Michigan Football Preview 2015

2015 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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THE WOLVERINE 2015 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 115 DEFENSIVE BACKS Harbaugh left for the NFL. In three seasons, plus two games of 2011 before a season-ending injury, Lyons notched six pass breakups and three interceptions, hold- ing his own against a pass-friendly Pac-12. "There shouldn't be any fear when he comes to the Big Ten, with only a few teams that really air it out," Ray said. "He's played in big games against a lot of spread teams and accomplished quarterbacks, so he understands what it takes to be a successful cornerback." Among the contingent of reserves jockeying for playing time, Ray likes Watson. The 5-11, 189-pounder played safety last season but has flip-flopped roles with Peppers, moving to cornerback to shore up that position. "Brandon Watson had a great spring game," said Ray, who offered commentary for the Big Ten Network. "He was a boundary corner in high school so this wasn't new to him, but you could see the brain thinking a little when I saw him in the spring. "I think this is a good move for him. The safety position is a little saturated, and there is greater need at cornerback. Brandon can run like a corner, but he hits like a safety, and above all, he's a football player. "I don't know if he's ready to be the third cornerback this fall, but I believe he wants to be." The Wolverines had an important spring weeding out of those that, like Watson, Lewis and Peppers (and others), were willing to give more of themselves to achieve at a higher level, and those that, ac- cording to Ray, had become satisfied doing the least amount of work necessary to remain in good standing. "Michigan has a roster full of guys that are just happy to be here," Ray said. "With all the losing and the apathy, they forgot how to compete. And because we haven't won, there is no urgency to get back to that level. Players have figured out what they can do at a bare minimum to keep their spot." Lewis said around 40 players received a t-shirt from the coaches in the spring for participating in every team activity — the four-hour practices, the lifting sessions, the voluntary workouts — and that Michigan has enough players that will not be satisfied with only giving 80 percent. The Wolverines need more, but for now, what they have, will have to do. "We have some football players on this team, some guys that are starving for success and are willing to work for it," said Jackson. "We need more, but we're getting there." ❏ Junior cornerback Jourdan Lewis recorded 39 tackles, six pass breakups and two interceptions in 2014. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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