It's Christmas morning and I'm 10 again. I rush downstairs to tear into my presents and the first one I opened was a new sweater from my Aunt. It's functional and it will keep me warm this winter but it's not a very exciting gift. I open a few more and get a couple of cool things but nothing terribly exciting. I know enough not to express too deeply my disappointment but at the same time it's hard to hide; I didn't get anything I asked for.
A few days later my parents come up to me with a dusty package. They explain to me that some old friends from Baltimore had sent me a Christmas gift that they had misplaced. They told me they were really sorry and said that I should open it and tell them what I thought.
I half-heartedly opened the package, the memory of a disappointing Christmas fresh in my mind, and, lo and behold, it's exactly what I asked for! I never thought in a million years that I would actually get it but there it was! I looked up at my parents, not sure if it was real. "Wow, can I really keep it?" I asked. My parents smiled down at me and said, "Of course you can son. Merry Christmas."
Now that's obviously a cheesy analogy about the hiring of Brady Hoke and now Michigan picking up Greg Mattison as the defensive coordinator but it's exactly how I feel at the moment. As unimpressed as I was with how the head coaching situation and the subsequent "search" was managed, I'm doubly impressed and excited about this new hire.
Mattison apparently has strong ties to Brady Hoke and, as you may or may not know, coached the defensive line at Michigan from 1992 to 1996, while also serving as the defensive coordinator in 1995 and 1996 (I'm inclined to believe he was at least partly responsible for the beast that was the '97 defense as well) so this guy has been around the program and its success. You can chalk another win up for the "Michigan Man" faction of Michigan fans.
Since then Mattison has been with Notre Dame and Florida and has been the DC for the Baltimore Ravens for the last three seasons. In 2010 the Ravens defense ranked in the top 10th of the league in points, yards allowed and rushing yards allowed (they ranked 21st in passing yards allowed).
The article I linked above said, in regards to Mattison leaving Baltimore, "the move is still a surprise." While I'm not sure that I agree with the consensus statement that NFL coaching positions are a step up from college positions, I can't say I saw this coming. A couple of lesser-known news outlets had hinted at this but I just dismissed it as more rumor-mongering.
Nothing official has been released about his salary but if you've had success in the NFL and you take the same position at a college one would have to assume that you're getting paid pretty well to make the switch, regardless of ties. If that's true than this suggests that Dave Brandon is making an effort to start paying assistants competitively to some of those darn SEC teams.
As I've said, I'm really excited about this hire (it's dulled a little bit of the pain of not getting Harbaugh) but I want to know how the rest of the fanbase is reacting to this news. Please give me your thoughts and opinions on this.