a leader.

"Andrew really has and it's more tips, reminders and cues for people. There has been better communication from him this year," he said.

Non-conference opener

Saturday marks the first time since 2005 Stanford will open the season against a team other than a Pac-10 opponent. Harbaugh said that he prefers having an out-of-conference game before diving head first into the Pac-10 gauntlet.

"I think it's good to have a game under your belt before you get into conference play," he said.

Ticketing tactic

"What's your deal? What's your deal," were the questions asked by Pete Carroll to Harbaugh after the Cardinal ran up the score on USC during last year's 55-21 shellacking.

Harbaugh simply replied, "What's your deal," and voila… a marketing monster was created.

The Sacramento State game is a portion of the ticket package dubbed, "What's your deal." Harbaugh said that the source of the promotion was irrelevant, even if Carroll wasn't still in the league.

"I don't do the ticket plans," he said. "They asked me and I said, ‘Yes'. That's their area of expertise. Whatever the Athletic Department thinks the best way to sell tickets is, then I'll support it."

When asked if he thought USC might take it the wrong way, Harbaugh really didn't seem to care. (He shares the same feelings as the marching band!)

"I'm quite sure USC is going to take it the way they take it, but they are going to be highly motivated as it is," he said.


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