Harbaugh Has Nothing But Love for UW, Sark

Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh talked to the Seattle media this week via a conference call and had a few things to say about his Washington counterpart and the winning team Steve Sarkisian has been able to construct with some particularly talented athletes during his short tenure as Washington's head football coach.

"If you had to vote today for coach of the year I don't think there's any question about who that would be," Harbaugh said, obviously tipping his cap in Sarkisian's direction.

"You can't really say enough about the Huskies and the program there and just how good Steve Sarkisian is as a coach," he continued. "Tremendous athletes too; Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, I've been really impressed by him as a player, and on the offensive side of the ball, it starts with Jake Locker, but there's definitely a lot of talent surrounding him. I'm very impressed with Chris Polk also.

"I think Washington's done a tremendous job with the linebackers. E.J. Savannah's outstanding and just as a group I think they're the most formidable linebackers that we've played. Their speed on defense is truly impressive. Just sitting watching the tape I couldn't be more impressed with the poise that the team has played with, the execution that they've played with, and just the incredible job that they've done."

In terms of the Huskies' fan base, surely Harbaugh envies the support at Husky Stadium compared to what he calls "a work in progress" regarding their own support in Palo Alto.

"You can tell there's a difference in the culture, not only with the team but with the fan base, the atmosphere they've created there with the program," Harbaugh said on the transformation he's seen at Washington. "It's evident when you watch the tapes. The atmosphere on game day, I've been really impressed with that after watching it on TV."

His compliments to Washington aside, Harbaugh has faith in his own team, saying their success comes from playing physical, good pass protection, and an offense that is the best he's seen yet since he first took the Stanford job in December of 2006. The Cardinal come into Saturday's game with mixed emotions after winning their conference opener against Washington State, beating San Jose State and losing to Wake Forest.

"We just let one get away that we shouldn't have," Harbaugh said of their road trip to Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

It's a little surprising that these two programs are competing for sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 just a month into the college football season. But Harbaugh saw it coming.

"I think back to the Pac-10 media day when we were talking about if anybody could challenge for the conference title besides USC, and we made the statement that there would be nine teams challenging for the conference championship," he said.

"I think everybody's capable in our league and everybody's vulnerable. You've really got to be able to play your best game each and every week and prepare this week, next week, every week."

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