"I think the biggest thing is missed tackles," said Mattison. "We can't have that in our defense. We had way too many missed tackles. And another thing that led to missed tackles is as you watch the tape we had missed technique—and we're not good enough right now to be able to not play perfect technique. When you don't play great technique somebody's going to have to make an open field tackle."
The loss of Blake Countess after one defensive series Saturday certainly didn't help the Wolverines as Alabama went right to the air against his replacement and starting nickel Courtney Avery.
"Blake Countess is a tremendous young man," said Mattison. "He's a very gifted athlete and he's played some outstanding football for us at a young age. Now the next guy is going to have to step up, and that's the nature of football."
While Michigan head coach Brady Hoke said Monday that Avery will most likely be the starter Saturday, Mattison pointed to the practice field as the greatest indicator of who might line-up at the opposite corner spot of J.T. Floyd.
"Courtney Avery has played a lot of football for us," said Mattison, "and Courtney's done some good things. But as you know in our mindset here it's whoever practices the best. Nobody is ever given a position so Courtney is obviously a frontrunner because of how much he's played and some of the good things he's done. Then Raymon, Delonte are young guys that have been practicing all along and they'll be the next guys in line."
Up front for the Wolverines defense, Mattison pointed out a couple of strong performances in an otherwise disappointing start to the 2012 season defensively.
"I think you saw some things, like Quinton Washington probably has played the best football since he's been here," said Mattison. "Is that good enough? It wasn't good enough that day. But he shows he can do some of the things we're asking him to do."
"I thought Brennan Beyer played very well against the tight end," Mattison continued. "He was too high when you talk about his technique, and he's the first to mention, that but I think he came back to what we saw in the spring."
For senior strong-side defensive end Craig Roh, sometimes less is more in regards to production and what this defense needs from the Arizona native moving forward.
"Craig Roh played extremely hard, and in fact Craig Roh's biggest problem in that game is he's trying to do too much sometimes—which happens when you're the seasoned veteran," said Mattison.
"One of the touchdowns for example where Floyd missed the tackle in the hole, which would have been a two yard gain, and they got a touchdown on it," Mattison explained, "Craig Roh just tried to make the play inside and should have stayed outside—and its just a technique thing."
The Wolverines will need to be very disciplined defensively Saturday with such an offbeat offensive attack coming to town in Air Force.
"This is an offense that put 500 yards of rushing (last week)," said Mattison. "I don't care who you're playing, 500 yards is a lot of yards. As you guys know, playing a wishbone first of all makes you be unbelievably sound in technique and assignment. If you slip up one time it can be a big play. That's a concern, and that's what our players understand heading into this game."
To watch video of Mattison from Tuesday afternoon, click play below.