Late For Work 10/16: John Harbaugh To Coach Trojans? Nice Try

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Harbaugh To Coach Trojans? Nice Try

Radio personality Dan Patrick reported that Head Coach John Harbaugh was "high on USC's short list" to become the Trojans' next head coach. (See video below.)

To that I say: Of course he is!

Harbaugh is a Super Bowl-winning head coach and generally thought of as one of the best at any level, anywhere.

But placing a person on a short list and having an actual shot at hiring said person are two very different things.

"Here's a rumor that seems a safe bet not to happen," wrote CSNMidAtlantic.com's Clifton Brown.

"It's understandable why Harbaugh would be high on USC's list. What's not so understandable is why Harbaugh would want to leave the Ravens, even at 1-4 for the first time in his career, to coach at USC."

Harbaugh's contract extends through 2017. He's made the playoffs in six of the seven seasons he's been in charge in Baltimore. It's been a whopping 18 years since Harbaugh has coached at the colligate level, his last post dating back to 1997 at Indiana University.

With Harbaugh's brother, Jim, leaving the NFL for the University at Michigan, Patrick wondered if John would consider a similar move. The difference between the two, however, is that Jim is a Wolverines alum and former star quarterback. Plus, 49ers management and Jim reportedly had a rocky relationship.

That's not the case in Baltimore. Even amidst the worst start in franchise history, John, his coaching staff and General Manager Ozzie Newsome are still on the same page and respect one another.

"Going to USC would mean leaving one of the NFL's most stable organizations," wrote Brown. "It would mean going back to recruiting high school players. It would mean moving across the country to coach at a school Harbaugh has no previous connection with.

"[Harbaugh, Newsome] and owner Steve Bisciotti had enjoyed great success together. USC's program has taken a step back since Pete Carroll left to coach the Seahawks. … Harbaugh to USC sounds like a rumor that misses the mark."

How Is Harbaugh Handling Rough Start?

We've received lots of questions about team morale and how coaches and players are responding to a rough start to the season.

ESPN's Jamison Hensley says, despite being disappointed with the outcomes, the 1-4 record "hasn't brought out the worst" in Harbaugh. 

"No pep talks or inspirational speeches. No screaming or R-rated words, either," wrote Hensley.

That's one media member's observations. How about one of Harbaugh's players?

"He's handled it well," guard Kelechi Osemele said. "He hasn't been [cursing] guys or chewing guys out or kind of putting on a persona or anything like that. He's just been a straight professional about it.

"He calls guys out and he's going to let you know if he thinks you need to improve and tell you exactly what that is that you need to improve on, and that's just how he's been. We just come out here every day and we work on those things and try to get better. That's what we've been doing."

The Picks Are In: Ravens vs. 49ers

All is right in the world.

Only in Baltimore does it feel better for experts to predict against the hometown team than pick them as a Super Bowl contender.

Well, soak it up. In a battle of 1-4 teams, 36 of 57 pundits below believe the San Francisco 49ers will get the win over the Ravens in a (very different) rematch of Super Bowl XLVII opponents.

The Baltimore Sun: 4 of 7 panelists pick 49ers
"The 49ers aren't very good, but the Ravens have spent the early part of the season making their opponents look much better than they actually are. Injuries, red-zone issues and a lack of execution down the stretch will doom the Ravens again." -- Jeff Zrebiec

ESPN: 10 of 13 panelists pick 49ers
"I like San Francisco. I feel like they're getting their identity back on the offensive side of the ball. I actually saw Colin Kaepernick smile during that game last week, and so I thought, 'Oh my goodness he's going to have some fun again.'" -- Mark Schlereth

CBS Sports: 6 of 8 panelists pick 49ers              
"These two teams are struggling right now. They are both 1-4 and clearly need a victory in the worst way. The last time the Ravens came to the West Coast, they lost to Oakland. This time, it will be much of the same. The Ravens just don't look right." -- Pete Prisco 

Fox Sports: 5 of 7 panelists pick 49ers              
"Unfamiliar territory for the Ravens here. Tough two weeks ahead, too. In San Francisco followed by in Arizona? I don't know. I rarely question Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh, but this team is so banged up that I didn't recognize it Sunday vs. the Browns. Colin Kaepernick and Co. need this one. I think they get it." -- Peter Schrager

NFL.com: 4 of 6 panelists pick 49ers
"It's these cruddy matchups that are virtually impossible to predict. … Both of these secondaries have been faring so poorly that the edge would go to the backups, Blaine Gabbert and Matt Schaub. I'm taking San Francisco at home." -- Elliot Harrison 

ProFootballTalk.com: 2 of 2 panelists pick Ravens
"It's a Super Bowl XLVII rematch, with similar implications for the loser, who will be 1-5 and done. The winner at 2-4 may also be done. With inside information from his brother, Jim, John Harbaugh should be able to come up with a way to shut down the 49ers offense." -- Mike Florio

Bleacher Report: 4 of 8 panelists pick Ravens
"Super Bowl XLVII feels like a million years ago. … Fast forward less than three years, and both teams have fallen completely to pieces." -- Gary Davenport

SB Nation: 4 of 7 panelists pick Ravens        

Taliaferro Has Successful Surgery

After landing on injured reserve for the second time in two seasons with a foot injury, No. 2 running back Lorenzo Taliaferro announced on Twitter that he had successful surgery to repair the damage.

He told fans that the procedure "went well" and expressed appreciation to all of Ravens Nation for the encouragement and support.

Wouldn't Be Surprising If Forsett Played Sunday

While Taliaferro begins his rehab, all eyes are on starting running back Justin Forsett and his ankle injury.

So far, Forsett hasn't practiced since leaving Browns game in the fourth quarter when a defender rolled up on his ankle, but don't count him out just yet, says Hensley.

"There will be more clarity on Forsett's status on Friday," wrote Hensley.  "It wouldn't be surprising to see him practice just one day and play Sunday because he hasn't been favoring his injured right ankle."

The Ravens' signing of undrafted rookie running back Raheem Mostert, who doesn't have a single regular-season snap, is a second clue that Hensley points to.

"Another indication that the Ravens expect Forsett to play is that they didn't bring in an experienced back after [Taliaferro] was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. Buck Allen, a rookie fourth-round pick, is the only healthy back who has carried the ball for Baltimore this season."

Ravens Almost Traded For Wright Before He Was Cut

Prior to being cut and recruited by best friend Jimmy Smith, the Ravens' newest cornerback, Shareece Wright, told reporters that the 49ers were trying to work out a trade with Newsome, but the two sides* *weren't able to get it done.

The timing of the talks is a little hazy, but Baltimore Beatdown's Matthew Stevens speculates that Baltimore was targeting Wright even before they went out and traded a seventh-round pick to the Dolphins for Will Davis, who was solid in his short time before landing on injured reserve with a torn ACL.

"Based on the idea that the trade talks fell apart, it sounds like the 49ers were looking for more than what the Ravens were wanting to spend, moving them onto the Dolphins and Will Davis," wrote Stevens.

"However, in much the Ozzie Newsome style, Wright was begging for his release and it was ultimately granted. That allowed Newsome and the Ravens organization to grab a player it seems that they wanted more than Davis in the first place, all without having to spend as much for his salary as they would have if they traded for him and without having to spend a pick on him. Sounds like a win-win for Wright and for the Ravens, something that will hopefully end in some Ravens' wins."

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