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J.J. McCarthy on Jim Harbaugh: ‘A father-son relationship’

A look at the bond between coach and quarterback.

Michigan v Ohio State Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy and head coach Jim Harbaugh have known one another a few years at this point, and their bond has strengthened over time.

Harbaugh says that McCarthy reminds him of a “young Jimmy Harbaugh”. There are certainly parallels — the two are both spirited individuals who love football, both have played quarterback for the University of Michigan, and both a dual-threat at QB.

A common bond, the same goals, same vision, have McCarthy and Harbaugh meshing well. On the Rich Eisen Show, McCarthy detailed the dynamic between teacher and pupil.

“It’s definitely like a father-son relationship,” McCarthy said. “He treats every single player like his own. It’s a little bit special when it’s the quarterback. He played here, in the same shoes and everything like that.”

McCarthy has had a penchant to pull a rabbit out of his hat at times and get out of trouble and deliver a positive play with his arm or legs. While Harbaugh’s said he doesn’t want McCarthy to be a victim of overcoaching, he keeps it real with the young quarterback when he attempts an dangerously unorthodox pass in practice.

“On a day-to-day basis, it’s all love. But there will be sometimes I try a behind-the-back pass or sometimes when I try to underhand one he’ll grill me a little bit,” McCarthy said. “It’s all love though at the end of the day and that’s something that’s hard to come by in this business.”

McCarthy, who draws a smiley face on his hand on game days, is a student of meditation, and philosophy, and tries to radiate an aura of positivity. These vibes have rubbed off well on his teammates and his head coach.

“Like a kid in a candy store,” Harbaugh said in April. “That’s the only way or the best way to phrase what he’s like. And there are just certain guys that are like that, and he’s one of them. And that’s at the very highest level of everything he does, he attacks with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. You just always want to give him a big hug. You just love being around him. “