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Why Jim Harbaugh is Fired Up to Have Players Back in the Building

04.02 FTP

Chargers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh took to the podium Tuesday at Hoag Performance Center after the team opened Phase One of the offseason program.

Below are three takeaways from Chargers Head Coach's media availability:

Happy New Year

The date of April 2 was on the forefront of Harbaugh's mind last week at the 2024 Annual League Meeting.

And an enthusiastic Harbaugh shared the same excitement Tuesday as players returned to the building.

"It's like the start of a new year," Harbaugh said at the podium. "Happy New Year."

Players arrived early Tuesday morning to Hoag Performance Center as the Bolts kicked off Phase One of the voluntary offseason workout program.

The first phase will consist of the first two weeks of the program with activities that are limited to meetings, strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation.

Harbaugh was fired up to be able to get right into it from the jump, as he described the day's activities as an energy boost inside the Chargers facility.

"Great day, it was just a great day for football, for meetings, training, doing a lot of baseline training with our guys. Just to have it started, coaches have been grinding," Harbaugh said. "It's the players though, they're the ones that bring the operation to life and really giving us a lift.

"Just feeling like there's a new lift and energy in the building," Harbaugh added. "I see that eagerness in the players, maybe that's kind of I'm so eager, but I truly see it, an eagerness in our guys. Good first day."

Check out some photos of the Chargers arriving for the off-season program at Hoag Performance Center.

The Chargers Head Coach and the staff have been continuously building since arriving on the job preparing for the first day. And Harbaugh couldn't be happier with the result and how it's all come together.

"Been great. This is just true; this is the best damn job I've ever had to start out with," Harbaugh said. "Hope it ends that way. Been a tremendous start."

"Really excited about the coaching staff and the amount of work that's been produced over the last month and a half," Harbaugh later added. "It's been a lot, they've done a great job. It's locked, cocked and ready to rock. Just needed the players to come in and we got that today."

Harbaugh has enjoyed every step of his first three months with the Bolts — and getting players back in the building only amps it up even more.

"Really just happy to be coaching guys," Harbaugh said. "If they got the energy to come in and want to learn and train, then we're happy to, that's our job.

"It's good to be able to be doing your job. I just feel like it's more complete now," Harbaugh added. "I feel like a coach again, I'm coaching players."

Ben Herbert's time to shine

Ben Herbert is a name that might have gone under the radar in the Bolts hirings of the offseason.

In the building, however, the Chargers Executive Director of Player Performance is a major part of the entire operation.

"Ben Herbert is huge in this Phase One," Harbaugh said. "When I say baseline training, I say finding out where everybody is, where is their baseline, where they need improvement on. Just here to engage.

"One thing about Herb is you know he's going to be there every day and you know he's going to be ready to train guys and have the energy to train anybody that's there," Harbaugh added.

Harbaugh had high praise for Herbert on Tuesday after he worked with players in the weight room for the first time.

"There's nobody that combines the cutting edge, scientific, with the old-school discipline strength and conditioning coach like he does," Harbaugh said about Herbert. "He's the best I've ever seen or been around as a player or as a coach."

Herbert spent the past six seasons at the University of Michigan, where he helped develop 22 NFL draft picks, including six first-round selections.

And what's kept the two together and successful over their time together has been a similar team-first outlook.

"We've been together going on six years. We're like that in terms of the philosophy, just doing anything and everything for the players," Harbaugh said as he locked his hands together. "That's the overarching thing, the way we see it. Getting good at football, making them the best version of themselves on and off the field.

"That comes with a notion, with a prediction of, 'You've got a guy here that's doing everything in his power to make you a better football playe,'" Harbaugh continued. "Then you assume, you predict that person is going to do anything and everything to help the team.

Harbaugh added. "What's good for the bee is good for the hive. That's the rational, that's the prediction."

Above all, the two share the biggest end goal, which is doing everything possible to help make the team better.

"Really learning what we're doing schematically, what each person's job is and how it fits with all 11, plus going from good athlete to better athlete, to great athlete, to superior athlete," Harbaugh said. "We're trying to make that combination because you can train yourself to be better, stronger, more agile, more flexible, more lean, muscle mass, less fat.

"We've had a lot of similar ideas about football and bottom line, trying to get better at football," Harbaugh added.

Positive early meetings

Harbaugh and the team wasted no time getting into thick of it on the first day.

"We just got right into it, right into football," Harbaugh said. "Putting the schemes in, offensively, defensively and then the baseline training."

"Just really got right after it, right into it," Harbaugh later added. "[Wednesday] we'll have a special teams meeting but today it was offense, defense and then starting the baseline training in the weight room."

The team held two separate gatherings between both sides of the ball in the morning.

The offense gathered in the meeting room while the defense worked in the weight room with Herbert and his staff.

The groups then flipped, with the defense going to the team meeting room and the offense moving to the weight room.

Harbaugh was on hand for both meetings, talking with members of the team in what was described as an upbeat environment on both sides of the ball.

"It was lively," Harbaugh recalled of the meetings. "Guys were teaching the different schemes.

"Offensively it's very much a whole part whole. You're walking out of that meeting going, 'Okay, there's a lot here'," Harbaugh continued. "Really going to behoove you to be in these meetings, kind of like math, get it each layer at a time."

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