ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan’s defense is coming off its worst performance of the season, with the Wolverines surrendering 572 total yards of offense in Saturdays high scoring 63-47 victory over Indiana.
And with Michigan (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) entering its Bye week, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison says his goal is to get the defense corrected.
“Obviously, I’m not happy with the amount points given up. You know? The big plays – that’s not our defense,” Mattison said. “We got something’s we got to get corrected. A lot of that is on me. The only time something like this happens, you got to look at yourself, you got to look at the game plan, you got to look at what you had in. I think there is something’s we could’ve done different. But you know we will get it corrected.”
While the defense had some bad moments against the Hoosiers, they were able to make some key stops late and eventfully rely on the offense to help secure the win, said Mattison.
“You’ve all been around teams and seen teams before that folded and they didn’t,” Mattison said. “Thanks goodness the offense, which you knew was going to be your advantage, and our offense did a tremendous job of bailing us out.”
Mattison noted the biggest reason behind Michigan’s defensive struggle was the lack of every player running to ball, which hasn’t happened since he arrived in Ann Arbor in his three seasons on the job.
“For the first time in three years where I didn’t see every play, everybody running to the football like they should,” Mattison said. “And with our ability to rotate. And in lot of positions you can’t say they are tired. Other positions don’t have that ability. They played 80 snaps of fast paced. That’s the other part of that offense. They try to get you to mis-communicate so they get a big play.”
Indiana rushed for 162 yards on 33 carries -- good for a 4.9 yards per carry – which had to do with IU’s fast paced offense, however, Mattison said was “not acceptable” from a Michigan defense.
“I didn’t think we were very good on the run,” Mattison said. “When you let a team like that be two dimensional – you’re asking for trouble. There were some plays where we didn’t get off blocks, again, was it because of the pace? Was it because they were tired? Whatever it was – it’s not acceptable. We got to stop the run when they do run it and then play pass defense.”
Michigan State (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) has the top defense is the conference and has Mattison’s total “respect” as Wolverines get ready to play their rival on Nov. 2.
“They very physical,” Mattison said. “They play very, very aggressive defense. They run to the football. There is no question I respect what they do. What they have done as far as not giving up points, you know? To me that’s the No. 1 thing.
“They’ve done a great job. I respect them, they’re a very good defense.”
Preparing for MSU
With an extra week to prepare for the Spartans, Mattison says he is “confident” his defense will be back playing to his expectations once they get to East Lansing.
“I feel confident because of guys,” Mattison said. “I feel confident because we’re going to work every second to do it. I know we’ll have Michigan defense back on that field the way it’s supposed to be when we play that game.”
As far as looking towards Michigan’s tough schedule ahead, Mattison says he never does that – citing a one game at a time approach.
“I don’t ever do that,” Mattison said. “I know a lot of people say to do that. to me, it’s always the next game. One game at a time. Will get ready for the next one. But to me it’s always been that way, where you better win them one game at a time, stack them up, (we’re) 6-1, let’s get the next one.
“You start looking ahead, you find yourself falling behind.”