Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, who has collected more helmet stickers than anyone on the team, continues to dazzle coach Jim Harbaugh.
Harbaugh had Peppers — a primarily defensive player who has been exceptional on special teams, as well – run a new play during practice on Wednesday. Peppers was given the play during his brief offensive meeting stay before he headed back to defensive meetings.
“It’s that quick,” Harbaugh told the “Jamie and Stoney Show” Thursday morning on 97.1. “Quick nod and then he does it flawlessly. It’s the darnedest thing I’ve ever seen. Everybody really marvels at what he knows, what he has to know in a game and the way he executes it.”
Peppers ran his new offensive assignment with ease and Harbaugh said he changed the way it had been run in the 10 years he has used it.
“He was a running back, and he was blocking,” Harbaugh told the show. “His assignment was to block. He blocked and then he went out for a route. He got his blocking assignment done and then he continued out into a route. We threw it to him, which was not the design, but from now on, going forward, and we’ve been running this play for 10 years, we’ve never had a back that got his blocking assignment done and got into the route at the same time.
“He did it the first time as natural, like that was the way the play should have been run for the last 10 years. That’s the kind of stuff he does. It breaks the mold darn near every time he does something. It’s the darnedest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Harbaugh said defensive back Jeremy Clark, who suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament knee injury in last week’s game against Penn State, will have surgery “in about a week in a half.”
He said Clark should be able to walk normally in two months and in nine months will be able to play again.
There has been much respect shared this week for Penn State kicker Joey Julius, who was unblocked and demolished Jourdan Lewis on a kick return.
“We know him well,” Harbaugh said on the show. “We’ve been watching him on tape, played against him last year. He is quite aggressive. He’s a real football player playing kicker, and you don’t find that very often.
“He’s definitely the exception. He’s like a heat-seeking missile out there, and we didn’t get him blocked, and he had a free shot on Jourdan Lewis. He weighs 267, 270 pounds, and Jourdan took a shot but was able to get right back up and keep going. That’s a natural smelling salt in the game of football. You get to get popped.”
Michigan is ranked No. 4 and faces No. 8 Wisconsin on Saturday, and Harbaugh thinks highly of the Badgers.
“We’ve been watching Wisconsin on tape, and as a coach, it’s like, ‘Man, these guys are good,’” Harbaugh told the “Jamie and Stoney Show.” “This is a good football team we’re playing. We realize this.”
Harbaugh joked about how many hours the Badgers work.
“I’d like to see an investigation into the Wisconsin team to see if they’re complying with the 20-hour rule,” he said. “They are really good. They are well-coached. It almost looks like they’re spending a lot of time at it. A tip of the cap there. They’ve got a heck of a football team. They’ve done a great job over there. They’re going to be darn tough to beat. We understand that. If we play at our best, we’ll be darn tough to beat, too. It will be a real good football game.”