How about a dominant running game and more of what we saw in the Ohio game (with the exception of the last play).
Al Borges 2014 - What must we see?
I'd categorize those as products of all of the above. If Al improves the OL, improves consistency, improves unpredictability, then the RBs will flourish and we'll see more of what we saw vs Ohio.
Borges does NOT coach the OL. Geez ...
I have seen enough in 3 years to know Borges is a failure and must go. A dominant running game isnt enough to clean this up. He has had two QB's digress under his watch and had this offense collapse and digress horribly.
You can not bring this guy back, in fact, I dont think Funk or Borges should come back but I will settle for Borges getting dumped and hiring a guy who has more success than in just year 1 somewhere. The longer Borges is around the worse it gets.
a good offense that runs for positive yards....
+1000 to you
not sure what kool-aid you were drinking, but it must have been from Borges himself...If you think the o-line is going to be better after losing a pair of NFL draft picks, then man, I wish I had 1/10th of your optimism
What makes you think Schofield will be a draft pick? He was a 4 year starter and only cracked Coaches All Big Ten Honorable Mention this year. Undrafted Free Agent I can see.
i don't know, maybe his consistent play, ideal size and strength and ability to be coached by a competant OC/line coach who understands how an o-line is suppose to function
I'm not sure how consistent his play was this season. I thought he had a pretty rough year in pass protection and was not much better in run blocking. I think his future in the NFL, if he makes it, is at guard.
I agree he is built like an NFL OT but I don't think he plays at that level. As a 5th year senior missing blitzes on a slide protection is unacceptable. Plus if his play was consistently GOOD he would be more than a 1 time All B1G honorable mention.
I'm no Mel Kiper but I don't think he gets drafted.
I didn't realize Kiper had him so high. I haven't seen any other board where he's even drafted;; I'll be shocked if he's taken before the 7th.
I think he has a decent chance at eventually being a decent contributor to some NFL team...but either way, replacing 2 fifth year seniors at the ends is going to be hard....and Borges being Borges will most likely go back to shitty play-calling and blame his players like he always does...so my question is: what in the hell is going to be different about our o-line?
Nothing will be different next year. Even the record will be the same.
But the blog? The blog never changes.
what do you really think is going to improve??? I see an 8-4 record, at best 9-3, with the same issues on Offense and same excuses...So. Miss (nearly the worst rushing team in the FBS) rushed for positive yards against Nebraska, yet Michigan under Borges/Hoke (mainly Borges) nets negative yards....so please, explain to me why im wrong and why you think you are smart with a shitty condescending insult
I agreed with you that the OL will have issues next year so why the hostility? We see differently on the future of Schofield. He was a good college player. My personal opinion is that with Borges back at OC we go 7-5 next season. I hope I am wrong.
I don't see how I insulted you? My remark about the blog being the same was about people still posting great content team week to week. UFRs will still be done, Brian's opponent watch will still be done, presser transcripts will still be posted, etc.
I thought you meant that "the blog will remain the same" as in terms of the posters will still post crap that is wrong/you dont agree with....and I also think we will have another bad year with Borges at the helm....You may very well be correct of Schofield, but I think time truly will tell...either way, im worried about another bad-to-mediocre o-line and even worse play-calling that will make it shittier...and im with you, I hope we are both completely wrong, I will gladly eat humble pie with a side of crow if we win 10 or 11 games next year!
I thought the whole purpose of the blog was to provide a forum for sprited debate between passionate Michigan fans. How boring would it be if we all agreed on everything.
That being said I will eat the humble pie with you should Borges prove me wrong.
He was flat out bad in certain games this year. Consistent, he was not.
Big Al was very consistent... at being horrible.
I imagine that portion of the consistency will continue into 2014.
I think he will be canned right after the bowl game.
I think he is talking about Schofield.
I agreed for much of the season, but I've tempered that point of view by two things:
1. It really cannot possibly get much worse than it was this year.
2. Most people tend to focus on improving around the things in life that embarrass them the most. After this season, if Borges doesn't make the offensive line his #1 priority then again, fool Al twice, shame on Al.
As though this same argument was put forth this time last year.
your "standards" are entirely too low - "it really cannot get much worse than it was this year" is solid reasoning to fire him, infinitely more than retaining him. UGH !
Way less negative plays.
Less gimmicky tackle over like stuff.
Gardner takes a big step forward as a QB.
RB flare routes as a check-down instead of being used as an extra blocker.
Funchess fade routes at least once a game.
More than 1-3 possible plays per formation.
Constraint plays that make sense instead of the random grab-bag choices.
Less personnel substitutions that give away whether it's a run or pass.
No more obvious Gardner naked bootleg runs on 4th and short.
I would love for Funchess to go for fade routes and I think they would have tried that more this year but the OLINE WAS HORRIBLE!!! UGHHHHHhhhh. Ok I am sorry it has been so frustrating this year, who am I kidding... the past decade.
Any OL product remotely as inept as this year will be unforgivable. Fool Al once turrible offensive line, shame on you. Fool Al twice, shame on Al.
Why Al and not Funk, the guy who coaches them on a daily basis? Generally speaking, the coordinator is not that involved (on a day-in, day-out basis) with position groups he doesn't personally coach.
I toss Funk into the Borges blender because Funk directly reports to Borges. When talking about the changes Al must make to improve OL play, coaching and consistency, one such change might be replacing Funk. I just didn't specify what those options on the table for change might be.
That's not really how it works. The coordinator is the driving force behind the gameplan and makes the gameday calls, but it's Hoke's call to hire or fire position coaches. The coordinator's involvement with position groups he doesn't coach is generally not that large. Borges isn't really Funk's "supervisor" - Hoke is.
I'm all for protecting Hoke and giving him as much leash as possible for the sake of the program, so it is my hope that Borges is a more direct buffer between Funk/O line incompetence and Hoke. You state otherwise, and I weep silently, alone, and cold.
Thank you for trying to help educate people.
The coordinator's job is to evaluate what your strengths are and stratagize plays that uses these to your advantage. Did Borges know are strengths and call plays to use these to our advantage ? Simple answer - NO.
Not to be nitpicky, but I think the better phrasing for this is "What do we wish to see?" because the decisions are not ours in the end and any standard set by this blog is arbitrary by default. If we are aware of this, of course, then that's excellent.
That being said, I would merely be curious to see how the experiences of this year - good and not good - crystallize and get carried into next season. Because this really is the first year we went "full Borges" (2011 and 2012, though under Borges, represented a hybrid philosophy and serve as a shaky basis for comparison to this year), I would actually expect the oft-discussed "second-year jump" to happen next year. Quite a few things mentioned by the OP should improve naturally - theoretically, of course.
I don't know if I attribute predictability strictly to Borges' "limitations", as the OP says. If indeed you do not have confidence that certain sections of the playbook will not be well-executed with the players and experience out there, you probably won't use them much if at all. If it makes a limited number of base plays that much more frequent and therefore predictable, it's still a problem but a dynamic one that I think is simplified if we just hang it on Borges and assume his vision is limited. We don't really know this.
As for blitzes, I think this ties into execution and coaching. If they can read defenses better next year and we start to see the ability to check in and out of plays based on formation a little more frequently, they might be able to mitigate the problem somewhat.
Concur except I don't have much hope re reading defenses and check downs. Gardner was no freshman starter this year. He had a ton of experience and he still looked really bad when it came to checking into a positive RPS. Even worse were his early interceptions, which eventually morphed into sacks as he turned into a deer in headlights staring at secondaries probably seeing future picks where none existed. All of this is a massive indictment of Borges' lack of QB coach, and Borges himself. This is one area I don't expect much improvement on next year even with a 5th year Gardner, and actually expect a big regression the following year with the new starter (Speight/Morris) assuming Borges makes it that long.
I must see Al working somewhere else.
I can't handle the variance. I think I actually enjoyed watching one game the whole season, ND. We're 3 plays away from being 4-8 while simultaneously being 4 plays away from being 11-1.
Narduzzi drinking Al's milkshake with the world's largest twisty straw for three straight years drives me nuts.
OSU in the national title game 2 years removed from scandal, and still on probation drives me nuts.
Penn State being better than us with a skeleton team drives me nuts.
Seeing Malzahn completely turn around Auburn twice in 5 years just shows the kind of impact that a smart offensive coach can have. A school like Michigan should have the will and resources to go get a similarly smart coach.
Hard to argue with much of what you wrote, but it's also hard to argue with Brandon's decision to give stability a try for at least one more year, especially given the brief flashes of brilliance we saw this year.
Yeah I understand the counterpoint of staying the course. There have been flashes of pretty fun looking things.
It just feels like being in a relationship with somebody who makes you feel like crap 6 days out of the week, but then goes out of their way to make you feel like the most appreciated/loved person ever on day 7.
Do we even know for certain that Borges will be back? I feel like we're taking a lot of stock in a press conference question from right after a heartbreaking loss in the biggest game of the year, before any evaluation has been done. And Hoke was pretty guarded in his language. I don't think staff shakeups are likely, but I don't think this one quote forecloses their possibility
You mention that Michigan is not great at checking out of plays at the line: this is because it's tough to do that when you have only five seconds left to snap the ball.
I do think Gardner has the ability to be good at this. Off the top of my head, I remember he checked into a run off right tackle to DeVeon Smith against OSU nad it turned into the longest run of the day. Gardner is a smart qb and I think giving him more autonomy pre-snap will help, but they've got to get out of the huddle faster.
Also, Borges really needs some counters. Concepts need to work together like a jigsaw puzzle so defenses never know what they're going to get hit with.
I don't think this team will be as talented as we've been the last three years on offense (Denard, Gallon, Hemingway, Roundtree, Fitz, Lewan, Omameh, Molk, Schofield, etc. are guys I just don't see equivalent replacements for across the board). That being said, playing consistently could lead to being as good or better (in the win column) and the defense should again be solid enough to keep us in every game. And Devin is capable of being an elite-level difference maker if the parts around him are just okay. We've shit the bed a number of times and played well below our ability level in at least two games per year under Borges (and for long stretches in others). If that doesn't happen, this can be a 9-10 win team. If not, Hoke and Co. are either looking for new jobs or Dave Brandon is writing another ridiculous blog to try and convince us how awesome things are going.
(Denard, Gallon, Hemingway, Roundtree, Fitz, Lewan, Omameh, Molk, Schofield, etc. are guys I just don't see equivalent replacements for across the board).
I think you're overselling some of those guys. In particular, calling Toussaint, Omameh or Schofield elite talents is a stretch - I would consider all three of them to be below-average by our historical standards at those positions. Some of the others had their weaknesses, too - Denard was an erratic passer; Gallon lacks size; Hemingway lacked speed.
I'm not concerned about the returning talent at the skill positions. Gardner has the potential to be a star; he showed that against ND and OSU. Funchess likewise can become a monster receiving threat; the main thing that's holding him back now is just concentration on some of these passes. Chesson needs work making plays on the ball but has excellent size and speed, and Darboh was supposed to be a breakout star on the way before his injury. Butt is emerging as a receiving TE and should come along as a blocker. At tailback, Smith and Green are very promising and could well prove to be upgrades at the position.
The OL is the main question mark, but given our recruiting, it should improve. Left tackle will probably be worse, but RT may or may not be (I think Schofield was out of position there and did not have a great season) and the interior should be better.
Anthony Carter lacked size. Marquise Walker lacked speed. Mike Hart lacked both. What is your point?
Patrick Omameh was voted 1st team all-conference by the B1G coaches as a senior, made the 49ers practice squad as an undrafted rookie free agent (after the Funk Borges Experience killed his draft status), and is now on the Bucs active roster. And he was the third best lineman on the 2011 team. If our third best lineman next year ends up being that good, we may just be fine, but are you really betting on that happening? And what has actually happened on the field to give you confidence in that bet?
Funchess does have loads of talent, but he has to produce at Jeremy Gallon's level (possibly the most productive WR season in UM history) for us to tread water next year. And someone has to replace what Funchess did (between a guy who missed the season with injury and hasn't caught a pass and a guy who posted 17.8 ypg this year as the #3 receiver). And we have to replace the top lineman in the conference. And replace Schofield (another guy the fans seem to have turned on in an effort to exonerate a shitty offensive coaching staff). And Green/Smith have to come up with the 849 all purpose yards and 12 TDs that Fitz produced (in addition to what they did this year). And that is just to stay at 7-5 level production.
I'm frankly sick of hearing about how guys like Denard Robinson are the reason Al Borges can't get it done.
Al Borges should lose 1 lb this off-season for every time Devin Gardner was sacked, knocked down, or tackled for a loss.
I think it all comes down to a basic offense that assumes no improvement from the line over the offseason and relies a good bit on allowing Devin to make plays and pulls linebackers/safeties out of the box horizontally, until the line shows that it can get motion on a front seven straight up and can provide enough pass protection to allow for those over the top play action attempts.
+1 for the longest unintentionally long sentence in MGoBlog history.
did against Ohio State. It worked. The playcalling for the most part was creative, and wasn't predictable.
The only hope Michigan has is if someone can perform inception on Gorgeous Al.
it can be argued if that's on Funk or Borges, but that was the driving factor in suckitude this year.
I think all of the other problems stem from inability to block much of anything well. You can't be too diverse in playcalling, you can't make many at the line checks, and you have to be a little predictable because anything else was even more likely to get screwed up.
If the O Line improves to somewhere around "acceptable" and they can work on Devin's read progressions more, then the offense even minus Lewan/Schofield could make a pretty solid leap forward.
wearing an Eastern Michigan cap, jacket and headset! Congrats on moving to your ultimate destination Al !
First of all, calling him the Tracy McGrady of OCs was brilliant...
Second, I'd like to see an offensive line that is less clueless - I felt for Lewan and Schofield trying to hand off the stunting defensive end only to watch the guard follow his man and lose the hand-off, resulting in Gardner eating another shot to the ribs...
Third, I'd like to see Green and Smith become a dynamite pair of runners, Norfleet be used as a legitimate slot threat, and Gardern continue to improve as a quarterback.
not sure i'd use that particular word...what would we "like" to see? sure. what would we "hope" to see? absolutely. "must" we see? meh.
Gustavo you think Gardners a smart quarterback? Sure, he looked good saturday against Ohio State but did you even watch the Northwestern game? Talented yes, but smart....
Not fair man. Put yourself in Gardner's shoes where your performance is not entirely within your control given 10 other guys must execute, and all around him all year guys have been failing to execute, resulting in an endless carousel of 280 pound wackamoles popping up around him and stuffing him into the turf. Amid the questionable coaching he has received, the futility around him and the punishment he has had to absorb, it is totally unfair to consider Devin anything less than a true hero and one tough mother.
A lot of that falls on Gardner holding onto the ball too long and seemingly never throwing the ball out of bounds. Near the second half of the season the offensive line DID improve there pass blocking. The northwestern game is a perfect example, we were running the ball effectively and giving him great protection yet he should have thrown 5 interceptions. We got lucky to win that game because Gardner was trying to give it away. Now onto the OSU game, i loved the heart he played with that game im not doubting that. Very proud of him and the whole team for that game. But over 150 yards passing in that game came from screen passes. See Gallons 84 yard run. See Jake Butts great run after the screen pass. Screen passes are essentially run plays, its not Gardner doing anything amazing. I just watched the replay of our offense in that game and it confirms my suspicions, the entire offense was making great plays the whole game. I just think everyones being blinded by one good game. Gardner deserves just as much of the blame about this offense IF NOT MORE, than Borges. yes... im so blasphemous
Trying to argue that people are being blinded by one good game (it was better than good BTW) is absurd. It is not like the good things Devin did this year, occured all in one game. Nobody is going to argue that the two biggest improvements Devin needs to make in the offseason are getting rid of the ball when neccassary and cutting down on turnovers, that much is obvious. To act as though he also didn't make his fair share of good to great plays is ludicrious, though.
He was a first full year starter, trying to essentially carry a team without a running game. That is not a reasonable thing to expect. For you to sit there and try and downplay his great and gutsy performance against OSU after the beating he took this year flat out pisses me off. You talk about the screens inflating his yardage, while ignoring the of plays where Devin made something out of nothing. The level of criticism leveled at him by some questionable fans such as yourself, has been over the top. As if a QB in his first full year starting, with not enough help around him, having issues with consistency is really surprising.
If the OL, TE, FB, RBs etc can get us 2.5-3 yards consistently on whatever the base running play we go with (probably Power), it'll totally change the complexion of the offense. The system we've been trying to implement is completely contigent on that. We have enough weapons to take care of the rest. Another year of 0 and -2 yard runs though, I think we run into some of the same issues as this year with being one dimensional and predictable. I do think, even with continued issues with run blocking, we'll have more receiver weapons (yes, even with Gallon gone) and Gardner won't swing so dramatically from playing too loosely and too tightly with a bit more experience. As for Al, I think he'll have a little better feel for how to handle OL deficiencies should they crop up again. My hope is he'll be able to patch something together a little more quickly should the need arise.
a new o.c.
Borges' whole game is deception. This is what drives me nuts about people having issue with his "predictability". It is supposed to be predictable. Thats why the throwback screens work! Great offenses are predictable and beat you. West Coast - predicatble. Option - predictable. Spread - predictable. It is about deception and execution.
Borges in my mind just needs to get a few more tricks in the book. He seems to do very well setting up his strategy and then runs out of plays in the 3rd quarter. By the 4th he has a couple left over and they save him. Also, the two minute has worked well this season, so if Gardner can reasonably pass well from pocket in early quarters next year we should have a good year. Darboh and a Freshman WR are gonna have to step up for the O. The Line will be improved with age, weight, depth, and the RB will be improved with Derrick and Deveon. Cant wait for more TEs and explosive WRs!
Need to see a dramatic rise in offensive production. The offense has dropped each year under Borges. No excuse not to have a good offense next year, 10 of 11 starters will be guys that Hoke and Borges recruited, with the exception of Devin Gardner, who they'd of recruited anyways. No excuses next year, not to say there were any this year.
From the TEAM
11+ wins and 2 out of 3 over the rivals.
More of a emphasis on the offense and special teams.
Effeciency and very few negative plays. Also a mindset change that is focused on getting the FIRST Down > Touchdown. Keep the chains moving! Eventually, you'll get points!
Individual improvement and growth from young players. I want to see guys truly develop and get better during their time at Michigan (and it translate in games).
Most of the other posts have covered the key concerns:
Play design / play calling
The area I would like to see major strides in is adaptation and adjustment by the offense for in-game situations. It seems that the offensive coaches (Borges and others) draw up a good plan and on paper it should work - but once the game starts, if that initial plan falters we are in for a long afternoon. The games where the Wolverines start out well (score on the majority of their first few drives) in general the offense remains effective. When they are stymied early on there doesn't seem to be a contigency plan or a rapid analysis of what is going wrong."