Harbaugh may have Stanford on the move

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

STANFORD, Calif. -- Jim Harbaugh's first season at Stanford started with a controversy. He told CBSSports.com in March of 2007 that Pete Carroll wasn't long for USC.

"He's only got one more year, though," Harbaugh told Dennis Dodd. "He'll be there one more year. That's what I've heard. I heard it inside the staff."

A minor storm followed.

Then Harbaugh proclaimed USC "the best team in the history of college football."

A minor storm followed.

Then, when football instead of words took centerstage, Harbaugh and his 41-point underdogs beat USC and Carroll, 24-23.

Major storm.

Harbaugh clearly is tired of talking about his Carroll comments.

"I'm not a controversial guy. Check my track record," he said. "Look at it as a rational human being, what controversial stuff? Define that. I don't see the controversy in that stuff."

That hullabaloo is about over, though. What might last is Harbaugh, who added a Big Game victory over California to a Cardinal season that greatly exceeded horribly low expectations.

With 16 starters back this fall, Stanford might sneak up on some people this fall. Toss in a fast start to recruiting, and the Cardinal might be ready to move out the nether regions of the Pac-10 it has occupied since Tyrone Willingham left in 2001.

Harbaugh much prefers talking about the recruiting effort -- "We're recruiting against national powers" -- and why he thinks hot shot high school players are giving Stanford a look.

"The word is spreading," he said. "They feel like the football program here is a powder keg ready to go off."

Another storm coming?

As for his present roster:

  • Asked to name players who have stepped up thus far during preseason camp, he ticked off a list of offensive linemen: tackle Ben Muth, guard Andrew Phillips and tackle Chris Marinelli.

  • On defense, he called Pannel Egboh and Erik Lorig "two of the top defensive ends in the conference," and then celebrated the depth inside with Brian Bulcke, Ekom Udofia and Sione Fua.

  • Noted that LB Chike Amajoyi, 205 pounds last year, is now 238. "He hasn't lost a step," he added.

  • There are still position battles at one cornerback opposite Wopamo Osaisai and free safety next to Bo McNally

  • As noted earlier, he said that Tavita Pritchard continues to lead the quarterback competition, though he wouldn't commit to him as the starter on Aug. 28 vs. Oregon State.