Michigan football media day was in full swing on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Ann Arbor. Coaches and players were available to answer questions, and coach Jim Harbaugh had a fifteen minute press conference. Harbaugh addressed a variety of topics and we put together a transcript of what was said.
Here are the questions and Harbaugh’s answers:
“Can you talk about Jabril Peppers versatility and how you balance taking advantage of his many talents and not wearing him out.”
I always feel in football it’s very common to be a two way player, normally that’s offensive and special teams as the two ways or a defensive player and also a special teams. Jabril, also the other candidate Jourdan Lewis, could be three way players, offense defense and special teams. I feel like there’s around that 90-95 play, 100 being really high per game, somewhere in there there’s a sweet spot depending on the mental capability of the athlete but in terms of load and the 90-95 is probably the maximum we’re looking at right now.
“In terms of comparing this season to last year installation wise, control wise, organization wise. how much more in control or of a hold do you have on it, and is it easier or less tedious?
I don’t know about any of those words really come to mind as to describing what it is. I think you’re doing something for the second time, there’s some advantages to that. Everything that we’re doing as a football program, with the exception of the new players that are coming to the team, we’re doing for a second time, so there’s an advantage there.
“Heading into camp do you like where your quarterback battle is or do you wish somebody had really jumped out and seized command earlier?”
“The last four months they’ve really been working with the team, on their own, and we’ll see exactly where that’s at starting tomorrow. I prefer answering that question down the road a little bit.”
“You mentioned three way player Jourdan Lewis, are you thinking of giving him a look at receiver?
Yeah, I think on offense there’s multiple ways that he could contribute offensively. We know that he can as a returner, hold up pursuit gunner, kick and punt returner, he’s got those abilities and capabilities, not going too far out on a limb to say he can contribute offensively as well.
“The upperclassmen have mentioned how competitive these freshman are, could you talk about the personality of the class”
There have been very good reports with the whole team and the guys have commented on how quickly players are picking things up, and how they’re performing athletically, etc. They’ve been just passing comments. We’ll look when we start practice to start looking at the upcoming players, new players, see if they’re tacking.. to be starters backups, contributors, role players, we’ll start making all those determinations once practice starts.”
“What is the mentality, the psychologically you want your team to take now in your second year, now they know you, now they know the staff, the expectations.”
“Attitude, mentality, set their goals high, dream big, and realize all those can be accomplished once the work is realized. And if people are making fun of ou for what your dreams are, what your goals are, you haven’t set them high enough.”
Could you talk about the offensive line, the development of Grant Newsome, the ability to close games out, maybe pick up a first down late in the game, and how that’s going to develop for your
“I feel good, I feel confident the way Grant performed last year as a true freshmen also his contribution and performance in spring ball, he gives great effort, has talent, we know him right now as a starting offensive linemen. We’ll go into preseason practices with our tackle, center, and we’ll eventually get to our five best, and there’s others that may not on the first string right now that have the license and ability to compete and maybe take away a starting postion from somebody that’s on the line, that’ll be the Ameritocracy of preseason fall camp ”
“With the expectations for the team nationally, locally seemingly by the day do you feel compelled at all to address that at all with your team, not get ahead of yourselves, that type of thing, is that ever an issue between a coach and your players?”
Those outside expectations, perceptions they do rise and fall with the day, sometimes by the hour. As I said before our expectations are going to be very high and as a coach my expectations are very high for tomorrow’s practice. Meetings, the installations, the drills, and practice, scrimmaging, and the competition. I have very high expectations for that tomorrow.”
“A lot of excitement about the Nike launch, on the street at State St, could you describe your view and that energy when you’re up on stage and also describe from your view form a former athlete, Michael Jordan’s staying power and his ability to stay relevant as a brand and pop culture figure so long beyond his playing days.”
“They do a tremendous job. The Jordan brand has knocked our socks off, blown us away with how good they are. In all facets. The quality of the product. The approach is important to them because they know we pour our heart and soul into being good and I feel like a great amount of respect the Jordan brand has put into this in terms of their efforts. State Street was one of those things that again, knocked our socks off, I was dazzled.It felt like a victory celebration, a championship celebration. It also motivated me personally and other guys that I talked to on the team, staff, we’d like to do a championship one of these, shut down State Street.”
“What have you liked about John O’Korn since he’s came here, and the same individual question for Wilton Speight since you’ve had him under your teaching.”
“Multiple things. They’re two front runners coming out of spring practice, competing for the job. The thing I like about both of them is how important it is for those young men, players, in their the competitive situation that their in, that they’re embracing. I’d say that both about Wilton and John.”
“Talking about the Nike thing feeling like a championship celebration, are you worried about your team having too many championship type celebrations before winning a championship?”
“That was a spur of the moment. I wasn’t expecting that. I was blown away by it. It wasn’t organized by our players that I was aware of.”
“How excited are you to get the season started? Is it like Christmas Day? How do you feel?”
It’s the beginning of the year, it’s one of the two special days to me in the entire calendar. I said it before, a lot of people look at January 1st as the start of the New Year. People look at Christianity, Catholicism, Christmas as the liturgical year, but for us in football.. preseason, training camp is the new year, it’s like being reborn in football, coming out of the womb into the bright light, into the chaos, into everybody looking at ya. It’s where the teams forged. Under the sun, in the August heat. Sun shaping the body and carving the mind. Pretty excited about that.”
“In terms of announcing captains, is that something you’re going to do early in camp/late in camp, and who do you expect to kind of be the leaders of this team?”
“It’ll be voted on by the players exclusively, towards the end of camp. Anyone can take a leadership role from anywhere they sit, any class that they’re in, but the seniors will be the ones who will be eligible to be captains, and always interesting for me to see what the players think, who they’re vote is for the captain positions, I enjoy watching that.”
“Defensively with the addition of Don Brown, and the track record of Greg Mattison, can you assess the defense going into camp and how strong of a feeling is it, particularly for the front four?”
“We’re very excited about our coaches, the track record of Don Brown, Greg Mattison, Chris Partridge, Brian Smith, Michael Zordich, those coaches have been outstanding and everybody has great confidence in our defensive staff. I feel like it’s coming, and has a chance to be something really good. I can’t wait to get out on the field and compete, and watch the guys have it.”