Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison would love to one day be able to sit in front of the media and stand in front of his team, telling everyone there was little to be concerned with regarding an opponent.
This Saturday against Purdue is not one of those weeks.
“I hope there’s a time I can sit in here and say we’re going to be fine,” Mattison said. “Now, we’ve got to play great football on defense every single time we go out on the field, and it’s got to be play after play after play.”
In his first year at Michigan, with a defensive unit left in shambles after former coordinator Greg Robinson's exit, it’d be next to impossible for him to be able to say that this season. Certainly not after a loss to Michigan State in which Mattison’s defense was outplayed -- especially on the line.
While Michigan State is more talented than Purdue, the Boilermakers run the ball well, led by Ralph Bolden (398 yards, three touchdowns) and Akeem Shavers (325 yards, five touchdowns). They also have 15 players with at least one carry this season.
“What they do a pretty good job of is they get to the perimeter,” Mattison said. “Their backs are fast, seem very, very quick, and there are a lot of ways they try to get to the perimeter.
“I think they are a good football team. They make plays, have guys who can make plays, and winning the game they did last week, that wasn’t a fluke.”
Mattison said he has seen improvement from Purdue since an early 24-22 loss to Rice, with two wins in the last three games -- including the 21-14 upset of Illinois last week. And at 4-3, Purdue still has a shot at a bowl.
But has Mattison ever felt that way? Felt so good he really wasn’t worried?
“Oh yeah,” he said. “It’s fun, too. It’s really fun coaching that way.”
He doesn’t seem like he minds coaching the way he has this season, either.