VETTEL: One On One With Coach Greg Mattison

Over the weekend, I had a chance to sit down with Florida's co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. Here are the transcripts of what was a most enjoyable interview.

LV: Since signing day, how far do you feel you've come in getting to know the players you'll be working with?

GM: I think we've come as far as you could possibly come. One thing Coach Meyer really insists on and what makes his program so successful is that he expects every football coach to take ownership of his position and ownership of his players. That means knowing every part about them, where they live, what their families are about, everything about their academics, everything like that. So for the last three or four weeks we have been with our players every second we can be with them.

LV: How do they seem to respond to that? Some guys like to be really close with their coach and others probably prefer some distance.

GM: Well they really don't have a choice to be real honest with you, because that's just the way this program is going to be. And I think one of the things that has been very positive is that our strength program is so important to our success. Every coach has been in the weight program right along. We're in their every time our kids lift. We've been right there seeing how they work, how they respond to this kind of pressure so it's been real good for us.

LV: Most people believe young people like to be challenged, have you found that to be the case? Do they like the challenge that's being put in front of them?

GM: Oh, no question. The thing I'm so impressed with is that this has been a very, very hard and tough off-season, probably tougher than they've ever gone through in their lives and nobody has backed down from it. They just keep coming to work every day kind of with a lunch bucket mentality and say, "Here I am today. How are you going to get me somewhere today?"

LV: One thing I wanted to ask you about is the way you make workouts competitive there's a winner and a loser and Coach Meyer's mindset that every time you do something, someone's got to win.

GM: The strength coaches have set up a points system and a competition system which has made the winter conditioning go by very fast because the kids have something to look forward to. As you know, when a guy is a competitor --- which you hope every player is --- he'll try harder when he knows he's competing for something.

LV: Greg I've had some coaches tell me when they are new to a position they watch as much video as they can to get a feel for their players on the field. Others claim they don't watch any and want to start with a clean slate. Which camp do you find yourself in?

GM: I'm in the camp where you watch the guys from the previous season. We watch every film of last year. One thing you see if a defense that's not far away. I thought they did in most games a very good job. One thing I asked Charlie, we were watching games and I asked him, I haven't seen a score yet, when are they going to score? Charlie said, just wait, we got one happening right here.

LV: As you look at them, with your focus on D-Linemen because that's the position you'll be coaching, what do you see? Florida had nine defensive linemen play at least 90 snaps last year and they're all back.

GM: I see very very talented young men who have to learn to play a lot harder, and we've talked to them about that. They're as talented or more talented than any group that I've ever worked with and I've been fortunate to coach a number of players that are playing in the league right now. There's some outstanding talent and what has to happen now is taking the next step. You're only as good as how hard you play and to watch a defensive line you should see them going as hard as they can every play to the football and we brought that up as we watched it.

LV: The one thing Florida has not had the last couple of years is an edge rusher, a guy who can really get to the quarterback. In your scheme, in your manner of developing a line is that a crucial element? Id that a guy you have to find?

GM: Oh I think we have that here. I think the talent that's here and the type of players we have right here; it's already there. It's now making sure it fits in the scheme of the type of defense we want to run. A lot of times your edge rusher is not your edge rusher on first down plays, he's your edge rusher on second and third downs and I know we can get that on the field.

LV: In your meetings with Charlie do you have feel scheme-wise for what will change what we'll see different this fall?

GM: That's the first thing we did is went through a number of very important games and decided as a staff that this is what we want to run. The great thing is that Charlie and I worked together a number of years at Notre Dame and I've always respected Charlie as a person and as a great coach, therefore there's not a problem that way with the two of us co-coordinating. The other thing that's been very interesting is that most of the defenses that have been run here in the past are the same things we ran over the years Notre Dame and Michigan. The one thing that I was committed to in coming here is that I will change my terminology, don't change what the kids have to learn. If the defense is the same as what we ran elsewhere, let the staff learn the different words so the kids have the same thing three years in a row and that's been pretty easy for us to do.

LV: How eager are you to get out of the film room and the weight room and get on to the field?

GM: Never more eager. I don't know if a staff has ever put more time into being in the weight room or being on the field running the kids as we have done. I think that'll be an advantage for us because they've seen us and we've been able to get across to our players what is expected before we get on the practice field.

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