If one person is familiar with the Michigan defense, it’s Greg Mattison.
Going from the defensive coordinator the year before to the defensive line coach currently around D.J. Durkin, Mattison is stepping into a role that is comfortable for him.
Having recruited and nurtured these players since they were freshman, it’s safe to say that Mattison knows them very well. So well, in fact, that he thinks this year is the year to finally get it done.
“I think they have what it takes and now they have to do it,” Mattison said. “I’m excited about taking the step from the spring to the fall now. That was new for them and now them understanding and having great film to show them that says ‘hey, this is what we can’t do this, this is how you have to do it.’ They’ll learn, they’re the kind of kids that will do that. I’m excited about they’re progression as much as everybody else.”
Does this mean that Mattison has high expectations for his position group?
“We have very high expectations for this position,” Mattison said. “Again, go back to experience, age and things like that. OK, you’ve got that, you’ve put that in the bank now let’s go. We are going to have very high expectations for how we play.”
With Durkin bringing along another defensive scheme for the team to learn this offseason, many expect a widespread change from position to position. While that partially could still hold true, Mattison doesn’t see much of a change with the defensive line.
In reality, all it takes is a little fundamentals in his mind.
“It’s not,” Mattison said. “When people talk about different schemes, it really comes down to techniques. You can call it anything you want, one time you have a five-technique, one time you play a four, one time you a three. You have to learn them all.”
It’s been a Jim Harbaugh philosophy to not single out a player during his media sessions. Always bringing it back about the team. Mattison did much of the same when asked about whom he was excited about this fall camp.
“I’m not being vague when I say this but all of them,” Mattison said. “Like I said I’m excited about these guys because you can’t pay for experience and these kids have all started and played a lot of football and now it’s their turn.”