ANN ARBOR — Greg Mattison shoulders the blame himself.
During his media availability Tuesday at Schembechler Hall, Michigan's second-year defensive coordinator took responsibility for the Wolverines' less-than-stellar defensive performance against Air Force's triple-option attack in last Saturday's 31-25 win.
"I don't fault our players," Mattison said. I know there's things they could have done better. But I point to myself as not having a little bit more of an expansive plan going into that game."
Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan, however, wouldn't let Mattison take that responsibility.
"I don't think it was his fault," said Ryan, whose team hosts Massachusetts at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. "As a defense, we just kind of needed to play our technique and keep moving forward. Looking back on it, I feel like we played physical and came out with a win."
Against Air Force, the Wolverines surrendered 417 yards of offense to the Falcons, including 290 rushing yards, and at times scrambled against the multifaceted scheme.
"I'm happy that we got a win but not pleased with the amount of yards we gave up and not pleased with the option responsibility at times," Mattison said. "I just want everybody to know I'll take the blame for that as a coordinator.
"We always have enough bullets and always have enough in our package to be able to stop anything that somebody does. I think, for a number of reasons, we didn't have enough adjustments, or I didn't adjust soon enough to take away what they [Air Force] were doing."
Though Mattison lamented Michigan's shortcomings against Air Force, he said he saw good things out of the defense. Namely on a handful of plays at the end of the game, including one in which the defense stopped a fake field goal play on fourth down, then a fourth-down stop with less than three minutes left, in which Ryan broke up the play to end Air Force's final drive.
"As far as our players, I'm proud of them for how hard they played," Mattison said. "That game could have been disastrous had they not played as tough as they did in a number of situations."
Still, the No. 17 Wolverines (1-1) have given up an average of 424 yards in their first two games, including an average of 261 yards rushing, but will go back to facing a more familiar scheme as Massachusetts (0-2) runs a spread offense.
"I've never played against the triple option before, so it was definitely hard," Ryan said. "Just going in and seeing what they do, and we got used to it. But preparing for this week, it's more what we know, and I feel like we need to progress through the week and get the job done."
CLARK PLEADS GUILTY: Defensive end Frank Clark pled guilty Tuesday to a second-degree home invasion charge, stemming from a June incident in which he allegedly stole a laptop from a university dorm room. Clark, 20, was suspended for the first week of practice and for the Sept. 1 loss to Alabama. He will be sentenced Oct. 23 under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, a Michigan law that allows a judge to place a youth between the ages of 17 and 20, who is alleged to have committed a crime and who has pleaded guilty to that crime, to be placed in prison or on probation without a conviction. Any criminal record is expunged upon successful completion of the program.
Contact Rachel Lenzi at: email@example.com or 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.