Harbaugh sees huge opportunity for 49ers

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jim Harbaugh joked with reporters, dodged some of their questions with apparent glee and came off as quite comfortable during a 20-minute session at the NFL scouting combine.

Despite appearances, the San Francisco 49ers' head coach said he was "very much on edge" coming off his first season with the team.

"I've always felt like the most improvement you can make is from Year 1 to Year 2," Harbaugh said. "There is a window there that will never come again, that you have a chance to make your biggest strides."

That should be particularly true for a team expected to return nearly all its core players. Improving upon a 13-3 record will be difficult for the 49ers, just as it would for any team. But it was clear Harbaugh had put some thought into his theory.

"Everything you are doing, you are doing it for the second time," he said. "You have experienced the speed of the game, the potholes, the things that can come up. You are doing it again; you've got some muscle memory there. It only is if you take advantage of it. You attack it."

Harbaugh said the same was true for a college or pro player transitioning to his second season, and for a team going from its first to second game of a season.

"I have no empirical data to share with you at this time," Harbaugh said with some playful sarcasm, as if he would share such data anyway, "but it has been my experience."