February 22, 2008

Family affair at the NFL Combine

This weekend, Bryan Mattison will be joining hundreds of other pro football hopefuls in Indianapolis for annual NFL Combine. It will also be a chance for the former Hawkeye defensive lineman to see his father, Greg, who recently took the position of linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens.

The elder Mattison has been a defensive line coach and co-defensive coordinator in recent years at Florida, but recently made the move to the NFL. This weekend, father and son will see each other on the field.

"I will be excited to see him when I get there, so it won't be awkward. He is a linebacker coach now. It would probably be awkward if he was still a defensive line coach, but we have such a strong relationship off the field," Bryan Mattison said.

If you asked Bryan's father many years ago if he would have ever envisioned his son even having a chance at the NFL, his reaction probably wouldn't have been what you would expect.

"He would have probably laughed at you if you asked him when I was in 7th or 8th grade and you told him I would have a chance to play in the NFL," Bryan said with a chuckle himself.

Even though Greg Mattison will be focused in on the linebacker prospects, he will probably be sneaking a peek at how his son is performing in the various drills as he transitions to the defensive tackle position.

"I have had to bulk up a little bit, "Mattison said. "I am up to 285 pounds now, so I have added some weight. But, it has been a gradual gain because you don't want to put on too much weight in a short period of time because it will impact how you run."

Since the end of the season, not only has Mattison added some weight, but under the watchful eye of Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Doyle, he has changed his training to prepare for the test this weekend.

"Instead of training to get ready for season, we are training for a test, the test," he said. "It has been pretty intense training, but it has been a lot of fun. We go in and workout in the morning and do speed work with Coach Doyle and then we go upstairs and get after it in the weight room."

After a successful career at Iowa, which saw Mattison named 2nd team all Big Ten as a senior after leading the Hawkeyes in sacks (9), along with being named a team captain, he wants to show the folks at the next level that he belongs there.

"I just have to do what got me this far," said the humble former Hawkeye. "I am not a flashy guy and I am not going to wow anyone with my times. I won't go out there and run a 4.6 or anything like that, but I just have to go out there and compete with the guys and show them that I belong and that I deserve to have a place at the next level."

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