Michigan Football Preview 2015

2015 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link: https://read.uberflip.com/i/526035

Contents of this Issue


Page 96 of 163

THE WOLVERINE 2015 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 95 At other places I might feel alone, but that's not Michigan. Last year I thought we were really close, but this year we're even closer." They were forced to be due in part to a coaching change that few of them expected. Hoke had been a big reason Mone com- mitted to Michigan, along with Mattison, and for weeks, while athletics director Jim Hackett courted Jim Harbaugh, Mone and his teammates were left to wonder what was next. Transferring closer to home might have been an option, but Mone didn't give it any thought, especially after speaking to Hoke. "He called me and told me that we all needed to stay close — to stay united," Mone said. "I took that to heart. I promised him we were all going to stick together and play our hearts out for Michigan, win for Michigan." Still, he worried about what was on the horizon. His spirits received a boost when Harbaugh retained Mattison, his brother's former defensive coordinator in Baltimore, as his defensive line coach. "That was really important to me," Mone said. "I know what he expects of me and all of us, and I know that he cares. It was great to have him back. Every time I'm out there I'm going to do what he tells me to and give everything I have. I don't want to let him down." The Next Step And make no mistake; Mattison's expec- tations are high. When Mone arrived as a true freshman early enrollee in winter 2014, Mattison compared him to yet another Ton- gan — nose tackle Haloti Ngata — he'd coached in Baltimore. Being mentioned in the same breath with his hero was the first of many eye openers for Mone. The second was the competition in the rugged Big Ten. Mone played all 12 games as a true freshman, starting one, and notched nine tackles and a fumble recovery, but he also realized just how much more work he had to do in order to be a difference maker in the Big Ten. "It was an eye opener just playing at all the Big Ten stadiums. It was pretty crazy; the Big Ten is really good," he said. "But it was just nice to get my feet wet. I can't wait to play more games." Getting used to Harbaugh's approach compared to Hoke's took some time, but he adjusted well. In March, Mattison singled out the nose tackle position as one with which he was most pleased. Mone and red- shirt junior Ryan Glasgow were playing with a lot of confidence, and it was noticeable. Being the run stopper in the middle of a 3-4 scheme is what he does best, former Michigan All-Big Ten offensive lineman Doug Skene said. "When he's really playing, there's no way anyone will be able to stop him with just one guy," Skene said after watching him in the spring. "He's got that big, wide frame and huge lower body that's just going to clog the middle. He'll occupy the center and the guard. "He may not have lot of tackles or sacks, but the middle linebackers are going to love that kid. He's going to be a great interior anchor for that defensive front." In time, he'll be the guy. For now, he's just one of the guys with Glasgow, a former walk-on who has done as much to help teach Mone as anyone on the team. "We're competing, and we make each other better," Mone said. "We're really close actually. He's like a mentor to me. He's re- ally good at bringing out his technique, a really tough player who doesn't give up. He's also really good with his pass rush, something I need to work on more along with my speed. "I feel like our job is one of the most im- portant on the team. The key to this whole defense is the nose, given how the defense is run. It's important because whether it's tak- ing on the double team or doing our assign- ment, it's always big in the trenches. That's where it counts. I want to blow up the run and just make plays." Elevating His Game Those who have seen him play in high school know he's capable. As laid back as he is off the field, where he comes across as shy with the media and youthful when flash- ing his braces with a big smile, he flips the switch when the ball is kicked off. Part of it is not wanting to let his team- mates and coaches down. The other is work- ing toward his goal of being able to support his family at the next level by getting paid to play. "I'm a whole different guy, I guess. Off the field I think I'm a nice guy," he said with a laugh. "But you have to play [ticked off]. You have to. "I know I can make it in football, but I've also got school to fall back on. And hell yeah, that's my hope [to support my family]." His high school coach, Brody Benson, often calls him "truly one of a kind" and tells anyone who will listen he's never met a kid with a bigger heart. It's that heart that makes him who he is, Houma said in the spring. "What he does for his brother … I know his brother can't carry himself, but he's all his brother's got," he said. "I'm glad God blessed him with the abilities he has, the big size and all of that. … I'm blessed to have him here." And he feels fortunate to be here, Mone added. His family came from nothing, and they're his support. He knows adversity through his brother and the loss of another brother to leukemia and had to grow up fast, but he sees that growth as a blessing, all part of a bigger plan. Living it out in Ann Arbor for four years is all part of it. "Just being on the field and in the locker room with all my teammates, hanging out, that's the whole point of college and foot- ball," he said. "We came here as boys, but now we're becoming men and brothers for life." And for him, there's always room for a few more. ❑ Mone played all 12 games as a true freshman, starting one, and notched nine tackles and a fumble recovery. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

Articles in this issue

view archives of Michigan Football Preview 2015 - 2015 Michigan Football Preview