"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
At several times this season things have gotten pretty heated, and it seemed to reach a peak after the MSU game. Personally, I am of the opinion that Hoke is an excellent coach, and that Borges is an above average OC. Regarding the blocking, I know we are very inexperienced in the middle, but I'm not enough of a coach to know what is really ailing our line. Here is where I turn to you. Lately I have noticed some people who are completely outraged about the staff, but I have a feeling that such people comprise a vocal minority. I put together a Google Form to determine how the majority of MgoBlog readers actually feel about the season and the coaching staff. Please take the time to complete this, and I'll report back with the results.
Edit: No embed.
Enough of the whining... we are playing a very solid team. So, you are Borges. What do you do in the second half? The only thing I'd suggest is having Funchess involved more. This defense is as advertised...
Tom Dienhart interviewed Borges about this upcoming season and Borges had some good things to say about Gardner and updated Dienhart about the state of the offensive line, amongst other things. Link to full interview: http://btn.com/2013/06/12/qa-al-borges-sees-a-lot-of-rg3-in-gardner/
Q: So you finally get to use your full playbook, right?
A: ......our plan was to install our offense and do what we did at San Diego State and Auburn and those places. We have studied some stuff and have some things that will allow us to spread the defense out.
Q: Who does Devin Gardner remind you of?
A: He’s not really like anybody I have had. I’ve had so many prototype drop-back passers. He isn’t like (former Auburn quarterback) Jason Campbell, who was athletic but he really wasn’t a runner. I haven’t had a lot of real runners. He’s different. He’s hard to compare to someone else. He’s more like an RG3 type of guy. He’s a little taller than RG3 but plays a lot like him.
Q: What would you like the run-pass percentage to be?
A: We’d like to be around 50-50. Maybe favor a little more run than pass....
Will the interior of offensive line be ok? Three starters are gone.
A: It’s a little concerning but not that much. Jack Miller has been here a while, knows the system and has pushed for that position (center). He’s ready to take that step, I think. Ben Braden, Kyle Kalis and Graham Glasgow, those three inside guys are kinda fighting for those two spots at guard. And Graham is still fighting for that center spot, too. It isn’t like we don’t have good candidates. And the difference now is we have more of them. Before, we were shorthanded. There weren’t enough players you could put in the game and feel good about it. But I think we are much better off.
Q: Roy Roundtree is gone. Who do you like at receiver?
A: Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh had very good springs. On a daily basis, they demonstrated some big-play ability. Going up to get some high balls or running by some people. Run after catch. It was nice to see them take that next step. You don’t know if they can do it with the lights one....
I'd definitely recommend clicking on the link and reading the rest of the interview as I didn't include it all.
OSU's D-line may be that team's biggest strength. Our offense has struggled to get production from our running game all season. Perhaps this conundrum places the question of Denard and Devin and who plays under/behind center the next two weeks in a context for productive discussion.
My thinking is that Borges has to be looking across both of our next two games to figure this out, hoping--if Denard is on the mend--to learn a lot from next week and Iowa. There are signs that both our passing and running game are developing under Devin Gardner, but if Denard can play you want him on the field. (Denard IS yards!)
Could these things suggest we might see a mix of QBs, with Denard getting some looks at running back? (Could featuring him in this way be useful to him when draft time comes?) To what extent is it necessary to "go with what got you to the dance," and not change things up for an O line that has sometimes looked confused? What's necessary to win? What's possible under these circumstances?
Nobody can argue with Brian's take that Borges is asking Denard to do things he is not ever going to be good at and de-emphasizing things that he is the best in business.
Other than Borges being an egomaniac and having a lizard brain could it be that the coaches are taking a longer view of things and looking at the years going forward (post Denard)? We need some elite WR's in here like Charlie Weiss need a diet, there is no arguing that. Maybe part of the "Tom Brady package" that Borges is intent upon displaying to the world (foolishly or otherwise) is intended to attract some elite-level WR talent here ASAP. We've got a QB coming next that looks like he is going to have to take over on Day 1 (more because of our WR depth situation than a reflection on Devin).....but we seriously are going to be hurting if we do not a few Braylon prototypes in here ASAP.
A nice little article from WolverineNation about Gardner splitting time.
They get input from Drew Bennett, which is a nice touch. Bennett was a heralded QB recruit who split time between QB and WR at UCLA while working under Borges. Want more 'it's a small world?' According to the article, at that time, Borges travelled to Ann Arbor to speak with Carr about how Michigan was managing with a certain two way player of their own, one Charles Woodson.
If you don't know, Bennett went on to be an NFL WR, something that I imagine had to make the split time appealing to Gardner. If Borges could get Bennett drafted at WR, he sure as heck can do it for Gardner.