Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers details his physical and mental maturation heading into his junior season.

Michigan junior linebacker Jabrill Peppers discusses settling in at linebacker, his physical growth since last season, playing multiple positions, his relationship with Charles Woodson, and more.

On the new Jordan gear: "It's sweet, you can tell we're enjoying it."

On the adjustment to LB: "It definitely feels good, not dealing or worrying about the injury no more and just being able to just be out there and be yourself, love the game. Just love the guys around you and play together. I'm definitely excited for this season, I expect us to do some great things."

On the most difficult part of transition: "Definitely managing your time and quickly adapting to numerous situations that you get put in. Other than that, everything has been going just fine."

On if he’s tired of reading all the hype about Michigan: "I don't really pay attention to the media, both good or bad. That's just something I've adopted since high school. Nothing personal, but I really haven't."

On if he has noticed any of the attention at all: "I was watching Sports Center the other day and I saw we were pretty highly ranked so I'm assuming people are starting to see what we're capable of."

On whether the attention is good or bad for the team: "We really don't pay it no mind, like I said, we know where we've been. We were just 5-7 and had a great year last year but we can't forget where we come from and there's always room for improvement. That's our mindset. Always willing to get better."

On playing multiple positions: "I've been playing that since Pop Warner. I don't know why people make a big deal out of that, I'm just playing football. I guess it's because it's at this level, it's not as hard as you guys make it seem to be. Just get my plays in and I just try to execute."

On limiting the number of snaps he plays in a game: "They definitely told me that they didn't want to use me 90+ plays every game if I didn't have to. I told them I was willing to do whatever I've got to do to win for us to get this W. For player safety, they didn't want me going out there that much but it doesn't really matter to me, I'm just trying to win."

On if he expects to have to play a similar number of snaps this year: "Not really because a lot of guys are immature and developed, you've got a lot of young guys that can come in and help us right away. We're definitely excited about that. It's a lot of guys who can come in and take the load off a lot of guys that had to play a lot last year. I'm definitely excited about that as well."

On if he has thought about this potentially being his last year at Michigan: "I'm a college athlete right now, that's what my main focus is. The University of Michigan, I'm not thinking about anything I can't control. I learned that lesson my freshman year when I got hurt trying to look too far into the future, I'm just focused on right now and that's just going out and having the best season we could possibly have."

On his relationship with Charles Woodson: "He just keeps me grounded. He's one of the best to do it, so he just gives me advice and just things to keep me up. I texted him a lot during spring ball when I was going through the transition of playing so many different positions and he was there to help me out, so I appreciate him for that."

On which loss hurt more between Michigan State and Ohio State: "Both, man, we took an L to both of those teams. I can't really say which one hurt most, they both definitely hurt. The Michigan State game, we were handling business but we have to finish the game. 60 minutes, we played 59 and 50 seconds. In the Ohio State game, they just came out and kicked our ass. It was definitely a wake-up call, I definitely think we learned a lot from that, we are definitely a better team and a more cohesive group. You learn a lot about yourself and the guys around you when you face adversity and when you're not put in to the best situation. I think everything is a lesson learned and we will just have to keep moving forward."

On what it’s going to be like haring sideline with Michael Jordan for the opener: "I am more worried about the game. I appreciate the gear and all that but we've still got to win games and all that. That's where my head is at."

On what he worked on this summer: "Just different training for various skills. I like to box. One, because I enjoy the workout. It's a very excruciating workout, most people don't know. But it just helps with hand placement, hand power and quickness of the hands when you're jamming a receiver or when you have a lineman coming at you. Track workouts just for speed, you've got that second gear when you get into the open field. Just running drills, cone drills to get feet quickness. It's one of those things that makes it."

On Jourdan Lewis playing both ways: "I don't know why they haven't been letting Jourdan play both ways. Jourdan is one of the craziest athletes I have ever seen. We definitely favor each other a lot. We just have different body types and playing styles. Jourdan could be just as efficient on offense as he is on defense. I've covered him, he's covered me. We speak from experience when we say that, people can have trouble with Jourdan on offense as they do on defense. I hope that they give him a shot, it'd be nice to have a fellow defensive man over there. It is what it is. I just hope they give him a shot, at the end of the day, we may not need him over there. They may need him over there You never know, there's always wrenches they could throw in there. Just like to keep the opposition guessing."

On what position he tells people he plays: "I would just say athlete. I don't really get into specifics, I try to stay under the radar. If they don't know if I played football, they wouldn't know. I don't really wear a lot of Michigan stuff, I just kind of stay low. I don't really ask for any of the fame stuff, I just wanted to play ball so my momma didn't have to pay for college. This is the stuff that comes with it so you just have to handle it the right way, make sure you keep your nose clean and do what you have to do."

On how much weight he has added since last year: "Maybe the difference of eight pounds. Just as fast, probably faster, not going to lie to you. The strength and conditioning guys did a great job of pushing us. Taking us places where we thought we couldn't take ourselves. It's definitely paid off and the team looks great."

On his fastest 40 time: "Well, when we clocked, it was hand timed, it was 4.31 so it's probably like a 4.4 something. It was hand-timed and I clocked 4.31 so I felt pretty good about that."

On being a decoy on offense: "That's the best part about everything, that's why I like to work on my acting. Definitely being a decoy is one of my favorite things. I think I actually play harder when I'm a decoy. Just doing what we've been doing, helping the team."

On his next goal: "How I look at it is, I've made it all right. Now I've made it to college, I've made it to a historic university like the University of Michigan. People where I'm from, they don't have this opportunity. This alone, I've made it through my circumstances. Now, what I do here is show guys that there are other ways to get where you want to be without following the usual statistical path that people where I'm from follow. Just being motivation for the guys that look up to me, that's really it. Everything else will fall into place if I take care of what I have to take care of. That's how I look at it."

On if Harbaugh consulted him before writing his rap: "He didn't consult me on that (laughter). I actually haven't heard it yet. Are you talking about the video? I was laughing for two days straight when I saw that video, I don't know why they had him on there like that. That's coach Harbaugh, he loves his job and we love him. He loves to have fun. I'm all for it."

On why his game appears to have grown so much: "I'm healthy. That definitely is a big part of everything. (Harbaugh) brought a lot of guys in with tremendous backgrounds so the numbers speak for themselves. The NFL quality coaches that he's brought in just expanded not only my game but the mental aspect of it. That's a big part."


The Michigan Insider Top Stories