Michigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison opens up about the depth of his unit, mentality he'd like his guys to have this fall.

Michigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison opens up about the depth of his unit, mentality he'd like his guys to have this fall.

A year ago, Michigan's defensive line was one of the Wolverines strongest units for defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin.

Under the guidance of long time defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, now defensive line coach, several players made tremendous growth despite the preseason injury to Bryan Mone.

Even so, the depth in 2015 wasn't good enough to overcome all of the late season adversity.

"I think last year during the middle (of the season) we were there, and then Ryan (Glasgow) got injured and Mario (Ojemudia) got injured and that brought us down," Mattison said Wednesday.

With Willie Henry and Ojemudia off attempting to make an NFL career for himself, Glasgow and Mone return to the middle of a defensive line that looks deeper than a year ago.

Add in versatile seniors Chris Wormley and Taco Charlton, veterans Maurice Hurst and Matt Godin, to go along with a slew of talented freshmen led by No. 1 player in the nation Rashan Gary, Mattison believes he has a core together heading into Saturday's season opener against Hawaii.

"I think we have eight for sure," he said. "There are more and more guys coming on, you know I wouldn't probably rotate nine or 10 guys but you always want the ability that if something does happen another guy can come in and be one of those eight. 

"You saw that last year," added Mattison. "We were a better defensive team when we had rotations and when we got hit with some injuries it brought us down to not the ability to rotate."

Asked if he has an idea of who might be in the starting lineup for Saturday, Mattison mentioned several veterans but again indicated several will see time.

"I really try to tell them we have two starting lineups," Mattison said. "Who goes out there for the very first play, we still have a couple days to decide that.  

"The whole group, I don't want to single out one guy because as we watch the film there's an expectation and to be in that first unit that takes the field very first or who's in there the third or fourth play, they all have to do the same thing."

One guy sure to draw a lot of eye balls from curious Michigan fans is Gary. While Mattison declined to go into much detail, it appears the talented freshmen will be on the field in some capacity.

He's done a very good job, as all of our guys have, and when his unit is in there, you're judged by a first unit standard," he said. 

"Rashan has worked very hard and has done some very good things. Whenever the opportunity, whenever we decide how our rotation is I'm sure you'll see him in there."

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