So naturally I thought about Mike Martz.
Martz was, of course, the evil genius behind the Greatest Show on Turf Rams teams. In its heyday it was as entertaining to watch as any football team I have ever seen.
What's the connection? Martz installed new plays every week. His playbook was huge, and for any given game there were hundreds of plays available in the gameplan. This led to some confusion, and the image of a frustrated Kurt Warner skulking to the sideline after an early timeout was such a signature of the Rams that Martz once ran a play where Warner stomped off as a fake, followed by a direct snap.
But the Rams succeeded by bludgeoning opponents with speed, downfield passing, Marshall Faulk, and variety. They key is that, as a professional team they had considerable time to study, install, and rep all those plays.
Al Borges is not stupid. He knows offense. There is simply no way that he is blind to the lack of constraints in the offense, or the problems of predictability.
I believe the problem is that he is, essentially, Martz-like at heart. I think Borges WANTS to have hundreds of plays, all of which attack the defense in different ways. I think, mentally, he has constraints in mind for those blitzers plaguing the inverted veer, and the bracket coverage of Gallon.
It makes sense. He's not unwilling to adjust or try new stuff. He is using the pistol, he is varying blocking schemes, he has turned Funchess into a weapon. In a vacuum, individual plays are designed well if they are executed properly.
But this is not a vacuum. In reality, he only gets 20 hours a week to install everything. His quarterback is in graduate school. He can't get everything in.
So stuff gets left out. Plays get fewer reps, and execution suffers. Blockers don't know who to block. Gardner can't make a quick read-throw because he's been learning a lot of plays but not executing those quick read-throws over and over in practice. And constraints and formations are left on the cutting room floor because there isn't time to prepare them.
It's a philosophy that runs a certain way, and can optimally run well... But the conditions are not optimal. This is college, and Al's philosophy is irreducibly complex.
Al Borges is not a fool. He understands football. But he cannot translate that understanding to the execution on the field.