I was on a different web site this morning when something popped up.
With Barnum getting healthy and Schofield playing well any chance we see one of two scenarios: Barnum takes over left guard, Schofield moves to right tackle and slide Huyge down to left guard or Barnum takes over right guard for Omehmeh? I'm partial to the former simply because of two 6' 7" 300 pounders on the edges, yes please.
It might be too late to make that change. While Huyge has some experience at guard, that came under Rich Rodriguez, when pulling was not a major part of the offense. Putting him at G seems like an invitation to have the same issues Omameh is having with a different player.
I could see the straight Schofield-for-Huyge swap if the coaches believe Schofield is a much better pass protector. We have no evidence that's the case since he's only played guard, but if I had to bet I'd guess he is. It's tough to take a senior who's only had one bad game out, though.
Do you think Borges is leaving our base offense (and by that I mean Denard at QB, lots of RB runs interspersed with a few Denard runs and passes) too early? Against Michigan State and Purdue, our first drives worked to perfection and our run game seemed effective.
Immediately thereafter, we started running a lot of crazy reverses, reverse fakes, and Devin-centric chicanery instead of sticking with what worked. Why? it drives me crazy every week. Also, we seem to love to fake the run before we've even established our running threat. For obvious reasons, this hasn't been effective.
For coaches that talked a lot about man ball and the desire to establish a RB, we seem pretty eager to abandon Toussaint and the run game.
I addressed this topic in a picture pages yesterday and got a couple inquiries about whether or not I thought Michigan's seeming lack of a base offense was a good or bad thing.
I'm not able to answer that yet. It's a thing. Whether it's good or bad is something we won't be able to tell for a while. I am sure I like it better than DeBord's zone offense, which was predictable and seemed to save every interesting tweak for the Citrus Bowl. I'm not sure if I like it better than the style of offense Michigan was using last year when the omnipresent threat of Denard's running often led to free touchdowns, or at least long drives before Michigan would turn the ball over. (YAY LAST YEAR.)
But you need opinions, no matter how flimsily justified. So: if I never hear "they did what we expected them to do" again it will be too soon. The only time someone's tried that this year was when Dantonio said something about how Michigan will run tunnel screens when Gallon is in the game as if he's a Calvin-Bell-style designated reverse guy. That is incorrect, so, like, thumbs up. Tentatively.
Why was Borges so terse on the bubble screen question – (btw did you ask it?). I wonder if it was because he expects the QBs to check into that play and it hasn’t been happening – perhaps he was protecting the players a bit?..
The process by which questions about football—as opposed to feelingsball—are asked at press conferences is like so: Heiko goes to the pressers and sometimes asks questions that I've asked him to ask. Sometimes he just reads a bunch of blogs and asks questions the blogosphere has implied he should ask. The option responsibility Q posed to Mattison after NW was the former. The bubble screen Q was the latter. This is what happened:
Is the bubble screen ever going to be a part of your offense? “I’m not saying one thing about any bubble screens.”
Heiko is in intensive care recovering*. In lieu of flowers you can donate to the EFF.
So… why did the normally accessible Borges fire that off when asked about the lack of a bubble screen? I'm guessing he thinks the bubble screen is stupid. I'd like to find out why he thinks it's stupid since everyone from Dantonio to Rodriguez to Lloyd Carr made it a part of the offense to punish teams that tried to cheat inside or deep. His perspective on the thing would be interesting.
I doubt that it has anything to do with the players not making that check. For one, the alignments that seem to open up the bubble are usually trips formations featuring the #2 WR on the line of scrimmage. The latest BWS bubble complaint:
That makes for an awkward backwards orbit by the potential bubble guy and puts the main blocker in a less advantageous position than he would be if he was on the LOS. It seems clear that the bubble is just not installed.
As to why Borges isn't saying word one about the bubble, there seem to be two possibilities:
Meanwhile, between morphine doses I'm trying to get Heiko to ask questions that are less confrontational.
UPDATE: AA.com has a slightly longer version of the quote.
"I'm not saying one thing about any bubble screens," Borges said. "Everyone wants to ask about that play."
Door number one, then.
*[This is actually the second time Heiko's gotten acid in his face asking about something strategic. He asked Hoke whether he'd ever considered a spread punt and got this answer: "no." End of answer. It's not a surprise that coaches don't take kindly to random people implying heir decisions are not optimal, but it's kind of fun to ask anyway. As long as you're not Heiko.]
Hindsight in re: Three and Out.
I know your criticism of the Hoke hiring, and I am not trying to bait you on this. With the benefit of hindsight, however, I keep asking myself whether a Hoke hire in 2007-08 would have been all that risky given what appears to have transpired (and actually did). It now seems like it would have been the safe move -- kind of like Bo elevating Gary Moeller, despite Moeller's horrendous record as a head coach at Illinois -- i.e., you don't lose to Northwestern in the late 70s solely because Illinois doesn't recruit well.
Obviously, what's done is done. But my opinions of Bill Martin and Lloyd Carr have been altered dramatically.
Let's just hope the Notre Dame coaching carousel of fun is not in UM's future. . . .
I just don't see how you can hire a guy who is vastly under .500 in the MAC. At that point Hoke hadn't had his 12-1 season or turned around the perpetually moribund San Diego State. He was 22-36 in five years at Ball State.
I mean, envision this situation: the fanbase is even more up in arms about than they were in the brief period between Hoke's hiring and kidnapping Mattison from the Ravens. Martin does not want to shell out for Mattison. Mallett still probably leaves. The team is just as much of a tire fire in 2008. You probably get Threet to stick around the year after, but did he prove himself much better than Tate even given another year to redshirt and learn a system? Eh… not really.
Michigan still turns in a losing season its first year and is 7-5 at best in year two, at which point the coach has had one winning season, period, and has overseen the worst period in Michigan football since the 60s. Can Hoke recruit in that environment? Can anyone?
Unless you believe Hoke turns the tattered roster in 2008 and 2009 into significantly more wins than Rodriguez does—like five or six—he's doomed. I think that's a stretch. You can't cure John Ferrera flipping from DL to start at guard, can't cure the Threet/Sheridan QB combo, can't do much about the disaster zone in the secondary.
Michigan ran a guy with two BCS bowl wins out of town after three years. Were they going to keep a guy whose high water mark was a 7-5 MAC season longer? This is a fascinating hypothetical, actually. They just might have.
It has been mentioned on the front page twice that Dungy was a broadcaster in 2007. This is off by a few years. 2009 was his first season out of coaching and in the role of studio analyst.
Er. Sorry about that, Bill Martin. Your coaching desires were crazier but less easy to evaluate than I expected.
Approved by NASA.
I was on Uni-Watch this morning, and this ad popped up:
Finally, the Elvis Grbac simulator we’ve waited 20 years for!
I'm all like… is that guy wearing #45? I don't understand.
I was on a different web site this morning when something popped up.
I'm sure Borges has a reason he's adverse to the Bubble, whatever that might be, and I agree - getting him to talk about it would be really interesting from a pure football perspective. Obviously he's not stupid so unless he's saving it as you suggest (and why would you save free yards) he must have some reason he opposes utilizing it.
For what it's worth I absolutely love two changes the new regime made in communication to the general public:
1. The Coordinators speak directly and answer questions. Most questions anyways....
2. We no longer release our injuries. I asked last year why RR did that given he didn't have to and no one else did. Why tip our hand on who to gameplan for in advance?
“I’m not saying one thing about any bubble screens.”
That explains some things, but raises equally as many questions. There I sat, watching the O-line eaten alive by blitz after blitz in the loss to MSU, wondering why we don't have a counter to keep them honest. "Just one screen, Al" I begged. I had no idea he had such an irrational hatred of the bubble.
It's possible he doesn't hate bubble screens. I'd like to think he's saving it. I'm not sure how "not saying anything about bubble screens" will change opponent preparation, but, whatever. Either way, it's an entirely fair question to ask and a dismissive, rude answer.
Keep those questions coming, Heiko. I, for one, like 'em!
If in the middle of a game like the trash tornado, he'll sit on something in his playbook that he thinks would work just to "save" it for later in the year, then I seriously question his judgment.
Well, at the risk of sounding overly negative, this is from the crack research team that couldn't figure out how MSU was guessing the snap count from the gun for the past 3 years and didn't make any adjustments in game to a fairly simple thing. Just sayin'...
That said, I agree with Brian that the offense is as diverse as any we've seen at UM in a long time. Why they would stop short at incorporating a bubble screen (nevermind that it seems mind-numbingly obvious) when they do just about everything else, save the triple option, is a mystery.
You can't just add plays willy-nilly. They need to be drawn out, practiced, etc. It's entirely possible that Borges didn't have the bubble screen in the initial offensive scheme, and, as the season has gone along, has prioritized practicing what they have, or other new wrinkles rather than adding that wrinkle. You can't just add it and run it without repping it.
That's true, but the bubble was one of the offense's base plays for the last 3 years so the players are definitely familiar with it.
I'm not a football coach and I don't claim to know anywhere near what Borges knows, but it seems kinda simple to tell Denard (in certain situations): "If there are more than 7 in the box and the slot receiver is uncovered, just make a check and make a quick throw to him." To the receiver: "If Denard makes this certain check/signal, just stand where you are and catch the quick throw."
Even if it only gets a few yards it at least forces the defense to think twice about crowding the box to stop the run.
You can't cure John Ferrera flipping from DL to start at guard, can't cure the Threet/Sheridan QB combo, can't do much about the disaster zone in the secondary.
But this assumes the same personnel. I don't think you can make that assumption. A Hoke hire in 2007 probably would have meant much more of Carr's staff being retained and in turn, it probably would have meant less player attrition. I'd guess that Boren and Arrington would not have left. Manningham was probably gone regardless. Mallett is harder to predict, but I think there was a chance of him staying if the offense hadn't been drastically changed.
If Boren hadn't transferred, Ferrara wouldn't have needed to start at OG. If Mallett hadn't transferred, we wouldn't have had to start Threet/Sheridan. And with say, Vance Bedford coaching the DBs, the secondary shouldn't have been a disaster in 2008, when we had two future NFL corners.
Well, you can make the assumption that if Hoke was hired in 2008, there would never be such a thing as a Denard in a winged helmet.
I love Denard, but if there was a hypothetical situation where we were decent to good in 2008-2010 and Denard never came here, I would take that in a heartbeat. The team, the team, the team is greater than Denard.
The greater point is that you can't really play the game of "these things would have been different, but the other years (player and recruiting wise) would be the same." It's all a butterfly effect. Not only Denard, but you would be watching a completely different Michigan team today, probably at least 50% different personnel.
I'm sure Denard would've come here back then.
If he wanted to play cornerback that is........
Yeah, I don't know why Threet gets thrown under the bus for the 2008 season all of the time. He was a 6' 5" four star QB coming out of high school. If you're going to pick a QB to run the spread offense, he was not it. However, that doesn't mean that he couldn't have been an effective QB in an offense that better fit his skill set.
It would be like asking Denard to stay in the pocket and throw deep outs 15-20 times a game. We'd see a 20% completion rate and a 1:4 TD:Interception ratio.
Sheridan is a bit of a different story but Threet had potential (as evidenced by winning the starting job at ASU before getting hurt). You've got to remember that he was a RS Freshman in 2008. There's no reason to think that he couldn't have been as successful as John Navarre given the right system and supporting cast. The cards just didn't play out that way.
Threet would still have been a redshirt freshman. Given Threet's performance at Arizona State as a redshirt junior, it's safe to conclude that he wouldn't have been great in a Carr/Hoke-style offense in 2008 either.
I understand that he wasn't going to light the world on fire in 2008 (especially after Arrington and Manningham left). I'm just saying his name is used like a "bad word" and it's sort of a diservice to the guy.
He had the skill set and potential to be as good/effective as John Navarre if his career had played out that way. We just never got to see it.
I'd argue that Threet is functional enough when coupled with a decent run game. The defense was actually fairly functional in RR's first year. I remember the defense holding until after about the 6th 3 and Out in a row, after which they ran out of gas and the bloodbath began. Note the Wisconsin game where we turned it over 3 times in our own territory and Wisconsin got 2 FGs (third one was blocked). You have Threet make a couple decent throws a drive, lots of power run/MANBALL, and the defense doesn't run out of gas. In turn we win more. I think we'd have been functional in the 6-6/7-5 sense of functional. The bowl streak lives on, the defense continues to look good, an the alumni doesn't freak the fuck out.
This matches my memories of 2008 as well, with the giant caveat of the Purdue 3-3-5 game (and to a lesser extent the Juice Williams ninja fake blowout).
would suggest that Threet would struggle whereever he was because he would get very excitable, nervous and jittery during games - almost a nervous wreck. Had a poor deliivery too, and based at least how he was described in Three and Out, he lacked a moxie that would have led him to succeed in any offense.
His on the field performance at ASU suggests otherwise though. 62% completition rate, 18 TD, 16 INT, 7.5 average for the year. 133 QB rationg. Believe it or not, his QB rating at Michigan was 105 (that shocked me).
He clearly can't run a spread offense and make the reads, but he was functional at ASU. If Hoke's OC matched Threet up with the right scheme we could have at least gotten medicority on offense. I'll agree he's not a strong cadidate for leading come from behind victories or the like though.
Not trying in the least to be snarky, but what was the ASU record during the Threet-as-starting-QB era?
Also, though K Cousins threw a lazy toss backwards (showing it can be done in adverse conditions by any college QB) in the U-M/MSU game a few weeks ago...Threet seemed not to be able to develop that "touch," because even after the monsoon debacle at ND, he was still doing it years later at ASU...
Interesting stats there. Almost 1:1 TD/Int, and his QB Rating is 133. Huh!
The reasoning he gave for leaving was "You don't have a quarterback." So it seems fair to assume that if Mallett had gone, Arrington would have left as well.
then we have English instead of Mattison and DeBord rather than Borges.
I can't see how that increases Hoke's chances for success, short or long term.
You said Mallet would have left...but he may not have, Hoke has created the family atmosphere so who knows. He was able to keep a very talented spread QB to play manball, so maybe Mallet would have stayed (and Manningham, etc.) We'll never know I guess.
Dear Heiko: Thank you for taking the abuse on our behalf, we appreciated it!
The difference being that Denard was well liked by teammates and by all accounts happy at Michigan. Mallett was widely disliked and unhappy at Michigan even before the season started, and his home state school had opening at QB.
Another difference is that Hoke at that point had no relationship with Borges, so we were likely looking at the return of Stan Parrish as OC. People with better memories can tell me whether that would have been a good thing or a bad thing.
We've had three guys with prior playing experience transfer out of the secondary alone since Hoke showed up, despite this imaginary "family atmosphere" and a former coach who instructed all of his players to stay. Assuming he could make a guy who wanted out, and was by all accounts a giant dick, stay at Michigan is kind of ridiculous. Assuming he could make the oft-suspended Mario Manningham turn down NFL millions is downright dumb.
I actually didnt know about Mallet's attitude issues. I live waaaay down south and did not know anything about MGoBlog at the time.
Even though we've had a handful of players (that actually play) leave the program since Hoke came, I am pretty impressed with the attitude surrounding the program right now compared to th growing fractures un the RR era just a few months prior. I really liked RR, but now that Hoke is here there is a pretty noticeable difference in the overall demeanor of the program.
was probably gone whoever the new coach was going to be. Arrington though might have stayed if the new coach was going to run a more pro style offense.
Could Hoke have gotten a Pro style QB to come to Michigan late in the game for the 2008 season? If yes, this QB could have been a sophomore in 2009 with one year of exp. He was already recruiting the Midwest.
It's 21 -- just hard to see on the image they copied for it.
but it is easy to say that in the future, they WILL hire the close michigan ties, MAC losing record guy and not the change everything genius guy.
and that is really the point, is it not?
Watching the game Saturday Schofield didn't play all that well at guard. I counted 2 or 3 plays where I noticed the rest of the line blocking well and him missing a block to get the play blown up. It seemed like the coaches sat him for a while and brought Barnum in until Barnum got banged up again. Schofield definitely seems like he belongs at tackle.
...although after the game I wasn't doing too much worrying about Schofield, and was concerned more about the reason why he was pressed into service at left tackle later on.
I like Schofield as much as any of the OLmen; I wish him every success. But before we worry about him at right tackle, I'm sort of worried about him at... left tackle. Eh?
Before Moeller took that job, Bo told him to insist on a six year contract because it would take at least that long to turn it around. When you inherit a smoking crater it's unrealistic to expect immediate success.
I wasn't looking forward to another set of "what if" games about who would have left and who wouldn't.
The 2008 team was going to be bad if Vince Lombardi coached them. How bad? That's up for debate.
at the presser bubble comments. Two things immediately popped out:
1. Borges was kind of a jerk. Given the full answer, it's clear that Borges was annoyed that someone would question his choices in the offense. So....why have the pressers at all, then? If your answer is simply a form of "I'm smarter than you are, don't question me" in response to strategy questions, then what is left to ask that isn't fluffy bullshit or idiotic questions like "Are you pleased that we ran all over Purdue?"
If he simply didn't want to give up a strategy for surprise purposes it's easy enough to say something like "well, the way they have been defending us determines what plays we want to run. Understand that everything is on the table and we will get the ball to our playmakers." There's no need to be so terse. Maybe he was just having a bad day but it really reflected poorly on him in my opinion. I'm surprised that he isn't impressed and refreshed by the substantive questions he receives from Heiko at each presser. It's not like Heiko was attacking him - just asking if a very basic play that almost every offense runs (and our current squad is very good at executing, particularly since Borges is always talking about how good our WRs are at blocking) is in the playbook.
2. I can now see why reporters ask stupid questions. Heiko was probably mortified and I can see why after one of those a lot of reporters go back to asking stupid shit. Heiko, if you are reading this please don't give up on the tough and insightful questions. I can pick out your questions in every presser because they are the only ones with substance and are questions that the blog cares about. Keep up the good work.
Replace "bubble screen" with "wishbone" or "run and shoot," and you'll realize why Borges might've taken umbrage with the question. Just because things work in other offenses or in NCAA Football 12 doesn't mean every offensive coordinator has to deploy them in his/her scheme.
I see what you're saying about getting annoyed, but Borges is a professional and should have answered the question professionally. Asking about the bubble screen didn't come out of left field - it was a big part of the spread offense that Borges is trying to run this year. Its actually the one glaring absense. Sure, Borges was probably annoyed at the question, but it had to be asked and could have been answered a little more professionally, I think.
Plus, GTFO Heiko, Borges! It was a great question as far as the MGoCommunity is concerned and deserved an answer, even if it was a simple "no" (or "NO!").
If you are going to run a spread offense, a big part of it is using things like bubble screens to stretch the defense and keep them honest in the short flat. Not running/calling the play doesn't make sense if that is the kind of offense you are going to run. It is also a big reason why some of those free TD's haven't been as readily available this year (the QB Oh Noes worked because teams feared Denard's legs AND had to respect the perimeter screen game). Against MSU, we lined up almost exclusively in a spread look and almost certainly should have employed the bubble screen to keep the defense honest. Against Purdue we were under center a lot more and it made perfect sense not to use any wide receiver screens on the perimeter.
To sort of combine your two points, it would be like if Borges had us line up in the wishbone and then never gave the ball to the fullback. It would sort of defeat the whole purpose of running that particular offense. As such, it is a very valid question that Heiko asked, though one that could be made completely irrelevant if we stick to a more conventional looking offense more of the time to close out the season.
wasn't running a different style of offense - he asked him if a particular PLAY was going to be used. And it's not some bullshit dreamed up in a video game - it's a fucking bubble screen. This play is an effective constraint play used across just about every offensive system and is something our current personnel is very good at and defenses aren't even bothering to defend.
The analogy you are looking for would involve a question like "do you plan to attack the edges more with jet sweeps?" Jet sweeps are a play used by just about every offensive scheme and are designed to punish certain defensive tendencies, just like bubble screens.
It was a valid question.
Wat? A bubble screen is a play. Michigan fucking State runs it. A wishbone or spread is an entire offense. This comment is dumb, and Borges was rude and is dumb for not using it.
I don't get why you would sort of incorporate spread elements but then not incorporate a huge constraint play that both works for 8 free yards from time to time but also sets up the inside running game.
I'm glad that Heiko takes the bullet and asks good questions, even when they don't result in good answers. Nothing is more frustrating than hearing a "reporter" ask a stupid question like "can you talk about how fun it is to coach (player X)?"
The bubble screen one makes no sense for a coach as diverse in his game plan as Borges.
As for the spread punt, I'm disappointed with the answer greatly. But I think a better way to ask that question to get an answer would be this:
to the spread punt question was very useful. You have your answer - Hoke won't consider using the spread punt formation. It offers insight into what they are thinking through the lack of additional words-it's simply not something that's on the table. The perfect ending would be to follow-up with a "why?" and see what you get in response but I'm guessing it wouldn't be fruitful.
Your version of the question would probably invite coachspeak about "setting guys up for success" and we'd never know whether the spread punt formation was being considered (or worse, we'd get the idea that it's in the works but then it never happens).
He probably keeps most of the coaching staff - even DeBord. Attrition isn't as bad, maybe Mallett and Arrington stay. That being said, I don't think he would have been qualified for the position at that time. Hoke himself even says he wanted but wasn't ready and needed those 2 years at SDSU.
The hypothetical about what would have happened if Hoke was hired is an interesting one, especially since Bacon points out that Hoke was at least on the radar screen back in 2008. To me, the most glaring difference if Hoke would have been hired vs. Rodriguez's hiring would have been the extracurricular stuff. There would be no heat coming from West Virginia, no lawsuits over buyout provisions, no attempts to undermine Hoke because of him being an outsider or running a scheme that is drastically different from what everyone was used to. To me, that extracurricular stuff was so important - not to the win-loss calculation, but to fan enjoyment. And that is what college football is all about anyway, at least to all of us that suffered through the past 3 years. It would have been much easier going 3-9 without all of the hurtful speech and internal bickering, right?
Had Hoke gotten off to a slow start, however, there would have been a lot of complaining about the program being behind the times, inbred, stale, etc. Hoke's "This is Michigan"/return to tradition schtick also wouldn't really have been possible. Think Brian's frustration of the spring x100 without the likelihood of success that has tempered the criticism of Hoke.
Had hoke gone 3-9 there would have been plenty of hurtful speech and internal bickering, just a different type.
There already existed a split in Michigan fans before the RR hire. Had Hoke been hired (as others pointed out--not a realistic scenario) at the time, there still would have been a split, just of a different type, and more of the dissent would have been external. There was a general sense that we needed a drastic change of direction--a 21st century offense. RR satisfied that portion of the fanbase, and in 2007 and 2008, that seemed to be a majority of fans. People weren't going to be satisfied with 3 and 4 loss seasons, and there would have been even less patience among most fans than there was with RR if we were continuing the same old approach (or at leas what seemed like the same approach).
Possibly no ncaa violations due to practicegate.
It's obviously Darren Patterson from the 1997 championship team. How could you miss that?