Jabrill Peppers lets play do talking for Michigan

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Jabrill Peppers, Michigan's versatile defensive back and returner, has heard his share of comments during games, the majority of which are not G-rated.

Peppers, highly recruited out of high school and plenty hyped heading into this season after sitting most of last year with leg injuries, is an easy target for opponents.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh instructed the Wolverines during preseason camp he doesn't want them responding to the trash talk during games, and although it's been tempting, Peppers said he hasn't responded.

"When I'm out there I'm pretty fired up all the time, too, especially when guys get to jawing at me," Peppers said Monday at Michigan's weekly news conference. "(Harbaugh) preaches we play between the whistles, so I'm going to try to hurt you as much as I can between the whistles and especially if you're jawing at me."

Peppers said he got an earful during last Saturday's 31-0 victory over BYU.

Michigan RB De'Veon Smith's status uncertain

"Things I can't repeat on camera," Peppers said, laughing.

He was prodded a bit, and asked if most of the comments were along the lines of telling him he's no good.

"Things like that," Peppers said. "They get more vulgar and in depth with it. I let my pads speak for me. That's how I counteract that."

During one game this season, Peppers said he nearly responded but caught himself.

"(Harbaugh) made that clear from back in camp," Peppers said. "If he sees any of that, the whole team is going to pay for it, because in a game the whole team's going to pay for it. You get a 15 (yard penalty), we all get it."

Peppers has 14 tackles and three tackles for loss through four games as the No. 22 Wolverines prepare to open Big Ten play at Maryland on Saturday night. He also has eight punt returns for 58 yards and three kick returns for 78 yards.

"I'm right on the brink of breaking one," Peppers said.

He said the returners take 15 punts and 15 kicks from the ball machine after practices and said that has helped him judge the ball.

Peppers said the defense "killed ourselves" last week prepared for an expected up-tempo look from BYU but never felt like the defense was pressed. Michigan forced eight three-and-outs, giving the Cougars little time to establish any offensive rhythm.

"If they did (go up-tempo), I didn't notice it," Peppers said.

As far as appearing on offense, he said he hasn't practice on offense in recent weeks.

"I can't really answer that right now," Peppers said when asked when he might play offense. "I'm just trying to get the defensive assignments down pat."