Make No Mistake, This Is Donavan Mutin’s Defense

Filling in for Doug Belk during the Associate Head Coach/DC’s media availability, linebacker coach Archie McDaniel spoke for about 15 minutes on his unit and the season he expects in 2022. But his most poignant comments were about his senior leader, Donavan Mutin.

After Belk called Mutin “the Peyton Manning” of the UH defense, McDaniel said he had hit the nail on the head. He said that “the way (Mutin) prepares…he makes sure we’re in the right spot at all times.” McDaniel said that from his first interaction with Mutin, he knew he’d be a unique player to coach.

“Donnie is always talking, constantly communicating, always trying to coach his teammates,” McDaniel said. “And he’s still very much like a sponge. He’s still trying to learn.”

McDaniel pointed to Mutin as one of the senior leaders taking ownership of the program. He said the captains drive the ship and police themselves. Mutin expects a lot of himself, but at the same time, “he holds his teammates to the same standard.”

“The way he plays and the way he leads, for a lot of guys, that would be very tiring,” Archie said. “Donnie does not miss one thing, whether on the field or off. And he takes a lot of pride in that.”

Donavan Mutin and Logan Hall team up to stop the SMU ball carrier / Photo by Mario Puente

In his time with the media Friday, Mutin said that he’s learned to be more vocal but that it has never come naturally.

“My whole life, I’ve been introverted. I don’t have a lot of friends. It’s hard for me to be around people. It’s just not natural to me,” Mutin explained.

“But I always felt inside me that was something I could do. Football just gave me an avenue to stand up for what I believe in.”

Mutin believes this defense is honing in on something special, and they want to “go out there and goose-egg whoever we play.”

“I think as a unit, as a team, this is the most calculated and precise we’ve been,” Mutin said. “How we’re grinding and working and speaking to each other.

“We’re gelling, and we’re meshing. We’re doing it because we love each other, and if we increase the genuine love and connection we have for each other, it will show on the field. He added: “It’s really organic. People really feel it.”

Mutin might be introverted and naturally soft-spoken, but it didn’t stop him from boasting about his defense.

“I think we can be the best in the world, the best that the school’s seen,” he said calmly and self-assuredly.

“I love the group I get to go on the field with.”

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