Acquiring DC Mattison

Submitted by rpel84 on January 26th, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Mattison is a beast.  Why couldnt we get a D coordinator like him when RR was there?  What was the problem?  I mean how did we stoop to the level of GERG when guys like Mattison obviously would have come here?  Want to see what opinions were out there.



January 26th, 2011 at 10:26 AM ^

Well, for one Mattison wouldn't have come here to work with RR. He already said that he would only have come to coach with Brady Hoke. Another point is that Michigan didn't pay its assistants very much prior to hiring Mattison. Shafer is generally regarded as a good DC and was probably a good hire. The mistake was firing him after 1 year.


January 26th, 2011 at 10:29 AM ^

The mistake with Shafer was hiring him and then undercutting his authority/expertise with crappy position coaches and unfair micromanaging.  If Shafer were allowed to do his own thing, he might still be the coordinator here at Michigan - and we might have won several more games.

And Rodriguez might still have his job.

magnus_caerulus (not verified)

January 26th, 2011 at 10:46 AM ^

RR and his assistant D coaches were too resistant to anything that wasn't Casteel's philosophy, and at least it seemed to not develop the players mentally.  


January 26th, 2011 at 11:50 AM ^

To come with RR was definitely a big issue and turned out to be one of RR's big failings.  After that, bringing in Schafer but tying his hands was the next big mistake.  Any manager knows you are only as good as those who work for you.


January 26th, 2011 at 10:31 AM ^

Yes. Shafer probably was a good hire, but RR felt too much pressure to get rid of him after an abysmal first year. This was likely the cause of it being the first year and maybe a bit too much intervention by RR on the defensive side of the ball.

Paying assistant, though, is generally a good way to acquire a DC of Mattison's pedigree.


January 26th, 2011 at 11:27 AM ^

Shafer did have to go.

a) It would have been a PR nightmare (well, maybe not "nightmare" but "bad dream") not to let someone's head roll.

b) Shafer clearly didn't fit in with the rest of the staff.

c) Shafer himself probably wouldn't have felt comfortable, knowing that the rest of the staff wasn't buying in to his system.

But it was RR's fault that Shafer had to go, not Shafer's.


January 26th, 2011 at 1:26 PM ^

Magnus you are right heads needed to roll, but the wrong head rolled.  Shafer is a very good coach, just look at what he has done since he left, the rest of the defensive staff are the ones that should have been fired.  If that would have happened and he was allowed to bring in his own staff things would have been very different. 


I must also admit that I am a little bias towards Shafer, because I learned his defense from one of his disciples and have ran it with some very positive results.  Also, Shafer wasn't really "fired" he wanted to get the hell out of there and it was more mutual than anything.

Frank Drebin

January 26th, 2011 at 10:30 AM ^

Another mistake was having RR bring all of his staff without a DC. There were problems with Shafer and RR, and RR and his D staff were trying to get both DC's to run the 3-3-5, which neither had run. While Hoke has brought his LB coach, Mattison still has the option to hire a DB, S, or DL coach of his own with the same defensive concept in mind. 


January 26th, 2011 at 10:39 AM ^

I have faith that Mattison will teach people how to tackle. Scheme is over rated if you don't teach guys how to tackle. I nearly broke my TV around 50 times the last 3 years watching guys arm to shoulder tackle. Stick the guy with your shoulder in his chest and wrap up.


January 26th, 2011 at 11:47 AM ^

Jarrett Irons said Mattison had his players practice tackling EVERY DAY.

I can guarantee you that RR's staff did not do this.

Then it became some mysterious surprise to them when our boys couldn't tackle.  And then they stay stupid shit like even Vince Lombardi couldn't get this team to play well.

Gee, thanks Coach.  Can I get out from under the bus now???


January 26th, 2011 at 12:40 PM ^

He publicly stated that the defense was waaay to thin to risk any further injury and they stopped live tackling out of necessity sometime during, or right after, spring workouts.

I think one of the main reasons you are seeing an almost completely lopsided recruiting claff with so many defensive players is for just this reason, the new staff recognizes that they are going to have to run a lot of live tackling drills and that this will result in injuries.


January 26th, 2011 at 1:37 PM ^

Another side effect of not tackling in practice is that your running backs and recievers don't learn how to finish off runs and hold on to the ball.  It's hard when Sun through Fri. you don't get full contact and then Sat. rolls around and you get smacked in the mouth by OSU and you don't know what to do.  Thats why guys that the coaches say don't fumble in practice are fumbling in the game.  Of course he didn't fumble in practice you were playing two hand touch.


January 26th, 2011 at 10:39 AM ^

I think you are really stretching it saying a DC like Mattison would have come during RR time here.  As stated below Mattison himself said he wouldn't have.  This sadly reflects the support RR didn't get.  I will also admit the payment to assistants and position coaches was very sub-par the past decade (minus the time where Carr got bonus's and serverence packages built into his last contract for his guys).


January 26th, 2011 at 11:48 AM ^

Mattison knows Hoke and has worked with him before. He never specifically said he wouldn't coach here under RR and even if he wouldn't have come when RR was here doesn't mean RR didn't "get the support". And by all accounts, RR did a crappy job hiring people anyways, example GERG. Plus, he didn't even let him run the defense the way he wanted to. I mean, come on. This falls squarely on RR.

I'm sick of this: hey if RR only had Mattison...well guess what?! He didn't and he made no effort to hire a strong DC. That's his fault and his fault alone.


January 26th, 2011 at 12:47 PM ^

is part of the PR campaign and was issues in anticipation of exactly this question getting asked. 'Why not keep RR and bring in Mattison?'

What seems fairly evident is that the purse strings were not open as of yet when GERG was hired and given the constant speculation about RR's status and lack of any strong public support toward him being there for 2010 & 2011, that not very many quality DC's would jump at the job. What good DC would want to take on a massive rebuilding project when they might only have 1 year and a bunch of freshmen/sophomores to work with and gaping holes elsewhere in terms of talent and experience, especially if the pay was not commensurate or better than other opportunities? It certainly lends creedence to the rumors that RR was indicating he needed a 2 year guarantee on his position to get the DC (Casteel?) that he wanted...


January 26th, 2011 at 10:40 AM ^

1.  Mattison said that he would only have considered leaving the NFL to coach along side Hoke.  To me, this speaks volumes about the type of person that Hoke is and about the way that those who have coached along side him perceive him.  This is not a dig at RR - obviously Mattison and Hoke had a great relationship.

2.  When Shafer was brought in, he was a decent hire.  Had he been allowed to do his thing, bring in his own staff and truly manage te defense without interference by RR, who is admittedly more focussed on the offense - he might have done well.  He has done well both before and after the disaster that was his tenure at Michigan.

3.  Why would a top DC want to come to Michigan to work with RR?  After seeing Shafer, who was fairly well respected, being forced to run a scheme that he didn't want, being undermined by his assistants, and being given very little autonomy, along with RR's poor D recruiting, the Michigan DC job under RR became somewhat less desirable.


January 26th, 2011 at 10:42 AM ^

I've wondered lately if Brandon's decision to let RR coach the Gator Bowl was DB's Machiavellian way of giving the staff enough rope to hang themselves with, at least in terms of public perception. If he had fired RR right after the OSU game, then regardless of what happened in the bowl there would still be a sizeable percentage of RR supporters who would be asserting that we might well have beaten Mississippi State if only RR had been allowed to coach his team. Heck, I might have been among that group myself.

Maybe Brandon suspected all along that our performance in the Gator Bowl wasn't going to be any better than what we showed late in the season, and allowing RR to coach in the ensuing debacle effectively destroyed most of the vocal support that RR had been getting. I would bet that a large majority of RR supporters resigned themselves to the inevitability of his firing after the Gator Bowl; that's my impression from MGoBloggers who were his strong supporters.

Put it this way—those who are still vociferously carrying the RR banner, and castigating Hoke in the process, are increasingly looking like the starving Japanese soldiers still hiding out in caves on Iwo Jima long after Hirohito unconditionally surrendered.


January 26th, 2011 at 11:30 AM ^

I forget what user it was, but there was a user telling the story that RR had the month to bring in a Mattison-level DC. When the coordinators weren't coming because of job security, RR asked for an extension and then that was it. So if you take this story to be true, RR was scouring for someone with his job on the line and nobody elite would come.


January 26th, 2011 at 12:24 PM ^

Ah. Thank you. I remember you and me talking about that a few weeks ago but I couldn't remember enough of the discussion to search it. 

But yea, it all fit. I remember you talked about the Bust and the evaluation timeline and everything. I would think it's true just on those counts and common sense.


January 26th, 2011 at 1:16 PM ^

joeyb just said he couldn't, and the malware stuff is still messing my computer up. From memory though, this was the story joeyb related:

OSU was a debacle, but we were playing in a bowl game in about five weeks. DB told RR that Gerg and the defensive staff were gone unconditionally and that he had until the bowl game to lock down a top level replacement or he was also gone. RR went around to every "acceptable" DC and was turned down unless he could guarantee two years on the job. RR then asked for the extension, and practically begged for it (this was the Bust incident) but DB couldn't or wouldn't grant him an extension. Without the contract extension through 2012, he was dead in the water.

That's what I remember, joeyb go ahead and chime in if I was wrong about anything or if I missed something.


January 26th, 2011 at 1:50 PM ^

My memory of it decreases every day, but that's pretty much what I remember. The one thing that you didn't mention, is that he first said he couldn't bring in any top DCs for within our salary restrictions, so they gave him clearance for $1 million. Then, he still couldn't find anyone unless he could guarantee they had a job for more than a year.

Keep in mind that this was a WVU insider, so a lot of this was a side story to what was happening with Casteel. The reason it was brought up is that RR tried again to get Casteel, but WVU opened the vault to keep him.

The main thing that I took from this, though, was that RR was given December to find a DC and couldn't, so he was fired. I think that makes the most sense for what we have seen.


January 26th, 2011 at 2:51 PM ^

In addition to the job security concerns, I would guess that any D-coordinator worth his salt would insist on bringing at least several assistants of his choosing.

Based on past history I suspect that RR would have had a hard time agreeing to that - as he may or may not when Shaeffer was hired.

Definition of the phrase " loyal to a fault" (I think that's a phrase)


January 26th, 2011 at 11:42 AM ^

I could be wrong but i think RR was kept through the bowl game simply to save money ... Dave Brandon is a old school football mind and has high regard to the defensive side of the game .. i think Brandon felt RR style of football could not get it done vs the big boys and unless they put on a show in the Gator Bowl that RR would be replaced with a defensive minded coach.


January 26th, 2011 at 12:32 PM ^

With the amount of money available and at stake, I doubt the buyout was much more than an afterthought. RR was fired because he couldn't get the defense together, and because the (yes very young) offense couldn't make up for it.

I would have loved to see his offense with a defensive overhaul. But at some point the performance on the field didn't meet expectations and that's why he was fired.


January 26th, 2011 at 11:52 PM ^

As bad as it looks firing a coach after 3 years, it would have looked far worse if we had fired RR before the bowl game, i.e. the dreaded mid-season firing.  Furthermore, firing RR would directly contradict DB's constant statements throughout the season that evaluation would take place after the season was over.

The buyout was probably a bonus in DB's mind, and he figured whomever he brought in would be able to get a decent-to-good recruiting class.  Of course, at that point DB believed he had JH in the bag so the last-minute coach hunt probably wasn't part of the original plan.  Luckily, things appear to be shaping up on the recruiting trail, DB has played the media and the fan base like a violin, and we can all go home, happy and contented for a hopefully less agonizing off-season.  Thank goodness for hockey.


January 26th, 2011 at 12:01 PM ^

to thinking the defense would surely play better after a season of experience, with a month to prepare.

And also count me among those who were lost to Rodriguez only after the bowl game. That game was ugly in a way that I didn't really see before that. The dysfunction was laid bare, not through a lack of effort, but a lack of clarity of purpose.

Plus, even if he had fired the whole defensive staff (which probably wasn't an option for Rich, as you pointed out more than once), honestly, who would have come?


January 26th, 2011 at 11:06 AM ^

I wasnt supporting RR, rather just trying to understand the problems the D had and why RR never went after a guy like Mattison. Was RR really so naieve as to think that he could just plug in any DC and everything would be fine? If so it really shows me how out of touch he was with the D side of the ball in the big ten versus the O's that you face. Just trying to understand what went so wrong.

And I am an RR supporter that now fully supports Brady Hoke.