U-M's Jabrill Peppers: 'Everything is coming out of the bag' at OSU

Michigan's all-everything Jabrill Peppers is only averaging a few touches per game on offense the past few games and he hasn't had much success.

Since his explosive game against Rutgers on Oct. 8, Peppers hasn't run for more 24 yards and only has two carries over 10.

But that may change against Ohio State.

"As of late, they've been loading the outside a little bit, but that's nothing we can't get coached up and corrected," Peppers said on tonight's "Inside Michigan Football" radio show. "Everything is coming out of the bag this weekend. So we're excited about that."

Placing Peppers as the Wildcat quarterback was rarely used against Indiana but against the Buckeyes, it could be more of a weapon as the defensive front is more intimidating and his speed and shiftiness could help.

Taking so many Wildcat snaps this season has flashed him back a few years.

"That's what I did in high school and throughout my years of high school," Peppers said of playing at Paramus (N.J.) Catholic. "So it was just knocking the dust off and getting back in the swing of things."

Though Peppers' primary position is linebacker and he's one of three national finalists for the Nagurski Award, given to the nation's top defensive player, Michigan has used him in a number of offensive positions beyond Wildcat. He has been a slot back, a slot receiver, a tailback, and split out wide.

"Offense is one of those things that just comes naturally," he said. "They try to put in a great game plan for me week in and week out. It's just up to us to go execute."

As for Ohio State, Peppers is excited for the challenge this weekend.

Last year's 42-13 pounding bothered him, saying he saw how the fans were so let down by U-M not "taking care of business" and he expects the No. 4 Wolverines will be able to compete better with the No. 2 Buckeyes this year.

"They're a great team but I don't think there's things they do over the top that's going to be things we can't handle," Peppers said. "They always have great athletes, if I had to pick one thing, matching up. But we have great athletes also."

O'Korn review: Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh used his radio show tonight to praise quarterback John O'Korn's first start at Michigan, the 20-10 win over Indiana.

"Winning performance, that's the No. 1 job of the quarterback, to contribute to the success and the winning," Harbaugh said of O'Korn, who stepped in for the injured Wilton Speight. "The next thing is to take care of the football. That ball, he is touching it every single play offensively and that's his second-most important job."

O'Korn did not commit a turnover.

"Third (is) to contribute and make plays," Harbaugh said. "I thought the game really turned around when John had the 30-yard scramble, changed the field position and led to a scoring drive and was a big play in the game. He had a couple other good plays with his feet."

O'Korn's scrambling ability was apparent in the backfield when he was being rushed and when he was flushed out.

He only threw for 59 yards, the lowest total for a U-M quarterback since 2001, but Harbaugh wasn't bothered, finding the positives when he reviewed the game.

"He hit Amara (Darboh) and extended the drive at the end of the game," Harbaugh said. "He had a lot of good completions when you look at the tape. There were pinpoint passes but they only gained a yard or maybe only gained four or five yards. My total assessment is it was not the ideal game to throw the football, very windy and the ball was slick. He didn't flinch, he didn't waver and he led the team to victory. That's a good thing for a quarterback."

Harbaugh repeated Speight is still day-to-day, and said he sees Speight getting better.

The Free Press reported he has a broken collarbone, but U-M has not confirmed that.

Thanksgiving: Michigan's Thanksgiving Day plan will vary from a normal Thursday but will still include Harbaugh's favorite part.

"We're very thankful so we're going to celebrate that by practicing football for the big game against Ohio State," Harbaugh said. "Very thankful we're healthy and playing this great game of football."

The Thursday plan involves a pancake breakfast for the players and their parents, then meetings, practice (which the parents can attend) and then the players are released.

"After practice we have a meal but that's optional," he said. "The guys are free to go with their parents and have something or go home. A lot of the players will go to other players' houses. Some come to the coaches' houses. Everybody finds a place to go for Thanksgiving."

Snow: Harbaugh said he had never been in a snow game like the fourth quarter against Indiana "where you couldn't see the lines." His children went on the field after the game and started throwing snowballs around. But it didn't affect him coaching wise.

"You definitely noticed it, (but) it's being in a game," he said. "It's like being in a dentist's chair getting a root canal done on you whether the sun's shining or it's snow or in fog. Until the game's won, then it becomes really fun. The snow added to the fun."

(2016 © Detroit Free Press)


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