1976 ohio state
Kelly Lytle's book, To Dad, From Kelly, is a reflection on his relationship with his late father, former Michigan All-American Rob Lytle. The following is an introduction highlighting Rob Lytle's bond with Bo, followed after the jump by an excerpt from the book, titled "Lytle Would Play." You can visit the author at www.kellylytle.com.
Introduction by Kelly Lytle:
It was the day before the Game of the Century between #1 Ohio State and #2 Michigan. I was 24 and working on Wall Street in lower Manhattan, and spent the morning with my attention fixed on my computer screen reading previews of the next day’s showdown. By late morning, I had read that Bo had collapsed and been rushed to the hospital, the prognosis grim. I searched for any detail I could find, ignoring the routine commotion of the trading floor. Then my phone rang.
"Kelly," Dad started, his voice soft and weak. "Kelly, I just lost a father." Silence.
"Kelly, I loved him," Dad finally said.
|Lytle's playing career left him battling lifelong injuries, but true to form he wouldn't let that sideline him. [via http://kellylytle.com/]|
My father and Bo met in 1971 when Dad was a high school All-American for Fremont Ross in Fremont, Ohio. At the time, college coaches around the country were promising Dad the world. Bear Bryant apparently once said: "Rob, how 'bout you come visit Alabama so one of our belles can show you some southern hospitality." And Woody Hayes claimed that he would run the wishbone offense so Archie Griffin and Dad could share carries. Bo, though, took a different approach.
"Rob," he said, "You’ll never be as great again to these coaches as you are right now. At Michigan, we have six running backs. You’ll be number seven if you come here. Whatever happens after that is up to you."
Dad eventually narrowed his college choice to Michigan and Ohio State. When Dad phoned Woody to inform him of his decision to attend Michigan, Woody simply said, “We’ll see about that.” Not long after, Dad found himself in his living room face-to-face with the Buckeye leader. “If you’re committing to Michigan, you better say it to my face,” Woody demanded. So he said it to his face. Bo's honest challenge had made its impression.
The next four years cemented the relationship between Dad and Bo. In Bo, Dad had a mentor who preached the team over the individual, and a coach whose sermons about modesty and determination weren’t just words but gospel. In Dad, Bo had a talented runner who believed in self-sacrifice, a star who played through pain so often that for years after in the Michigan training room hurt players would have to hear the words “Lytle would play.”
Michigan won 28 games from 1974-1976 and played in the Orange Bowl and Rose Bowl. In 1976, they shut out Ohio State 22-0 at the Horseshoe to win the Big Ten Championship. Dad ended his career as Michigan’s all-time leader in career rushing yards with 3,307 (he’s now 8th), won Big Ten MVP his senior season, and finished third in balloting for the 1976 Heisman Trophy. Still, I believe these accomplishments were secondary for both Bo and Dad.
Every conversation I’ve ever had with Dad’s Michigan teammates settles on one topic: that when Bo asked Dad to play fullback to bolster the offense, he willingly sacrificed carries, yards, and his body to better the team. For this, Bo often called Dad the “greatest teammate” he ever coached.
While growing up, Dad never mentioned his touchdowns and records or wins and losses. Instead, he preached the values of Michigan football. “Every day you either get better or you get worse, you never stay the same,” Dad would often say, usually punctuating it with a reminder that “nobody is ever as important as the team.” I often laughed away his comments as trite.
Now I can see them as the hallmarks of a man dedicated to placing others above himself. Playing football, especially from 1973-1977 at Michigan, shaped my father. These years strengthened his resolve. They fortified his sincerity. They wrecked his body. The game left him physically beaten and emotionally broken when injuries forced him to retire. He shouldered this pain the rest of his life.
Dad died on November 20, 2010, eight days after his 56th birthday, and three years and three days after he'd lost Bo. I lost my best friend and the man who most influenced me. To Dad, From Kelly is my attempt to remember my father through the lessons he taught me and the questions that went unasked and unanswered between us.
[After the jump, an excerpt from Kelly's book. Fair warning: it's emotional]
Not actually, actually.
Off topic season is over. It is game week and we are putting on our game faces. Most off topic posting is hereby illegalized until after the Ohio State game. The exceptions:
- local pro teams in moderation
- general college football in whatever quantity you'd like
As a reminder that will forever go unheeded, threads about the Big Ten and Michigan opponents are on topic. I will shake my fist at you and scream "why?" if you label a thread about Ohio State OT.
Captains. Not much surprise that Michigan's captains are David Molk, Kevin Koger, and Mike Martin.
It's amazing to me that the guy who recruited Molk to Michigan was Lloyd Carr. It's been a long four years. Here's Molk latest appearance on CTK, where he discusses being a captain in his usual blunt fashion:
Q: Will you change at all, publicly?
A: Yes. I will be nicer to the media.
We did this winning thing from time to time. Bo after the 1976 Ohio State game:
And he's actually a lizardman wearing human skin. AnnArbor.com has discovered four things about Mitch McGary you might not already know. They are:
Thinks the bowler is the king of hats
Was worshiped as the sun god by ancient Sumatrans
Pinky finger can be removed and applied as a teeth-whitening device
That what I got out of the article, anyway.
This is what I am talking about. The Muskegon Chronicle does something cool with its archives: it uses them instead of locking them away, reprinting a September 1st, 1948, article on the ascension of Bennie Oosterbaan to the top job:
Bennie knows football from A to Z. He is popular with his players and with his fellow coaches. There is very little about football that Bennie doesn’t know. Fritz Crisler gives Oosterbaan considerable credit for much of Michigan’s successes in recent years.
Michigan will have a good team this fall. Practically the same defensive eleven as last year will be available. The squad won’t be as deep with experienced players as it was last year, but enough talent has returned to continue the two-team idea used so successfully last season. …
Michigan’s attack this season will probably be built around the running of Derricotte. While all of the backs can pass, there probably won’t be as much passing as a year ago.
Recruiting was important even back in 1948—the article mentions Michigan's stiff admissions requirements made the freshmen class "the poorest in years."
RIP Killer. I lost my interest in the Lions a while ago and withdrew into maniacal focus on Michigan a few years later but still remember Tom Kowalski as a quality beatwriter and one of the rare people who could carry a nickname like "Killer" ably. He died in his sleep two days ago at 51. John Niyo remembers him, as does local media flamethrower Jeff Moss.
Do you feel like crushing something? How about this poll that determines the winner of the USMAP Best Team/Region-Specific Blog category? You and the overwhelming onslaught from the rest of the readership here should be able to produce a damp squeak if you pile in willy-nilly. Some of these other blogs are not very highly trafficked at all. The slaughter will be impressive.
Where power fits now. Shakin' The Southland runs down all the different things you can do to that defensive end you're usually optioning off in the zone read game. One of them is something Michigan ran last year and will run more of this year:
Now what else do I want to throw at that DE to get inside his head? What if he has a tip on the read option and plays it right, or the opposing DC has instructed him to always go for the QB? We can use that against him with a Trap. …Another option, very similar, is to run a Power on him. Below I'm using the TE/H on the playside, but he could also be set in the backfield beside the QB. Either way, he gets kicked out or log blocked.
What if he spots this formation based on my tendencies as a playcaller, and figures out that we're going to run Power from this set? To keep him from making that guess every time, I need to be able to run my zone read option from the same formation. Also, instead of having the TE/H kick him out, I just send the blocker on an Arc outside, and run the tight zone or power anyway. If he stops to set his feet to take on the H-back, he wont be able to do much to the RB in time to stop the play.
Here you're making up for a lack of pile-bulling beef by using the power as a changeup that exploits the need to cheat on whatever the base play is. Lately those ends just tear down the line so power might not be the best anwer—Michigan had success pulling the playside guard last year and getting outside that end.
Etc.: Pahokee football is struggling after an epic run of dominance. Tressel's vacated year will cost him his spot amongst the Big Ten's all-time winning percentage leaders, which require a minimum of ten seasons. Yost-Bo are 1-2 now. Mike Martin finishes #1 on TTB's countdown of most important Michigan players. /BOOM cowherd'd.
Winners abound on youtube.