Pro Combine for Moeller and Mattison

Just as last week's NFL Combine was the first for John Harbaugh as a head coach, the event also struck some other Ravens as a new experience.

Assistant offensive line coach Andy Moeller and linebackers coach Greg Mattison also notched their first Combine among the professional ranks.

Sure, both men had been there before in support of their respective college prospects. This time, though, they were active participants.

Moeller has 21 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level, most recently heading the offensive line at NCAA powerhouse Michigan.

Mattison boasts similar credentials with 37 years in collegiate coaching. He was lured out of the University of Florida, where he served from 2005-07 as the Gators' co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach, by what he called "the perfect situation of players, coaches and organization that the Ravens have."

For their initial foray into the intense science lab that is the Combine, Moeller and Mattison were called to build evaluations of prospects at their respective positions through the drills and - more importantly - personal interviews.

"I'd been in the environment before, but not near the interviews and not in the bench press and weigh-ins. That whole process was new," Moeller said. "I had a great time. It was interesting learning about the kids, watching them perform up close. It was great fun being involved in the process of evaluating guys for that short period of time."

Moeller compared the Combine interviews to something he's very familiar with: recruiting. While the coaches are trying to find out everything they can about a particular player, pitching the purple and black is also important at times.

But, it was the time that was the main difference. Where a college coach would recruit a high school blue chipper for years, the Combine has a time limit of 15 minutes for each meeting.

"It was definitely rapid-fire," Moeller said. "Learning about a guy over the course of 15 minutes isn't an easy thing to do. You have to get an understanding of their temperament, their goals and what kind of people they are. That was a challenge.

"It was similar [to recruiting in college] in the fact that you're gathering information - just getting to know people. Football's a team sport, so it's not incredibly different on any level, but because of the time constraints, it was challenging."

Each of the coaches had players at the Combine they coached last year, making at least a few interviews easier.

While at Florida, Mattison had defensive end Derrick Harvey under his tutelage. The 6-foot-5, 270-pounder is regarded as one of the top defensive ends in the upcoming draft.

At the Combine, Harvey said Mattison was integral in making the decision to come out after his junior year, where he totaled 8.5 sacks and 49 tackles, and earned All-SEC second-team honors.

The speedy pass rusher also said he had entertained the idea of reuniting with his former coach.

"Coach Mattison is there [in Baltimore] now," stated Harvey. "He just loves coaching college kids, but finally decided to leave."

For Moeller, that prospect was offensive tackle Jake Long, whom some analysts are predicting could be a top-three selection.

Each coach would love to have the players they're most familiar with in the Baltimore locker room, but that is certainly not a guarantee.

And while both Moeller and Mattison were learning about new prospects at the Combine, they were also beginning to understand what it means to be a Raven.

"You're getting an introduction to the personnel staff and the other coaches, as well, because of the type of questions that were being asked in the interviews," said Moeller. "You learn about the type of men this organization wants in the locker room. That team mentality carried over at Michigan. It's a similar environment."

Only at this level, the prize for joining a club is a little more lucrative than a college scholarship.

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