Greg Mattison on defensive resiliency: 'That's Michigan football'
ANN ARBOR -- Greg Mattison's never really satisfied with anything his Michigan defense does.
And throughout last Saturday's 38-31 overtime win over Northwestern, Mattison had plenty of aggravating, un-satisfying moments of frustration.
But when he looked up at the scoreboard at the end of the day, and saw his defense make one final stand to clinch the game, all the frustration seemed to wipe away.
Because that's the Michigan he remembers, and that's the Michigan he hopes to continue rebuilding.
"In talking to the team, the defense on Sunday -- I told every young guy to listen more intently than you’ve ever listened to what I’m going to say right now," Mattison recalled. "I told them that what that senior class did at the end of that game, that’s Michigan football.
"You can do anything you want. You can be the most talented freshman or sophomore in the building. You can be anything. But unless you play with that resolve and unless you believe like they believed, then you’re not Michigan."
The Wolverines turned in one of their worst statistical performances of the season against Northwestern. They struggled with a mobile quarterback and a speedy halfback. They gave up 431 yards of total offense and they were terrible on third down.
But when the bright lights came on, and it appeared hope was gone, Mattison's defense decided to turn it up a notch.
After Northwestern barely squeaked out a 4th and 1 first down with less than three minutes remaining, the Michigan defense yielded a total of zero yards on the Wildcats final eight plays from scrimmage.
According to Mattison, that's what Michigan defense is all about.
"I think that’s something that Brady (Hoke) has instilled," Mattison explained. "I think that’s something that when you come to Michigan, when you sit in that defensive room, there’s no talking about it. That’s what’s done.
"There’s a lot of football teams that after they didn’t get the fourth down stop that wouldn’t have kept playing. You’ve seen it happen a hundred times. I’ve been a part of some of them, when all of a sudden a guy breaks a five-yarder and gets a first down, and now it’s over. That defense just kept trying to execute. That defense kept trying to play hard."