Tue Post-Practice: Mattison (Full Transcript)
Question: Can you talk about the key things that you really tried to hone in on with the bye week?
Greg Mattison: "Any time you get in the middle of the season and you don't play as successful as you want on every snap, you have to address that during the bye week and for us, it has always been and we talked about this first day we all met. When you're a young team and an inexperienced team, you must be great at your fundamentals and the fundamentals start on defense with tackling. If you don't tackle, you're not going to have the success that you should have. Along with that, it is getting off blocks. We're not a good enough team to have one guy make a tackle. Our deal so far this year has been a lot of guys getting to the football and when guys aren't reading their keys like they should, I don't know if any team is, but we for sure are not good enough to be able to take a false step and still get to the football. Then when you do that you get cut or you get a blocker on you and now you're down to one or two guys making the tackle rather than a defense making a tackle. We worked very, very hard on our keys, on our footwork, on tackling, on delivery blows. Our guys have stayed out afterwards to hit the sled. We addressed all the things that we want to build this defense on and it is the right time to do it in the middle of the season."
Question: Brady said yesterday that at times the defense was tentative and there were players who were more worried about not making a mistake rather than being aggressive. Is that something that you saw?
Greg Mattison: "I'm not being disrespectful…I really don't want to talk about the last game that much because Purdue is ahead of us. In general, any time that we play tentative, we're not good enough to do that. It could be this week coming up. It could have been four weeks ago. It could have been any time. We have to be a team that goes as hard as it can go and if it is being not tentative that's right. We can't. You're not talented enough to do that. You'd better be coming off as hard as you can. You'd better be punching as hard as you can, all of that. That's being tentative. That's something that we'll have to address next week, and the week after and the week after. That's something that is going to be our deal on defense."
Question: What do you see from Purdue's offense that worries you?
Greg Mattison: "I never say anything that worries me. I would rather say, what do I think they are pretty good at. I think the one thing they do a really good job of is that get to the perimeter. I think their backs are fast. They seem to be very, very quick. They have a lot of ways that they try to get to the perimeter with the ball. I think they are a good football team. I watched them real close and they make plays. They've got some guys who make plays and winning that game they did last week. That wasn't a fluke. That was a good job by them. I think they are going to be a team, just like every team we play, we're going to have to bring our A game. We're going to have to play better and we're going to have to improve each week and they're the next one."
Question: Do you have to defend their two quarterbacks depending on who plays differently?
Greg Mattison: "Not really. They're both…they run their offense. They don't change the offense when (Todd) Marve is in there for example, no it's their offense. I think they put him in there because up until last week, they were even and let us see which one, but it is not a change of pace for our guys. It is their offense."
Question: Formation wise do you feel like their offense is similar to what you guys do on offense?
Greg Mattison: "I think there is some component of it. There is some of the read option, read zone. There are some similarities to it."
Question: Does that help at all?
Greg Mattison: "Oh yeah. We're getting fast looks. If our offense runs that type of scheme, you're getting instead of a scout team, you're getting pretty good guys coming at you, so that's good. That's always good."
Question: This is a team that did not start the season on a great note but has gotten better, do you see that on tape, do you see an evolvement?
Greg Mattison: "Yeah. I watched their early games that aren't even on our cutups. The Middle Tennessee, the Rice, the real early games. They did some real good things in those games. Those games could have been wins and Middle Tennessee was and Middle Tennessee is a pretty good football team especially on defense. There is no lack or respect, believe me. I hope there is a time when I can sit in here and say, we're going to be fine. Now we've got to play great football on defense every time we go out on the field and it has to be play after play after play."
Question: Has there ever been a time when you've said that?
Greg Mattison: "Oh yeah. Oh yeah and it's fun too. It's really fun coaching that way."
Question: The battle at cornerback between Blake Countess and Troy Woolfolk, is there a battle?
Greg Mattison: "I don't know if there is a battle. I think you're seeing Blake be what you hope freshman do and that's improve and show that they can help you win and therefore you have another one. I don't know if there is a battle. Like we do up front and like we've done at linebacker, you'd love to rotate guys a little more. Blake shows that he can do some things and he has got to continue to play at the level that we want him to. A lot of times what happens with freshman is that they get in there, have a little success and they go this is pretty easy. Well it's not, it's not easy because there is somebody that is going to try and beat you every time you go out there. It is a good deal to be able to rotate guys like that."
Question: What do you have to do more than anything to shore up your perimeter defense?
Greg Mattison: "We've got to be a lot more physical on blocks. We've got to be a lot more physical on blocks. It has got to be the mindset when a wide receiver tries to block you that's an insult and you'd better be so physical. You can't just shadow him. You have to try and go through him and physical beat him and get off the block and we haven't done that. There has been too many times where were just kind of caught on it and pull off it rather than attacking it and going through it and getting off."
Question: Your defensive players after the Michigan State game said they were out-toughed; does that for you as a coach maybe have a group more eager to get better now because they made that admission after that game?
Greg Mattison: "I think when a player says that, he has a lot of pride. I don't think he is going to say he was out-athleticed. The bottom line is football is a very, very tough game and I think if any game you are not successful at, it's usually because, especially at Michigan, it is usually because you didn't play as physical as you should have. You guys have been following Michigan for a long time, I think you know that. There is an attitude and a way that you have to play here with the teams we play that you'd better be physical. If you aren't successful that's usually what happened."
Question: Was that a wake up call physicality wise last week?
Greg Mattison: "I don't know if we're in a position to say you got a wake up call. We're scrapping each week to try and play better defense. I hope that they don't think that they've arrived. I know that is not the case with them. I think it is more of a reinforcement that you have to do these things to be a successful defense. Sometimes I think a player might say, I'll just get to the ball. Well no, no, you don't just get to the ball, you've got to do A, B and C before you get to the football and it doesn't matter if you're the greatest player in the world or average, it doesn't matter, wherever you are in there, you've got to go through the proper techniques to get to the football."
Question: Brady talked about Brennan Beyer and Frank Clark got a little more work, do you anticipate that continuing?
Greg Mattison: "Yeah that's the other good thing about the off week. Guys that have kind of caught your eye, now you're seven weeks, if they're ready to start playing, you can kind of start spending more time with them instead of getting ready for a team and you can say okay, now on this defense you have to do this. When they're not really in the picture, you're spending time with the other guys. We got a chance to spend time with them. I think you're going to see Brennan Beyer and Frank Clark, you're going to see them play a little more and now you'll find out when they get in there. They've shown some real flashes in practice, but you all know that's different out there. That little mistake that the coach jumps the guy about on the practice field could cost you a game in a game. So you've got to make sure that they're reliable."
Question: Does that change your rotation of what you've been doing with defensive line and linebackers?
Greg Mattison: "Our rotation is our rotation. The guys who have played are going to play. They're all the same guy but it may allow you to get a little more speed for example. For example, Jake Ryan played 61 plays in the last game and I blame myself for that. I think Brennan was ready to get some reps last week and we were getting some three and outs and we were getting off the field sometimes and I figured we were okay. So if you can find a guy to go in for five plays to give him a little bit of a break, it is not changing our rotation but it might give him a little breath, so that's what we're trying to do."
Question: You mentioned the Will Heininger had a really good game the last game, what is his development been like throughout the season to get to that point?
Greg Mattison: "It has been technique as far as I'm concerned. He's always been a big strong guy and he was coming off a knee. He probably had a set back that way. I didn't know him then. I've seen him buy in to what we're trying to do and I've seen because of his confidence in the technique, it has allowed him to use his strength and he has become a lot more physical football player. I think when you're not sure of yourself, you're just trying to get through it. Now he sees it all and he is an intelligent young man, so I think things are coming together for him a little bit."
Question: He has kind of moved inside and Ryan Van Bergen has moved outside is that just kind of how it developed?
Greg Mattison: "We just felt Ryan is a better five technique than he is inside. He's a lot more comfortable there and that's why he played that in the last game, but he started out the season that way too. Will can kind've play anywhere. It made it easy that way."
Question: Is there a part of Will's technique has improved the most?
Greg Mattison: "I think staying low and like we always talk about with our defensive line, they've got to be able to punch and he's starting to do that now and he's a strong kid. That's what you need to do to play defensive line, but he's staying a lot lower now."
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