The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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154 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW LB showed us something in the spring," Mattison said. "I'm expecting him to give us everything he has every play, and if he can find that consistency, he's going to make it hard for anyone to take that spot away from him. "Desmond saw what we saw, so he knows what he has to do." Ross finds himself in a similar predicament. After starting two games in 2012, the 6-1, 225-pound Orchard Lake, Mich., native started nine games in his sophomore year and ranked first amongst Michigan linebackers in tackles (85), despite missing the Ohio State game and most of the Iowa game due to injury. When the coaches moved Ross and Jenkins-Stone to the Sam line- backer spot, they did so with the belief that Ross held the ideal skills to play that position in today's era of college football, needing the athleticism and foot speed to cover slot receivers. However, Jenkins- Stone had the more impressive spring, and could be the opening-day starter. "He's been very physical," Mattison said, "and playing the position he's playing now maybe takes a little bit of the thinking away and allows him to just use his ability, which is incredible." Jenkins-Stone was a key special teams player for the Maize and Blue his first two years, recording 11 tackles. He saw time at line- backer in only two games, but improved mental maturation and a simplification of responsibility have sparked the 6-1, 221-pounder. "Sometimes, some guys take a little while longer to figure every- thing out, and if they don't ever figure it out, they make mistakes that we can't afford and won't play," Mattison said. "As an inside linebacker, there are so many things happening that you have to think about, and processing all of that can prove too much, but moving him out on the edge, we've cut down a lot of the pre-snap decisions and now he can just go out and play aggressively. "Coaches are always looking to give their players more to do be- cause offenses keep becoming more sophisticated, but some of the best players to ever play this game were guys that were given less to think about and were given the freedom to play the game instinctually." Michigan's strongside linebackers will again be asked to rush the passer and make plays in the offensive backfield, and Jenkins-Stone showed an ability to do so in the spring, relying on his strength and What I Would Be Doing If I Wasn't Coaching Greg Mattison has always been a football coach. He graduated from college in 1971 and took over as a high school head coach that same fall. He took his first college job in 1976 at Illinois and spent the next 32 years molding athletes 18-23 years old before moving on to the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens from 2008-10. In 2011, he returned to the collegiate ranks when he became the defensive coordinator at Michigan. He's never really thought about where his career might have gone if he didn't take up coaching. "When I graduated and tried out for the NFL, I said the day I got cut that I'm going to coach football," Mattison said. "I never thought of doing anything but that. "If I had to look elsewhere, I might have tried sales be- cause it's competitive, and I've always looked at recruiting as selling a great product. Truly in the last 30 years, I've been able to go into a home and I have not lied in telling parents, 'I have an opportunity to make your son better as a person, a student and a player.'" — Michael Spath Greg Mattison has been a coach since he graduated from college in 1971 and took a high school head coaching position that same fall. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN Fifth-year senior Jake Ryan, who was one of four team captains last year, has won the Roger Zatkoff Award (presented annually to the team's top linebacker) each of the past two seasons. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL "That Mike has to be physical, has to be able to run any ball carrier down and has to be able to blitz, and Jake has shown all of those things in his career." DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR GREG MATTISON ON JAKE RYAN 152-158.LBs.indd 154 6/20/14 9:16 AM

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