Wednesday's edition of The Sun included a Q&A with defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. Due to space limitations, some questions and answers were omitted. Here is the rest.
Question: How comfortable are you in your current position?
Answer: I've been blessed. I've got a great life, I've got a great family, and I've gotten so lucky to be part of a great football program. The thing that is kind of ironic is that my first really big college job was at Northwestern University, and my record there in three years was 1-30-1. So at a point there, I said to myself, 'Am I sure I want to do this?' And then all of a sudden, I got to Texas A&M, Michigan, Notre Dame, Florida and now the Ravens, and you say to yourself, 'You've had a pretty good life. You're fortunate to be here with a great head coach and a great coaching staff and a great place.'
Q: Is there a part of you that aspires to be a head coach?
A: No. people have asked me that for a long time. I'm 61 years old. There's been a number of times when people have asked me to apply for this job, and my wife was the one that said, 'Don't do that because one of the best things you do is develop a relationship with your players,' and that's hard to do. John does a great job of it, but when you're a head coach, you can't have the relationships that you do with your team. And I've always prided myself in that, and that's why I've always made the decision to be the defensive coordinator. And to be the defensive coordinator, you are the head coach of the defense, and I look at it that way.
Q: Who influenced you the most as a coach?
A: I've been fortunate enough to have a number of great coaches. I think Jack Harbaugh was a guy that really, really helped me in my coaching career way back when. And in another time, Gary Moeller at Michigan was one of the best head coaches I ever worked for. So I've really been fortunate to work with some really great head coaches. All I tried to do was learn from each of those guys, but the biggest thing that has driven me is, I want to be able to look in the mirror at the end of a game or the end of a practice and say, 'OK, you did everything you can to have these guys be successful.' I never wanted to walk off a field and say, 'If I only would have done this.'
Q: Who is the toughest offensive coordinator you've matched wits with?
A: In the NFL, they're all good. I would have to say that it would have to be New England or the Colts. Those two offenses really make you make sure that you're right on. We've played well against them the last two times we've played them, but if you make a mistake against either one of those two, they're usually going to make you pay. With others, sometimes if you make a mistake, you can get through it, but I would say that New England and the Colts are the two where we say we'd better make sure that we're right on.Q: What is your favorite movie and why?
A: I guess The Godfather would be one of my favorites just because of how explosive it was, how physical it was. I'm a big action-movie guy. My wife and I, that's one thing we do in the offseason, we try to go to movies, and she always laughs and says, 'This is one that you won't like, so let's go to this other one.' And usually, it's not very good, but at least there's action in it. I'm also a big Sylvester Stallone guy. Even though that's corny, you know that's going to be my kind of movie.
Q: What's the worst job you had growing up?
A: Landscaping. When I was a sophomore in high school, we grew up where we had to work. We didn't have very much money in our family, so we all had jobs. Back then, landscaping meant, there would be a huge field, and you'd have to walk behind this cutter and roll balls of sod and then flip them over. You'd go the whole length of the field and then come back and keep going back. And then after you got them all rolled up, then a truck would come by with a skid, and you'd have to load them onto the skid. Then you'd have to take them off the skid and put them on the truck, and then you'd have to take them off the truck to lay them wherever they were supposed to go. I always said, 'I will do anything I can to get a college degree so I never have to do this again.'
Q: Do you recall how much you got paid for that work?
A: I think it was a buck-and-a-quarter an hour. And it was always hot. You came home and you were just filthy, but you went back the next day and did it all over again.
Q: When your son Bryan told you he wanted to pursue a career in football, did you want him to take another path?
A: I've got two children, and my daughter [Lisa], she was always very aggressive. She ended up going to Notre Dame on a softball scholarship and was All-Big East three years in a row there. She was the kind who would say, 'Dad, come on out and hit grounders at me as hard as you can.' And when I'd hit them, she'd say, 'Can't you hit them any harder?' One time, she went to school after a ball bounced up and hit her in the eye, and the guidance counselor called my wife and asked, 'Is everything OK?' Well, Bryan is four years younger than her, and he would never sink into anything. She sunk into softball and basketball. He would be really good at something, and then you'd see him on a skateboard somewhere. He was always energetic, but I always vowed that I would never push him because I knew he would be an athlete. And then all of a sudden, in his eighth-grade year, you could see that he started doing it and then it just took off. Then he became just as good. He won't go to a baseball game to this day because he saw so many softball games for his sister. We always loaded the family and said, 'Come on, Lisa's playing in a tournament over here.' And he'd go, 'Dad…' So I swear that's why he never wanted to get involved in baseball.
Q: What is your favorite and least-favorite food?
A: If you look at me, there's not one food that I won't touch. Believe it or not, one of my favorite candies is black licorice. Every holiday, birthday, anything like that, any relative will always send me black licorice. My favorite dessert would probably be pecan pie. There really isn't [anything I won't eat]. I am a very, very unpicky eater. My mom always told me, 'If you don't like it, then go ahead and starve.' So whatever was there, you better eat it.