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Tuesday, June 11, 2013
WolverineNation Mailbag

By Chantel Jennings

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- We’re less than a week away from Michigan’s high school camp, which is always a fun time. I, for one, will likely forget sunscreen and be a tomato by the end of the week. And Tom, well, he’ll bring the snacks. And Mike will make fun of us for being overly prepared for the football and underprepared for everything else. It’s always a party at WolverineNation.

But with such an exciting offseason so far, there’s so much more to talk about than snacks and sunscreen, so let’s get to it. Next week Mike will take questions, so get those to him ( or @mikerothstein).

Jimmy, Maynard Street, Ann Arbor: Do you think Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic) will play immediately and if so, will he be an impact player?

Jabrill Peppers
Jabrill Peppers could see his earliest playing time in the return game.
A: I think he definitely has the chance to do so. And if he plays, I think he’ll have his moments. However, we’re still seven months away from when he’s planning to enroll at Michigan, and more than one year away from when he’d have the opportunity to really get on the field. Much can happen in that time, but he has a lot going for him. He’s versatile enough that he’s not locked in to a specific position and can play cornerback or safety, most likely (heck, he could probably play running back, too). But if you look at whom he’ll be battling for time defensively, I think he comes out as the more athletic and speedy option in most cases. On top of that, the fact he’s enrolling early will give him a chance to adjust to the speed and pressures of the college game.

Michael, Pittsburgh: Michigan basketball just announced it will be playing at Arizona in 2014. Since the team is traveling anywhere and everywhere over the next couple of seasons (including Duke) what’s one school you would like to see the Wolverines play at that isn’t already on the schedule?

A: If it were based solely on the atmosphere … I would love to see Michigan go into Hinkle Fieldhouse to play Butler. It’s such an iconic venue and I think it would be a special experience to play there, especially with so many Indiana kids on the roster (Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III, Spike Albrecht, Zak Irvin). However, if it were based on personnel, I’d like to see the Wolverines go out to Syracuse for a rematch with Jim Boeheim’s players in the Carrier Dome. With this matchup, if I were a Wolverines fan, I’d want to wait at least another year or two though, just giving the offense time to jell around a new PG. However, I think both games would be very cool to cover or attend.

Patrick, St. Louis: Will this year's Notre Dame game be as exciting as the last in the Big House? How's the matchup?

A: Well, with the departure of Everett Golson, it just became a little bit more interesting because rather than continuing to build their offense around a growing QB they’ll be a group in transition. That isn’t a good thing, especially considering that Michigan has spoken very highly of its defensive line and the Fighting Irish will have only one game (against Temple) to prepare for the Wolverines. My bet is that Tommy Rees will be the starter for experience’s sake. He has 18 starts under his belt, which is more than Andrew Hendrix or Malik Zaire can boast, and throwing either of those two into a tumultuous environment in the Big House probably wouldn’t end well.

Now, the Irish’s defense should be pretty good so that will be an interesting test for a returning Devin Gardner and how he meshes with new receivers and a possible new running back and a completely new offensive line (with the exception of Taylor Lewan). Notice lots of new? Generally, that’s good for appliances. Not so much for college football. However, I still give the edge to Michigan.