ORLANDO, Fla. -- Greg Mattison should be familiar with what Florida has to offer, he did coach there after all.
In fact, Mattison spent three seasons as UF’ s defensive coordinator from 2005-07, and led the Gators defense the last time they matched up against Michigan in the 2008 Citrus Bowl, when U-M upset Florida 41-35.
“Well, the last time when we played Florida, I was on the other side of that game,” Mattison said. And Michigan came out that day and I knew -- and I knew and I tried to tell the guys -- I can remember like it was yesterday, saving be careful of this team now. This Michigan team has tremendous talent. And a lot of the players on that team were all coming back from injuries, and they were -- they played a great game that day.”
However, Mattison says his focus now is coaching Michigan’s defense against his former team in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl this Friday at 1 p.m.
“And this is -- this is a big game for us. You know, Florida is a very, very explosive, very talented football team,” Mattison said. “And on offense, they have tremendous speed. And they've got some really, really good skilled athletes, and we're going to have to play a great defense to play against them.”
On the other side of the field, ironically, Mattison will match up against Florida’s Doug Nussmeier, who coached the Wolverines offense for one season in 2014.
“Coach Nussmeier is a definitely a close friend,” Mattison said. “Anytime -- anytime you work every day with a guy, you know, in the same capacity and work together for an entire year -- I have tremendous respect for him. He's a great person and he's a great coach. And I've always thought the world of him. Everywhere he's been, he's been successful. He's done a great job this year. You can see with the youth, how not young anymore. And, you know, they've played really, really good football. And Doug's a great coordinator. Doug's a very, very, very good coordinator.”