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Jack Harbaugh Reminisces About Past U-M Greats, Hands Out Words Of Wisdom

Michigan Wolverines football head coach Jim Harbaugh was on the road recruiting during this week's 'Attack Each day' podcast, allowing his father, Jack, to run the show.

Jack Harbaugh spent the hour reminiscing about past Michigan greats (such as Rob Lytle), while also handing out words of wisdom and providing life advice for youngsters.

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The Michigan Wolverines' football team will take on Alabama in the Jan. 1 Citrus Bowl.
The Michigan Wolverines' football team will take on Alabama in the Jan. 1 Citrus Bowl. (USA Today Sports Images)

Jack Harbaugh, Discussing Jim Harbaugh as a Quarterback With the Chicago Bears:

"I was watching some old VHS tapes of the Chicago Bears, and what jumped out to me was how much the game has changed.

"There was a fullback, tailback and a tight end on every play, and two wide receivers with not many three-wide receiver formations.

"It was mana a mano, and there was only shotgun when you threw the ball. They would also run some draw plays out of the shotgun, but that was about it.

"Jim Harbaugh had to be as tough as any quarterback ever to play the game. You never got a roughing the passer call.

"If you touched Dan Marino in those days, the flag automatically came out. They would hit you and knock teeth out — you'd be spitting blood, and I only saw one call.

"There were times you'd scramble and have to dive head first to make the first down, and defensive backs would hit you head-to-head and there were no consequences for it back then.

"When you were in the shotgun, your passing percentages had to be in the 70s, but they didn't do it much."

Jack Harbaugh, on Former Michigan Running Back Rob Lytle:

"Rob Lytle was the fastest guy on the team and perhaps our best back on the team, though we had others like Gordie Bell.

"Bo put both outstanding backs in the same backfield, taking away the traditional fullback position. He went to Rob and suggested the move, and Rob said he'd do it if it was best for the team.

"John Robinson at Southern Cal also took his best back, Marcus Allen, and moved him to fullback. Allen went on to be a Hall of Famer.

"There's a lot more contact as the fullback because they're the lead blocker. The tailback never does that and is never the lead blocker, though they pass protect.

"Rob Lytle did it without a blink — no one exemplified 'The Team, The Team, The Team' better than Rob did."

Jack Harbaugh, Providing Life Advice and Words of Wisdom:

"Gary Moeller once defined success as 'Improvement equals success.' That also goes along with Jim's story of 'Better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than today.'

"When we coach youngsters to go through life, we shouldn't put them in a position where they're not willing to take chances or risks, or aren't willing to fail.

"Fail forward. It's not the end of the world when you fail — it's an opportunity to get better the next day and to improve.

"Encourage risk and taking chances. You don't have to be an A student in class — we'd like you to be, but that's not always how it's going to be.

"When you play football for the first time and get your tail kicked and driven into the mud, you get up and come back the next day.

"I got fired at Western Michigan and they took the program away from us at Western Kentucky, but you find a way to come back the next day and make tomorrow better than today.

"Encourage kids to step beyond their bounds a bit, and encourage them to take the next step."

Jack Harbaugh, on the Passing of Former Michigan Fullback Dick Kempthorn:

"It's a part of football we sometimes miss — hand strength. It defines and separates football players at all positions.

"Dick Kempthorn had that quality and was a true Michigan Man. We lost him, and all in Canton and Northeast Ohio share our sorrow.

"What greater compliment can be paid than calling someone a Michigan Man. You've said it all when you say that.

"Paul Brown was the head coach of the Browns and once sent his chief scout, Dick Gallagher, to Canton to talk to Kempthorn about playing for the Browns.

"Kempthorn's dad met Gallagher at the door and told him there would be no talk of professional football, and that he was coming to work in the family business.

"I had a contract for $8,000 or $9,000 a year to play professional football. It was a tough decision for many whether or not to play, with other careers waiting for them.

"Many chose to go on to their life's work rather than play professional football for two or three years."

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