Spring Practice Presser 4-4-17: Greg Mattison Comment Count

Adam Schnepp April 5th, 2017 at 10:34 AM



Newsy bits:

  • Mattison seems very confident that his starting four is Gary, Hurst, Mone, and Winovich. They’re working to find the group behind them that will earn the right to rotate
  • Carlo Kemp and Donovan Jeter were mentioned as young guys who’ve been very impressive this spring
  • The guys competing at the tackle positions are Lawrence Marshall, Ron Johnson, Carl Myers, and Michael Dwumfour
  • Dwumfour is being held out of contact drills but is participating in non-contact portions of practice
  • Winovich has gotten much stronger and is now capable of being an every-down player.

“Here we go. That’s four hours out there; my knees feel really good. I feel great.”

Do you do conditioning for this?

“It’s conditioning every day we’re out there for me. But it’s going good. It’s going good.”

What do you like about the depth of your guys? Obviously not as many proven guys.

“Yeah, and that’s something we really are working on and the depth’s gonna be a real key because, as you know, we have a real belief in rotating guys. That was a big positive for us last year and really that’s why the first unit we’re very optimistic about because they played so much last year. Now we’ve got to develop another group to be able to come behind that new first group. They’re working very hard, but that’s gonna be a big key for us.”

What have you noticed out Rashan mentality-wise and intelligence-wise?

“Rashan comes out every day like he’s a senior, and he’s done that throughout the winter conditioning. You know, he came out and came off this last season and I really think it had a lot to do with Taco and Chris Wormley [and] the way they mentored him, and they set a great example for what you have to do to be successful.

“Rashan is a tremendously talented young man. He’s got great character, and he just stepped forward from the start of conditioning to right into spring practice. Every day he comes out and tries to lead by example. You would never be able to tell that the young man is going into his sophomore year. He’s having a real good spring.”

He said that he was looking forward to nitpicking himself a little bit more. He said he was hitting the film a lot harder. What have you noticed about him in that aspect?

“No question, he has. That’s why I say he acts almost like he’s a senior. A lot of times when you’re a sophomore coming off a good season as a freshman you’re kind of ‘Okay, I got it, I got it’ but he’s really critical of himself. He listens to every coaching point. I mean, when that happens, you’ve got a special, special young man.

“And he leads the other guys by that. They see him doing some really, really athletic things on the field and watch him do it and all of a sudden that’s like somebody saying this is how you do it. He’s been a very good example for everybody.”

[After THE JUMP: Kemp hype! Winovich hype! Mone hype! Carl Myers hype!]

What’s the ceiling for him and Mo lining up next to each other?

“Yeah, that’s—we’re excited about that. Both of them have played a lot of football and are very, very explosive. They give us a great deal of speed and quickness. Mo Hurst, again, is a fifth-year player now that’s played a lot of football here, and It’s time for him to really reap the benefits of all he’s done and take it the next step further. He’s showed that also this spring, so I’m excited about Mo.”

How important is his role, Mone’s role, and even Winovich’s role going to be given that this is such a young group behind them.

“Very. Very important, because unlike them last year when they were right there behind that first group, now they’re there and there’s a group of guys that haven’t played. So there’s a little bigger gap, so they have to always show the right way to do it.

“It can’t be now that’s okay. It’s got to be championship-type effort, it’s got to be championship technique, and they understand that. The spotlight’s on them a little bit more because there’s a real young group behind them.”

Some great athletes don’t become great football players. That’s probably not an area of concern with Rashan, right? Have you seen enough from him to know that he’s going to be a great player?

“Yeah, because he has it inside. You’re right, there have been some really, really outstanding athletes but maybe when it comes to gametime they don’t do what their athleticism shows. He showed—again, I keep going back to winter conditioning. It’s a small thing, but when you have a guy that’s 6’5”, 285 pounds who leads the sprints and leads the conditioning and leads it and does everything the way he’s supposed to do it, you’ve got something special happening. That’s what he’s shown.

“And Mo’s been the same way. And Winovich and Bryan Mone. The four of them have really, really tried to show that, and they have to. They have to keep doing it.”

One thing you mention each year is that you have to build depth on your defensive line. It’s a constant each year, but what’s different? What’s the key this year for building depth with this defensive line group?

“I think the biggest thing in the depth is that these guys behind them have to move faster toward that level than the last group did. The last group had been right on that verge and then they were that. This group hasn’t been in that playing time; they’ve been redshirted or they’ve been freshmen, so they haven’t really been on that field so they’ve got to take a bigger step to get up to that level to be able to rotate.

“We always talk about ‘You earn the right to rotate.’ Two things can happen if you don’t earn the right to rotate. Now you’ve got four guys playing the whole time and they’re never gonna play as good as if you have guys to rotate for them. So that’s a big thing for us, that some of these guys behind them have got to close that gap fast, and they’re working at it.”

Who’s in the group that has started to step up this spring of the younger guys?

“Yeah, Carlo Kemp has had a very, very good spring. We kind of thought that last year when he came in early, but I would say Carlo Kemp has been one who has really showed some things. He shows that he has the ability; now he’s got to do it every play, every day. That’s usually the thing that separates people. The ones that can show it but then there’s a day off where they don’t, where you’ve got to do it every, day, every play, and I think he’s understanding that.

“We’ve got a couple other young kids that showed they have talent. Donovan Jeter has showed some things. He’s showed us that he can do some things. I think those are the two guys, really, that kind of have stepped forward at times. Now we’ve got to bring some of the other guys along.”

Who are some of the other guys vying for the tackle positions?

“Lawrence Marshall, Ron Johnson, Carl Myers has shown some signs at times. We’ve just got to get the consistency. Dwumfour has shown some things, too. I mean, he did some things in practice today where you can see his athleticism, his movement. He’s another one that we’ll be counting on. They’re the ones that have really shown the most.”

With Chase, how much development have you seen out of him in the past year having that full year of experience going into this season?

“Chase has got lot more confidence. He’s gotten a lot stronger, and I think he understands the position way better. Chase started out as a defensive player his freshman year and then was moved to tight end, then going into the bowl game two years ago we moved him back and all last year he played, so this is really only his second year playing the defensive end position and he’s showing some really good things.”

Does he seem to be more of an every-down fit now?

“Oh yeah, no question. No question. He’s so much stronger. He’s so much stronger physically than he was. I think he’s gained some weight and he’s kept his speed. I think he’s gonna be what we’re looking for.”

Dwumfour’s not out for the spring, then?

“He’s out there working out. He’s not in contact all the time or anything like that but he’s doing a lot of movement, so it’s good.”

With Chase you mentioned seeing a new confidence in him.

“Yeah, sometimes overconfident. [laughs] There’s always that—when a young guy has success, sometimes he thinks he’s got it all the way where you could always get better. That’s not a negative thing.

“One thing I like about Chase is he seems like he’s one of those guys who when he has success, he likes it even more. You see some guys that get a sack and you may not see another sack for a couple series. Well, he’s the one where he gets a sack and he wants another one sack away on the next play and you’ve got to tell him it’s a running play, don’t be going for the quarterback. But he loves being successful, and that’s a good quality. That’s a good quality: a young man who’s hungry to be successful.”

Other guys are kind of quiet in that room—Rashan and Mo and Mone—but Chase is not. How much does that help you guys in terms of leadership in that room and personality?

“He’s got a personality. I don’t know if that gives you leadership sometimes. [smiles] But, you know, one thing about our defensive line room is there’s nothing sacred in there. We make sure that every little thing is brought up, and we have fun with it, too. Sometimes guys don’t see it the same way at first and then we have to make sure they do. We have fun in our room.

“He does have a good personality and, you know, all of our kids have really good personalities. They love playing football and they love our room. I keep going back to—I don’t know if they’ll ever appreciate as much as they should of what they had when they had Glasgow, Godin, Wormley, and Charlton in that room leading that room.

“That was a special group and for them to be part of it kind of gives them that thing, we want to be part of that, too. Okay, well now you gotta work to be that way. That’s kind of the bar now, that that’s what you want. You want it to be like they were and play like they did, and that’s what we’re shooting for.”

How’s this group doing against the run in the early going?

“Really well. I’ve been very, very pleased with how they’re doing with the run. Playing the run I don’t worry about. Bryan Mone is strong in there, and Mo Hurst has done it for years and Rashan…I’m not worried about playing the run with that group.

“I think the thing we’ve got to try to get is a little better pass rush. We’ve got to try to make sure we can change phases and go from run to pass. That’s what we’ve got to keep working on.”

Last year at Ford Field, was that about the time where you decided to move Carlo Kemp from linebacker to defensive end?

“Ahh, no, I think it was before that. I think we started him out when he came here just trying to see. You know, you didn’t really think he would do it but you always want to see, try to get—when guys come early, what you usually see with a lot of young men is that’s a big transition.

“That’s hard. They should be at their prom and they’re here having practices at Michigan like nobody can have practices like that. For them to get through that and for them to do that, he grew up a lot. He has such good character, too. He really has it inside of him. He’s got a chance to be a really good football player.”

MGoQuestion: You mentioned that this is Mo Hurst’s time to reap the benefits of his development. In what areas have you seen him develop the most over the last five years?

“Well, I think playing low. I think one thing Mo Hurst, and you have to be careful as a coach, there’s some guys that can make plays and they’re not always inside the defense, you know, but you don’t want to take that away from them. You can’t trust them until they become very, very program-oriented, like he is. Now he knows, okay, I’m not gonna take that away from you but I’ve got to be able to trust you to know when you can do that. He’s grown up a lot now. He knows how important it is for him to play technique, but there are times where he can use his athleticism to really play.”

Rashan was saying last week that he thinks he and Hurst could be the best duo in the country on that side of the D-line. Do you like that confidence?

“I, uh—I love the confidence and I love guys that feel strongly about the guy next to them. That’s what you’re shooting for. You don’t have that if guys don’t practice hard. Like if one guy’s practicing hard and another’s not, well, first of all, the other guy’s gonna hear about it and they’re gonna say, well, we’ve got to both get together. They’re both doing a good job so they’re both kind of playing off each other, so that’s good. Our deal [is] we’ve got to get all four to be like that, and I think we’re getting close.”

That’s how it was last year, right?

“No question that’s how it was last year, and I think we’ll get there. Bryan Mone has had a very, very good spring. He’s getting better and better. He had a great camp last year and then he got nicked up. I think he’s getting that back.”



April 5th, 2017 at 11:05 AM ^

Guys are "showing some things".

Listening to the actual interview yes he is confident in his top 4.  After that it's about showing some consistency with the backup guys as it sounds like they show one play but then need to show up the next.  Jeter if he blossoms will be a fan favorite here - one of the best recruiting interviews.  The fact he is flashing this early sounds great and supports what a lot of the recruiting folks said about a bit under the radar and underrated.

Run stuffing he sounds very pleased, finding a pash rush is where the work is focused on.

Just curious - why do you change the order of the comments from how they fell in the actual interview?

Adam Schnepp

April 5th, 2017 at 2:53 PM ^

No problem. If it was from the official site then it was a different thing altogether. The coaches and players go to another part of the building and do an on-camera interview for the ath. dept. after they talk to us. If it wasn't that, must have just been clips put together or something.


April 5th, 2017 at 11:25 AM ^

Our starting 4 are as good as any in the country. Yes a lot of inexperience behind them, but some very talented guys who will get to learn this year as they can rotate in and work along side some top players on the DL. Also getting some of the best coaching from a guy like Mattison.


April 5th, 2017 at 11:32 AM ^

Soloman, Hudson, Vuijian could come in a wrap up the back up spots. You just never know until fall ball. The meritocracy works.

I'm worrisome about the progression, er, lack there of from Marshall. He's always talked about, but never shows results. Maybe this is the year it finally clicks for him.

And yes, how big has Ron Johnson gotten? I thought he came in as a rushing speed DE.


April 5th, 2017 at 10:48 PM ^

seeing some significant action. The issue is the mix of starters (Wino, Mo) are more suited to pass rushing than run stuffing while the three frosh are probably best suited to pass rushing also. Luigi seems like a pass rushing specialist for year 1.

Hard for true frosh to have the strength and real mass to play DT effectively vs the run. Solomon and Hudson as sophs would be a sure backup plan at DT.


April 5th, 2017 at 12:04 PM ^

Now that I'm thinking about it, our d-line last year was 4 seniors, but the backups were made up of a junior (Maurice), two sophomores (Mone and Winovich), and a 5* freshman (Gary). This year, our starters are great too, and our backups are, indeed, a junior (Marshall), sophomore (Kemp), RS freshman (Dwumfour), and 5* freshman (Solomon). If we're making a broad comparison about experience, I don't think the backups are any less experienced than the backups were last year. The biggest difference, actually, is this year's players having an extra year in Brown's system. I exect no drop off at all from the d-line this year.

Whole Milk

April 5th, 2017 at 12:33 PM ^

I see your point, but one main difference is the Junior you mentioned. Lawrence Marshall has not really played any meaningful minutes, Maurice Hurst had just come off of an elite season based on PFF. Also, I am excited about Solomon, but Gary was the #1 overall player, as can't miss as it gets. I think it may be a bit naive to think this years group in terms of depth is as prepared as last years. Time will tell.


April 5th, 2017 at 12:56 PM ^

He didn't play much last year but he was behind Chris Wormley and Rashan Gary.  He could've been in the top half of SDEs in the conference and he'd still have been behind. . . Chris Wormley and Rashan Gary.

If he was tearing it up I certainly would've expect him to play more, and I don't remember him doing much when he did play, so I think there are reasons why he ate bench.  But that perception could be overstated in this case.  Even if he was decent that would've been a clear drop-off from the monsters in front of him last season.

It's now or never for him, though.  That he's not getting early hype is worrisome.

The Dean

April 5th, 2017 at 3:54 PM ^

There are 6 guys that are almost certain to be in the 2 deep rotation (Winovich, Mone, Hurst, Gary, Solomon and Kemp). If I had to guess, Vilain gets time at WDE, then it is a battle between Dwumfour/Hudson/Iriving-Bay and Jeter for the other DT position (likely 3tech). I doubt Marshall or Myers get serious time. It's going to be fun to watch the young guys complete and develop this year.