The Wolverine

September 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WOLVERINE 37 season. He's up for all that Harbaugh & Co. dish onto his plate. "I've always wanted to do this," Lewis said. "I've always wanted to contribute to my team's success in ev- ery way on the football field. I believe I can do that — kickoff return, anything like that, offense, defense. I want to put my hand in everything because I know I have the ability to do so. "I've talked with a lot of guys and they believe I can do it. I don't see why not. This whole summer we worked on seven-on-sevens, I've been doing routes. Everything that a receiver does, I've been doing. Get- ting my hands better, stuff like that. I've been trying to do it all, honestly." An honest expert in the field doesn't see why it can't happen. "I don't know why they haven't been letting Jourdan play both ways," Peppers opined. "Jourdan is one of the craziest athletes I've ever seen. We have different body types and playing styles, but Jourdan could be just as efficient on offense as he is on defense. I've covered him, he's covered me. So we speak from expe- rience when we say that. "People would have trouble with Jourdan on offense as they do on de- fense. I hope they give him a shot." Lewis' staple, of course, involves preventing others from giving Michi- gan's goal line any trouble. The 22 passes broken up in 2015 screamed breakthrough year, but Lewis also finished fourth on the team with 52 tackles, plus posted 3.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a pair of interceptions, highlighted by his heist and touchdown return against Northwestern. He'll absolutely serve as a corner- stone in new defensive coordinator Don Brown's scheme, involving a stampede to the quarterback and tight coverage to back it up. On that score, Lewis can't wait. He's seen Brown in action, and not just at the new DC's high-decibel best during spring practice. Lewis happened to tune in to Bos- ton College's 2015 showdown against Florida State. The No. 9 Seminoles won that battle in Chestnut Hill, 14- 0, but it certainly wasn't the fault of Brown's crew. Florida State scored on a nine-yard touchdown pass in the first quar- ter and never again dented the end zone on offense. Lewis didn't know he was watching the future, but the game absolutely stuck in his mind. "Boston College, they gave them a fight," Lewis recalled. "Florida State scored on defense, and it was just amazing to see Boston College go head-up with the best talent in the country. "It was like, wow, what's going on here? I'm like, man, there has to be something. We're pitching shutouts, and these guys, you could see how great they were." Lewis believes the new partnership between Harbaugh and Brown repre- sents an aggression fest. "They love to apply pressure, I'll tell you that, man," Lewis offered with a grin. "They're always handing that first punch out. You can see that Lewis set a single-season school record with 22 passes broken up in 2015, but is focused on turning more of those into interceptions after recording just two a year ago. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL Lewis "I love to play the game of football. I don't want to do it a disservice by trying to act like I've made it, or I've ar- rived. That's being a terrible teammate. That's being a ter- rible football player. That's what I hang my hat on — what I do every single day to get better."

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