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November 20, 2012Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller was just a freshman last year when he showed a glimpse of his potential greatness with an outstanding showing at Michigan Stadium. Miller and the Buckeyes lost that one, 40-34, but bring an 11-0 team into The Game this season.
Film of last year's game stays in the closet, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said Tuesday, but the coaches will pore over plenty from this year.
"He's a great talent, obviously," Mattison said of Miller. "I think they're the No. 1 offense in the country right now. It's going to be a great challenge for us. He's a great football player. The good news is we've played against some really good quarterbacks this year, and we play against a great one every day in practice. We'll be ready to go.
"But he's throwing the ball better; he's very elusive. He could take off running full speed and stop on a dime. He looks stronger. Again. it's been so long ago when we played them last time, I thought he was good last time. He's a very, very good quarterback."
Spread teams have cause Michigan problems at times this year, particularly Northwestern in U-M's 38-31 overtime win.
"Some of it is schematic, some of it is athleticism," Mattison said. "Some is they're pretty good, the guys we've gone against. We've addressed all that, are very conscious of that, and we know that this week, with the type of quarterback he is, we have to be on our A game. We have addressed it and we have looked closely at it right after the games, even leading up into them.
"Containment and discipline on the edge is really, really important. This guy is way too fast for you to say, 'Hey, I'm going to catch him, take a chance here.' You've got to try to keep him inside all the time - it's a combination of us really understanding what they do, getting a good read and playing from there."
"It's been a long time ago," Mattison said. "Five years - in football, what happens is every place you're at, you put everything into that. It's almost like you don't remember those things that happened before; don't focus on that. When you're on different sides of the football, you concentrate on your side. We've been focusing just on their offense, what they've done, and go from there."
New boss Brady Hoke, Mattison said, continues to keep Michigan on the upswing.
"Brady has instilled in this football program the Michigan competitiveness and effort, technique," he said. "I'm just one of the guys that it's my job to do it. It comes down from the head coach, a lot of years of football at Michigan. That's what we try to do. We try to get our players to play Michigan football. You all know what that is.
"The philosophy is the Michigan philosophy. Play hard, run to the football, with great technique. My philosophy has always been to do what's best for the players, the best opportunity to win. If you do that, teach it, demand they do it that way, you have a chance. That's what we've tried to do here."
"Will Carr at the nose guard position eating up blockers, Jarrett Irons running sideline to sideline - I remember the excitement of winning that game," he said. "That's one of all the games I've been in over these years you always remember.
"Ohio Stadium ranks up there. I don't know if you say it's a tough place, but a very, very exciting place to play. If you're a football player, you love playing these types of games, in this type of atmosphere. That's what makes great football.
"This is as big as it gets. There's no other game in college football in my mind like this one. If you aren't at your best and into this one, there's something wrong. You'd better get checked."
"We try to go day to day, week to week," he said. "We try to do everything we can. I'd hate to think we didn't play as good as we possibly could because we were looking at another game. Maybe some can, but I can't.
"As soon as the game is over, I put that call sheet in the closet until the next year, get ready for the next one. That's how we do things."