Mattison on the Defense

Submitted by Double-D on July 2nd, 2014 at 2:19 PM
This is a good read from W247. I sure hope Pipkens can return to where he was heading when he got hurt. Too bad he can't get a redshirt because of number of games he played. He was just breaking out. How do you qualify for a medical redshirt? We have so much depth but need him to be a game changer.…



July 2nd, 2014 at 2:34 PM ^

We need an edge rusher to be a game changer, we were spoiled for 7 years with Woodley and Graham and now we are still searching for that guy to put pressure on the QB. I think getting someone to be that guy will help the rest of the defense tremendously!


July 2nd, 2014 at 2:50 PM ^

I believe you'll see a step forward this year from the pass rush. Frank Clark played well in the second half of last season, and the Over defense should lend itself to a little more blitzing. I also think putting two edge rushers on the field (Clark/Ojemudia and Beyer/Charlton) will help the pass rush more than the Under defense where the SDE is practically a defensive tackle.


July 2nd, 2014 at 3:26 PM ^

Edge rushing doesn't exist in a vacuum. You need interior guys to get push so the QB can't simply step up in the pocket while the OTs kick the edge guys upfield. You need defensive backs that can disrupt routes and hold coverage so the QB can't just dump off the ball if he feels pressure.

I think we'll get a step up in both depts, and with the shift to Over, I think we'll have some better sack numbers this year.


July 2nd, 2014 at 2:35 PM ^

I thought our DL was a bit soft last season. We seem to let some teams dominate the LOS. If the defense was playing better we would have won against PSU, NE and Iowa. That's a 10 win season! I know our OL was a real tire fire and I think this caused our defense to stay on the field too long last season.


July 2nd, 2014 at 7:03 PM ^

While technically true of those 3 games, only the Penn State game was a disaster for the defense.  At least they showed up in the other 2. 

The non-existent offense did us in against Iowa.  And one of the (many) low points in the season for me was seeing our weak ass offense make Nebraska's 116th ranked defense look like world beaters.

The defense was painfully bad against Akron, Penn State, Indiana, OSU and Kansas State.  Many times almost Gerg like with giving up big play after big play through shocking futility.   I think we were so busy pulling our hair out over the offensive line that we overlooked how often the defense could not get the job done.  We beat OSU and don't even have to settle for the 2 point conversion attempt if they just play a D+ to C- game.  And giving up over 500 yards to Indiana is just wrong, wrong, wrong. 

Blue in Seattle

July 2nd, 2014 at 7:21 PM ^

I had a discussion with my brother about mid season.  My position being that Hoke was frustrated with performance of the "experienced" players and pushed all his coaches to start giving younger guys (guys recruited by Hoke) a chance to play.  My brother responded with, "you can't just try to get time to play young guys to give them experience, you have to play to win and put the best people out there".  My response was, "the scary thing is, I think that's what he is doing."

I'm expecting that 2014 sees a dramatic reduction of burned redshirts.


July 2nd, 2014 at 9:00 PM ^

NE was Borges' worst game as a coach and if I were AD I would have been extremely tempted to fire him in the locker room, that was just utter stupidity that lost that game, D was fine.  At Iowa, the D was the only reason we were even in the game and we might have gotten shut out if it wasn't for the 4 turnovers they forced including Beyer's pick 6.  If the offense puts together ONE touchdown drive not handed to them on a silver platter by the defense we win that game.  As for Penn State, Devin's first half turnovers were the only reason they were even in the game in the first place and the aumont of luck that went into the final drive they put together, I can't even fault out D for that.  Offense was the problem in those games not D.  The D did get their butts surgically removed and served back to them against Ohio and KSU though do they weren't exactly perfect.


July 3rd, 2014 at 12:14 AM ^

Take a look at the second half drive chart for PSU.  After the first two possessions in the second half where the UM defense created two turnovers, they fell apart.  Every possession PSU had after that was a 50+ yd drive.  They scored on all but one - a missed FG.


July 2nd, 2014 at 2:42 PM ^

Expectations are starting to rise with every article I read. That usually lets me know football is right around the corner. I'm now in transition from pessimism based off last season to optimism based on the potential of what could be.

First time in years we'll actually not only have the depth but also talent in the two-deep. Some of the d-line has been in the program 2-3 years now and still young. Starting to get excited about the possibilities.


July 3rd, 2014 at 12:26 AM ^

The last 5 or so years have made me numb to preseason hype. We've heard every year that guy X is going to make a jump or X unit looks so sweet and then we end up just 'eh'. I'm not going to let myself get excited till I actually see the results on the field. I suspect many in our fanbase feel the same way

Zone Left

July 2nd, 2014 at 2:46 PM ^

On paper, this is the best defense since 2006. They won't be at that level, but they may be at the level the 2011 defense was at the end of the season. If that happens, we're probably looking at 10 wins.

Magnum P.I.

July 2nd, 2014 at 3:52 PM ^

I don't know about Countess. He looked promising more than good in his freshman campaign, so that got everyone excited. Last year, he looked completely average to me. There's scuttlebutt that he isn't even going to start at CB in the fall, giving way to Taylor and Lewis.


July 2nd, 2014 at 5:05 PM ^

That might be overstated depending on how much he was impacted by the core injury for which he had surgery recently(ish). Hoke also have him the number 2 jersey which tends to indicate confidence that he will be a big contributor. The 2 jersey doesn't have the same expectation as the 1 jersey, but it is positive Hoke has confidence in him. As for his on field play last season, he appeared good but not great. Will be interesting to see how he develops this season, especially now that he has had an offseason not filled with knee rehab.


July 2nd, 2014 at 9:10 PM ^

and was a first team All B1G corner (media; 2nd on coaches) as a SOPHOMORE!!!!!  Yeah he got it handed to him by Lockett but so did every other corner he played against (he put up 200+ on OK and TX).  That was his second year as a starter, I think he's pretty good if you ask me.

Frito Bandito

July 2nd, 2014 at 6:36 PM ^

I know the talent is there but it was in 2008 too. Brandon Graham, Terrence Taylor, Mike Martin, Tim Jamison, RVB, Donovan Warren, Morgan Trent and Stevie Brown were all pretty talented players.

The offense needs to chew up some clock and put some points on the board. Easier said than done I suppose.



July 2nd, 2014 at 11:49 PM ^

Doesn't pass the smell test, doesn't pass the reality test.  The truth is closer to the D giving up long grueling drives of 65 yards and greater for TDs.  Those don't happen because the O keeps giving the ball back in bad field position, those happen because the D simply can't get off the field.  

Case in point, the Michigan D gave up three long to very long drives to OSU in the second half, each of which went for a TD with one, count it, one completed pass in the second half.  That's right, if the D holds OSU to two TDs and FG in the second half, Michigan wins, there is no navel gazing, Al Borges is a genius, Hoke is Cool Hand Luke, Michigan has a high pre-season ranking and people are talking B1G championship for 2014.

Zone Left

July 2nd, 2014 at 10:50 PM ^

Relative to the 2011 defense, which was the best one since 2006? Yes, we are better on paper. Going into 2011, we were thinking Mike Martin would be good, Demens would be ok, and I think that's it. 

Going into this year, Jake Ryan and Blake Countess are all-Big 10 types. We've got really nice depth at linebacker. Our defensive ends are nice players. Whoever plays opposite Countess should be a nice player. The big concern for me is the interior of the defensive line. If they can find 3 guys who can consistently rotate in and be servicable, this defense is really good. On paper, it's a top 3rd of the Big 10 defense. If things go well, we can challenge for #2 behind MSU.


July 2nd, 2014 at 2:50 PM ^

We should be stronger at all eleven positions on Defense this year. That should add up to a big jump in production. Throw in a few game changing plays from J-Pep and that should give you good cause. There is depth and talent all over the field. I'm sure Mattison is licking his chops and coming in under the radar. I agree we need a Frank to step up on the Rush. Now I need to go pee.


July 2nd, 2014 at 3:12 PM ^

Agreed. Defense tends to be a weakest link situation and a little improvement in a few areas of weakness can really make a big difference as guys that were doing their jobs last year but not seeing great production will start making plays because teams can't just go away from them anymore. I'm cautiously optimistic that the defense will be good enough to steal a couple games for us if the offense is just competent. The coaches on the defensive side showed they can put together a great product if they have the right pieces in 2011, and they finally getting close to having the right pieces again.


July 2nd, 2014 at 3:52 PM ^

These guys have huge upside. They have been playing young and now have he experience. If they can give "Mike Martin" effort you should be very happy by the end of he season. Any thoughts on Wormly? When you see him on the field at a game he is just Huge! Also if you look at the depth there is great opportunity to run fresh legs all game.

Maize and Blue…

July 2nd, 2014 at 5:30 PM ^

This seemed to be a major problem last  year as it seemed the backups were in a lot when big drives were happening.  I'd much rather have my starters better conditioned and be able to play a little more. This changing every 3 or 4 plays is for the birds unless your backups are as good as the starters or the team is just plain out of shape.

I know you need to get the young guys experience, but I would prefer it not be in the fourth quarter of a tight game. (PSU flashback)


July 2nd, 2014 at 5:21 PM ^

I think this is the key to the defense.  The back 7 has a good amount of experience.  Part of the problem last year imo (and really the last couple of years) with the db's was the lack of pressure from the dline and/or 3 man rushes.  Any decent QB, if given the time, is going to find an open receiver.  To often it seemed the opposing QB all the time in the world and eventually find an open receiver. 


July 2nd, 2014 at 2:53 PM ^

I'm looking for good things from the D this year. The secondary, I believe, will be a lot more athletic. The LBs are solid and have lots of depth. Like someone mentioned above, if a guy can emerge on the D line as a consistent sack threat, then things will fall into place for the D.

I thought last year that the D line would be really good because they would be able to go 2-3 deep at every position and wear out teams. That never really transpired, but I feel better about that aspect this season.


July 2nd, 2014 at 3:59 PM ^

unforunately 2-3 deep at certain positions means very little when those 2-3 guys all hover around average and do not consistently win 1v1's.  hopefully guys like ojemudia and godin and wormley and charlton etc really develop as they gain another year in program bc they def need impact plays from guys in hokes first few classes.  clark and beyer are what they are, average...theyll likely be in right spots and maintain scheme integrity etc but never really dominate 1v1's.  the D can be very solid with everyone doing their 1/11th and i think theyll be closer this year, its just much harder without those legit pro prospects making opponents pay more often than not.  lets hope some guys really start to develop from those first few classes on OL and DL and distance themselves from competition


July 2nd, 2014 at 9:21 PM ^

You just named 2 RS FR, a Soph and a FR as weak links last year and I expect them to be better this year because of that experience.  Also Idk how being a 2nd team All B1G DE (Clark) is average but ok and Beyer will be better with the position switch.  Those guys are both Seniors, they will produce.  

Rocket Scientist

July 2nd, 2014 at 2:58 PM ^

Ugh. I really didn't want to be optimistic going into this season. I really just wanted to watch the season play out with open eyes. But the scent of football is floating on the air, and my heart beats a little faster.  I get anxious and excited, my hopes and expectations start to build.  If the defense puts things together like they have the potential to, then this could be an exciting season. If the Offense can help the Defense by putting together long, scoring, drives; then I'll be a happy camper this fall.
But I really didn't want to hope this much... I just don't think I can help myself.


July 2nd, 2014 at 2:59 PM ^

Other than the God Awful prevent defense which Lloyd Carr like to run and I saw peak out every now and then this last year I'm not as concerned with our defense.  We don't go "bend don't break' when up by 7 and we should be fine defensively.  There really isn't a team that I feel will absolutely burn our defense other than poptentially OSU.  


July 2nd, 2014 at 3:38 PM ^

I think that the more I read, the more the switch to the 4-3 Over makes sense to me, so when Don above made a remark about Mattison not saying they would be more aggressive, it reminded me that they are sort of saying that very thing with this switch if I am interpreting things correctly. I could be wrong, but I think the switch to the Over mitigates the spacing issues that I think existed a bit last year and the flip of LBs actually resolves some matchup problems potentially. I am just thinking of theoretical alignments right now as we will not know much for another 5-6 weeks, but the scheme adjustment is perhaps speaking louder than the coaches in some respects. 


July 2nd, 2014 at 3:50 PM ^

Full interview was posted a couple of days ago within Inside Michigan Football Summer Edition II. Mattison comes on at the 8 minute mark, but the whole thing is worth a watch. Link.