I need a drink.
happier times with Heiko
Al Borges is gone from Michigan after three years. And I'm… relieved. Yes. I think that's right.
Not exactly happy, of course. A dude just got fired. This site had a bizarre frenemies relationship (see: all the tags on this post) with Borges that started with prodding about constraint plays from Heiko by my request. This developed into a press conference Odd Couple thing where Heiko would get crap from Borges and give a little bit of it back, all the while trying to gently ask about the latest debacle. The results were the most entertaining transcripts not involving Steve Spurrier ever.
Then last winter Heiko started agitating me about getting an interview with him. I thought it was a cockamamie idea that would never get past the gatekeepers. This take would have been accurate except for one thing: Borges wanted to do it. So Heiko eventually crept his way past the border guards, was promised 15 minutes, and got 45. The resulting interview ran on the site last summer and was a fantastic glimpse into the day to day experience of being Michigan's offensive coordinator.
Why is nobody else in mourning right now?
— Heiko Yang (@Heiko25) January 9, 2014
I also know that friend of the site Craig Ross did what he always does with Michigan coaches, which is badger them with paper until they are forced to respond. I don't know how he does this, but he does, and he dumped articles and questions on Borges until he eventually got a phone call one morning with Borges on the other end. A debate/harangue sort of thing occurred until Craig—Craig!—had to say goodbye because he had a mediation to oversee (the conversation made it into last year's book).
Personally, I took in Borges's session at the Glazier Clinic in Detroit a couple years ago and came away impressed by his command of the material and ability to communicate concepts.
Al Borges was not a bad guy, and helped us out. That he did so seemingly because Heiko's badgering amused him is the mark of a guy who can take some heat.
It's just that his goddamned offense didn't work.
THINGS STARTED INAUSPICIOUSLY, as Michigan found itself down 24-7 to Notre Dame three quarters into the first night game at Michigan Stadium. Michigan had 141 yards of offense nearing the end of the third quarter when the delirium kicked in. Robinson threw off his back foot just before getting sacked, Junior Hemingway skied for balls between two defenders, Gary Gray refused to acknowledge the existence of footballs, Jeremy Gallon engaged his cloaking device, and when the dust cleared Michigan had squeezed out one of the most bonkers wins in their history.
In the aftermath, things felt ramshackle, and I said as much. Michigan returned nine starters from Rich Rodriguez's final offense, the one that had seen Robinson set records, and this was not that:
This isn't to blame anyone—it seems that coaches are who they are and as much as I want to, you can't hire a guy based on the two years left you've got with Denard. But I hope I'm not the only one who felt a sense of foreboding in the midst of the joy and relief. We've seen this script the last two years, and never has it been as rickety.
Michigan has to fix some stuff—lots of stuff—by the Big Ten season. The stakes are only Denard's career, everyone's faith in the Ethical Les Miles theory of Hoke's success, and the very survival of pandas in the wild. I'll take the escape. I wonder what happens when the drugs wear off and real life reasserts itself.
The drugs did not really wear off for a while as the horseshoe stuck in Brady Hoke's posterior saw them through some rough spots.
Things only came to a screeching halt when Borges unleashed the first of his incredibly terrible gameplans at Michigan State. Faced with a howling maelstrom of trash and in possession of Denard Robinson, Borges featured a gameplan consisting mostly of deep throws as he alternated between Robinson and Devin Gardner. After a stirring opening drive, Michigan went nowhere. They did eat double A gap blitz after double A gap blitz thanks to the fact that their center was telling the entire world the exact moment he'd snap the ball, which he'd done the year before to similar effect. Had any of Michigan's new staff even watched the previous year's game?
Actually, here's a better question: were any of them watching this one?
For the game Michigan tried to pass at least 41 times*, averaging 2.8 yards per attempt and giving up a defensive touchdown.
TWO POINT EIGHT YARDS
RUN THE FOOTBALL!!!!
Michigan tried to run the ball 26 times and averaged… oh, Jesus… 5.2 yards per carry. Fitzgerald Toussaint got two carries, Denard twelve.
That was and is flabbergastingly stupid, but Borges managed to top that just a few weeks later when he ditched the spread entirely against Iowa, running a "pro-style" offense because that's what he wanted to do. This was tantamount to forfeiting.
When Iowa punched in their final touchdown on Saturday the clock read 10:42 and Michigan had acquired 166 yards of offense. Forced into a hurry-up shotgun on their final three drives, Michigan matched their production from the first 50 minutes in the last ten.
A chastened Borges went back to the spread for the duration of the season as Michigan scored 31, 45, and 40 to finish the regular season. The 40, against Ohio State, was amongst the best performances Michigan's ever had against the Buckeyes, with Robinson ripping off inverted veer runs for big gains, including the iconic touchdown run to open things.
Michigan had just gutted Ohio State for 300 rushing yards while throwing 17 times. They did this despite running the veer wrong, blocking the guy who teams that actually know how to run the spread would option. It didn't matter. All they had to do was put Robinson in space against the guy they should be blocking, and magic resulted. That, and only that, concealed the rapid erosion of Michigan's ability to run the football. And when the bowl game rolled around, Virginia Tech knew how to defend a half-ass spread. Michigan managed to win that game thanks to the horseshoe; the offense played no part, acquiring under 200 yards of offense for the first time in the Borges era.
It would not be the last time.
ROBINSON HAD SHED THE MANTLE OF INVINCIBILITY acquired over the course of 2010, when he crushed records as a still-raw true sophomore. His interception rate skyrocketed, he lost a half-yard per passing attempt and a whopping 1.3 yards per rushing attempt. That was nothing compared to what awaited the next year.
Setting aside the Alabama debacle as a game Michigan entered with no intention of winning, Borges again reverted to 1990s-style offense completely unsuited for his personnel on the infamous series of plays on which Robinson threw interception after interception.
This is where I deviate from old school hardliners who foist the blame for Robinson's panicked throws on the quarterback who'd been brilliant and efficient two years ago in that very stadium, running the stuff he was good at running. Borges had him run waggles on which not one but two Notre Dame defenders came roaring up at the 5'11" Robinson. He made the results as bad as possible; Borges created a range of results that went only from interception to second and twenty. By that point watching Borges try to utilize Denard Robinson was like watching an otter try to bash open a clam with a shoe.
Michigan did not throw a pass before third down on their two grinding second-half drives before the hurry-up was called for. Do that for the next eight games and run play action off plays you actually run and then Denard might get back to the things he was doing in an offense that was not trying to jam him into a hole he clearly does not fit. I thought maybe we'd learned that lesson after Iowa, but apparently not.
When stressed, people making decisions find it very hard to move away from habit. Everyone reverts to their comfort zone unless they are making a concerted effort to get away from it. Even then, you fall back into old patterns. Lloyd punted. Rodriguez installed a 3-3-5 defense. Borges starts calling plays from a long-ago offense helmed by a guy who was a better passer than runner. Denard throws the ball somewhere, anywhere.
Robinson would go down with his elbow injury midseason, paving the way for Devin Gardner's insertion. This went better than anyone expected—including the coaches who had privately all but given up on him as a quarterback—and eventually Denard returned to the lineup as a slash player, which worked really well for about a game and a half until Ohio State figured out that Robinson at QB always meant run and played like it.
If you've poked around the flaming wreckage of the Michigan internet in the aftermath of Saturday, you have undoubtedly heard the wailing and gnashing of teeth because of that. But the thing is so stark it has to be marveled at again: when Denard Robinson entered the game against Ohio State, every play but one was Denard Robinson doing something. Once it was fail to chip Ryan Shazier and try to get out for a screen; all other times it was run the ball, sometimes with a pitch included. The fakeout was a six-yard completion to Mike Kwiatkowski in the first quarter, and there ended any attempt at deception.
Devin Gardner was at quarterback for three of these plays. Michigan held up a sign that said RUN or PASS, and didn't even try the token fakeout where Robinson goes over the top when the safeties suck up. Gardner ran three times. Denard passed zero. Ohio State figured it out. Surprise!
Most of the time the two quarterbacks weren't even on the field together.
Have I mentioned that Michigan's non-Denard running game was so bad we assumed it couldn't possibly be worse this year?
four DTs and an SDE
two turntables and a microphone
And then, this year. While the unacceptably stupid gameplans based around distaste for the only thing you can get your team to do right evaporated, that was only because Michigan could no longer do anything right at all. After the de rigueur exciting offensive performance against a Notre Dame team that got everyone's hopes high enough to crush Michigan settled into a pattern of ineptitude so vast as to be unbelievable.
Personnel issues contributed, but when the reaction to those issues was the looney-tunes decision to put Michigan's two best offensive linemen next to each other even if they both happened to be tackles, it was over. Michigan put it on film against Minnesota, wasted their bye week repping the never-before-seen tackle over offense, and proceeded to have their tailback rush for 27 yards on 27 carries. The tackle over was quickly dumped, but only after wasting three critical weeks of in-season development for a painfully young offensive line.
That that offensive line had been asked to run first the stretch and then a bunch of power before finally seeming to settle on inside zone—ie, run the full gamut of modern blocking schemes—compounded matters immensely. Borges treated a collection of pups barely out of high school like they were the 1998 Denver Broncos and reaped the whirlwind.
Except the Broncos did one thing and did it very well. Michigan did everything and in the in the end, Michigan did nothing. Two years after a broken version of the inverted veer performed well enough to put 40 points on Ohio State, Michigan had been forced away from it because the only play they could pair with it was a moderately successful QB counter. Not once in Borges's final two years could he run play action off that look, and teams eventually boa constrictored it out of the Michigan playbook.
That was emblematic of the offense as a whole: tiny unconnected packages unrelated to each other, all of which could have worked if Michigan would just execute that one thing they practiced three times last month. When things worked they worked briefly and then were held on to long after the opponent had adjusted, because Michigan never had enough in its arsenal to sustain a full game of production without its quarterback playing out of his mind.
As the tackles for loss mounted and the press conferences got shorter, "we didn't execute" became Borges's self-damning mantra. Michigan could not expect to execute. There is your firing in a sentence.
I need a drink.
Poor Damn Heiko. :(
I liked Gorgeous Borges as a person. Too bad the damn offense didn't work.
one can at least feel that someone is looking for a solution to an offense in search of a definable offense that suits personnel.
If there has been one long thematic discussion and debate that has dominated Michigan football since 2006, this is it: searching for an offense based on those on the roster able to run it regardless of the actual staff phiolosophy about its implementation and longterm effectiveness. Can you win with the guys on your roster? Great. Let's find something that they can run and win with. How about that?
I mean even when they won a BCS game, it was sort of viewed as a happy accident based on some solar convergence theory or polar vortex phenomenon that seems an offshoot of global warming. Yeah, as a fan base and as a staff there hasn't been convergence or program warming to an offense related to its personnel under this Fergodsakes regime.
Since Lloyd was a pocket passing quarterback, and not a mobile one, he at least knew what he wanted from his offense and he recruited to it. He got great mileage from every new qb model he ran with his tried and true Michigan offense.
How do you go seven years not knowing what kind of offense you ought to run because of previously assembled mismatched parts? We've had our Dodge engine running on Ford parts for three years.
Think about it, that is the dialogue we have been having as Michigan fans since Lloyd left. And before that, it was about getting a mobile quarterback and entering the spread era with someone who could run it. Guess what, we got those guys and they could play.
And so when the coaching changed, so did the philosophy and the fiddling with personnel to sort of run spread and power, and West Coast and power, and veer and power, and not playing to your offensive strength in favor of satisfying coaching philsophy because of what --stubborness about how it should really work compared to reality? .
Because nothing worked along the Oline last year, the debate over what offense to run became more about how many steps the qb and rb should take before releasing the ball or taking a handoff to avoid a loss.
This is why hiring a new guy with a similar philosophy as the other guy doesn't exactly mean we should be doing cartwheels. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. What't really going to be different? You know what I mean.
We know who the quarterback is. We know who are backs and receivers are. And we know what kind of Oline we got. How about about running stuff they all do well together before you give them stuff they can't yet execute even if it what you want to run.
It is about execution. And it's about making it work now for the guys on hand, not the ones you plan to recruit to run it.
But you know what the entire net of this post was for me?
It reminded me how much I miss Denard.
Hope this guy gets us in the right direction!
Can we please delete the 30 replies that hash up shit from the RR era? So tired of a topic.
For me, the Nebraska game was the end for Borges. Prior to that, everything could be excused to some degree, but only putting up 13 points at home against that team was just the highest level of debacle.
Yeah the Penn State game was dumb with the whole 30 for 28, 27 for 27, end of games mismanagement woes, but it wasn't a total disaster. And yeah MSU killed us, but their defense is one of the best I've ever seen. But there was no explaining away the Nebraska game. That was the end. Northwestern and Iowa were the extra confirmation needed to realize Borges wasn't going to work out at Michigan.
Anyway, it feels good to be looking forward to next season again!
When Brandon penned his letter of support for Hoke and specifically mentioned Mattison but left Borges out, I was suspicious. He even made this ominous remark:
We also know how to hold people accountable for the roles and responsibilities they have as part of the privilege for being a part of Michigan Football -- and we will.
It turns out he meant business. Whether or not Funk should also be gone is an open question, but Borges earned his firing and Michigan handled the situation perfectly: lock-up the best in the business at your brand of football before you can the current guy.
All that said, I want to thank Al Borges for his service, and wish him the best.
Yeah, I kind of thought that was the end as well. But when Hoke said he didn't anticipate staff changes, I just figured we were rolling with Borges in year four. I'm glad Hoke/Brandon made the move, it was the right thing to do for the program.
I have to think the offensive staff will see a shake-up in the next couple days/weeks as Nussmeier establishes who he wants to work with in 2014. I'd like to see replacements for Funk and Jackson.
is a very nice guy, and loyal coach. I too, had an opportunity to hear Borges speak, though this was at Michigan's own coaching clinic a few years back. He is very knowledgeable, and appeared easy to approach and talk with (though I myself did not).
I will give him kuddos for TRYING to adapt an offensive scheme to help his best player, Denard Robinson, is year one at Michigan. He could have been a complete jackass and just ran with what he was comfortable with, but stepped "outside the box" and ran a spread/pro-style hybrid.
HOWEVER, I don't think he really knew how to get the transition from "mostly spead" to "mostly pro-style" seemlessly, so we ending up with the clusterfuck of formations and head scratching playcalling from week to week this season. I will give Borges credit: he attempted to be as creative as possible with an offense that was sinking faster than the Titanic. But, as it was pointed out, the constant change in formations/blocking schemes was screwing up his young players.
But what killed me beyond the countless formations, insistence of leaving Fitz in on passing downs (though he could not block AT ALL), or 27 yards on 27 carries playcalling was the regression of the QBs. I EXPECTED Denard to improve when Borges arrived, not NFL-caliber improved, but development with his skill set. But Denard progressively got worse as time went on. That pattern appeared to be heading the same way with Gardner. With limited reps Devin looked better last season than after an entire off-season and fall practice session to improve. Yes, I know the O-line was a ginormous sinkhole in front of him, but Gardner never showed any signs of real development. And I may be out on a limb here, but Gardner seems to have the physique/skills to actually BE a NFL-caliber QB.
I wish Al well, and look forward to seeing what 2014 brings...
Brian does a great summation of his viewpoint on Borges and analysis of the offense under Borges' control. Year 1 the team did have luck, but I think that was just the turnover karma swinging back to the positive after it hung out on the downside for Rodriguez. If you tally up the number of point scoring drives in 2011 and 2010 they come out nearly the same. The biggest change was the defense actually defended things.
Year 2 I would summarize as "Denard is still the only running attack". Or basically, Borges just couldn't put Denard on a shelf while trying to run the pro-style plays he knew the rest of the offense needed to practice so that they would be proficient in 2013, or at least serviceable. Of course Hoke only had one half of his massive OL haul in recruits, so how much would it have helped putting Denard on a shelf? Hard to say if we gained anything from adding the complicated passing schemes when our best recievers were Gallon and Gardner.
Year 3 is where I think Borges just couldn't admit it was going to suck no matter what. Not only was the OL massively young, but Borges couldn't make the decision to just pick one thing and stick with it. I think the improvement of MSU's offense this entire year is all about practicing the same base plays all year and adding the counters once the base is perfected. Every coach that comments on this site repeated this comment that Michigan has no base. It was reflected in the opposing teams gloating about, "we knew what was coming".
The point I lost faith was during reading Brian's diagnoses of the play where Funchess is in the slot but had to be on the line AND covered up by the WR. How is that NOT a Running play? That play is flawed on the drawing board. High school players would not have covered Funchess and instead joyously streaked into the backfield looking for the TFL!
Prior to that, I was really putting it on the pressure that Michigan must win year in and year out despite having incredibly young players. While I think Borges made a mistake expecting too much from young players, the part that couldn't be fixed was his apparent lack of understanding in how the opposing team uses video to scout you. I ignored the signs when he brought out that insane OL formation against PSU that he had "surprised" Minnesota with. I mean, in reality I couldn't tell if that was his brain child or Hokes. But designing a play where you are blatantly telling the defense "it's a run" is just inconceivable.
I do think the game has passed him by, and despite his knowledge and eloquence, this is the right thing to happen. And is the best for the team.
Denard and Devin didn't regress, per se. Not as individuals, at least. The problem was that when Borges first took over, opposing DCs didn't know quite what to expect -- even if they'd played against Borges. Gardner, in particular, has improved as a passer, but the offense as a whole has not progressed as quickly as defenses adapted to Borges.
And that is the ultimate failing. The 2013 offense was young, but young & raw is supposed to learn fast. They shouldn't keep getting burned by the same gimmicks. That's on the OC.
Borges I think I might've liked as a person, but he's the kind of guy I point to when I debunk the absurd, stupid, ridiculous assertion, "I have experience". Experience only matters if you learn, and while I'm not familiar with how much credit he deserves for Auburn's success, he hadn't learned anything in quite a while. Maybe success got to him? I dunno, but the appeal to authority fallacy was on full display here as well.
I actually wrote to him after his first loss to OSU; I said something to the effect of "You can't beat the likes of Meyer if you allow him to know what's coming"; he did respond but it was something about how he'd beaten Urban Meyer before. Feel free to question my wisdom for doing that, but I did learn something: when I invoked the present, Borges clung to his past.
Which was the absolute LAST thing I wanted to hear. Again, past experience doesn't mean crap if you've stopped learning. That was when I knew Borges had no intention of learning; either crap he's run for the past 20 years will work or it won't. And in the ever-involving world of college football, that's basically a career on life support.
He didn't learn the spread. He didn't learn sabermetrics. He didn't learn opposing defenses. He was confident that his plays would eventually work, and had to be forced to give them up. It was maddening just how much evidence had to be mounted to get the tiniest of admissions of error in his gameplan whereas other OCs would be trying to think three steps ahead of the defense. I kept recalling Sun Tzu, because Borges was the exact opposite. He could barely adapt; his formations gave opponents pre-snap reads that allowed them to blow up any given play he'd run before.
Eventually I started hearing the dreaded phrases of a truly finished veteran: "I'd never experienced that before." The first time I heard him say it was the Alabama game. But it only grew more frequent. It was particularly loud after the back-to-back negative yardage games. "I'd NEVER had that happen!" Old-timers are surprised when what they're good at stops working; it stops working because others have learned your game and you've stopped learning theirs.
I think I would've liked him as an uncle. . . the uncle I had to talk into retiring.
/ since he retired, the guy's been a blast -- much happier, too
The happiness that Nuss was hired has been overcome by rage.
Don't worry, be happy
resume - dating back to some very cool offenses at Portland St., Boise State, Oregon and UCLA - I thought he would be a positive sea-change at a place like Michigan.
Nussmeier's resume is not as long as Borges's, and not as impressive (in my opinion), but he's going to be very good I think.
Nussmeier has had to work with mix ot QB talents. Ones that could throw and others who could not. I don't think he's biased or prejudiced about how the ball will be moved. He has Mumme air-raid, pro-style and even spread option/zone read plays in his playbook and approaches the game like chess (e.g. strategy).
I think Nussmeier will have a ton of success at Michigan, but you know what comes with such attractive success? And endless line of suitors. Nussmeier is HC material.
We just have to enjoy this for now I guess.
I hope Borges finds a good job someplace else. I'm sure he will.
For 3 years we all asked the question, and I suppose we'll never get the answer to: Why u no make sense, Borges?? >:o
I'll never understand the disconnect in his brain that caused him to favor game plans that repeatedly, and spectacularly failed, especially when our offense demonstrated it could perform other game plans brilliantly.
This last year showed it more plainly than ever, record setting great and horrible performances from one game to the next.
Dear Gorgeous Borges
All we wanted to see were
Fucking bubble screens
I do feel like there were obvious positive moments that were not touched on here, he did break records after all and did show himself well at times too. Many of his positive games are simply excused, some of them as "luck" because of Denard, or in other ways made to be a negative. But it's whatever. This is a Borges in Repose piece after all. And it's not like he rode off triumphantly into the sunset.
While the end result happened to agree with many others's hopes (and admittedly not what I believed), I still feel many of the twisting and sinuous attacks on him from all direction - and often times opposite and counter directions - were unfounded and incorrect. The end result was that the offense wasn't good enough consistently enough, someone had to fall for it. Rightly and wrongly, the OC is typically the fall guy. And while I believe Nussmeier to be a well equiped OC that will help Michigan win, it'll be interesting to see just how quickly fans turn on him when he doesn't succeed at certain times, because all football fan bases turn on coordinators at some point. Sometimes the fans can be won back (I believe Mattison will win back some of his doubters that he now has), and sometimes they can't.
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
I'm not sure how anything changes for you. With your stance on things, whoever the OC is shouldn't matter. Because no coordinator actively tries to lose, the new OC's plays will make sense to you and life will go on like it always has.
Still, its pleasing to hear the death rattle of most prominent member of the Borgenatti.
The fact that you feel the need to twist logic, words, arguments, debates, and add personal insults to almost every post you make doesn't change that. I've had the same stance from the start, and it was that if Hoke and Brandon thought it was best to move on from Borges, than it likely was. That doesn't make many of the arguments made about his playcalling and player improvement correct. It doesn't make many of my defenses of him for the stupid, inane things that were lobbed against him incorrect. It does mean that I defended a guy against stupid, inane comments that ultimately got fired. So did Brian with Rich Rod, but that didn't make his arguments less correct. That doesn't make your massive amounts of hyperbole and hot garbage any more correct.
And an OC does matter, and he matter for many reasons, just as any coaching matters, I've never said differently. Otherwise, why would anyone coach, or why wouldn't everyone coach if it were so easy and you made so much money? I defended against stupid criticisms and tried to give people perspective about why things happened the way they did, you'll note there were people that made negative claims about Borges that I didn't disagree with or debate with.
Borges was fired. Did you win? Was this a contest? You certainly act like it. I always admitted there were things to complain about with Borges, and even listed those things yesterday in a thread Brian wrote (where you managed to twist his words into hyperbole and then attempt to insult people). Ultimately, those things were likely what got him fired, along with things that none of us saw that happened in the many more hours behind the scenes. His ultimate job loss isn't because of a lot of the stupid crap you said over the past few months, though the conclusion "it didn't work" was. My task of determining why doesn't make me wrong, because I admitted when things didn't work and put blame on the coaches when they didn't. Because you're too arrogant, stubborn, and rude to actually learn more about the sport that you so freely feel willing to criticize doesn't make you better or more correct.
I want what is best for Michigan and am excited to get back to talking football again. That won't change the fact that people like you will make unwarranted criticisms that have no basis in reality. I'm sure you'll do it about the next guy, and the guy after that, and so on and so forth, because you honestly believe you know better. I'm hoping we can move on to other things that I can take part in, though I'm sure you'll still spew the same nonsense because now you feel justified in doing so.
I read the first sentence.
How am I twisting your argument? You've said repeatedly that you thought Al Borges had good gameplans, called (almost) all the right plays and that his play calls made sense. You've spent hours upon hours making long and drawn out posts explaining this to people over and over again after every terrible performance.
My question is: How does that differ from any other offensive coordinator? It really doesn't. You can make sense of any gameplan or any play if that's what you want to do. For some reason, you chose to do that with Al Borges despite all evidence to the contrary.
However, If its really about the plays making sense (which seemed to be your end all defense of Borges), then I can really can't see how having a different OC changes things for you, the end result is still going to be the same: Plays you can diagram and go "A-ha! There's the logic!", regardless of the overall results.
Westward wolverine wins
I will predict that most people won't change on this board, not just SpaceCoyote.
Psychology shows that people who were happy before winning the lottery are happy after winning the lottery, and people who were unhappy before winning the lottery are unhappy after winning the lottery. Much of our reactions to our experiences come from our thoughts about our experiences. And our ways of thinking don't tend to change too much.
To apply that to MGoBlog, yes, it is likely that SpaceCoyote will still continue to look at the plays and continue to be reasoned and analytical in his understanding of the thinking behind them.
Likewise, others will continue to complain about the playcalling, even though they are happy to be rid of Coach Borges, because that is what they have always done. It will be hidden initially because there is going to be a regression to the mean effect that will make fans think that the new coach is better than the old coach. But I can't imagine that there won't be a Fire Nussmeier movement at some point in the near future (unless he leaves for a head coaching position before the inevitable randomness of wins and losses sees him with more losses than he should have).
See, I agree and disagree. I think that in this case, you're right, there are always some people who will be unhappy no matter what or happy because that's just how they are in life. But what gets lost in the Borges argument is always this: Half of an entire season on the offensive side of the ball was a total disaster! There's no argument against that! There are actual reasons to be unhappy! Most of the people who want Borges gone look at that, watch the games where we score 9 points against Northwestern or run our backs 30 times for 28 yards against Penn State or go 3 and out five times in a row against Iowa or run back to back plays up the gut after a turnover against Nebraska or only score 7 points in the first half against a 5-7 MAC team or less than 300 yards of offense against a terrible Big East team or the second straight year of 0 touchdowns against Sparty and think, "Hey, at a certain point there's something going on here that's wrong beyond young players. I think we need a change. Michigan is paying an exceedingly high salary for an embarrassing output".
What the Borges apologists (and you in your post) seem to be pretending is that under Borges, the offense actually looked good for most of this year and Michigan went at least 9-3 and we're whining because nothing is ever enough for us.
So I think there will be many people who will change, not just superficially for the reasons you state, but because the OC will actually be better and the performances will bear that out.
I don't begrudge you your opinion. You have every right to feel whatever you want about this season. However, I don't know that it is as realistic (and can't be argued) as much as you might want to believe. Maybe think of it like this...
In your response you say:
Half of an entire season on the offensive side of the ball was a total disaster! There's no argument against that! There are actual reasons to be unhappy! Most of the people who want Borges gone look at that, watch the games where we score 9 points against Northwestern...
I think it is fair to say that a comment like that focuses on half of the data: the half which supports a particular view. In other words, it sees the glass as half empty and thus was pessimistic about Coach Borges' abilities. Some people just see their team this way.
Other people look at the other half of the data, and see the glass as half full. Some people just see their team this way.
Oddly, these people seem to piss you off, even though, in a way, they are doing the same thing as you.
Personally, I think the data are very ambiguous with regard to Coach Borges. Maybe the better way to think of it is:
I wouldn't say they piss me off, I'd say its part amusing listening to someone try to defend a nearly indefensible opinion and part just good old fashioned sports banter, which sometimes leads to annoyance.
"the half which supports a particular view. In other words, it sees the glass as half empty and thus was pessimistic about Coach Borges' abilities. Some people just see their team this way. "
*Sigh* No. Just no. This is so wrong and so much babble that we're in the annoyance territory. The problem with your theory is that the good doesn't come close to outweighing the bad. Its not a "glass half full, half empty" scenario, its looking at the season as a whole and realizing that the poor performances outweigh the quality ones.
Above Average Michigan Offensive Performances: Notre Dame, Ohio State, Minnesota
Below Average Michigan Offensive Performances: Akron, UConn, MSU, Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa, Kansas State.
Expected: CMU, Indiana, Penn State
See, what you're saying is that the season was equal parts good and equal parts bad and I'm a negative person so I'm only looking at the bad parts. In reality, I've weighed the good against the bad and the bad outweighs the good and thus formed my opinions.
You on the other hand, are looking at this from a fantasy standpoint: Both sides are equal because that's my preconceived notion about things. The glass is always half-full or half-empty.
I'm tiring of this. I didn't mean this to become some argument. There is no "winner" here.
My last comment is this: I still think you are cherry-picking the data.
Yes, this year was bad. Any year that ends 7-6 is not a good one. I don't think anyone is arguing that this was a great year overall, especially for the offense.
What is being argued, however, is whether it means that Borges was so bad that he needed to go. You are clearly under the impression that the answer is that he definitely needed to go. And you have evidence to back that up. I get that.
I'm just trying to argue (and I'm going to stop pestering you after this) that those who didn't think that Borges needed to go are not idiots, and also have evidence to back that up. Some of that evidence will come from this year with those above average performances against quality opponents. Some of that evidence will include the fact that good coaches have bad years, sometimes through bad luck (e.g., injuries, last second heroics/goat, weather, etc.), sometimes through personnel (e.g., lack of experience, lack of depth, lack of talent). But most importantly, these people will also look at all three years of the coaching and see an 11-2 record during a transition year, using a philosophy that was not the normal philosophy. Looking at all of that evidence, I think it is fair to say that things are much more ambiguous than you make it out to be.
In the end, though, I think that those wanting Borges to go were ultimately correct because the one person with the best ability to judge all the evidence just let him go.
From Heiko's interview: " If the pieces don’t fit together properly, then that’s a reflection of the coordinator and no one else. " - Al Borges
I think that pretty much sums it up
Brian stated some very nice things about him. Painted Al as a very personal guy. The rest is just "what happened"; not malicious, just history.
Lol, get over yourself.
So the coaches gave up on Gardner as a QB? Is this really true? Did they really think Bellomy was a viable back-up, or did they really just want some size/speed at WR to move Gardner over?
Brian has said this a couple times. The only evidence that's not pure insider talk would be the Nebraska game where Bellomy came in rather than moving Gardner. The stated reason for why it was Bellomy and not Gardner, that Gardner hadn't taken enough snaps, rang a bit hollow to me but could very well be correct.
I think they did believe the size/speed Gardner could provide to WR was greater value than being a backup QB, but doesn't necesserily mean that it was because they really felt Bellomy was a viable backup or that Gardner couldn't play QB.
I will say that I really liked Borges' aggressiveness in the pass game. Hopefully Nuss can keep some of that. I know he likes vert passing, so that's good.
is what did Borges in with a little help from o-line and interception problems. I am a firm believer that any type of offense can be successful if the element of unpredictability is there. We got to the point this year that even people with the most basic understanding of football could see what play was coming or where the run was going.
..don't like to see anyone fired, and around the holidays; although I probably shouldn't feel too bad for someone who can afford to lose more money than I will ever make. Clearly there was a lot done behind the scenes, and quietly for a change, that we won't ever know. Good to see that lessons were learned and that this process was conducted with a great deal more discretion. Discretion... tact... class.... and well, everyone probably had to sign stuff.
I agree that Borges' tenure is best summed up as a bunch of fine ideas jumbled together incoherently. Somestimes great things happened, sometimes it was a disaster. It was never consistent. Good luck out there Gorgeous Al
It's obvious to me that Nuss is a top tier offensive coordinator, and a young guy with bigger aspirations then OC. I am very excited about this hire but it wouldn't surprise me at all if he has good success in his first couple years that he darts for his first head coaching opportunity.
Anyone else share these fears or am I just being an irrational wolverines fan?
There are worse things than being a school where high-profile young coordinators launch into head coaching gigs. I'd rather replace a hot candidate every 3 years than be stuck with Mike DeBord for 10.
... but to praise him.
I dislike the tendency to attribute all the success we had on offense to luck/Denard, and all the failures on the OC, but I guess that's the nature of the job. I hope we can leave that in 2013 where it belongs, and recognize that success will flow from a great many people's combined effort - the players and coaches and all the people who train them.
The results on the field should speak for themselves, and we can but hope that a new OC and another year will lead to better results.
I started to read the comments, then they devolved into a RR arguement so I stopped. What I will say is Brian had a good word for the feeling I have as well, and that's relief. I don't take any joy in seeing anyone lose their job, whether they make 20,000.00 a year or 20, 000,000.00 a year...it's just not something I can be happy about.
Rlieved on the other hand, that's a good word for it. I was pretty vocal about my desire for another OC, but never lost my affinity for Al Borges. At least to me, he seems like a pretty damn cool guy, and funny as well. I think he's probably a good person to go along with that but I know lots of good people that I wouldn't want coaching my favorite football team.
At the end of the day my opinion about Al did change somewhat though. In the beginning I placed all of the blame for the offense on his shoulders, but after listening to Space Coyote and some others who know more about the intricacies of the game than I do, that changed.
I still place most of the blame on Al, but for different reasons now. I can see there were certainly other factors that lead to the way he called games. You could see in the bowl game he was being creative in an attempt to mask the major problems we had blocking. He was definitely handcuffed by the lack of development on the o-line.
My biggest concern now is what happens to Funk? IMHE, he is the biggest reason we ended up here and I'd hate to see him get the opportunity to undermine another OC. Let's give the new guy the best chance to succeed and give him a competent staff to work with.
To Al: Best of luck and I hope you land on your feet. We'll always have the "bubble screens".
I was actually surprised to see the fire-hire right now and thought there would be changes just that the changes would happen after signing day. Possibly the move involving Alabama wanting Lane Kiffin prodded the move by Nussmeieier to go M and the dominoes fell early. Further changes will probably involve the input of the new OC and also Funk may be tied to some recruits so the handling of further changes will be done with kid gloves.........we will see!
Waiting to a degree helps in recruiting, but not much else. And in this case, Borges wasn't the primary recruiter of many, and he wasn't really involved primarily in the recruitment of many of the remaining 2014 targets, so while losing him may not help (and Nussmeier doesn't hurt in this instance anyway), the timing I don't think has a major effect on recruiting at this point. 2015 is still a ways off for any impact he would have there.
The other things that waiting until after signing day does is not give much time between then and spring ball. Not only are you being a bit dishonest with the kids, but you're not giving them time to get a new playbook, start understanding the new concepts, etc. Essentially, you run the risk of wasting time covering those things in practice when those some of the basics can be learned outside of practice.
In the end, I think the made this early because of those things. This move was made this late because they wanted to see all their options (NFL guys, potential college guys) and likely because they didn't want to steel the spotlight from the MNC game, and to some degree, probably didn't want this hush hushed by the MNC game.