If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
According to multiple reports, former Michigan Defensive Line coach Greg Mattison will switch sidelines for The Game this year, after accepting a role as the Defensive Coordinator at Ohio State.
Mattison spent four years working as a Defensive Coordinator under Brady Hoke at Michigan from 2011-2014, and then switched to Defensive Line coach for the last four seasons under Jim Harbaugh.
He previously served as a Defensive Coordinator for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, and was a co-Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Line coach under Urban Meyer at Florida from 2005-2007.
He will help the Buckeyes replace Defensive Coordinator Greg Schiano who will not return to the staff, and co-Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch who accepted a job at Oklahoma.
Mattison is a somewhat unusual fit among the announced hires on new OSU head coach Ryan Day’s staff.
Day is 39 years old, Passing Game Coordinator Mike Yurcich is 43, and Wide Receivers coach Brian Hartline is 32.
Mattison will turn 70 in November.
His defensive lines have been a strength for Michigan over his time in Ann Arbor, featuring players like Rashan Gary, Chase Winovich, Taco Charlton, and Maurice Hurst.
Adding Mattison accomplishes two things for Day. First, it gives him a veteran assistant with a proven track record of developing high-level talent in the conference. Second, it also takes all of that away from his biggest rival.
Mattison is just the first piece of the puzzle on that side of the ball for Day. The second defensive coordinator and/or Safeties coach spot is still open. Plus, Linebackers coach Bill Davis and Cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson have also not been officially announced as returning members of the staff.
Buckeye fans may welcome wholesale changes on the defensive coaching staff in 2019, following a disappointing season from that side of the ball.
The OSU defense allowed more than 25 points per game in 2018, an increase of more than 10 points every week from the 2016 unit.
It also finished the year 118th in the nation in explosive plays allowed, as measured by the S&P+ analytics system.