Today’s Topic: What Will Greg Mattison’s Role Be During Practices?
New Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is a man without an island.
Or, rather, a man without a position of his own to coach.
With Jeff Hafley and Matt Barnes coaching the secondary, Al Washington coaching the linebackers, and Larry Johnson coaching the defensive line, there is no position left for Mattison to claim. This allows him to float around during practice, which shouldn’t hurt things considering how much he has seen in his career and how much he has to offer.
Last season was the first year with the NCAA’s new allowance for a tenth assistant coach. Ohio State hired Alex Grinch to coach the safeties, which permitted then-defensive coordinator Greg Schiano to bounce around and help out in other areas.
Looking back, and considering how complicated the Buckeye defense was for the players trying to run it, perhaps Schiano had too much time on his hands. Without a position of his own to focus on, a person could wonder if maybe he was trying to devise too many bells and whistles rather than producing the customary welts and missiles.
But that is a discussion for another day.
There may be some lessons that Greg Mattison can use from Schiano’s experience, but in terms of the day-to-day work in practice, Mattison has a pretty good grasp on what he is going to be doing.
“You know, I’ll be helping out wherever needed,” he said. “I’ll be with the backers a lot. Al Washington will do a tremendous job with them, but there’s two inside backers, and then there’s sometimes an outside linebacker, which is a different position, and that’s where I can help with that.”
While Mattison sees himself helping out with the linebackers, his specialty has always been the defensive line. Ohio State doesn’t necessarily need any help there with Larry Johnson, but Mattison plans to make himself available to the defensive line in any way.
The lure of the front four is just too great for him to ignore.
“I’m going to be the greatest young assistant coach you’ve ever seen,” he said. “Larry Johnson, we have competed for years, and I look at Larry as being one of the best if not the best defensive line coach in the country. Now, you know, I’ve coached defensive line a long time, and I’m not going to say where I rank. It’s not my job to say that.
“But I did say to him, ‘Larry, when you Coach D-line, there’s a lot of times on the practice field when there’s special teams, and the D-line is not really involved in that a lot.’ I said, ‘Let me be your assistant. Put me wherever you want, I’ll coach whatever you want right there, and it’ll be two of us doing it.'”