Jabrill Peppers was constantly surrounded by cameras and sound recorders, but he answered every question with candor typically reserved for one-on-one interviews. Below he addresses the Woodson comparison, playing offense, defense, and special teams, and critics of the program. Note: the following questions were from a media scrum and aren’t MGoQuestions.
On deleting his Twitter:
“Camp, I don’t want any distractions. I don’t want any distractions from camp.”
Where’d you get the idea? Someone else do it and you said ‘I should do this’?
“No, it’s just for me, man. These past couple months I’ve noticed that they look at my Twitter a lot.”
You’ve been vocal on lots of issues.
“Yeah, so for me it was just a kind of thing where I don’t want anything that can put a negative connotation on or anything that they can spin or do anything with. We just as a whole are going to go complete darkness. Let them speculate what they want- how good we are, how good we aren’t. We don’t really care what anyone else thinks. We care what the guy next to us thinks. We care what our coaches think, what our family thinks. All of the outside outliers, you know, we could really care less about. We just want to put the ball down and play football, you know. That’s it.
“We didn’t come here to worry about the media or how good they think we are. The only thing that I would tell people is this is Michigan and this is always going to be Michigan. That’s it.”
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Greg Jackson said he’d like to get three safeties on the field. What makes him think that’s the best possible look?
“I can speak on that specifically because I’m around those guys a lot. We bring a different kind of flavor to the table, especially with Jarrod Wilson, Delano Hill, Dymonte Thomas, Jeremy Clark; we all can do things that would maybe be like a hybrid linebacker type of deal. We can cover the slot, we can come in and support the run. But then the question would come to who do we take off the field? Our linebackers are just as good. Our D-linemen are just as good. Our cornerbacks are just as good. If we work out a way that there’s three safeties out there I would love that, but the 11 that we put out there for a fact will be tenacious, hungry, and just go tooth and nail to pull out the W.
“Like I said previously, it’s attitude, man. It’s personal. It’s a chip on our shoulder. This is Michigan. They talk about us like this isn’t Michigan. That’s basically how we see it.”
How does it change the defense to have three safeties out there versus having a fourth linebacker?
“Personally, I think we’ll be a great defense regardless. If there’s 11 guys on that defense then you can count on that defense being a fantastic defense.”
You said before that you liked the idea of being a centerfielder, but if you’re in this three safety look will you be more of a guy who plays closer to the line of scrimmage?
“Doesn’t matter to me. Whatever the coaches ask of me to do. I try to let me versatility speak for itself. One thing I was told when I was younger was be a guy they have a hard time taking off the field.
“Be a guy who can play multiple spots just in case we need a Delano or Jeremy to come in. Be able to slide, be able to be a SAM, be able to even go back out there as a corner. So I just think about it like that. Whatever the scheme is that week, whatever they feel is best for us, that’s what we’re all going to do.”
You said be a guy who they can’t take off the field. How much offense can you play if they tell you they want you to give it a shot?
“Personally, offense is something I’m comfortable with.I even like to think I’m a better offensive player but I like defense a lot more, and I’m just as good on defense. So I work on my craft everyday to try and be well rounded and contribute to the team as best as I can but at the end of the day, man, whatever guy we have out there we’re all capable and have worked just as hard to achieve the ultimate goal and that’s just to win- to be winners out there on the field.
“If they feel that moving me to offense will help us win then I’ll do it. I’m just a guy who’s trying to do whatever he has to do to help this team win, and I know my brothers feel the same way.”
How much offense did you do this spring? Any reps at receiver?
“It was strictly defense. Everybody’s asked me about this offense thing but this is the first-“
Well, did you and Harbaugh talk about it all this summer?
“He kind of alluded to it but we haven’t really had an open discussion about it because he really didn’t know us from a can of paint when he first got here. He saw the film and last year’s practices and stuff so he kind of had conversations with everyone just one-on-one. I don’t know what other people talked about but we talked about be a guy who’s just going to be hungry and can lead by example. Just do whatever the coaches ask of you at your maximum potential and your maximum effort.”
You’ve said that you want to play offense and want that ball in your hands, right?
“Absolutely. Absolutely. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll bring me over there. I can say I’d love to do a lot of things. Offense is just something that always came natural to me. It’s just…there’s something about defense, man. It takes a different kind of guy to play defense. But it really doesn’t matter to me. I’ll just do whatever I got to do to help my team win.”
Coach talked about trying to transform you into a triple strategy [guy]- offense, defense, and special teams- basically trying to transform you into the next Woodson. What’s your thoughts on that?
“I hear a lot of these comparisons, man, but I don’t really pay it no mind. It’s just, there’s one Woodson comparison, man. I just find it hard that people can compare me to Woodson. Based on what I’ve done in high school I can understand it, but at this level what is expected of you and how much different it is from the high school level, I just…Woodson is in his own league, man. Like, I can see if I get me a national championship or I return a punt against Ohio State or one of the things that he’s done but you can’t compare me to Woodson. Woodson is on a whole other level.
“Now, what I will say is that when it comes to the work ethic and how my love is for the game and how I feel that me and my brothers can change this program around, I definitely say we have some correlations there. But all these comparisons I don’t really pay no mind to.
“In terms of that three-way player thing, I just heard about it today. We haven’t really talked about offense and things like that. They’ve alluded to it but we’ve never really talked about it. The kicking game is something that I really want to do, whether it’s on kickoff or punt return, kick return, whatever. Whatever way they need me to help the team or whatever I can do to help the team and just put the best 11 out there in whatever facet we’re talking about is something I’m definitely open to.”