ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Earlier this spring Jabrill Peppers made the switch from hybrid-safety to SAM linebacker.
A move justified, because Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown says it would put Peppers more in a position to make plays in the backfield with his elite speed.
And with Michigan’s annual spring game on deck this Friday at 6 p.m., Brown admits Peppers has picked up his new position with ease.
“He’s already picked it up,” Brown said of Peppers’ transition to linebacker. “He’s playing at a high level there. So I’m happy with him. From a coverage standpoint it's everything we expected. I think from a linebacker he’s picked up pieces of it pretty well. (He’s) making good progress, but like everybody else, he’s needs more time, more reps.”
As a safety in 2015, Peppers finished with 45 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss, to go along with his 10 pass break ups, and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year for his play.
However, this season he will be lining up predominantly at linebacker, says Brown, noting he won’t show too much of Peppers' new look in Friday’s scrimmage.
“He’s probably 70-30 (at linebacker),” Brown said of Peppers. “You won’t see it on display this Friday that’s for sure. But he’s doing enough stuff that keeps his plate full, there is no question about that.”
That being said: Is keeping Peppers playing majority of his snaps at linebacker the plan moving forward?
“Yeah, I would say about that (70-30),” Brown said. “But it’s not going to stay that way. It will end up increasing as we move forward, as we are trying to do things package wise to offset the other people.”
But one thing is for sure, Brown is confidant that if Peppers plays the position the right way, he’ll have a chance to play on Sunday’s in the near future.
“We’ll be able to do some stuff (with Peppers),” Brown said. “That position has always been occupied, you now, the last three guys are all in the NFL that I’ve coached that have played that position.
“You expect a lot at that spot. We’re going to get what we expect. There is no question.”