By Jerrell Richardson
For the second straight week Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is going to be facing off against a former player from his Stanford days. Last week it was cornerback Richard Sherman, and this week he will face Andrew Luck. Unlike the hostile relationship between Sherman and Harbaugh, Luck has nothing but praise for the coach that helped make him the number one overall pick one season ago. The soap opera that was the trash talking between Sherman and Harbaugh made for good off the field action, but this week, it will be the action on the field that will be the star. Not only do you have Luck battling wits with his former coach, but adding to the on field drama is Vernon Davis facing his little brother.
Teacher vs. Student
Nobody knows Andrew Luck like Jim Harbaugh. The two spent three years together at Stanford, which means that they have spent more time with each other than their current teams and coaches. As he has shown in his two-year run as the 49er head coach, Harbaugh takes the time to get to know his players, and he will use the inside knowledge he has on Luck to give his defense an upper hand, hoping to frustrate and confuse his former pupil. However, Luck did learn (almost) everything he knows from Harbaugh and is more than capable of turning the tables, making his former coach proud by upsetting the 49ers at Harbaugh’s expense.
Brother vs. Brother
With the constant battle between Luck and Harbaugh happening when the Colts are on offense, on the other side of the ball, Vernon Davis will be going against the guy he has looked out for their entire lives, his little brother Vontae. While the quarterback and coach are battling wits, the two brothers will be engaged physically on the field, and one of them could earn some serious bragging rights for the next family reunion. Vontae plays cornerback and while he will not be the primary player responsible for his brother, it’s inevitable that there will be an on-field meeting. Vontae is lucky enough not to have to cover Vernon, but he is going to have to tackle him, and even if a routine play, for the two of them it will not be. Little brother will look to strike a blow for younger siblings everywhere, while Vernon has to keep Vontae in his place.
A Game Like No Other
While Peyton and Eli Manning have faced each other several times, and this is not the first time that a coach has faced a former player, Sunday’s game will be like none other. Andrew Luck is still trying to prove himself, and has to try to do it not only against an elite defense, but one lead by the coach who helped him get to this spot. When the 49ers have the ball, Vernon and Vontae are not only destined to bump into each other on the field, but when considering the creative play calling of the 49ers, it’s not out of the question that the two line up right across from each other. If this happens, even if just once, and on a running play, it will be must see TV.
There are 24 players on the field at a time, and the outcome of the game will be based on the team that play better, but while the two teams are waging war on each other, it will be interesting to watch the in-game battles between the brothers and coach versus quarterback, as well as the post-game handshakes. While these four individuals may wish well for their upcoming counterparts on most Sundays, this is the NFL, and not even family is more important than a win.
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Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. Jerrell is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.