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Jim Harbaugh: Option allows 49ers to play 11-on-11

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh had some option elements in the offense when he played at the University of Michigan. He excitedly shouted, "Wishbone, wishbone!" when the subject was brought up during his news conference Thursday.

Harbaugh explained the benefits from running the option.

"I'm sure that there's an appreciation there from having done it," Harbaugh said. "Bo Schembechler has talked about it before. Lou Holtz has talked about it and said it maybe in the best way I've heard it said -- by running option football, it allows you to play 11-on-11. Lindy Infante talked about this.

"Football without an option attack, the offense is basically playing with 10. A quarterback that doesn't block anybody, isn't an ineligible pass receiver, basically leaves the defense with one more than you have. But when the quarterback is the threat to run in an option attack, or give or pitch, that gets the numbers back to even, back to 11-on-11."

The scheme is especially dangerous when you have a quarterback who must be respected as a legitimate passer but has the speed to turn the corner. Colin Kaepernick, we're looking in your direction.

Harbaugh's decision to go with Kaepernick and incorporate the read-option out of the pistol formation looks smarter every day -- and with each win.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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