The Wolverine

November 2011

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 36 of 119

O By John Borton ne of the most challenging tenets of Craig Roh���s closely held Christian faith demands: ���Love your enemies.��� For a time, Roh wrestled with that concept right along with wrestling running backs to the ground. The junior rush end had never been heavily criticized throughout his illustrious prep career. He hadn���t absorbed a stinging reshaping of his game, even through the first two seasons of his college sojourn. He needed to change, and part of that change involved putting his faith in someone with whom he seemed at odds. It wasn���t love at first sight. ���Every coach I���ve had, up until Coach Mattison, hadn���t really said anything too negative or really pushed me to that point where I may hate them,��� Roh admitted. ���Coach Mattison was not afraid to just push me and grow me in this extremely hard and fast fashion, first in spring ball and then in camp. Shaped By The Master Junior Defensive End Craig Roh Pushes Through A Grooming Period Under Coordinator Greg Mattison Now, all of a sudden, he wasn���t just doing things wrong. He couldn���t do anything right. Michigan���s heralded new defensive coordinator, Greg Mattison, arrived from the Baltimore Ravens with an eye for detail and an assessment as blunt as a two-by-four. ���He said, ���This is not Michigan football,������ Roh recalled, half grinning, half wincing. ���It was the third day of spring practice. I thought I had a decent practice. I guess I had a terrible practice. He said, ���This is not Michigan football,��� again and again. ���If you���re in that meeting room, and he gives you that stare, where he���s peeking into your soul, you really want to change whatever is happening on that film.��� That mindset took a while to fully embrace, stares notwithstanding. The generally genial Roh first needed to come to grips with a new reality on the practice field, in the meeting rooms and inside his own head. Through eight games, Roh led the Wolverines in tackles for loss with eight and was tied with safety Jordan Kovacs for the team high in sacks with three. photo by lon horwedel ���It was just so amazing how something so hard has really ended up to be so life-changing. It has really altered my view on how to play football and why I���m here, and how I can glorify God through my play.��� Hate? Strong stuff, for someone bound by beliefs so inseparably intermingled with charity for all. But for a 20-year-old whose football swagger had suddenly been reduced to stumbling humility, a battle raged over both emotion and change. ���He���s an amazing coach,��� Roh now says of Mattison, with more than half a season of perspective. ���He���s always able to find those small things to change. It was just an overall mentality of wanting to go out and get someone, hit someone. I really hadn���t had that mentality before. ���I���ve always wanted to be the finesse guy. The way my body frame is and where I can be, weight-wise, I���m not going to be a finesse guy. I���m going to be an explosive, power guy. He just really changed my perception of who I am as a player. ���I was making excuses. I hated him for a little bit. Deep down, I knew it November 2011��� ������ the wolverine��� 37

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