Greg Mattison shoulders blame for Michigan's defensive breakdowns against Air Force
ANN ARBOR -- Greg Mattison is pointing a finger at the guy he thinks is responsible for the defensive lapses against Air Force.
He is pointing at himself.
Michigan got the 31-25 win, but allowed 417 yards of offense -- including 290 on the ground. The 17th-ranked Wolverines (1-1) have allowed 848 yards through two games, 92nd in the country.
Mattison, the Wolverines' defensive coordinator, opened his weekly news conference by offering a reproachful statement directed at himself.
"The first thing I would say is happy that we got a win -- not pleased with the amount of yards we gave up, and not pleased with the option responsibility at times," he said Tuesday. "I just want everybody to know I'll take the blame for that.
"One thing we always talk about with our defense is we will always have enough bullets, and always have enough in our package, to be able to stop anything that somebody does. 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."
Michigan struggled to handle Air Force's triple-option offense. Four of the Falcons' six second-half drives lasted at least 10 plays, and they had six for the game.
But the Wolverines also buckled down when they had to, getting two fourth-down stops in the fourth quarter to preserve the six-point win. They simplified their defense, and also jumbled their lineup to find a combination that worked.
That included inserting several freshmen, notably linebackers Joe Bolden and James Ross.
Mattison says his team should not have been in that position, but is glad for the plays that were made.
"I really am proud of them for how hard they played," Mattison said. "That game could have been disastrous, had they not played as tough as they did in a number of situations.
"In the crunch time at the end of the game, I looked out there at the end of the tape, we had seven freshmen and sophomores in there at one time, right during the heat of it. But I don’t fault our players. I know there’s things they could have done better. That’s always the case.
"If anything, I point to myself as far as not having a little bit more expansive plan going into that game.”