Mike Martin, Ryan Van Bergen on Spring Ball

Seniors Ryan Van Bergen and Mike Martin talk about the spring, the spring game, and the Michigan Defense.

Ryan Van Bergen

Question: You've been in the system for a while just being at Michigan, now you're looking at new plays for defense, what big changes have there been for you?

Ryan Van Bergen: "I want to be a five technique, strong side defensive end. Coaching style, a little bit more teaching involved, learning my technique, more technically sound and fundamental, which is just going to help me with being ready for next season."

Question: Have you been making a lot of calls on defense and that is something that is your responsibility?

Ryan Van Bergen: "Absolutely. I have been on the field as much as I have. I think I have the most snaps of anybody on the team on defense. I should be responsible for that. I've been in every situation, and it is my responsibility to get the guys lined up and make sure everybody is on the same page."

Question: They've moved Mike (Martin) a little bit. What is it like to see him not next to you and with his hand off the ground?

Ryan Van Bergen: "It is interesting because Mike has always been one of the most athletic guys on our team as far as team and stuff, and strength and size. Having him move around is interesting -- to see where they are going to put him next-- and wherever he goes I have to fill the vacant spot. I'm kind of tied in with him even though I'm not next to him; we're still working together, I'm opposite of him."

Question: Will Campbell is getting a lot of attention, he is obviously a very big body next to you guys. How do you see some of these other guys developing?

Ryan Van Bergen: "If Will Campbell keeps working how he has been -- he has had a really good spring, he's been working hard. If he keeps progressing through the summer and he doesn't take any time off and he works, I think he could be one of the dominant players in the Big Ten. You can't block him at 340 pounds or whatever he sits at. He is dominant if he plays with his fundamentals, and he has to get better with fundamentals."

Question: What has been your impression of the coaching staff, Coach Hoke and Coach Mattison so far through these practices?

Ryan Van Bergen: "Coach Hoke and Coach Mattison have just been outstanding as far…they come in with a no-nonsense attitude, but they are not on your case all the time. They want to teach you the fundamentals and they want you to know why that works, why you are doing this and why it makes it the most efficient way to play blocks and stuff like that. It really is a good motivator and a good tool to use, to make sure the guys understand the technique and understand why to do it."

Question: Can you talk about what you saw from the defense today?

Ryan Van Bergen: "I thought the defense played relatively well except for the big play. That is something that has plagued us for a while here and drives Coach Mattison crazy, and it is something that we have to continue to get better at. Obviously, we didn't give up any points to the first string, I'm not sure. We can't give up the big play."

Question: You created a lot of turnovers; is that something that has been happening all spring?

Ryan Van Bergen: "I think so. It is an emphasis. We worked on getting turnovers and getting to the ball -- hats around the ball and good things happen for our defense. And it is something that keeps popping up. I think if we continue to play the way we do, we'll get turnovers actually."


Mike Martin

Question: Talking to some guys and they really like the new coaching staff; what are your thoughts on the staff?

Mike Martin: "I love the new coaching staff. I can't say enough. Coach Mattison, it has been a new relationship with him and we've really grown closer to each other; and I know he has with the rest of the guys. Coach Hoke, I've known him since junior year in high school from the Michigan camp. He coached me up the whole week over at Elbel Field. He knew my mom and we messed around. It was a great time. I'm really excited to have them as my coaches and I know the rest of the guys are too."

Question: Just from the little bit of practice we've got to see, they seem like really great teachers even the little stuff. Do you get a feel that you're a better football player right now because of what you've learned?

Mike Martin: "Yeah. It's really exciting to think about it because I've learned a lot of things. I was like, man, that's really good to know. They do a really good job of teaching it and going through it. And if you mess up, they'll let you know they're upset, but they don't take it to the point of yelling or whatever. They sit you down and teach you it and get the job done."

Question: Looking forward to put in spots that you're not constantly getting doubled team every single play?

Mike Martin: "Yeah. It is good, plus it is fun having a fourth guy out there. Me and Will (Campbell) just playing out there like we got each other's back. Every play slapping each other on the head, getting after the ball and just running to it; and plus it frees us both up. If we all play, who are they going to block? Just playing hard every snap of the ball, it works well for all of us."

Question: Were you used in this kind of role at all in high school?

Mike Martin: "In high school, you got a big tough guy you want him on the line."

Question: What was your reaction when they told that they were going to use you in this way, because it is a lot different than what it was?

Mike Martin: "I was excited about it, and I was like I can kind of learn about it a couple of minutes before practice, and I was thrown into it. We ran it in practice, he brought me into his office and I got this idea. I said alright and it worked out well and we installed it and he had faith. I saw it as a leap of faith for him -- for me to be able to handle it mentally and as an athlete."

Question: We've heard them talk about: you give your playmakers the ball on the offensive side, and they have kind of been 'giving you the ball' on the defensive. Does that kind of excite you?

Mike Martin: "Yeah it is exciting. It's you and ten other guys playing hard together, moving around, a lot of burden on you mentally to be able to recognize certain things. And it is also fun if you just play hard every play and get to the ball. If everyone gets to the ball you have success."

The Michigan Insider Top Stories