Peppers Proving His Worth For Michigan

Michigan defensive back Jabrill Peppers is embracing his role as a nickel for the Wolverine's defense, emerging as a key piece to the fast start in 2015.

Jabrill Peppers is not hard to find on Michigan's defense.

Whether it be coming on a blitz off the edge, blowing up a wide receiver screen to the outside or dropping into coverage, Peppers is proving to be a do it all defender for D.J. Durkin and this Wolverines' defense.

"It all starts with the coaches, they do a great job of game plan and coming up with the schemes that best fits us and our attributes," Peppers said Monday.

"They put us in the right position to make plays and it's been working so far so, it's all in the schematics, in my opinion."

As a team, Michigan's defensive performance stacks up as one of the best in the nation through the non-conference slate.

Allowing just 9.5 points per game and a little over 200 total yards of offense per contest, the Wolverines are fresh off a shutout in a 31-0 win over BYU at home Saturday.

Individually, Peppers has responded after a less than stellar first half against Utah, totaling 14 tackles, three tackles for loss and a pass break-up.

"I just like how I'm around the ball a lot," Peppers said. "(The coaches) put me in spots where I can excel and it's up to me to play, so that's how I look at it.

"They can't go out there and play for us, they can just put us in the right spots at the right moments."

The nickel position isn't exactly brand new, with college offenses routinely employing three and four wide looks, but Peppers appears to be a natural for the position.

According to his coach Jim Harbaugh, Peppers is simply just the best of both worlds as a member of the secondary.

"It takes an athlete who is physical but athletic and can cover receivers in the slot," Harbaugh said. "He can also contribute in the running game. Usually somebody who is a really good corner and really good safety is ideal for that position.

"Pretty much every team has that position so, no not inventing anything. It's looked at as a starting position by just about every defense that plays football now."

Peppers credits his teammates for being as helpful as possible staying up to speed and communicating signals.

The biggest difference for Peppers this year has everything to do with preparation throughout the week of practice.

Although Michigan certainly can't diagram every play an offense plans to run, the Wolverines feel as though the scouting reports provide a pretty good idea.

"It's almost too much to name in terms of techniques and different things they teach us to watch in terms of route recognition, formation recognition, what they like to do out of set personnel or set formations," Peppers said. "It all helps us out there on the field.

"We rep it so much in practice it just becomes second nature and in the games it actually slows down because we prepare for tempo so in practice we kind of killed ourselves all week thinking they were going to go tempo and if they did I didn't notice it."

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