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Posted on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 9:38 p.m.

Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison stays mum on prospects of facing old boss Urban Meyer

By Kyle Meinke

Urban Meyer has called Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison the best recruiter in the country, and one of the college game's great defensive minds.

He would know better than most, considering he hired Mattison as his first defensive coordinator at Florida, where they won a national title together in 2006.

Now, the two will coach -- and recruit -- against each other after Meyer accepted the head coaching job at Ohio State.

Mattison declined to discuss the situation on Tuesday.


New Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison was the first assistant he called when he took the Florida job in 2005. They won a national title together in 2006.

Associated Press file photo

"I don't really want to talk about that," said Mattison, talking to the media for the first time since Michigan beat the Buckeyes in its regular-season finale. "He's at Ohio State, he's a good football coach and I had great years with him, but I really don't want to go into the Urban-Ohio State deal. Let's talk about Michigan.

"That's really what we're here for."

Meyer said earlier this year Mattison was the first assistant he called when he took the Florida job in 2005. Mattison, at Notre Dame at the time, agreed to become Meyer's defensive coordinator until departing in 2008 for his three-year sojourn to the NFL.

Mattison returned to the college ranks this past offseason to help friend Brady Hoke turnaround the Michigan program, but now will be faced with matching up against his old boss, Meyer.

They know each other well -- Meyer even shadowed Mattison earlier this year for an ESPN piece on Michigan's defense -- but Mattison declined to talk about how that familiarity would affect the rivalry between the Wolverines and Buckeyes.

"I just said let's talk about Michigan," Mattison said. "OK?"

Ironically, the last game Mattison and Meyer coached together was a loss in the 2008 Capital One Bowl -- against Michigan. It was Lloyd Carr's final game as the Wolverines' head coach.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 1:22 a.m.

Hoke 10-2 Meyer 0

Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 10:34 p.m.

Rightmind250......? Meyer 1, Hoke 0 ??????? Hmmmmm. Really? Hoke is coaching his team to play in the SugarBowl, not recuiting ...just yet. Meyer got a 'waiver' from the NCAA to set up a double coaching staff, at ohio, so he could get a 'jump' on everyone else. Looks to me like the NCAA is saying, OK Meyer since you ARE a cripple, we'll give you a three week headstart, on everyone else. I guess, the way I look at it, it's like scoring a touchdown. 5 minutes BEFORE the opening kickoff, and the other team is still in the locker room, waiting to come out onto the field. If, you think this is worth getting excited about, then go ahead, knock yourself out!

Lorain Steelmen

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 3:57 p.m.

Rightmind, this is ALWAYS the story of my life! Silly me. I foolishly came to UM from Ohio, and had to work for everything I got. (Worked at US Steel in Lorain, during the summers, to pay my way through.) If I'd just have gone to 'ohio' instead, I could have started on the O-line for the Bucks, be driving a Beamer today, and gettin' blitzed on High Street every night!


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 12:25 a.m.

hahaha, The score is the same, no matter what. I would set you up for a deal on a car, but you aren't good enough. You will have to get with Hoke. Maybe he can get you a used civic..

Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 10:37 p.m. the way, can you get me one of those sweet-heart deals on a new car? how about a 2012 Beamer? You know, like the players down there all have? I'm sure the Ohio DMV willl ok the paperwork, as being all filled out correctly, so there won't be any questions asked......wink, wink.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 7:58 p.m.

Meyer 1 Hoke 0


Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 5:25 a.m.

Things must be bad in Columbus if retaining someone who already once committed to you is considered a win...


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 7:52 p.m.

I don't know what the big deal is? There have been many years where tOhio has gotten that prized recruit, and other years Michigan lands them. 'THE GAME' is won with great coaching, heart, and maximum motivation. How many games through history has Michigan beat tOhio with a lower ranked team...and vice-versa? One high school recruit does not make that much of a difference. A good group of guys that are a TEAM that play TOGETHER and are PROUD to be MICHIGAN MEN will win EVERY time! As long as they wear maize and blue, they are the leaders and best! GO BLUE!!


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 5:43 p.m.

Boise State only gets 2 and 3 star guys and they beat teams like SEC runner up Georgia- this year and Virginia tech last year. Michigan will recruit as well as OSU with Hoke and Mattison. If they are the best coaches they will field the best team.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 8:37 p.m.

That's the Rich Rodriguez formula, and it always works out for him.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 2:19 p.m.

OK, mutual respect but that is far as it goes. The talent pool is large across OH. The happy median is Michigan should get it's fair share of 4 and some 5 star recruits. Now that the Bri'onte Dunn recruitment is over, we can look at the positive aspect and that is Fitz Toussaint will be back. Look for Rawls and Hayes to get quality carries in 2012. Incoming FR Drake Johnson should suprise many. I think we're looking good there, per running backs. Greg Mattison will get his fair share of quality defensive players.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 1:22 p.m.

Mattison knows Meyer's O...and will stop it cold.

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

o$u "bought" Meyer to plug the hole in the program's leaky dam. When the NCAA comes down there will be a "ah ha" moment. Coaches and players will have to decide how they will react. So IF Mr. Dunn is staying in o lie o, that's fine. But, Meyer has shown that his word is to be taken will a pound of salt. Anything major hits the buck lies and the next time you see Urban will be him sitting in front of a TV camera.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 11:36 a.m.

All Meyers did was get 2 guys that all their lives dreamed of going to Ohio State. But not play for a Fickel type of coach. The better OSU's coach is, the sweeter the rivalry, and subsequent victories, will be. I don't want a guy here who, later, wishes he was somewhere else. Go Blue!


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 12:05 p.m.

I agree. Nor do we want players who sell their memorabilia from rivalry games. Character goes farther with heart and discipline. At Michigan our tradition is of character and class, and we will dominate once again. This is not a hopeful is expected.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 5:07 a.m.

Dunn still has an official visit to Ann Arbor ... it ain't over till it's over. Mattison is smart enough to know when not to say anything. Ditto Hoke and Borges. There's a certain novelty about Meyer's first year ... novelties wear off. The proof is in sustained recruiting and wins ... that goes for Hoke as well as Meyer. The litmus test will be how well Meyer controls his players at OSU. Reports of DUIs, breaking-and-entering, and assault charges will weigh heavy on a program.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 8:02 p.m.

Your right, Hoke lost 6 this year. The punter at UM a sophmore has already been suspended 5 games for drugs. Hoke has got his hands full.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 2:18 p.m.

Look, I think Meyer is a good coach and will do well as OSU. I don't think he's a god walking among mortal coaches. His record at Florida is not unblemished. His success there was based in large measure on Tebow. Tebow exits the stage and he goes 7-5. His 2010 team was loaded with talent ... he tries to force-fit Brantley into a Tebow-like run-option spread and it doesn't work ... he goes 8-5. Will Hoke and Michigan dominate OSU? No, of course not. Will OSU and Meyer dominate Hoke and Michigan? I don't think so.

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

ted, my old friend. There you are. How are you sleeping knowing that if you look up you will see the big hammer getting ready to drop on the o$u football program. Where do you think Coach Meyer will be weeks after he sees what is going to happen to that program given his record of staying, leaving, staying, leaving, .....leaving, leaving....? Michigan fans are sleeping pretty well these days but "failure to monitor" is coming to C-bus and with it comes hard times at the "shoe". Well got to go, but if you find yourself not being able to go to sleep try this. Watch the last few years of o$u football games and count the number of players who were on the field illegally. It's better than counting sheep cuz there are sooo many of them. TiM Go Blue!


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 10:50 a.m.

I agree Don. OSU is already under a microscope, and cannot afford anymore negative press. Meyer-led teams havent fared well in that department at times.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 5:12 a.m.

He seemed to sustain that novelty throughout his whole carreer at Florida because his recruiting classes were top 3 every year. But... whatever helps you sleep at night AZ.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 5:11 a.m.

I hadn't caught the news about Dunn reconfirming his commitment to OSU. Okay, that debate is off the table. My other points still apply.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 4:09 a.m.

If Meyer could flip 2 high rated prospects in a week, who can he not get ? I'll have to admit that things look pretty good for OSU. Its a good thing we Michigan men are content with 9 and 3 seasons. Who needs a National Championship anyways ? Not us. Slow,steady and unspectacular keeps us on pace to stay on top of the all-time wins catagory.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 5:31 p.m.

Unless I missed something B. Dunn said along the way, he WAS an ohio commitment BEFORE Meyer decided to try and handle the stress again. So Meyer did not "flip" him he just kept him. Though it's nice to know that ohio fans didn't think that the school alone couldn't keep a high profile commitment. Maybe, just maybe, if the NCAA grows a pair of nuts ohio will lose more commits even with Meyer.

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 1:46 p.m.

ted, you are everywhere on this site. First he flipped two easily impressed young men who having shown thay can be "handled" will now have even more coaches working them before the first week of Feb. '12. So ted, do you know what "failure to monitor" means to the NCAA? How about not winning a game in 2010? Losing "on the field" to Michigan in Coach Hoke's first year? Not being able to field a competitive team in years without cheating? Losing scholarships for years to come because your school admits cheating? You take your time and answer these questions when you can. We already know the answers on this site. You are welcome any time. Why? Because This is MICHIGAN!


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : noon

More penalties are coming...everything looks good on the surface but it does not always come out the way its supposed to. One man cannot bring them back, and whos to say that the spread will work at Ohio. Too many if's for them to snag the best of the best, you will see.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 10:47 a.m.

If you cant get high-rated prospects at OSU what can you do? And btw, UM won 10 this year.. Their also playing in the sugar bowl... where are the buckeyes? Oh yea, the nobodygivesacrap bowl.

r treat

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 3:45 a.m.

@rightmind. Good job on the great catch I think Dunn will be a great player. I also think with the best o-line in the country, we won't need a Dunn to have success!


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 3:10 a.m.

Mattison said the right thing by saying nothing. Nothing to be gained by inflaming passions. The thing I wonder though is whether or not Urban Meyer's access to the Big Ten programs and coaches meetings etc gives him a leg up on competing against them. Players still have to play and coaches have to coach, so it may or may not matter, but was Meyer able to learn terminology or tendencies that will assist him at Ohio? If so, I'd say that's unethical.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 7:36 p.m.

You can thank espn for assigning him to the B1G, knowing full well that he may end up here. Wouldn't he have better served espn, knowledge-wise, by doing the same thing in the SEC?


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 3:10 a.m.

Bri'onte Dunn is a Buckeye. Again. For good. Former Buckeye and fellow Canton Glen Oak standout Dustin Fox tweeted tonight that the star tailback was no longer stuck between Ohio State and Michigan, and that following Urban Meyer's in-home visit tonight ended his recruitment. Unlike Tommy Schutt and Se'Von Pittman yesterday, Dunn isn't technically being "poached" from another school, though it's long been thought that he would eventually end up at Michigan where former Buckeye verbal Kyle Kalis had long been encouraging him to make a similar leap. Fox also tweeted that Meyer is trying to get Dunn enrolled early enough to participate in spring football and that his entire family is thrilled with the decision. There will not be a January visit to Ann Arbor for Dunn. The next time he is on campus at Michigan he will be wearing his road whites in November 2013.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

Congratulations 250 Now go find a tOhio forum and celebrate with your own ilk. Or don't they want you there either?


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 5:24 p.m.

B. Dunn said he didn't want to run in a spread offense. BUT, he has it all scoped out. Redshirt in 2012, play in a power O in 2013 - after Meyer stresses out and goes back to TV and o$u hires Mark D. away from msu. As the rest of the football world watches o$u try to recover from 4 head coaches in 4 years while on probation. That ticket will be worth the admission...

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 12:53 p.m.

Dunn isn't done yet. Remember USC players were allowed to leave after it was slammed by the NCAA. Even if Dunn goes to o$u and comes to the Big House in 2013, will Meyer still be with the team? I doubt it.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 5:29 a.m.

Ohio can have Dunn. Good for them. We've got our stud RB in fitz, who showed in the 2nd half of the year he is as good as anyone Ohio can muster, and he still has a few years left. Not to mention, the UM offensive line is solid and is only going to get bigger and better in the coming years. Everyone talks about Meyer's recruiting, but Meyer himself already told us who the best is.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 4:08 a.m.

Can't wait to see his tattoos. I suggest a puff the magic dragon over the right cheekbone, and a koegel hotdog on the chin.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 3:54 a.m.

I'm shaking. I know it is popular for the players to come to college a semester early, but is it in their long term interests to leave high school early, thus missing out on prom, senior year festivities, and another 6 months to grow up? That has bothered me for a few years. These youngsters are under such pressure. Don't you think the coaches would do the players a service by giving them leeway and time to grow up rather than pressure them to come to college early with all the temptations??? (I am not pointing at Meyer here--but rather the system at most college programs)