After hanging out with Pope Francis and checking out all the fine amenities of Rome, Michigan finally practiced a little bit of football on Thursday.
Though it was only in their helmets, no tackling today, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said he anticipated a faster paced first practice in Italy.
“Everything that we wanted to get back into a football mentality, get a good workout out here. Went with speed and tempo got us back into football. … We just brought the tempo down to 85% just because of the walking around and the traveling, some guys just got off planes a couple hours ago,” Harbaugh said moments after U-M’s 13th spring practice.
“This is our third helmet practice, you have to have three in the spring,” Harbaugh said. “So we anticipated that this would be a good day to have that. So everybody complied and they didn’t let their nervous system let their body affect their recovery.”
Harbaugh also made it a point to thank the Olympic training center of Rome, who will play host to the Wolverines for their last three spring practices.
“A big huge thanks of gratitude to them,” Harbaugh said. “This couldn’t be better. This is as good as you could have field-wise. They did a tremendous job lining the field. All the accommodations, the showers, cafeteria, this looks like how it would look in the United States at any college or pro football setup is what we strive to have.”
Earlier this week it was reported that ex-Michigan star Jabrill Peppers had failed a NFL combine drug test with a diluted urine sample. Harbaugh, of course, was asked about Peppers. His answer never focused on Peppers, instead focusing on the possibility of U-M breaking the NFL Draft record of having 14 players drafted. The NFL Draft airs tonight at 8 p.m.
“We’re going for the record today,” Harbaugh said. “Today, tomorrow and Saturday, it’s a three day draft, right? So we understand as 14 as being the record and we are saying our prayers that we’ll break that record.”
And no, Harbaugh won’t be watching.”
“We’ll probably wake up in the morning and fund out what happened,” Harbaugh said.