Question: Jake Ryan, how has he played throughout the entire spring and what kind of role can he have in the fall?
Greg Mattison: "Jake Ryan has gone a really good job all spring as far as improving, playing a totally different position. He's made a lot of mistakes and every time the next day he comes back doing it right. The one thing that we've really been pleased with Jake is he shows tremendous energy and speed off the edge, which I think is something that we need definitely in our package. As far as the total performance of the defense, I never like to make any statement of how they played until I've had a chance to look at the tape. The one thing I didn't like and I can tell you right now is that I didn't like big plays, especially with the first unit or any unit. Our defense cannot be what we want it to be if we allow them to get big chunks and I think we gave up a couple of those with the first unit and too many… any time they break a long one that just puts a knife in you. I was pleased with how hard they worked. I wanted to see what their attitude was going to be coming over to the Big House, this being this year's defense and let us see what they do and I think they had a good mindset. I think they came with the idea of wanting to improve and wanting to get better and that was a good sign."
Question: Carvin (Johnson) had two picks, do you feel like your DBs got a good break on the ball when they were defending?
Greg Mattison: "Again, I don't know. I'm going to be dead honest with you. I know he got two picks. He's done that throughout camp. That's one thing that he has shown is that is the kind of guy who always shows up where the ball is. On a couple of those big plays I don't know if he was responsible for that, I'm not sure. Any time in our defense that safety has to be the guy to get them down and that's part of it. They have to get the guy down if he breaks through that line of scrimmage. I'm going to say there is a play or two there the safety was not where he was supposed to be."
Question: We saw Mike Martin as a rush end and doing some different things in practice, saw it again today, can you talk about the thought process of that?
Greg Mattison: "One thing we'll do in our package defensively is that we're always going to try and get mismatches and try to get somebody that we feel is maybe the most talented at a position and get him one-on-one on somebody. A lot of times when you are in those, you're double all the time. He has shown the ability to rush the passer and we'll do that from time to time where we'll move guys around to get better match ups for that and we've been working with that a little bit. I think we've got a lot more that we haven't even done yet that is going to be good for a couple of those guys."
Question: Did you see them gaining confidence throughout the spring, maybe cumulating in keeping them out of the end zone for the most part today?
Greg Mattison: "Yeah and that was a really big thing for us and I think a lot of times is what happens with defenses when they haven't been real successful, when a big play happens, another happens and they just go, aw here it goes again. We've tried to make a real big thing about as long as we have got a place to stand, as long as that ball is not across the end zone then we're still a good defense. We've really worked on that and I think they are starting to buy into it. They believe that and I even heard one of them say that out there in that situation. I don't want to keep testing them on that, but I was proud of them for what they did there."
Question: Early in the spring, you were trash talking with Denard (Robinson), who had the last laugh in this last spring practice?
Greg Mattison: "He always has the last laugh, because I'm going to tell you what; you can say there was a quick whistle and everything like that, I would not want us to bet on us getting him down on a lot of those times right there. He's a special football player. I've never been around him, as a defensive coordinator, in what do you call in a passing situation. If you pressure him and you don't get him down right there, you're asking for a real big one. I'm glad we don't play against him, let us just say that."
Question: We didn't see too many offensive flashes today, but have you seen quite a few during spring? Are there some that we haven't seen?
Greg Mattison: "Yeah. Our offense has really, really tested us and beaten us in the spring at times. The one thing that our offense has helped us in that they are going to be a physical power type offense, as well as being able to get Denard do what he does and that really makes it hard on a defense when you can't just say this is a spread team and okay we're going to run this defense and now all of a sudden you're going against a power team and you saw a few of those runs today are seven and eight yard runs. Our offense, I'm really excited about it. I know one thing I've coached against Al Borges before and he does a great job. He'll do a really good job on that offense."
Full Transcript: Coach Mattison Postgame
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