“On the offense last year, they had great spacing. That’s what I remember. Great spacing, great shooters, like Nik Stauskas, who’s not there right now. But they always have someone to fill the roles. They have a cutting offense, kind of hard to guard.”
"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."
"The experience he has from last year is starting to show," Jazz forward Gordon Hayward said. "He’s making shots, and he made some gutsy plays against Portland. He’s got a confidence about him that he can get the job done."
Conference play has come, and Big Ten teams can safely retreat to their thunderdomes to clobber each other in peace, insulated from the braying mockery of the national media. There is still upheaval. Michigan has fallen apart. Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke have been confined to the Touliers Palace.
The option has always been about making a defender wrong about who has the ball, thus effectively blocking him. Since you don't have to actually block him this means you can take out a slavering rage-beast with even the daintiest of skill position players.
Rich Rodriguez's innovation was taking the hazard-laden option and turning it into a simple yes-or-no handoff. The read option makes a guy wrong without requiring a pitch, and without getting your quarterback lit up time and again. Pairing that with plays that stretch the defense across the field horizontally opens up the box, forces safeties down, and creates the kind of environments that see his teams run for nearly six yards a clip.
Borges and Hoke have a different outlook on football. Last year when the inverted veer was running riot over Ohio State, they were consistently blocking the guy a Rodriguez-style offense would consider optioned off.
This worked, but I wondered if it was working because Ryan Shazier was an injured freshman who was pretty horrible in that game. It's hard not to look at what's going on with Michael Schofield in this clip and not pine for the guy to move past the OSU DE and take on Ohrian Johnson, thus likely springing Denard for another huge gain.
Last year both myself and fellow guy who does the picture paging Chris Gaerig thought that this was an execution issue that would be hammered out given enough time, but Tyler Sellhorn, a high school OL coach who frequently emails me tips and corrections, thought this was a philosophical thing:
I think Schofield and Omameh were coached to block the DE. Hoke/Borges do not like leaving unblocked defensive linemen out there. A famous unattributed coaching axiom that I am sure that Hoke/Borges believe in is: "First level defenders cause fumbles, second level defenders make tackles." To me, this is the "MANBALL" component of M's "option" game. True power running game people think like that. I think that is the reason there have been fewer really long runs (the second level has been blocked less consistently this season).
This is one philosophical difference: RR's first thought always was, "How can we mess with the safeties to get big yards when we break through the line", Hoke/Borges first thought is "How can we mess with the DL so they are less aggro (in run and pass situations) and we don't ever have a negative play." Both work well as we have seen.
The consistency with which Michigan guys were blocking the supposedly option DL was a point in his favor. At first I thought the Alabama game was the point at which this was undeniable, but now I think Alabama was blocking Michigan, not the other way around.
Optioning Nobody #1
It's Michigan's first drive. They've picked up a first down with a (horribly spotted) flare to Smith and a third down conversion from same. They come out in a two-back, three-wide set. Alabama responds with its base 3-4 set, half-rolling a safety into the box.
Michigan will run the veer. They pull Barnum (1), use Hopkins(2) as a lead blocker, and block down on the front side. This leaves the Alabama defender (3) there unblocked… for now, anyway.
Hopkins. You are not flaring out, my man. You are doing something that isn't that.
At the mesh point, Hopkins (1) has contacted the "unblocked" Alabama defensive end. This means he is now blocked. (Science!) Hopkins is also blocked. They are mutually blocking each other. Neither can go forward very easily.
This happens really fast. The DE is doing this on purpose. His goal here is two-fold: one, to force the handoff, and two to pick off one of the lead blockers.
Barnum(2) is still pulling for the front side; since the guys blocking down have actually done a pretty good job of getting push he's got a lane. Denard(3) sees the DE underneath Hopkins and gives.
And now it's over. Hopkins has indeed eliminated the Alabama DE, and Barnum reaches the hole as Smith sprints outside. Also sprinting outside: the totally unblocked Alabama LB.
Michigan's got some other problems, too, as the playside DE came through the double on the playside when Kwiatkowski released—you can see Schofield hunched over in an "oops" way right at the LOS behind Barnum. Given Smith's angle and Barnum's this is only a further indicator that Schofield got hammered on Saturday, not an actual reason the play doesn't work.
And that's all she wrote.
Who did Michigan block with Denard's legs on this play? Nobody.
[After THE JUMP: oops they did it again :( ]
Optioning Nobody #2
A bit later in the first quarter Michigan has a first and ten on its own 29 and again runs the veer. Alabama is in a standard 4-man front nickel, which they had not done on a standard down before. Something's up the ol' sleeve.
They're going to the boundary this time, so Omameh pulls on the snap. Alabama reveals its trick: a corner blitz from the boundary.
So, again this is what happens: the unblocked defensive end comes down(1) as the G pulls around. This time it's Omameh. Barnum can be seen crushing the other DT to the ground—there will be no help from the interior on this one. Denard sees the dive(2) and gives.
That corner(3) is coming, though, and Hopkins only has eyes for the playside LB.
Omameh, like Barnum, blocks the DE. Why block the DE? He has no choice. The DE is blocking him. He's not trying to do anything except crunch Omameh near the LOS and force the give.
Denard(2) sees the DE inside and gives. The corner is hanging out. Being uncool.
And that's all she wrote. DEPRESSION PROTIP: look at all the space here!
Oh well. Back to the salt mines.
Nice pancake on a totally irrelevant guy. Who'd you option again?
Things And Stuff
This is Exhibit A for We Don't Know How To Use Denard Enough. Nick Saban's pretty smart, you guys, and devised a defense that would get the ball out of Denard's hands without that costing his defense a guy. On the first one it's possible a more outward route by Hopkins gets him past the attacking DE, but then that DE flattens out and flattens Barnum; same result. On the second one Omameh would have to orbit around the DE so elaborately that he'd be useless anyway.
So who are you optioning? You're not optioning anyone. The defense is preventing Denard from getting the ball by openly declaring they will not use their end to contain, and you block him despite handing it off to a guy going in the opposite direction. So now you're just trying to out-execute Alabama. Good luck.
This was a response to what Michigan showed in the OSU game. (Also I assume Saban's night terrors starring a xenomorph Cam Newton played a role.) That game was great but often required Denard to juke and unblocked guy in a tight space and get Shazier plowed for the first touchdown. When the structure of the defense is getting you to give to Smith and Rawls, that is not happening.
You could still get big gains out of it by outsmarting the opposition, but when Borges goes to coaching clinics he talks about passing routes. When I was breaking down Rodriguez's offense, he would switch little things up almost weekly. They'd run belly, then they'd run belly a gap over, then they'd slide a tight end, then they'd break outside the guy shuffling down to prevent belly from going 80 yards. By the time that was done the three chords Denard knew in the passing game were sufficient.
Borges probably taught his route tree most of the summer with the read stuff thrown in as a sidelight. That'll work just fine against a lot of teams, but when Michigan starts going up against the elite they don't do any one thing well enough to move the ball. They don't have a staple because their main weapon and the man deploying it are ill-suited to each other.
Is keeping any good? If Denard keeps here what happens? The LB flares out to contain on the first one, but then probably can come back since Denard has to go outside of the FB. Still a better alternative since he's moving upfield faster and is Denard. On the second one that CB may read that Rawls doesn't have the ball and collapse down to tackle from the side, but that's still better than what happened.
So, yeah, if Michigan recognizes this is happening and changes their keep rules, but then we're just back to the jack-of-all-trades stuff. Is this Denard's fault or Borges's fault or Rodriguez's fault, etc. Doesn't matter now; this is what we're stuck with.
Schofield had a rough, rough day. I didn't even notice the blown block in the first play until doing this post; BWS has a coupleother examples. Alabama disclaimers apply. He was not regularly beaten up like that last year despite playing against DTs a lot more often. Still, worrying.
Maybe Fitz does something with one of these. Smith is Smith. Whatever Rawls's assets are they do not include making cornerbacks miss in space. It's possible Toussaint can create something by making a guy miss, cutting hard upfield, and jetting. When he's out, the only way you make yards is by… I don't know.
I agree with this. Alabama's defense was a 10. Against an 8 even, 2-4 of those longer passes are completed, and a few of ours runs go for first downs and we have a game. I think we're making way too big a deal out of this Alabama game.
Fitz is a huge difference maker for this team who wasn't on the field (we've seen for two years how much of an upgrade he is over the rest of the backs we have). Devin Gardner was (I'm pretty sure) playing WR for the first time in his entire life (pretty tough environment for taking your lumps). Mealer got his first start at a somewhat unfamiliar position (not sure how long he's been getting snaps at center) and had one of the strongest humans on the planet a few inches from his face when he snapped the ball.
Michigan is going to be better. The competition will be worse. And even with all that this was as good an offensive performance as any team put up against Bama last year. Not to mention this was a bit of a freaky/bad luck/one-of-those-shitty-nights type of games where Bama needed one sustained TD drive before they were already up 31-0 (thanks to a slip-and-fall TD and two picks). By the time we got our feet wet we were playing from way behind and soon after that the thing was over.
If you know Alabama is a great team, you can't expect to just out-execute them. You have to out-scheme them to beat them.
Regarding quality opponents - yeah, those are the games that matter. Last year most of those came at home and Michigan was very fortunate to beat Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. The offense against VaTech was anemic. Nebraska and Ohio State were impressive wins, but that Ohio State defense was very down. Michigan State was a bad loss. So the 'we've beaten good defenses before' argument is debatable.
This year, ND, Nebraska, and OSU are on the road and each of those teams is probably better than a year ago. It's not all on 'bama's D; the offense is going to have to play much better to win those games.
Watching VT last night just reinforced how we are not a read option team. There was always some poor bastard in the backfield unlocked yet with no prayer of making a tackle because Logan Thomas was always making the right read. Denard or Borges just doesn't seem capable of doing that consistently.
we were crediting Borges with having got the message, deciding to use Denard to full advantage. Now we're saying Borges doesn't have it in him? (Am I missing some nuance? Don't think so. And I am a long-run believer in Borges.)
Does make ya little sad, cuz Denard was pretty damned effective in RR's offense, at least for a year.
Eight and four, maybe even seven and five year? That's okay; this is my team.
You're quoting Brian out of context. That sentence you're quoting is about RR's innovation in the option offense. As opposed to the the triple option, where the QB will frequently get lit up by the DE or OLB (see Ryan vs. Scheelhasse last year) when making the pitch and will get hit downfield if he keeps, the zone-read option means that if the QB gives (ie, pitches) he won't get lit up.
Obviously, if he keeps, (or runs QB power, which is what most of Denard's carries in 2010 ended up being) he's going to get hit unless he scores, but the triple option virtually guaranteed the QB would be hit every play.
I think you misunderstood his point--watch most true option teams and the QB gets hit just about every time because he pitches at the last minute on the optioned guy or keeps and gets hit on the run.
It's true that when Denard keeps he gets hit--that's by definition true. But when he gives he doesn't. Brian is saying that the innovation is to option as a handoff from the shotgun so there is no need for your QB to get hit on every play.
And it's a silly game to play, but if you think that THIS Michigan team wouldn't be better overall with RR/Magee on offense and Mattison et al. on defense, then we will just have to agree to disagree. The idea that M will be better long term with Hoke/Borges/Mattison than with RR/Magee/GERG is probably not very controversial.
This is an interesting discussion (minus all the Rodriguez insanity) . . . Keep Denard from running to save his body vs. increasing the productivity of the offense. I'm sure the Mathlete could put together an awesome graph but I think its pretty clear that a no-run Denard = low-productivity offense = unhappy fans.
What I hate is that people act as if its a garauntee that Denard gets hurt if he runs 20 times against Alabama.
And then maybe, instead of running him 20 times like we did last year against EMU and Northwestern, we only run him say, 10 against Air Force and 5 against UMass.
He plays a violent game. He's not the biggest guy in the world. But if he gets injured running the ball because thats our best chance to win, then thats how the game goes. It happens to players all the time in just about every sport. Its what they sign on for.
If Denard has 10 carries in the first half and we are still down 31-7 and you decide to save him for the next game, I'm with you. The way this shook out, it feels like we didn't give ourselves the best chance to win.
Agreed. In the biggest games, you find ways to get the ball in the hands of the best players. That said, sometimes its just not possible and it looks and sounds like Saban simply had the better schemes. (Yuck. I feel dirty after typing that.)
You'd have to believe that RR intentionally sought players ill-suited for the spread, or be one of those people who sticks their hands in their ears and says la la la spread is terrible even though many good teams use some variation of it and so on.
We have spread players and a west coast OC. Tht is a fact. We have perhaps the most dangerous running spread QB since maybe ever who is pretty poor at precision passing. We'll have to learn to deal.
There are many differences here, but Auburns staple play on offense with Cam Newton was the Inverted Veer, which Michigan ran with success last year against OSU. Now would Denard have done as well as Newton? Probably not, but I would have at least liked to have seen them try before the game got out of hand.
For the record I saw no point in running Denard almost at all in the second half because by that point the game was lost.
One thing we should point out is that Cam Newton is huge - 6'5", 245. Denard is considerably smaller (listed at 6'0", 197) and has proven more fragile. The fundamental quandry here is that we have a QB who, if used "correctly", has a greater likelihood of injury than if used "incorrectly."
Against Alabama, my guess is that we wanted to see if we could keep it close without running him like crazy in the first 2-3 quarters, and if so, we may have turned him loose in the fourth quarter. The coaches have a 12-game regular season to prepare for (hopefully 13 games), and have to be realistic against a defense like this. The only team that had any real success running the ball on Alabama last year was Georgia Southern with their triple-option attack.
I don't understand all the anti-Borges sentiment here. Watching RR's offenses against teams with elite defenses, they looked just as bad (if not worse) than we did on Saturday, and none of those opponents were as good as 'Bama.
RR's zone-read scheme did NOT produce against quality teams.
Even if the plays had been run properly, Schofield still has to block his man. Hopkins has to make a block. Smith has to prove he's a threat as a runner.
Cam Newton didn't beat 'Bama with his legs. He beat them with his arm. He was able to keep them more honest with his legs because he has the body of a fullback while Denard has the body of a slot receiver. Denard could not run the ball 22 times against 'Bama for 39 yards (as Newton did) and survive.
This whole notion that our OC and our QB don't match is ridiculous. Our offense was more effective last year than in any of RR's tries. While it's frustrating for us fans to watch us lose without having Denard as the featured runner in the offense, it simply wasn't going to work against 'Bama. Period.
Borges devised a scheme that gave us a chance: get your WRs the ball on shorter routes to open space for Denard to run and open the deep ball. With 8 in the box, 'Bama won't let ANYONE run on them. It's that simple. You have to move some of those defenders out by beating them in the short/deep passing game.
The problem? Denard couldn't hit the easy passes, the WRs couldn't catch the ball. A one-dimensional "Run Denard Option" offense would have failed miserably.
Let's not forget in 2010 the Denard Option offense managed 7 points against ohio and 14 points against Miss. State. Neither of those teams are 'Bama.
No, the truth is--and we should all face it--that if Denard can't hit passes, this offense will not be able to contend with elite teams. The passing game, not the running game, was ALWAYS going to be the key against 'Bama, and Auburn's win in 2010 proves that.
Borges had the right gameplan. We just couldn't execute.
11 National Championships. 42 B1G Championships. Winningest program in college football. HAIL TO THE VICTORS
Sigh. Looks like I have to make this point in the 2012.
First of all, M's offense as a pure offense was not as effective in 2011 as M's offense as a pure offense was in 2010. M's FEI in 2010 was 2nd, and it slid to 9th in 2011. That's not much of a slide, true, but it's still a slide. And that doesn't even take into account the year of growth between 2010 and 2011, which is ultimately why these arguments are silly--it is impossible to run RR's 2010 offense with those players and then re-run it in 2010 with Borges at the helm; that is, controlling for the physical development of the 18-23 year olds who are playing.
The big difference in teams 131 and 132 was the defense. But as a pure offense, 2010 was better. That in itself is not a knock on Borges--he is playing with players he did not help recruit and would not have chosen for his offense. We can't judge Borges until he gets his players to the upper class years, just like I have always said it was unfair to judge RR in years 1 and 2. What I believe we discovered is that with time, RR knows how to build a lethal offense. It's just that he had less than no fucking clue on defense.
Finally, saying that Borges and Denard are mismatched is not a criticism of Borges or Denard. It is, I think, just kind of a fact. It doesn't mean that OMGZ BORGES IS TEH AWFEL. It just means that given what Borges is really good at and wants to do, Denard isn't the best choice as a QB. And given what Denard is really fucking good at, Borges isn't the best OC.
I don't necessarily disagree with any of your points
But it seems reflexive, and while it could go behind any number of the posts in this thread, I don't see why it went behind this one. It doesn't really refute anything he said.
He said Rich's offense didnt' do well against elite teams, for the most part. That's true. But overall FEI doesn't mean anything. Because that's not what he was talking about. Because we weren't playing UMass Saturday, we were playing Bama. For the most part the current offense has produced better against better teams than it had before. And many of the reasons are the reasons you pointed out. Which goes to his next point...
Where he's basically saying it was the players not executing that caused the problems. Which could be extrapolated to Rich's offense too....too young, too bad, whatever the reason...all he is saying is that it doesn't mean Rich's offense would have done any better if the players weren't making plays.
And what's not addressed is that the game plan with a BETTER running QB was to pass. I had to double check his stats because it was a wonderful find- Cam Newton ran 22 times for 39 yards with 1 TD, and a long of 12 vs. Bama. How did they come back and win? Well he was also 13/20 passing for 216 yards and 3 TDs. The only team to beat them by really scoring a lot of points in basically the last 3 years did it with a running QB passing effectively to open up his running back a little bit. (The two main RBs went 8 for 50 with a 20 yard long and 9 for 27.)
He's not even saying that Rich's system wouldn't work...just that it wouldn't work against this Bama team any better than what we did, unless the players played better. And that means Denard and his receivers connecting more, because that's how you beat Bama, because a bigger guy who could take the punishment could only average 1.8 yards per carry in a WINNING effort.
I think one of the keys to the whole game was how well Miliner played. No one could get open on him (except when he fell down). If we connect on a couple of those early passes, like the first play of the game to Gardner, maybe things open up a little. But time and time again Miliner was put on an island and made the play.
Give up the ghost Brian. It's great you've mastered RR spectacular use of QB's and can point out what could have been... Unfortunately in terms of its practicality here and now, that ship has sailed. Hoke and Borges have no interest in running the offense you love to diagram. You might just as well diagram how well Denard could have fared running Bo's Option offense with Harlan Huckleby, cause neither is going to happen
Hope this doesn't come off dickish, but I'm sure it will.
I mean, I kind of agree. But to the extent that any discussion of any sort on any sports blog makes any sense at all, the useful discussion here seems to be not "Does Borges suck more than Rodgriguez?" but rather "in your opinion, should Borges be calling more plays that highlight Denard's obvious strengths as a runner and minimize his obvious liabilities as a passer, or should he be calling more plays that fit into the overall scheme of the offense he is trying to install, even if it results in some bad outcomes on any given play?"
I'm genuinely curious as to what you and others have to say about that because I don't think there is an obvious answer. For myself, I would say that I would like to watch Denard run more than pass, but it's a risky proposition, and also I defended RR's installing his offense with Sherithreet even though it flopped miserably, so I would also defend Borges for installing his offense with Denard, even though it probably won't go as well on any given play as an offense designed more around Denard's strengths as a runner.
And Hoke himself said that Alabama was playing and aligning with a defender shadowing Denard in the pocket. Of course, that's not mentioned in any of the bitching about not running Denard enough. Like a sane DC, Saban had a gameplan to make Denard be a passer, not a runner. People are mad that Borges didn't decide to pound his head into that wall.
Or maybe Denard is a talented enough player to play through such a scheme and creates something that the other players on the roster couldn't have...because he's our most talented offensive player.
There's no excuse for Denard having two carries in the first half to Vincent Smith's 10. Also, no Justice Hayes? Why not give Norfleet a shot? Weren't those players recruited specifically to change the pace of the game? Considering we did basically nothing, isn't that their exact situation?
And really, what else could be considered "pounding ones head against a wall" more than running VS like that?
I dunno, man. I just thought it was weird how little they ran Denard. And believe me, I'm a Borges supporter, if for no other reason than he's the OC of my team. But it got a bit surreal to watch the mix of plays, like they were kind of trying to prove a point or something. I'm sure they weren't, but it just looked that way. Like, when you have as many bubble screens (I heard there were 2 but missed one of them) as designed QB runs, and last year you ran no bubble screens and a lot of designed QB runs, then it's just weird. I can't figure Borges out is what I'm saying. Which is better than knowing exactly what Debord was going to run, down to the "surprise" reverses, but still...
Now I think in here there is an interesting debate
Which would one prefer as a way of offense- a system that you adjust to what the opponent's doing, but is the same system no matter the opponent, or a system tailored to beat that opponent, but maybe doesn't always play to your strengths?
I don't think there's a "right" answer, but even Brian has pointed out this philosophical difference in their styles. Borges came up with the best game plan to beat an Alabama team, but was it the best game plan for our personnel? And which gives us the better chance to win....our offense performing to its best, but doing just what Bama wants us to do, or what Bama can't handle as well, but maybe we don't do so well ourselves? Don't think we'll come up with an answer, but that's how it should be framed instead of "sigh, Rich and Denard..." (Which you haven't done, but some have).
As much as it is about Denard. Denard's 2010 season was the BEST (not arguably, but the BEST) dual-threat QB season ever. The Caveats apply that he got hurt too much and we didn't win enough, but he was damn good. As was the whole offense.
Much was made of RR "not conforming to his personnel", well Denard running twice and throwing how much he threw was as much of a square-peg-round-hole situation as I've seen in a while.
I think Brian's lamenting the lack of Denard Awesomeness moreso that pining for RR. A great example is QB Oh Noes! Why can't Borges put that in the playbook? The Denard-Iso-Play-Action play worked beautifully. Can Al not teach it? Does he not like the play because of... something? I've never coached football and I don't know aobut teaching plays/learning schemes, but this is, to put a spin on how Orson put it, a great Semi-truck driver trying to drive an F1 car like he drives a semi. And towards the end of last year Borges had figured out how to better utilize Denard (see the OSU game), and this seems like a regression.
Hopefully the Denard-Borges-Fusion-Cuisine gets better in the future.
"Over? Did you say, over? Nothing is over until we decide it is!"
Hoke and Borges have no interest in running the offense you love to diagram. You might just as well diagram how well Denard could have fared running Bo's Option offense with Harlan Huckleby, cause neither is going to happen
Borges has been running an increasing number of spread option plays since the beginning of last year, probably as a band-aid to help out Denard until he gets a quarterback that is more effective at the pro-style offense Borges prefers. It's worthwhile pointing out why those plays aren't working quite as well as they did when RR was running them.
So you're saying it's possible that Michigan was spending a blocker on a guy who was ignoring the running back in an effort to contain Denard when there was no chance that Robinson would keep it? That's even better!
I thought Brian was arguing that the DE in play 1 is "blocking Hopkins" thus not allowing himself to be optioned off of and reducing a numbers advantage the inverted veer creates, even as he forces Denard to give. *Brian, since you're around, is this accurate?) Could the coaches adjust to this by instructing Denard to keep if he saw Hopkins engage the DE on the veer?
He's only "blocking Hopkins" in a sense that, once Hopkins hits him, they're engaged and there's no way of him getting out to another defender. Hopkins could have avoided right off the bat, but chose not to.
I can't, but that's irrelevant. Bama was playing games with their defense that countered the band-aid plays that worked effectively at the end of last season, whether or not those plays were planned hand-offs or true read options. Under RR those plays would have had a handful of minor variations to punish teams for gaming the base play. However, Borges doesn't have a handful of minor variations on the inverted veer/zone read/zone handoff/whatever that play is, he has passing trees. That's not a knock against Borges, he's just trying to make do the best he can with what he has until he can get what he wants. But until he gets what he wants, we're going to have some problems like this trying to run a band-aid spread. Blasting Brian for mentioning RR while pointing out these problems is missing the point.
I'm just trying to explain why the inverted veer did crap against Alabama and what seems to be the problem with the offense against elite defenses. There is nothing in the above post that is overly critical, but you and chitown can keep talking as if there is, I guess. It just makes me roll my eyes when you guys get all high and mighty about daring to critique the coaches. If it bothers you, this is the wrong blog for you.
Maybe next time don't use rodriguez's name - call him coach x or something. Unfortunately, due to your past support of rich and initial negativity towards hoke, a certain segment of the blog is going to automatically assume any reference to the past regime is a pining for the old days while simultaneously crapping on the hokester. To me, the issue of how Denard is utilized and a potential blue print for other talented defenses (msu, osu, etc.) to shut him down seems worth discussing but I guess that also makes me a Rodriguez apologist (somehow).
Alternatiely, you can creat a "reading comprehension ftw" macro and use it to carpet bomb threads like these when they get out of hand
I'm not taking either side, but simply want to say that "we" are Michigan. All the money and all the interest and all the support in and for the program comes from people like us - supporters and readers of this, the most read college football blog in the country. There's a reason why Heiko has a seat at all the press conferences and its not because Brian breaks down administrations. I'm no insider but I suspect the reason that the blog is respected and read is because the vast majority of its content (including Board postings) is well-researched and well-written. Disagree with the content all you want - its perfectly acceptable and understandable - but placing Brandon, et al. in higher esteem than the die-hard fans like ourselves in determining who makes the Michigan "brand" is a mistake. Without the collective "us" (including Brian) there would be no value in the Michigan trademark.
Another poster above echoed my thoughts....why not just pull the ball from the running back and let him cut the unblocked man...then everyone is at least accounted for and denard gets 3 or more guaranteed....do you think it would work?
Yeah, it would work. That's pretty much a QB power or ISO, depending on the blocking scheme. Would it work consistently against Alabama when your blocking execution is poor? Of course not.
My biggest issue with Borges is that his reasoning for not running Denard more (plus 1-ing) was basically that Alabama simply wouldn't let him succeed. Again, that's probably true in this case but I'm not sure how that squares with the fact that the backs got quite a few carries when the game was still in doubt. Vincent Smith down a man is a better option than Denard with an extra blocker?
It's just a matter of philosohpy. if they were really that geared up to stop Denard, they could have been susceptible to Denard playaction, misdirection, etc. Those were all things that Malzahn pointed out were needed to beat Alabama's D. Sometimes you have to run into a brick wall a few times before you can counter-punch.
I think they figured they'd take a punchers chance in the first quarter and throw it around and then packed it in once they got down in a hurry. I have no problem with them protecting Denard but we can't afford to protect him when we're back in a dog fight.
Right, because reading the paragraph below its clear he is worried about the past and how we can go back. It''s not like his point is our offense currently lacks a defining strategy that can be used against elite defenses and that the awkward fit of personnel and scheme could create issues if Borges or Denard aren't able to either change adapt to personnel / change play calling or become a more accurate passer respectively (I'll let you figure out which one is more realistic). No sir, all I got out of this article was brian loves him some rrod
"So, yeah, if Michigan recognizes this is happening and changes their keep rules, but then we're just back to the jack-of-all-trades stuff. Is this Denard's fault or Borges's fault or Rodriguez's fault, etc. Doesn't matter now; this is what we're stuck with"
Wrong conclusion. I know Brian doesn't love him some rrod. and is fine with RR being gone.
My contention: It is pointless to keep showing how another offense scheme would run M's offense. I don't need to reflect weekly on how RR would have designed plays differently..
I would be more interested in reading about a team using a scheme similar to what Borges wants to implement at M, and I think Brian is very capable of delivering the content.
I'm fascinated to watch Hoke and Borges vision unfold. I like their idea of recruiting big physical receivers and a strong running game to control games. I buy into the idea that Alabama's D, and most every D, is vulnerable to big WR's who can create mismatches with their size, because I don't know of any D with 6'4 and 6'5 corner's and safety's