Harbaugh dishes on fave restaurant, new job in podcast

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh spoke to San Jose Mercury News Tim Kawakami on numerous topics during a podcast.

New Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is taking some time off with his family in California after going "200 mph" since his hiring.

Harbaugh spoke with San Jose Mercury News reporter Tim Kawakami on the reporter's first-ever podcast Friday, which also happened to be Harbaugh's first podcast, he joked.

They spoke initially about Harbaugh's move to coaching his alma mater after spending the last four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. Among other things, he revealed Cracker Barrel was his "all-time" favorite restaurant.

He was asked if it was only Michigan for which he'd leave the NFL.

"For me, the Michigan job was the best job for me," Harbaugh said. "I'm having a blast. I believe in Michigan."

Harbaugh said he will return to Ann Arbor on Sunday to prepare for spring practice which begins Feb. 24.

"It's been good," Harbaugh said of the transition to Michigan. "I was going 100 mph, 200 mph, there in January, the family was back here in California."

Kawakami , the 49ers beat writer, asked Harbaugh what it was like seeing arch-rival Ohio State win the national title shortly after taking the Michigan job.

"It was good to see for the Big Ten, for the Midwest, for our conference, understanding that the bar was set very high — that's what we will aspire to be," Harbaugh said. "It will take fierce competition to determine playing time, starters, positions."

Harbaugh agreed that taking this job is similar to when he took over at Stanford when rival USC was the conference's best.

"It's a very fair and good comparison," Harbaugh said. "We came into the Pac-10, no question about it USC was at the top of their game, and that's where Ohio State is, and other teams in the Big Ten, too, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Iowa, Nebraska, Penn State. There's so many good teams in the Big Ten. It's a very competitive time for the Big Ten."

Kawakami addressed Harbaugh's frequent contribution to his Twitter account (@CoachJim4UM) since arriving at Michigan.

"I've got to admit, I'm enjoying doing it," Harbaugh said.

He was asked about a tweet from a week ago, shortly after Cass Tech running back Mike Weber, who signed with Ohio State, expressed his disappointment that the OSU running backs coach was leaving for the Chicago Bears. That announcement was made a day after signing day.

Harbaugh wrote on Twitter: "Thought of the day – What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive! – Sir Walter Scott"

Kawakami was asked if that tweet was specific to anything.

"It was a thought of the day," he said. "I didn't come up with that. It was Sir Walter."

Regarding the 49ers, Harbaugh did not say it was quite the mutual separation that 49ers management had expressed.

"I was told I wouldn't be the coach anymore," Harbaugh said, later adding he was told after the loss to Seattle with two games remaining. "I wasn't going to put the 49ers in a position to have a coach they didn't want anymore. That's the truth of it. I didn't leave the 49ers. I felt like the 49ers hierarchy left me."

Here's the podcast: