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Wolverines not concerned about predictions

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Jabrill Peppers

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh told the Big Ten Network crew that attended practice Monday that he and the Wolverines are not concerned with preseason predictions.

BTN is on the road visiting all of the Big Ten schools during preseason camp. Show host Dave Revsine and analysts Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith visited practice in Ann Arbor on Monday before heading to Michigan State on Tuesday. The network aired a 90-minute show Tuesday night to break down both programs.

“Predictions and things like that are not coming from our team,” Harbaugh told BTN Live. “You never want to take anybody’s word for what you can do. A lot of times it’s people trying to put you down. Other times they’re building you up so they can put you down.

“There’s probably more people out there who would like to see us fail than would like to see us do great. The one thing we control is how we work at it, how we prepare and getting ourselves to be confident because of our preparation, not because of what somebody else is saying about us.”

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Harbaugh addressed other topics:

On what goes into deciding on a starting quarterback: “Really looking for the guy who can lead the team on scoring drives, putting points on the board, picking up first downs, changing field position, that’s the main thing we’re tracking. We’re tracking everything, completion percentage and all those kind of things. But I want to see who moves the team when we’re doing the move-the-ball sessions, or the scrimmaging, red zone, who can put the ball in the end zone and get us points on the board. We’re tracking that to determine who the starting quarterback will be.”

On how he decides the best ways to deploy Jabrill Peppers: “Of the 22 positions on the field, he can probably help us at least 12 of the 22, and then you throw in the kick returner, the punt returner, he could be the gunner, he could be the hold-up guy, he could block the field goals off the edge. Determining that is more difficult than it seems in a lot of a ways, because there are so many places on the football field that he could help the team. So where can we get the most bang for the buck, and where does it help the team the most, and also what is his skill set to be able to excel, and also be able to play his best position in the NFL. You’ve got to look at that and want him to have a bright future in those ways, as well.”

On having split practices: “It’s a split squad like in baseball; the idea comes from spring training. More reps and more personalized coaching.”