Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is focusing on developing leaders and creating a fundamentally sound defense that Michigan fans were accustomed to in the 1990’s.
Mattison says, “I know what a Michigan defense is. I know how it’s supposed to be played because that’s where it started was here. That aggressive, that’s running to the football, playing tremendously fundamentally sound, and playing as a team not as an individual.”
“They have to play the way Michigan defense has always played. There is no either or. That’s what comes with wearing that helmet.”
A heavy concern for Mattison this spring is the lack of leaders on defense.
“I wouldn’t be able to tag one guy and that is a concern. I haven’t seen that yet,” admits Mattison.
“The Michigan defense of old, they were all leaders. We have to develop leaders. Anybody who wears that helmet and plays defense has to be a leader. That’s the way we do it.”
As the former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator, Mattison has shared stories of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed to help the Wolverines understand what it takes to be successful.
“Ray Lewis would come out to practice every day as if he was a rookie. Ed Reed the same way, Haloti Ngata, Jarret Johnson, all of those guys that had any success, you wouldn't have know they were 15-year, 10-year, eight-year veterans, because they knew every day they had to come out and improve or somebody would go by them.”
"That's one thing you'd love for our players to understand, that when you're a fourth-year or fifth-year player, you better keep working as hard as you can or somebody's going to pass you. It may not be on this team, but somebody you play against is going to be better than you. (Those Ravens) would never let that happen."
Michigan will hold their spring game on April 16th.