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Coach Tom Coughlin Interview

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San Francisco 49ers – a very good football team, a team that has really improved their club by the addition of their moves in the offseason to the extent that they're ranked third in kickoff return. Of course Ted Ginn has a 101-yard kickoff return, a punt return for a touchdown – had a big punt return against Detroit in the fourth quarter which put them in position to win. Akers is kicking the ball. He has 22 touchbacks. He's 4-4 over 50 yards. He's done an outstanding job. The punter leads the league in net punting. Their defensive team is – what do you want to talk about? They're number one against the rush. They're number one in the red area. They've done an incredible job of taking the ball away. They have 19 takeaways. They're a plus-12 football team, which is an outstanding stat. Their offensive team has only thrown two interceptions. They rush the ball. They're sixth in the league in rushing. They do an outstanding job of multiple personnel combinations, multiple formations. They play a certain way. They've been able to stick to that. They're 7-1.Who knows? They had the lead in the one game that they did lose. They've showed resiliency. They were down to Philadelphia 20-3 at a halftime, [then] 23-3. They came back and won that game. They came back inDetroit and won. They've been tested. They've come back from being behind and won. They've won in the league. They had an incredible game inNew Orleans in which they scored a ton of points. They're 7-1 and deservedly so.

Q: Can you talk about the 49ers run defense?

A: Well they're technically very sound. They have outstanding personnel. The two inside backers are really good football players. They're powerful. They're big. Their safeties are very much involved in the run. And they're sound. They're very sound.

Q: You said they play a certain way…

A: They play to their style. They run the ball. They defend the run. They don't turn the ball over. They're also number one defensively in the red zone. They play a certain way. They take good care of the ball. They don't turn it over. There are very few giveaways and a lot of takeaways.

Q: You know what's coming. The challenge is stopping it.

A: No question. You know they're going to run the ball and we have to stop the run. We have to try to stop the run. Gore has had five straight games with 100 yards. He's an exceptional rusher as well. And they're skilled at the receiver position. And the tight end is very rare – Vernon Davis – in terms of his speed. His time coming out was like 4.35 for a guy that size. They have good skill, good speed. They have three first-rounders in the offensive line. They're talented.

Q: What role has Jim Harbaugh played in their improvement?

A: He's the coach. He's changed the style. He's changed the demeanor. He's changed the attitude, their work ethic.

Q: WillVernon Davis draw wide receiver-like coverage?

A: No. He's lined up in regular personnel as the tight end. They can flex him out. He runs well enough to cause you issues if you're not in good shape in terms of how you cover him with a safety or a linebacker, but he doesn't necessarily draw the nickel, no.

Q: Can you talk about the production from Steve Weatherford andLawrence Tynes?

A: Weatherford's production has improved greatly in the last two weeks. In the first half of the game the other night he punted the ball very well. He put the opponent inside the 10-yard line three times. He's done a very good job of that. Lawrence has come along here to where [he's consistent]. He's done an outstanding job week in and week out with his kickoffs. You could argue a little bit about last week, but still. He's been strong in that regard and probably his best kick was from the 20-yard line.

Q: How did your rush offense do last week?

A: We did improve but we still have a ways to go.

Q: What kind of improvement did you see?

A: We blocked better and we covered people up better. We stayed on our blocks and we finished. We ran through some arms.

Q: What about your run defense?

A: It got better. It is still not to where you want it but it was definitely improved. 

Q: How was your gap control?

A: It got better. It wasn't good on the first play of the game but it got better. It improved.   

Q: Is Jim Harbaugh's coaching style similar to how he played quarterback?

A: You would have to check with somebody else, I don't know. I think his style has developed as a coach. If you look at his teams at Stanford, they played very similar.   

Q: What did you learn about your team inNew England?

A: That was last week. Our team has finished pretty well this year. We have a goal about finishing a game and being stronger. We are doing a much better job of that and we have done that a few times this year. Thank God we were able to do it the other night.

Q: Do you think your team could have won during the first three quarters instead of having to win late?

A: That is just the way the game goes. That was a tough game and these are tough football games. You are hoping that you are in position and you get in the fourth quarter. That is when you have an opportunity.

Q: Will Bradshaw and Nicks practice?

A: Not Bradshaw but I think Nicks will. Everyone is going to try even though we have some sore guys. They are going to try to work and we will get some work done that will help them.

Q: Did you sense any added energy with your team in meetings this morning?

A: No. The meeting was a little longer than normal but they paid pretty good attention and they are very interested in knowing about this team that we are going to play.

Q: Has Bradshaw improved?

A: He is better than he was last week, that is for sure.

Q: Do you think he will play?

A: We will see. He is better than he was last week. He is walking around and if he keeps getting better, we will see.

Q: Do you have a timetable of his return?

A:  I am just observing, the doctors will tell me that.

Q: How about David Baas?

A: He is going to practice.

Q: What do you think about Joe Paterno announcing that he will retire after the season?

A: He has had a fabulous career. I have admired him for a long, long time. I was a player on a (Syracuse) team the first year he became a head coach. I have admired him for a long time.

Q: Did you play against him?

A:Syracuse played PennState, yes. 

Q: Can you see another coach staying with a team as long as he has?

A: His impact on the game is very rare the way he has impacted the game over the years.

Q: Why can't coaches stay with teams for a long time anymore?

A: It is a quick switch and winning and losing. Less patience and more pressure, there is also more money involved. 

Q: Your thoughts on Veterans Day?

A: It is a privilege to honor our veterans and the military all over the world today. The men and women defending our country, it is always an honor for us to be in their presence. I think we need to focus as a country, recognizing the tremendous contribution that these people make to our security, our way of life and the continuation of our way of life. I did receive an email from General Odierno this morning and it reminded me of him and the incredible job and responsibility that he has or had when he was in charge ofIraq, if you will. I find that being in the presence of these young people representing our country is an honor for us. They always want to express it the other way around and you have to stop them and say, 'We are honoring you. We are thanking you,' and I don't think we can do enough of that as a country.

Q: Did General Odierno congratulate you on Sunday's win?

A: He did. He doesn't hide the Giants fan part very well.

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