Michigan Football Preview 2013

2013 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link: https://read.uberflip.com/i/137378

Contents of this Issue


Page 130 of 267

they're doing the work to make themselves better. "Any time you hear from [Michigan strength and conditioning coach Aaron] Wellman, or you see them in this facility, they're excited, and they get you excited. We've given them a lot of things to do extra, other than the conditioning and lifting — the technique specifics — and all of them are doing them. "They're getting better, and they're coming up here and saying, 'Coach, we're doing this, and it looks like it's doing well.' You just say, okay, these guys really do believe. They really do want to become good." The Wolverine: How much better has the depth become on your side of the ball? Mattison: "You have better depth in some parts of your defense than others, but there are so many kids that have played that are young, that are getting better. In the front, you have kind of what you want. "You've got some seniors who have played a real lot, that are improving every day. Then you've got a bunch of young guys that we've recruited that are all equal. We really believe up front we can play a whole bunch of guys in a game. "If they will play as hard as they can for four plays, or three plays, or five plays, the next guy will go in and do the same thing, and it's going to be as if one guy is in there. For the first time since we've been here, there's not a drop-off in talent from when one guy goes in to the other guy going in. "That allows us to be able to play a lot of guys. When you play a lot of guys and they know they're going to play, they get more excited. They work harder. They see that it's worth everything they're doing, and they're all vested. They all believe in what's happening and all believe they can help us win. "At the linebacker position, there are a lot of guys there that have played. There are not as many, but they're still two deep, of guys who have played a lot of football. "Even with Jake [Ryan] not being out there, Cam Gordon and Brennen Beyer have played a lot of football. Those two guys are a great example. They look bigger and stronger than I've ever seen, and they're running better. "They truly know what they have to do to help this defense. They're pushing each other. "At the inside linebacker position, it's the same thing. You've got Joe Bolden and Desmond [Morgan]. You've got Royce [Jenkins-Stone] and [James] Ross. They just keep pushing each other. They know that whoever is in there is going to be capable of helping us win. "The secondary, it's the same kind of deal. A lot of guys have played. A lot of guys are very close to being there. They know now that if you don't play like we want you to play, the next guy is going to go in there. "It's not a threat. It's just fact. Why should I play you if you don't play like we want you to play, when this guy is really close?" The Wolverine: Is it tougher to play with a next-man-up philosophy when the man down is Jake Ryan? Mattison: "Jake Ryan is a special football player. Jake Ryan has done everything we've asked him to do. He's a playmaker, he's physical, he's a great blitzer. He's got all of those things. "But Jake Ryan didn't play every play of every game. He didn't play every play of every game, not because he was banged up. It was because you couldn't. "So Cam played some crucial plays in some big games. When he's in there, it's not going to be a nervous factor or, 'Can I do it?' He's done it. the weight room. They've gotten stronger now. They've learned their technique better. "Now you're going to see what a defensive lineman should look like and should play like. And there's a bunch of them. "It's not that the Craig Rohs and the Will Campbells and Mike Martins weren't. But there are a whole bunch of them now. "That point about playing hard — that was something we stressed. 'Okay, we'll play all of you guys, if all of you play hard. You're going to either earn the right to rotate, or you're going to earn the right to stand next to me during the game. That's your decision, not mine.' "The good thing is, we're not held hostage as coaches. We've got it to where the next guy can go in and we say, 'Let's go. You've earned the right. You're playing hard.' "It's every position. When you look at the rush, you've got Frank Clark, you've got Mario [Ojemudia], and you've got Taco [Charlton]. They're ready to go — next guy in. That's a real plus." "For the first time since we've been here, there's not a drop-off in talent from when one guy goes in to the other guy going in. That allows us to be able to play a lot of guys. When you play a lot of guys and they know they're going to play, they get more excited. They work harder." Mattison "Brennen Beyer played as a true freshman. He's played a lot at the rush, and that's not much difference moving over there. He's a very intelligent young man. "I really feel, if ever there is a place where you say, okay, this guy got nicked up and we're going to miss him for a little while, we've got two guys that are really stepping up. I'm very confident in both of those guys." The Wolverine: How would you assess the linebacker position? Mattison: "I like our athleticism. For the first time — and this holds true for a lot of our defense — you're going to see guys that can run, guys that are more elusive, guys that can get off blocks, and may be better blitzers and may be better cover guys. "That ability, that athleticism that they have, will show up." The Wolverine: Brady Hoke made a point of how hard the defensive line worked this spring. What aspect stands out to you? Mattison: "It's the athleticism. We have a whole bunch of guys we've recruited since we've been here that we thought when we got them, these are pretty good players. They've done what they're supposed to in The Wolverine: Thomas Gordon insisted the Outback Bowl loss was on the secondary, given that late touchdown bomb. What are your thoughts on that ownership and motivation, and on the secondary as a whole? Mattison: "That's a great comment from a guy in the secondary. The whole secondary feels that, but it never comes down to one play. There was a sack that could have been gotten earlier. There was a stop where it would have never gotten to that point. "But the one thing we do believe in, that's always on the secondary, is you can never give up big plays. Really, the negative part about the secondary in that game, if you're going to pick out a spot, is that we gave up too many big plays. That's not how we play defense here. "One is too many. When it happens when that happened, it just becomes more glaring. "I really like our secondary. Our secondary is becoming more mature, they're becoming tougher, and they're becoming mentally tougher, just by what Thomas is saying. They want to be accountable. Not survive, but be accountable. That's the difference with experience. "Blake Countess coming back is huge. The Wolverine 2013 Football Preview  ■ 129

Articles in this issue

view archives of Michigan Football Preview 2013 - 2013 Michigan Football Preview