Sunday, December 12, 19~76
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
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Humble Lytle plays the game
Rob Lytle is a star, but-you'd never
It ,wit from talking to him. He led Mich-
igan in rushing this year while setting
all-time school records for season and
career yardage. His :65 yards against Ohio
State capped a remarkable regular season.
He was third in the Heisman Trophy bal-
loting, and won the Wiseman Trophy as
college player, and was named Al-Ameri-
Nevertheless, he's humble, quick to
praise his teammates, and shies from poh-
licity. Daily staffers Hill Stieg, Rick Boni-
no and Andy Glazer asked Lytle about his
career at Michigan.
DAILY: You p r o j e c t a humbler
image than most college football stars.
What do think about being named
All-American and the relative lack of
publicity you've received?
LYTLE: Being named All-American is
a great honor, and one of my goals. But
there are a lot of people you've got to
thank, because there are a lot of people
who didn't get any recognition, who con-
stituted maybe 70 or 80 per cent of what
I did with their blocking.
As far as the publicity goes, I really
don't care. The whole deal is that any-
one who joins our team has to realize
that it is a team and they aren't going
to build one person up that much, unless
it's earlier in their career. You take
Rick Leach-he's made a big name for
himself and he's going to be written
about. And Harlan (Huckleby) will be
THEY'LL HAVE more of a name com-
ing out of here than I did because they've
had good starts. There are a lot of young-
er players on the team like that. But the
coaches aren't going to single you out
all the time-they're going to give the
credit where it's due and when it's due.
You see some pther schools that center
arosnd just one person. I don't think
that's good. Our team is more diversi-
fied.. No team can center on one indi-
vidual when they play us-they don't
know what's going to happen.
DAILY: Does not having one big
star help bring the team together?
LYTLE: I don't 'think it matters if
there's one star, because players re-
spect individuals and what they can do.
But I think that the player who is get-
ting attention should keep it in perspec-
tive, and always realize that if it wasn't
for his teammates, he might not be
where he is.
If he respects them and they respect
him, whatever happens-if he gets all
the publicity-his teammates will get
great satisfaction seeing him written up.
They know he respects their ability and
he knows they've been responsible for
about 90 per cent of what he's gotten.
Respect of your peers is more impor-
tant than all the publicity. It really ag-
gravates me to be singled out for re-
wards and stuff like that. It bothers me
because I don't think I'm that deserving
of it. There are a lot of people who
helped me get where I an. I hope they
know that I realty appreciate it.
But I'm the one with the ball and 60
or 70 per cent of the people who watch
don't know a thing about football-they
just watch who's got the balt..
DAILY: You are Michigan's all-time
leading rusher, yet you've been less
spectacular a runner than, say, Gordon
LYTLE: Gordon Bell was a flashy run-
ner. He had a lot of moves and every-
thing. But I like to think that I had just
as many big plays as he did. I've had
the long touchdown runs. He did it in a
manner where he'd be zigging and zag-
ging while I'd rely on sheer speed to
run away from somebody, and maybe
break tackles more.
And I played most of the- season from
a different position than he did. When
you come through the line from fullback,
you're only expected to break loose once
in a while, because you're busting tackles
left and right. That slows you up and
gives pursuit a chance to catch up with
you. You might get that 10 or 15 yard
gainer, but you're dragging someone
with you all the time.
A lot of people don't expect me to be
fast. I have deceptive speed-I have a
longer stride than Gordon's. My time in
the forty is two tenths of a second faster
than his. He runs around a 4.6 and I
run 4.4 or 4.35. Huck and I run the same
DAILY: How does the media atten-
tion affect you?
LYTLE: I'm not big on interviews and
things like that. I've got a lot of other
things on my mind. But it's something
that you have to do, and the press is
doing its job. It's nice that they think
enough of you to do that-it's a compli-
ment. But it can get burdensome when
they call you at all hours.
The thing I don't like is when you're
quoted wrong-you say one thing and you
mean something entirely different. I re-
member the Sports Illustrated pre-season
story. I never said some of the things
they put in, Like, "If any team beats us
it'll be out of sheer luck." Now, can you
hear me saying that? That really teed
DAILY: You seem different from
the glory-seeking, money-hungry pros
-what do you think about the pros,
and playing football for money?
LYTLE: Well, it's- a job. It's a job
when you go into college ball. You're on
scholarship and you've got a job to do.
In some ways you should look at it that
way-it's your duty. You've been hired
to do that and they're paying you for
it, so try your best to get it done.
When you get to the pros, it's strictly
a financial deal. I look at it that way,
but you still have to love the sport.
'Respect of your peers is
m-ore important than all the
publicity. It r e aIl ly aggra-
vates me to be singled out
for rewards and stuff like
that . . . There are a lot of
people who helped me get
where I am."
You've got to enjoy it-there's got to be
something there for you.
DAILY: How does the average stu-
dent react to you? Do they treat you
differently because you're Rob Lytle,
LYTLE: Ninety per cent of the people
are expecting somebody a lot bigger,
since I'm not the average-looking full-
back. So if they don't know my name,
they don't know who I am. I don't wear
my number around. If Itm sitting in the
middle of a class and no one has men-
tioned anything, they don't know who
I am. The vast majority of the people
don't know who L am, just walking
around the campus.
Lots of people don't realize I've broken
records-I didn't even realize it for a
while. It was a week after the Ohio State
game before I knew I had the single
season record. I really don't think people
know who I am.
I've had a lot of people come up to
me and congratulate me. They're really
nice-they don't sit there and BS with
you. They congratulate you, shake your
hand, and tell you to go get 'em at the
Rose Bowl. It's really nice that they
take the time and have the interest.
But I don't spend that much time on
campus. I go to class, go to my next
class, and then get the heck out. I'll be
back at my apartment eating lunch, or
working out or practicing.
DAILY: It must be a nice feeling
though, to know that 30,000 students
see you play each Saturday.
LYTLE: It's really nice, and I appre-
ciate that theybtakethertime. But I just
don't like to be bothered with it. ut
some people thrive on it. That's what
they live for. But the reason I do the
dang thing is because I like to play foot-
I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it. I
go out and have fun and have a good
time. I even enjoy practice once in a
while. I really love the game. I like to
play in front of all those people-it's a
really great feeling . . . the rivalries,
the traditions and stff like that. I enjoy
BUT AFTER the game's over, I'd just
like to live a normal life. Now that I've
gotten more 'and more publicity, it's
getting harder and harder to live the
way I had been, the way I'm used to
In some places, more people recognize
me now, and as soon as they hear the
name you get swamped by people who
come around and want autographs. Why
shold they adore another person like
that? I'm no better than they are. That's
the way I look atlit: I'm not better than
any other person that's walking around,
so why shouldn't I go up and ask them
for their autograph?
That's my whole outlook. I don't un-
edrstand a lot of things, and sometimes
-I get a little irritated at it, so maybe
I'm childish in a way and I should accept
it and not fight it. But why don't the
autograph - seekers go down to those
seven guys on the line who smash their
heads into a wall every day?
SeeLYTLE, Page 19
e looks for a hole