Greg Mattison, the recruiting Guru

Submitted by backusduo on February 4th, 2011 at 2:22 PM

I was telling a friend this week about how good a recruiter Greg Mattison is.  Telling him about Urban Meyer's quote on ESPN, “He’s not only one of the best defensive coordinators in America, but also the best recruiter in college football.”  In looking for an article with quotes from Urban I found this great article from SI done in 2007 after Mattison's defense had just destroyed #1 OSU in the National Championship game 41-14 (remember Ginn's TD kickoff return so that means only 1 TD allowed).  How bad did they destroy them?  Just to rehash because I never get tired of reading these statistics as Florida broke OSU's 19 game winning streak.  The Mattison defense held OSU and Heisman Troy Smith to:

  • 8 first downs
  • 82 total yards
  • 1 for 9 on third down conversions
  • 2 forced turnovers
  • 5 sacks
  • 19 mins was OSU's time of possession

Mattison gets a lot of praise throughout and while the article focuses on the entire strategy Florida deployed to end up with 11 top 100 recruits, with Urban stating that Mattison is the best recruiter I could only surmise that the strategy was in large part driven by Mattison.  For your reading pleasure:




February 4th, 2011 at 2:29 PM ^

When Hoke was first hired I said (and I think it was mostly the general opinion around here) that he wasn't a huge, blockbuster hire like a JH would have been, but with good assistants backing him up he could turn out great.

Seems like his first act as head coach at Michigan was a damn smart one; Mattison could very well end up being the best DC in college football right now.


February 4th, 2011 at 2:46 PM ^

I found that post by the WVU guy with insider info in Google cache (Rivals had removed it, I'm guessing because it's over a month old). If you want, I'll email you the text, but there weren't many more details other than what I relayed. The only difference was that they told RR to get a new DC in early November, not after the OSU game like I rememberred.


February 5th, 2011 at 7:59 PM ^

It's kind of long, but 1 and 5 are the ones to pay attention too. I figure with the other rumors about Hoke being the guy all along, this makes a lot of sense.


Originally posted by WVUDisciples:
Ok, I gotta say I had the same info as mothman before the DH hiring, except my inside source told me Houston's OC was coming and I didn't believe it so I didn't post it. If they would have told me it was DH I would have posted it then but I thought they meant Houston's current OC.

So from within the same source that gave me John Beilein's departure and Huggins coming back, as well as the internal struggles with RRod before he left, here's why the Orlando deal was so awkward and it goes back to Rich Rod himself.

1. UM told Rich Rod in early November he has to get a top DC in order to stay. He told them he had tried but did not have the funds to bring in somebody proven. They cleared up to $1M, with none other than Casteelin mind.

2. Casteel was so frustrated with Mullen's offense and BS that he told Luck something had to change or he was going somewhere else. He did not want to be a head coach but just wanted to run his defense the way he wanted without the offense keeping him in hole. Casteel was angry Bill Stewart blamed the UConn loss on the defense giving up two first downs at the end of the game and letting them "out of the hole" even though they held UConn to almost nothing. Luck told him he was already thinking about making a change this season. Luck and everyone else in Morgantown knows Casteel has been the glue holding everything together for the last two years.

3. Luck finds out that other schools (+RRod) are going to come after Casteel the week after UConn game. (Timing is everything). Luck tells Casteel he will make changes and guarantees if Casteel stays, he will have as much control over the defense a DC can have. He will find a head coach that understands this and promises to be cooperative with Casteel. Casteel tells the defensive coaches he is staying no matter what and help is on the way.

4. Next week Ollie informs BS and tells him to tell offensive coaches.

5. Casteel tells RR "NO" the week of the Ohio State game. RR cannot find a proven DC to come for what may amount to only one year. RR asks their AD for an extension of HIS contract so the new DC will have a guaranteed 2 years to fix things. He doesn't get it. In effect this seals his fate hence the breakdown at UM's senior night.

6. Word begins to leak of DH as he's interviewing with Pitt. Luck had to make his move and lock DH down. Pitt's athletic department leaks to Post-Gazette it's either DH at Pitt or WVU. Stew did not tell offensive staff because he wanted their best effort during the season and now he was hoping the DH thing would fall through. At this point, Stew does not know that Casteel is privy to any of this.

7. Bowl game tensions: Just before Christmas the offensive coaches AND Bill Stewart find out that Casteelknew about everything when it was set into motion after the UConn game. MAJOR feeling of betrayal butCasteel is unapologetic and says it was Luck's call, not his. He tells offensive coaches if they couldn't score 20 points unless the defense got them turnovers, why should they be upset with him? The only reason they scored against Cincy, Pitt and Rutgers is because the defense handed them the ball ten times.

8. Offensive coaches are pissed defensive coaches knew what was going on but they were kept in dark. Everybody mad at Bill Stewart. EVERYBODY.

9. Basically, the lack of practices was a result of trying to keep two staffs apart. Stewart says he was trying to protect the players but in reality none of the coaches wanted to be around him. Mullen decided to put his stuff in at Morgantown before the bowl and Casteel was going to put in most of their stuff in Orlando. Then, when they get to Orlando, Stewart basically sabotages defense and doesn't schedule practices the wayCasteel wanted. Casteel is cramming all week just trying to get the defense prepared.

10. Finally, when BS agreed to stay on for another year, he did not know that Casteel was part of the behind the scenes deal. In effect, he feels betrayed and he really doesn't want to deal with it. Since Ollie already has to pay fired offensive staff for next year (thanks Eddie Pastilong), he cannot afford to rework DH's contract to pay him head coach money PLUS pay the Stephen F. Austin guy OC money. Ollie is in a financial bind! Right now they are trying to find the donors who are willing to pay Stew's salary for 2011 AND pay the new salary for the OC AND pay DH 1.2 million for his first year as HC. We're talking over $2 million needing to be raised by January 9th. We are in a pickle.

Anybody got a couple of million laying around? That'll fix a lot of problems.

Section 1

February 5th, 2011 at 8:49 PM ^

for re-posting this story.  I haven't any information that would help confirm or disprove the story.  It sounds like a reasonable story, from Michigan's perspective, and let's remember that this particular story didn't come from anyone connected with Michigan, and it wasn't even aimed at a Michigan audience.

If we believe this story, David Brandon didn't really have the option of 'just going one more year' with Rich Rodriguez.  At least not the kind of year Coach Rodriguez wanted.  What is clear almost beyond any dispute is that Rich Rodriguez had a very good DC in mind, from Day One.  It was Jeff Casteel, who has been basically brilliant at WVU, and the Mountaineers (and a lot of others) knew it.

Michigan somehow failed to give Casteel the kind of offer that Casteel wanted in 2008.  Michigan offered, yes.  And Casteel said yes at first in 2007-08.  But as we all know, it appears that Casteel weighed the decision with his family and once it became clear that he could remain at WVU under Stewart, the Casteel family together decided to go.  Then came Michigan's late-2008 defensive unraveling under Scott Schafer and he was gone.  They ask Casteel, again.  It's Bill Martin who has to okay the contract.  However it happened, it didn't work out.  More on this later.

Michigan then gets Greg Robinson, and it also gets an NCAA investigation that rocks the program, leaving Rodriguez's future in some doubt.  Casteel stays with WVU.

And then we get past the NCAA investigation, and into the end of the 2010 season.  The WVU board story as quoted above picks up the story.

Brandon, it appears, had a choice -- he had to either "double down" on Rich Rodriguez, with an extension of his contract, and a Greg Mattison-like offer to Jeff Casteel, which it appears was in the works.  But Casteel said he couldn't come to Ann Arbor if he wasn't confident that Rodriguez would be here for the long haul.  It is my guess -- and only a guess -- that this was the awful choice facing David Brandon in the extended meeting back in early January.  It was this choice:  Do I extend Rich Rodriguez's contract in the face of massive negative media pressure?  And then go ahead with the all-out effort to bring in Jeff Casteel?  Or do I hit the rest button now and start over, with one of the ex-Michigan options such as Miles or Hoke?

We know what Brandon's choice was.  I think Brandon's choice was the easy way out, and that it was the wrong choice.  It would have been harder, and riskier, to keep Rich Rodriguez.  If Dave Brandon is really going to run for Senate or Governor or President someday, firing Rich Rodriguez and pleasing the powers that be in the media was probably the path of least resistance.

I personally think that it would have been smarter, and worth the risk, to double down with Rodriguez and Casteel.  Look at WVU in the post-Rodriguez era.  The Mountaineers' offense is sluggish, and mediocre.  The defense is a world-beater.  It's been solid every year for the last four or five years.  If, in a year, some major college finds the wherewithal and the timing to hire both Rodriguez and Casteel, that school is headed for a national championship.  It could have been Michigan.

Back to a point mentioned above, about Bill Martin.  The tragic failure in Michigan football is one that has never been written about in the Free Press.  It wasn't the hiring of Rich Rodriguez; far from it.  It wasn't the phony, stupid, trumped-up "NCAA investigation" story.  It wasn't Mallet, or Boren, or Demar Dorsey, or any of that.  The critical failure in the last three years of Michigan football was the University's cheapskate failure to bring Jeff Casteel to Ann Arbor.  And that failure probably rests first and foremost with Bill Martin, in 2008 and 2009.  David Brandon appears to have been willing to pay the $EC-level salary; but not until the winter of 2010, when Jeff Casteel had cold feet about the future of the Rodriguez tenure in Ann Arbor.

I have never once complained about Bill Martin on this Blog.  I've been one of the most ardent defenders of Martin, anywhere.  And it has always seemed that people complained about Bill Martin, for all the wrong reasons.  Calling him "Sailboat Bill."  Criticizing the 2007 coaching search.  (Who did you want?  Greg Schiano?  Les Miles?)  Criticizing Martin as a non-athlete, or a non-football guy.  Those are all non-issues to me.

I say this equally to Martin and Brandon, and all of their supporters and all of their detractors -- Rich Rodriguez had no trouble whatsoever picking a great Defensive Coordinator.  His name was Jeff Casteel.  The failure to get Casteel into the Big House was the Michigan Athletic Department's failure; it failed to make the right deal at the right time for Jeff Casteel. 



February 4th, 2011 at 2:38 PM ^

I hope Mattinson can keep up that recruiting here at UM. He is honestly what I'm most excited about in years to come.
<br>If you get the chance, re-watch that Flordia-OSU game. I did after he was hired to get a sense of what we might have. I was surprised by the face time he got from the cameras and the announcers considering he was a co-coordinator with Strong.


February 4th, 2011 at 2:56 PM ^

I don't know if Hoke could have chosen a better DC. Mattison is going to help our defense tremendously and I bet we will see some major improvements this next season. I can't wait to see what we do on the field in 2011 and see what our recruiting class is like next year.


February 5th, 2011 at 10:29 PM ^

I don't know what assistants were making back then, but head coaches were generally only getting in the low to mid six figures. Carr's first deal was paying him in the neighborhood of $300K a year, IIRC.  Coaches' salaries have skyrocketed since then (and with them, the expectations to perform). 

I'd guess that Mattison couldn't have been making much more than $100K or so.


February 4th, 2011 at 3:03 PM ^

Thanks for posting - I love reasons for optimism.

I couldn't be happier with the top portion (Hoke, Borges, Mattison) of this staff.  I think that they bring a shit ton of experience to the table, will recruit the hell out of the Midwest and are all damn good coaches.  

Hoke brings a ton of passion, toughness (I know, overused, but true) and a genuine love of Michigan and belief that Michigan is just the best program out there, period.  This is not a job for him - it is a dream fulfilled, and I would not underestimate his ability to instill that in his team.

Borges has coordinated offense at the highest level of college FB.  He runs an offense that will allow us to go back to recruiting future NFL players, and that I think will make Denard even deadlier than he currently is.  By all accounts, he is a good recruiter and a "player's coach."

And Mattison - what can you say about the guy that has Urban Meyer calling him the greatest recruiter in CFB.  THat is a serious compliment, considering that Meyer, himself, is one of the best recruiters out there.  Mattison has had tremendous success with defenses, and simply knows how to win.  Those stats that the OP quoted from Mattison's ass-kicking of OSU are scary.  And, like Hoke, he came here because he considers Michigan to be more than just a job.  

I am serious pumped for this staff.  


Section 1

February 4th, 2011 at 3:13 PM ^

I still haven't seen a single report on the terms of Greg Mattison's contract.  Perhaps it is just a matter of waiting a week or so for the actual document to be drafted and executed, and another 30 days or so for a FOIA request.

Still, I am very surprised that it has taken this long for basic contract terms to be disclosed.

To be honest, I am not even sure what his Ravens contract details were; I would presume that Mattison did not take a pay cut to come to Michigan, but I won't rely on such a presumption.

Does anybody know what Michigan has agreed to pay the 2011 Defensive Coordinator, versus the 2007 - 2010 DC's?


February 4th, 2011 at 3:56 PM ^

I don't think any of the contracts -- for Hoke, Borges or Mattison -- have been made public yet. Anyone want to do a FOIA request? Regardless, I'm sure it will come out soon -- you know the local papers will be all over that.

I also don't think NFL salaries have to be made public, so we might never know how Mattison's paycheck at Michigan compares to what he was getting in Baltimore. But a USA Today story from 2005 said 15 coordinators had a salary of $1 million or more at that time. Considering how much salaries have shot up in the past few years and how highly regarded Mattison was in Baltimore, I wouldn't be surprised at all if he was making seven figures with the Ravens, which means he almost certainly did take a pay cut to come here.

My completely unfounded, off-the-top-of-my-head prediction for salaries: Hoke gets $2.25 million, Mattison gets $700K, Borges gets $400K.


February 4th, 2011 at 3:23 PM ^

Mattison's 3-0 against the Bucks as DC.  His defenses held them in check in '95 and '96 as well.  Granted, that was a long time ago, but it's cool to see that he's remained very effective as a coordinator even as the game has changed over the years.


February 4th, 2011 at 3:57 PM ^

He coached at Florida, which means he knows what a truly dangerous spread offense looks like, and practiced against it every day.  No need to worry about what style offense we face, because he's seen all of them.


February 4th, 2011 at 3:59 PM ^

First, I want to make clear that I think Mr. Mattison is a great hire. However, I wonder if someone could please discuss SI story, which is mostly about FSU, but also covers why Florida may have snagged some monster classes.



February 4th, 2011 at 4:17 PM ^

More giggle-inducing info: in 2004, Zook's last year, Florida ranked 45th in total defense. In 2005, Meyer/Mattison's first year, they shot up to 9th in total defense. In 2006, the national championship season, they ranked 6th in total defense. So it's not like Mattison inherited a great defense and managed to not screw it up. While Zook certainly left a lot of talent behind, that talent hadn't performed at a particularly high level until Meyer/Mattison got there.

This might have been a good hire. 


February 4th, 2011 at 4:48 PM ^

That is a nice story confirming Mattison is a great recruiter, so that's v good.  I will say, remember it wasn't "Mattison's" defense that throttled OSU; he was the co-DC all 3 years he was there with Charlie Strong (another big-time recruiter).  I have no idea who did what, so I assume the responsibility was 50/50, but it's important to remember his job here will be somewhat different than Florida. I'm not pointing this out as a negative (he obvs. can be a good DC - he was at the Ravens), but just as a clarification.

Also, that story noted the Meyer was the greatest recruiter of them all ("Yet even (the assts) concede that Meyer gives the Gators their biggest edge.") Part of his edge was his manical texting, 50-75 texts a day. That slightly worries me, as I recall one of Hoke's early speeches being how he doesn't want a Blackberry just a "phone."  I personally am not a big texter and can see Hoke wanting to do what he's comfortable with, but if we want to compete with elite recruiters, we've got to do everything we can to (within NCAA-rules) reach kids - text, Twitter, Facebook, phone calls, whatever.



February 4th, 2011 at 5:36 PM ^

"Recently at Michigan, he showed his old-school mentality by giving back a Blackberry phone for a regular cell phone, saying, "I just need something to punch the numbers so I can make my call."

I'm not making things up.  That's what he literally said - he's not going text much, if at all.
Regarding the other tools, I just mentioned them to point out texting was one of many relatively new technologies (some of which Hoke obvs uses, like Twitter), so my hope is he considers all of them, whatever is relevant to a 17-year old in the year 2011, so he & Michigan can be as successful as possible.

OMG Shirtless

February 4th, 2011 at 5:49 PM ^

Aren't text messages a good part of what got Kelvin Sampson sent to NCAA Siberia?

I'm pretty sure text messages are banned these days.  

 Members of N.C.A.A. Division I upheld a ban on text-messaging to high school students Saturday at their annual convention, defeating a movement by college coaches who had argued that the new technology was vital to connecting with teenage prospects.

(Note this could have changed again)


February 4th, 2011 at 6:04 PM ^

You are essentially right on texting (coaches can't text players; players can text coaches), but you can send email (from your phone, from your iPad, from your computer) to someone else, who can then read it on his phone/iPad/whatever, and there's no limit to that. 

I don't think the NCAA, when they made this rule in 2007, anticipated that all types of "text-based" messaging could easily converge, as would devices (your "phone" is your phone, MP3 player, computer, camera, web browser, etc).

Here's a useful summary of all the various platforms.

In any case, I'm glad I'm not a college coach.  Way too much stuff going on


February 4th, 2011 at 7:17 PM ^

I understand the point that he was Co but Urban said he is "the best" recruiter and one of the best d coordinators, further established by the Baltimore defense not missing a beat when he took over for Rex.

I also was really impressed with the way recruits responded anytime he showed up in the last 2 weeks. Proof will be in 2012 when with a 9-10 win season i now think it is feasible that we see 1-2 5 star recruits and 8+ 4 stars. We needed someone with name recognition and fierce on the defensive side of the ball. I feel Mattison will exceed both expectations.