After the Wolverines' 31-25 victory over Air Force on Saturday, several defensive players discussed how in the Wolverines' second game of the season -- much like the first -- the defense didn't play up to its expectations. Michigan gave up 417 yards to the Falcons and allowed them to run 90 total plays.
But defensive coordinator Greg Mattison had a different story on Tuesday.
"I'll take the blame for that as a coordinator," Mattison said. "One thing we always talk about with our defense is that we'll always have enough bullets and enough in our package to be able to stop anything thing that anybody does, and, I think for a number of reasons we maybe didn't have enough or enough adjustments or I didn't adjust soon enough to take away what they were doing."
Mattison said he was proud of his players for sticking to what he was giving them and he believes he saw his defense take a step forward, despite the gains Air Force was able to make.
Senior captain Jordan Kovacs spoke after the game on Saturday about how the Wolverines scrapped their defense in the fourth quarter to go back to something else, which allowed it to make the necessary plays to ensure the win. And Mattison said that he wished he would've made more calls like that against the Falcons.
"If we were doing it again, I would probably have a couple more defenses ready," Mattison said. "Everything we do is to try to get our players to play the best they can, and I just felt in my heart that [against] an option team, if you give them too many things to do, they're not going to do anything right. ... Like I said before, I looked back and I told the players that. We won't go into a game plan like that again where I'm not going to give you enough bullets."
Even with a game that Mattison isn't proud of for himself, he's still proud of his players and he said that he believes they took steps forward. Mattison knows he won't go into another game this season without giving his players plenty of bullets and if he holds up on his end of the bargain, it just requires the players to hold up on their and continue elevating their game and increasing their technique.
If both of those possible, Mattison knows his team can still be successful.
"Watching these guys in the offseason, knowing a lot of these guys, being a part of recruiting them, it's in there," Mattison said. "Now it's a matter of getting the technique to allow that to come out more, because if you don't play with technique, all of that doesn’t matter. It doesn't matter, and that’s what we have to continue to get on is to get our technique, so that our inner athletic ability and the inner Michigan heart is allowed to be that defense."