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September 06, 2011 - Image 45

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-09-06

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The Michigan Daily - michiganclaily.com


Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3E

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom NEW STUDENT EDITION Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3E

Mattison looks to
revitalize defensive
tenacity ,traditions

Daily Sports Editor
March 10, 2011 - Just the
sight of Bo SchembechIer would
make Greg Mattison giddy.
When Mattison was the
defensive coordinator at Michi-
gan from 1995-96, Schembechler
was the Athletic Director and
his office was right down the
hall from Mattison's. Some-
times, when Mattison would go
into the copy room to print off
items for the defense, Schem-
bechler would see him and fol-
low him into the room.
"I would be scared to death,
and he'd go, 'Hey Mattison,
you're doin a helluva job. Keep
stopping that run,' " Mattison
said in his best Bo imperson-
ation on Wednesday afternoon.
And that's when Mattison
would melt.
"And I was like, 'Oh God, Bo
just talked to me. And he gave
me a compliment,"' he said.
Now in his second go-around
as Michigan's defensive coor-
dinator, the trademarks of his
defenses have remained the
same - stop the run by being
That's the reputation he has
built at stops at Notre Dame
and Florida and in the past two
seasons as the defensive coordi-
nator of the Baltimore Ravens.
Leaving one of the best defen-
sive teams in the NFL for Michi-
gan was a product of a perfect
combination for Mattison -
coaching with Brady Hoke and
becoming a Wolverine again.
Mattison explained Wednes-
day that he and his wife were
very close to Hoke and his fam-
ily - as close as they could be
without actually being family.
"When Brady got the job and
it was Michigan - I honestly
can say if Brady would've got
another job somewhere else, and
it wasn't Michigan, I probably
wouldn't have done it," Mattison
said. "But the chance to come
back here, and to be with him,
made it special."
At the college level, Mattison
has the opportunity not only to
recruit again, but also develop
recruits into great players. As
Mattison put it, in the NFL, if a
player wasn't any good, he was
cut. In college, Mattison has the
time to mold players.
There will be plenty of mold-
ing expected when Michigan
starts its spring practices on
March 19. While the offense
wrestles with learning a pro-
style attack, Mattison will be
prepping his players to take on
a tough approach in their new
four-man front defense.
So far, all Mattison has been
allowed to do is see what the
defensive players can do in
t-shirts and shorts, though he
was reluctant to pass judgment
on any player until he saw them
hit. In fact, he didn't even watch
film of last season to avoid unfair
Instead, Mattison pops in
tape of his Baltimore Ravens
teams to break down. The termi-
nology is the same that he will
use in coaching the Wolverines
And, as teaching tools for his
Michigan guys, Mattison can

use Ray Lewis and Ed Reed as
examples. He used to let the
35-year old Lewis sit out from
plays in practice to try and save
the All-Pro's legs - Lewis would
sit out one play and then go back
in. And Reed matched Lewis's
work ethic with his preparation
off of the field.
"I was fortunate enough to
be with players that played as
hard as they could," Mattison
said. "The reason Ed Reed is the
best safety in the NFL, is not
just because he's a great athlete,
he watches as much film as the
coaches do. Then the players
understand, 'Maybe, I'm get-
ting really good because I watch
tape.' A lot of players don't do
"To be able to say I was just
at a place that that's why they
were good, then pretty soon
it's, 'Okay, that's good, maybe I
should do that.' "
The Michigan players have
been receptive to Mattison and
all the defensive coaching staff
so far. Maybe it's not exactly
how the coach acted around
Schembechler, but the coaches
did describe the players as eager
to learn and play well.
"What we have right now, I'm
excited about," Mattison said.
"What I've seen so far, I'm excit-
ed with the way they work and
their attitude - that's all we can
judge it on right now."
But can a unit that broke
Michigan records for the
wrong reasons make dramatic
improvements right off the bat?
"It has to - you know, it has
to," Mattision said. "Michigan
forever has taken great pride
in defense. And we'll take great
pride in defense again. That's
our coaching objective in every-
thing we're doing. That starts
with technique, starts with fun-
damentals, starts with stopping
the run.
It starts with not giving up big
plays and it starts with playing
great red zone defense - that's
what we'll be working on every
Mattison said that sophomore
defensive tackle Will Campbell
will be playing on the defensive
side of the ball next season.
When Mattison first saw a
player Campbell's size run the
way he does, the coach's response
was, "Watch him run, this is my
kinda guy."
Redshirt freshman hybrid
Cam Gordon also may be mov-
ing to outside linebacker if Mat-
tison's hunch turns into reality.
"I think (Gordon's) going to be
an outstanding outside lineback-
er because he has so much abil-
ity to grow," Mattison said. "He
plays so hard, he has such inten-
sity. It's just a matter of how big
he gets and when he gets there.
As compared to being a safety, I
think he can do that too, but we
might have other guys who can
do that. So we want to get the best
11 on the field any way we can."
Senior cornerback Troy Wool-
folk will start spring practice at
cornerback when he is cleared
to play, according to Michigan
secondary coach Curt Mal-
lory. Woolfolk has played safety
and cornerback throughout his

Dave Brandon is in
his second year as Ath-
letic Director at Michi-
gan. After a career
with Ann Arbor-based
Domino's Pizza as
chairman of the board
and chief executive
officer, the 59-year old FLtPHOTO/DAILY
returned to his alma mater with a football team in
crisis. Brandon can be tabbed as a true "Michigan
man.' A 1974 alum, Brandon played backup quar-
terback and defensive end for legendary coach Bo1
Schembechler. Brandon is also a former member of
the Univeristy Board of Regents.1
Under his leadership, Michigan promoted men's
and women's lacrosse to varsity status and orga-
nized The Big Chill at the Big House - the Wolver-
ines' first-ever outdoor home hockey game. Bran-g
don also scheduled the football program's first-ever
night game at Michigan Stadium and hired Brady
Hoke as head football coach.
Brandon represents a new type of Michigan Ath-
letic Director: energetic, highly visible and creative.
Today and in the future Brandon will work to bal-
ance tradition against innovation while leading the
charge to promote Michigan's brand worldwide.
No. 112 - the na-
tional ranking of
Michigan's defense
following the 2010
season. It's a number
that left a bitter taste
in the mouth of many
football fans. But fans
can relax knowing that MAISSAMCj N
former Michigan defensive coordinator Greg
Mattison has returned to the Michigan footb1all
Mattison is no stranger to Michigan's traditions.
Before his most recent stint as defensive coordi-
nator for the Baltimore Ravens, Mattison held the
same position for the Wolverines in the mid-90s.
Since he started coaching over three decades ago,
Mattison has held posts at nine colleges -- among
them, the 2006 national champions, Florida.
After the collapse of the 3-3-5 defense lastyear,
Mattison's biggest priority is switching to the
more aggressive 4-3 style. This scheme represets
the rebirth of an era for the Wolverines' defense
- one that ideally will mirror the success of Mat-
tison's storied 35-year coaching resume.

When Michigan
Athletic Director Dave
Brandon announced the
hiringof former Wol-
verine assistant coach
and then-SDSUhead
coachBrady Hoke to the
position of head football
coach at Michigan, many
fans were less than enthused. How would anun-
spectacular non-BCS conference coach with a47-50
career record turn around Michigan after the worst
three years in program history?
But from the moment he stepped on campus,
Hoke has brought remarkable enthusiasmtohis job,
reinvigorating the Michigan football programin the
process. He says it comes fromhis incredible passion
for Michigan tradition and it's easy to believe him.
Earlyreturnshavebeen positive. Hokehad already
collected 19 verbal commitments for the class of2012
by mid-July, including offensive tackle Kyle Kalis,the
top player in Ohio who was previously committed to
Ohio State. However, Hoke's real test will come this
fall when the season finally begins. Countless Michi-
gan fans willbe watching and hoping that Hoke is the
man to return the Wolverines to their
the top of college football.
- BE


Denard Robinson ,,
isn't just fast - he's
lightning with untied
shoelaces. No. 16,
the quarterback, the
leader of the Michigan
football team. Somek
call him "Shoelace."
With his trademark FLEtPHOTO/DAILY
dreads and enormous smile, the Deerfield Beach,
Fla. native returns as a junior to lead the Wolver-
ines. Last season, he ran for 1702 yards and passed
for 2570 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Heading into his second season as starting quar-
terback, hype and speculation surround Robin-
son. How will he adjust to a new offensive coor-
dinator and scheme? Will he produce in a more
traditional pro-style offense? Can he stay healthy
through another season of brutal Big Ten football?
Robinson has already made NCAA history as the
first quarterback to pass for 2500 yards and rush
for 1500 yards in a single season. In 2011, keep
your eyes out for a maize and blue streak across
the Michigan Stadium turf and listen for the sonic
boom of Denard Robinson.

mike -
In a year of con-
tinual frustration and
defeat for Michigan
football's defensive
squad, junior defen-
sive lineman Mike
Martin struggled to
improve on his fan- FLEtPHOTO/DAIT
tastic sophomore year.
The Redford, Mich. native tallied 37 tackles, six
tackles for loss, and two and a half sacks, totals
almost all of which decreased from his sopho-
more campaign, during which he patrolled
Michigan's defensive line alongside now-Phila-
delphia Eagles lineman Brandon Graham.
However, there were some bright spots. Mar-
tin helped the Wolverines open the season with
four straight wins, including a superb game
against Indiana in which he recorded seven
tackles, two for loss, and a sack. Martin started
12 games and earned an All-Big Ten second
team selection. He received Michigan's Richard
Katcher Award for top defensive lineman and
it appears that he will bounce back to have an
excellent senior campaign.

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