Harbaugh: LB Ben Mason 'born to play' fullback
Michigan freshman Ben Mason apparently may be switching positions to fullback.
During a surprise visit on WTKA-AM 1050 Thursday morning, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh told show host Sam Webb about Drake Harris’ move from receiver to cornerback and Mason’s apparent switch from linebacker.
“Ben Mason goes forward and hits people better than anybody I’ve ever seen and what a great thing to say about somebody that they go forward and hit people, and that’s the fullback position,” Harbaugh told Webb, reiterating what he said during the "Pardon My Take" podcast on Wednesday. “Your identity is a lot on offense with the fullback. If there’s one guy that you say what’s our identity as an offense, the fullback’s carrying a lot of water there.
“Who would you rather have than Ben Mason? It looks like he was born to play the position. A lot of the running backs are clamoring for it, too. Chris Evans, ‘Can Ben Mason be a fullback? We want Ben Mason as a fullback.’ Other guys see it, too. He’s got a real enthusiasm for the game. He loves football. I’m excited to see where that goes. “
Harbaugh said he thought of the Harris switch to corner move a few weeks ago.
“I was just thinking about it and called up Drake to say, 'What do you think of this? Here’s an idea,'” Harbaugh said. “The reason I think it would work – I’m not sure, you’re never 100 percent sure – but Drake is, what everybody is looking for is tall corners. They’re looking for those 6-foot-2, 3 corners at the NFL level and the other thing that’s good about it, he’s a smooth athlete and he’s long.
“I wanted to present that to Drake and Drake’s dad, who is a great dude, too, now and not in August to see what he thought. He thought about it, prayed about it and wants to give it a shot. That’s where we’re at with it. It’s one of those journeys you don’t know how it’s going to end but it something that could be very good.”
As far as the quarterback situation, camp begins July 31 and that’s when competition will begin for each starting spot.
“Personally, I want Wilton Speight to be the starting quarterback. Personally, I want John O’Korn to be the starting quarterback. Personally, I want Brandon Peters to be the starting quarterback,” Harbaugh said. “I’m rooting for those three guys to be the starter because they want it so bad. There’s only one ball, so only one quarterback can play at a time. I’m going to coach those guys, give them everything we’ve got. Pep Hamilton is going to coach them and give them everything he’s got.”
Harbaugh said the players, those who went on study abroad programs or went home, will return to Ann Arbor on Sunday.
“Three days away and this is what I’m really proud of – no shenanigans, no kerfuffles, no international incidents foreign or at home here – Sunday is the day we get everybody back,” Harbaugh said. “That really is, you talk about 18- to 22-year-old guys, they’re first class, they’re gentlemen wherever they go. That’s a heck of a thing. It’s a reflection on the players on the team, how trustworthy they are, and how much we trust them. Very proud of that. If something had to happen, that could be a great life lesson for somebody, too, but it’s really cool they’ve been first class wherever they’ve gone.”
Harbaugh raved about the team’s trip to Rome and said that in the next four weeks he will have his players vote on four to five destinations for the next trip. Harbaugh said he’d like to go to Asia, South America, Africa, Paris or London. He said he wants to decide soon because of the lengthy planning process.