Bryan Mattison Talks About Family Matters

Iowa Defensive End Bryan Mattison finds himself in a unique situation when his team faces Florida and its co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, his father. Bryan reveals what he and his father have been talking about, why he chose not to play for his dad, how his mom and sister feel about the meeting, and much more in this Premium Q&A.


You and your dad know you're going to be asked a lot about this meeting. What do you talk about when talking about it to each other?

We joke. It's, "Oh, you better get ready."

You got to see Florida play Florida State. What were your impressions of their team?

It's not the same team that it was a couple of years ago. That's for sure. They've got a good coaching staff down there. (Laughs) It's kind of funny. When I was a freshman in high school, Urban Meyer was at Notre Dame with my dad. He went to Bowling Green from there. He said that I could go with him on a scholarship there back when I was a freshman joking around. It's kind of interesting now.

What are your impressions of Coach Meyer?

He's a good guy. He's a real good guy. He does a great job with the team, and he's done a good job this year with them. He's proven himself at two other schools before. He's fun to talk to when I go down there.

What was your favorite play from this year? What is the one play or maybe few plays you remember most?

Well, you have the Purdue game when Ed and Greenway got that interception in the end zone. That was real key, especially from being from Indiana. Um, let's see here. All of them, I remember all of them. It was a fun season.

This is the time of year when you guys cash in a little bit. The bowl is giving you a Sony something or other. You're getting an I-Pod. Did you already have an I-Pod?

Yeah. I had an I-Pod. It was Notre Dame's bowl gift a couple of years ago. My dad didn't know how to use it so he gave it to me. It's not about presents. It's nice.

But you guys should be able to cash in a little bit on what you guys do.

I guess. The biggest reward for me is walking off the field knowing that you played hard and that you won. They could give us a lump of coal and that would be fine as long as we won. That's really all there is to it.

Do you and your dad have a side bet on this?

Not at all. No. I have been thinking that there are some bragging rights. Who knows if this is going to happen again? It's a great opportunity. I don't know if I can take his crap for the next couple of years.

Will you see him down there before the game?

Oh yeah, I'll see him at all of the functions. We'll see each other.

Have you seen him since the bowl?

No I haven't. The first time I'll see him is the 26th when they get down there.

He said you guys talk every day. Is that true?

Yeah. It's definitely true. I called him before I came in today. He didn't answer, but he'll call me back tonight. We talk every day.

Has your relationship always been like that?

Yeah. As a coach's kid, he was always out on the road. So, he'd call all of the time and we'd talk. It wasn't like I was deprived as a child. He was around. It wasn't that bad. It's interesting because he helps me get through my troubles here because he's a coach. I can ask him, you know, "What's that mean?" He'll explain it to me, not so much now, but when it was my first couple of years. We really grew a lot closer then. It's been special. We just have to go out and get a win.

Now you think you're a pretty well-rounded player, so you don't have to make that call.

(Laughs) No, not at all. I just know how to deal with it a little bit better. But I'm definitely not a well-rounded player yet.

What has the conversation been like since the bowl game was announced?

We joke around. He was home the other night. I was driving home and I was like, "What are you doing?" He was like, "Oh, I've been home for a while." I was like, Oh, you've been home. I've been out here trying to get better." It's just joking around with him. It's been fun. None of our jokes are serious. He's got good one-liners. He gets me all of the time. It's fun. I don't know, he's my dad.

He talked about him not thinking you playing for him would work. Coach Ferentz has talked about how he's enjoyed coaching Brian, but maybe it helped that there was a buffer in the sense that he wasn't his position coach. Is that why you don't think it would have worked for you and your dad?

It takes a special kind of relationship between a father and son. They've done a great job with it. I don't know what it's like behind the scenes, but I know on the field that it's nothing (awkward). I wasn't here for his early years either. That's usually when it's the toughest, when a coach's kid will come in and he hasn't proved himself yet. We all know that Brian's one of the toughest people in the world. But some of the kids will think, "Oh, the only reason your playing is your dad is the coach." I'm not saying that would have happened here. Maybe it did happen. I don't know. But you hear about that kind of stuff and I just didn't really want to deal with it. I just thought that it would be a lot better for me to get out on my own.

He said that if a play comes toward their sideline that you might take a shot at him.

No. He's too old for me to do that. I'll definitely give him a smack on the butt or say, "What's Up?" or give him a little wink or something. It will be fun.

Do you think it will be odd at all to look across the sideline and see him over there?

I do. It's going to be strange. But I better get over it quick because we've got to play. It will be weird during warm-ups looking over at their side and dad will be there. It will just be strange. It will be fun, though. I know all of the other coaches, too, which is a first. There have been a couple of coaches this year that I've known, but not as well as the guys that are on their sideline. It will be fun.

How hard is it for your mom? It's kind of a tough spot for her.

Yeah, I think it is. She's dealing with it pretty well. Like I said, someone has got to win and someone has got to lose. For here, it's a lose-lose situation. It will be fine. She's a tough woman. It's just part of it. She's learned to accept it now.

How many brothers and sisters do you have?

I have one sister. We joke about it. I don't know where she's sitting. It doesn't really matter. The good thing about it is that we're both on defense and everyone is going to cheer for both of the defenses.

I guess one of the biggest positives is, like your dad said, you get to spend the holidays together.

Yeah. And that is special. It's been since I was in high school that I've been able to be with them on Christmas. That will be nice.

Is it nice that this is happening when you're both key players in the game?

Yeah. I'm glad it's happening. It's one of those things that happens and you have to deal with it. You don't really have a choice to like it or dislike it. You just do your best with it. It's one of those things where down the road I'm going to look back at it and realize it was real special. I'm hoping we can get a picture together on the field after the game just to remember it. It will be fun no matter what.

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