Everytime he says something like this, I die a little bit inside.
Al Borges' solution to running woes: 1. moar under center 2. .... 3. WINS!
I think it's more like.
- Denard goes under center for EMU, SDSU and Minnesota.
- Running backs go wild.
- Denard goes shotgun for MSU.
Yes, you understand. Win equals let Denard , Denard teams.
That's exactly what I think. I also think he isn't necessarily needed against EMU, and probably not for SDSU or Minnesota, so if they want to put him under center all game or on the bench in the third I'm fine with that too. I want to see OSU get Denarded too, not just ND.
One of the biggest problem's we're going to face down the road is that we're asking our kids to run two totally different offenses. Beyond not repping one system and gaining a comfort level with it, the problem with shoving a 5'10 speed demon into an I-Formation (which is inexcusable to run in general as it is the least efficient formation in football) is that his 3-step drops are going to get consistently batted down and it functionally eliminates him from doing anything but attacking the outside on an option. Also, our fullbacks blow, so you're taking a position we have very good depth (WR) and replacing it with a walk on who fumbles on the 1 foot line.
I also don't know that I would write off any of those games (other than EMU) as autowins. We didn't run the ball well out of the I-form against Western Michigan and I don't know how the RBs are going to suddenly get better now. Regardless of comfort level, Borges is taking a top 10 offense in college football and severely hamstringing it. The first three quarters against ND should provide a wealth of evidence as to how far Borges will go in trying to ram these square pegs into his round hole. We should have lost that game due to his intransigence but for an improbably lucky string of events.
The curious case of Denard Robinson: he keeps getting shorter and shorter.
At least he didn't lose his scholarship like Hopkins apparently did...
6'0 it is. I can't use the interwebs very well, probably because of my rapidly advancing age.
Ive read all your comments here and I have exactly the same gripes as you. Completely agree with everything you've said.
Why be sub-optimal when you don't have to? The blueprint to success is available. Its called last years game tape.
I'd argue that an offense that can't function out of the I is itself sub-optimal. What "success" did we enjoy against OSU and Mississippi State? A truly great offense can operate out of both formations. The only way to get there is to get more reps out of the I.
And actually got negged quite a bit for not being apopoleptic at the time. I'm just pointing out that there are major structural issues with running an I-formation.
Where in this thread did you point out any structural issues with the I-formation? All I see in the OP is some emo nonsense.
didn't want the Post to be tldr. The article was the subject of the post, I was asked later what my problem with I-form was and I explained it See my comments above. Cliff's Notes: I-form stacks three of your players in a row, condenses space, makes it easier to defend as a general rule, although can be useful if your team is physically better than the other squad and/or normal expectations for yards are not applicable (e.g. goal-line).
I don't necessarily think the I-form is generally easier to defend. Yes, it does condense space, but that can be just as much of a disadvantage for the defense as it is for the offense. It's more difficult to get to a ball carrier when multiple teamates are surrounding him and blocking for him.
On the other hand, spread formations give more direct access to the ball carrier, but oftentimes a lone defender is responsible for making the stop. It's really just a speed vs. size thing.
But you can run those exact same plays, while out flanking your opponent, out of an ace formation, motion over the H-back if you need to. This isnt just a spread vs. I-form critique, its more a critique that the flexbone, ace, etc. can accomplish the exact same aims without wasting a dude in the backfield.
I've always wanted to know what happens when you get many layers deep on the replies. Do you end up with like one letter on each line. Help me out, lets keep replying to find out.
It's happened before. Not as interesting as you'd think. Instead, ponder this...
Now I am curious what happens....
Looks like this effort is running out of steam.
On my display the "moderate" button is starting to cover the "reply."
And actually got negged quite a bit for not being apopoleptic at the time. I'm just pointing out that there are major structural issues with running an I-formation.
An I-formation is "inexcusable to run in general"?
Now that it's clear we're dealing with an idealogue, there's no sense attempting a rationale discussion, so I'll abstain other than to note that Hopkins is certainly not a "walk-on."
Is tactically inferior to almost any other formation one can draw up. Of course this is just my unvarnished opinion, but a good deal of o-coordinators I've talked to feel the same way. I have no problem with pro-style offenses in general, but an I-form is useful in very limited circumstances, if the offensive coordinator wishes to have a tactical advantage. That last phrase is key. The reason Wisconsin does it so well is that they believe they are physically superior to their opponents (most of the time they are correct) and that, despite not using the fullback more optimally to outflank the defense (as a TE in an ace form) or to force the defense to cover a slot receiver with an LB (WR in an ace slot/shotgun/whatever), they can beat your front 7 (functionally 8) by mauling them and using the fullback as insurance. One of the big downsides of an ace set, shotgun, etc is that when the RB is carrying the ball, there is typically no lead blocker, thus no one to clean up in the event of a missed assignment or if the defense happens to overload your playside with a blitz. While this shouldn't happen often, it is a sort of "cost of doing business." Sometimes the defense guesses right, but over the course of a game, the foregone yards by bunching 8 of your 11 players in the tackle box, 3 of them lined up like ducks in a row shouldn't equal the extra yards you could have gained by more optimally using your personnel and the space on the field. Hence why Wisconsin has a ton of 20 play drives spanning damn near a quarter of football (shorter gains, less risk of negative plays).
The I-form IS useful in goalline situations where the risk of going backward is significantly more damaging than the upside of going further forward, but even then one could make a strong argument that a flexbone or diamond formation accomplishes the same tasks better by giving the offense more options (think playcall. With a flexbone you're challenging the offense horizontally, but not vertically, which isn't a problem inside the 10, eg. not much vertical space to challenge. With an I-form, you dont have the same motion with BOTH sides of the field tested). I always ask people this: what does an iform fullback dive really accomplish from a tactical standpoint? No one I've talked to has ever given me an answer that another formation/play doesn't address better.
Anyway, you are correct that is a personal bias/preference, but I'm not just talking out of my ass and am certainly no spread ideologue as you suggest. :)
soemthing that I've believed but haven't read articulated so completely.
As an old coach once told me, "U.S. Grant would have loved the I".
Wisconsin has no 20 play drives this year...they are a different team with Wilson...in fact they are the proto type of what Borges is going after IMO. If Denard and Michigan can match that I'm happy with I form - under center - whatever. They are averaging 2.5 min scoring drives. Granted they did close out UNLV with a 7 minute drive.
Wisconsin drive chart through 2 weeks...
|Start Time||Time Poss||Drive Begin||# of Plays||Yards Gained||Results|
|0:44||0:44||WISC 41||3||52||Field Goal|
|7:20||7:20||WISC 26||11||56||End of Game|
We won't really know if Wisconsin is effective with Wilson this year until they play Nebraska. Right now, they're playing teams they're so physically superior to that scheme doesn't really matter. (This is a perenial problem with Wisconsin's OOC schedule.)
Give Wilson his due. He has a 237 rating (2nd in the nation.) That is performance against anybody be they UNLV or an FCS team.
All I'm saying is the OP is using hyperbole and that detracts from whatever point he is trying to make. Wisconsin didn't have a 20 play drive last year either.
Kids and grown men will line up in I formation long after we are all dead. It works fine when executed well. Schematic advantage is overrated relative to talent, training and teamwork.
Yeah, like how Al Borges was consistently missing open receivers and dropping catchable balls, all the while not blocking effectively. Damn that intransigence of his!
was all on the running backs. The blocking on their runs was horrible. Shaw and Fitz can run the ball, they have proved that. Why Hopkins got so many snaps in that game is a little mind boggling though.
Personally I would like to see them let Denard play out of the gun all season and run their offense from there, even if it isn't going to be a spread. It is clear we are doing better in those instances as far as yards go.
I would like to see them give him a legit shot at taking a run at the heisman, and he could do it if the play calling cooperates.
I don't understand your thought process. Do you really think that Borges should have come here, after 20 years of experience as a coordinator, and simply learned how to run Rich Rod's offense? Did you expect him to go back and study Rich Rod and McGee's playbook from last year to figure out how to run an offense with Denard, then try to emulate Rich Rod's playcalling so that we have a seamless transition in year 1?
The guy has an offensive system that he runs, just like every other Offensive Coordinator worth his salt. He watched both quarterbacks run the system in the Spring and Fall and felt that Denard could work well within the system. He also made a lot of changes to accommodate Denard's skill set. I think that it's silly to think that he's just going to come in, study Rich Rod's offense, and try to do everthing the offense did last year. He has to install his offense at some point, now is as good of a time as any.
The team is struggling on offense because they are learning a new system. They are struggling much like most teams that try to transform their offensive philosophy. I watched BJ Daniels last year struggle mightily in a new offense under Skiip Holtz and Todd Finch. He made horrible decisions, missed wide-open receivers, and was inaccurate. However, he worked hard over the offseason, learned the offense (as well as the rest of the team) and on Saturday he set career highs in completions and yards in less than 3 quarters of play. Growing pains are part of the process. Just because something didn't work in the second game after instaling a new system, doesn't mean that it is hopeless. It probably means that it needs to be practiced more.
He wasn't great at anything anyway, so who cares if someone asked him to change what he was doing.
Denard, on t he other hand, has proven he is one of the most dynamic players in college football today. He set NCAA records last year for pete sake, as a first year starter. Daniels is not even close to the same.
I would agree that in most cases...probably 99% of the cases....you don't change your system for a player. This is one of those instances though, in my opinion. when you have a once in a life time player like Denard. BJ Daniels....not so much.
But my point is simply that you cannot expect a new offensive system to run efficiently in the first year that it is installed and just because plays don't work the first time they are used in a game, doesn't mean that they are a lost cause.
I expect Denard to have some ugly moments this year, but I still think that he will be great under Borges after a year of games and another offseason. It's like if a kid learning to ride a bike fell and scraped his knee and decided that he's never going to ride a bike again. You can't run in the opposite direction at the first sight of pain. It's going to be a slightly painful process, but I still think that next year's Denard will be great. Imagine what the offense would look like if he becomes an efficient downfield passer.
The struggles are expected when installing a new system. Whenever the struggles take place, it isn't a "told you so" moment for those who think we should only run out of shot gun. It's a natural part of the process.
Anecdotes about knee scrapes and whatnot aside, we are so much more effective running the offense primarily out of the 'gun, that's what we should do because we want to win football games. Borges has the intelligence to figure out how to incorporate his offense with the spread while Denard is our QB and game by game, month by month, have his west coast pro-style system in place by the time Gardner is the QB. In the meantime, while Denard is still playing for Michigan, we would like to win as many football games as possible, and trying to get a 6'0" tall, dilithium-infused, electrifying player like Denard to run the same offense as you would install for John Navarre is silly. Look at the first 3 quarters before Borges took the ball and chain off of him if you want evidence (look I know Borges doesn't drop passes, ect.). If you want to run the offense from under center all day just because it is what Al Borges has done for 20 years and score like we did the first 3 quarters of the game and average under 3 YPC, then more power to you. I think Borges should do whatever is most effective to put points on the board to win football games and running our O from the 'gun is more effective, man.
All the above poster said was that he wishes the offense was ran primary out of the 'gun for the rest of the season. Not that he had to come in and study Rich's exact offense and emulate his playcalling, that's ridiculous. A lot of college teams run a spread offense based primary out of the 'gun and most, if not all of coordinators that run it, did it without emulating Rich's playcalling. Denard is more suited for the 'gun for obvious reasons and our team YPC is wayyyy higher when we run from the 'gun. He doesn't have to do everything that Rich did last year, I do not know where the hell you're getting that from, we just get better results (although only two games worth of sample size) from lining up in the 'gun, dude. This may be hard to believe for you but Rich Rod didn't invent the 'gun. Also, as the other poster replied, BJ Daniels is a bad comparison to our situation anways, he is nowhere near the threat on the ground Denard is, he is a mobile quarterback, but not in the same hemisphere as far as exploiting whoever he is playing with his legs like Denard can.
The "offenses" are not that different. The WRs are running the same routes and making the same blocks. The RBs run where the hole is. The main difference is the OL blocking in different schemes and they have to start somewhere. They don't just learn a blocking scheme overnight. It took RR 3 years to get the OL to where they needed to be. Do you think that they are going to stop movement toward a Power blocking scheme until Denard is gone? That means we are just prolonging our woes until the 2013 season. Practice makes them better. If they don't take the opportunity to run I-Form the next 3 games, then they won't get any better at it.
Inexcusable = unacceptable = four-letter word around here
What's the difference if Denard 3-step drops or sits in the pocket from shotgun? Are you saying you want him throwing from the run on every play?
Denard can take a 3-step or 5-step drop while the back 7 drop into coverage and then sprint up the center of the field. PA Boot will allow Denard to run if nothing is open, he just seems to refuse to do it.
Hopkins fumbled. He's a RB. McColgan is our FB and he caught a pass for a 15 yard gain and a first down in the game.
Someone did the math; they took out Fitz's long run and his goalline runs and he averaged soemthing like 4.8 YPC, which is pretty good. Adding those back in makes it better.
If anything, the first 3 quarters of the ND game show what happens when Denard completes fewer than 30% of his passes. When Denard completed 70% of his passes in the 4th quarter we actually moved the ball and scored. There is no offense that is going to work when the QB is completing 25% of his passes, except maybe Navy's. Guess what, though...their QB is under center. O_O
I don't really know what to tell you if you think throwing from the gun and taking a 3 step drop are similar.
Also, if the RichRod experiment taught us anything, at the very least, it taught us to be patient with an offensive transition.
Hasn't Denard been in shotgun for almost 70% of our plays this season so far?
Yep, and the other 30% have been pretty ineffective. That may be fine against EMU if you're trying to add wrinkles or change things up, but against MSU etc. having 30% of your plays go for naught will kill a lot of drives (as it did against ND).
Yes, games against lesser opponents are a good opportunity to try some under center play action and power run concepts. Buyt why waste valuable snaps practicing something you know will be ineffective against the meat of the schedule?
Here's the rub: Our shotgun spread offense last year was good but not good enough to beat the top B1G teams. Our I-form under center run game will definitely not be good enough to beat the top B1G teams (because we lack a non Denard running threat to make play action believable and we haven't practiced it much). Even if a RB does emerge, that RB will still be inferior to Denard's running ability. So we have two options: perfect the shotgun stuff (even introduce some pro-style concepts into the shotgun game) so that our shotgun spread plays are good enough to beat the best of the B1G. OR let our shotgun spread skills stagnate / regress in an attempt to get 3.0 YPC out of our 2nd best runner.
Basically, if 70% of your plays are consistently more successful than 30% of your plays, why keep calling and practicing the 30% instead of perfecting the 70%? Save the under center stuff until we have the personnel and another offseason of practice.
I agree we already know this team can score quickly and get big plays. I would feel alot better about the offense if they showed the ability to consistently move the ball and not be so streaky. A strong running game moving north and south is the easiest way to accomplish that.
Is that we lack the personnel to manufacture a strong running game out of an I-formation. We have one true outside receiver (Hemmingway), on the other side we're stick a slot guy on the outside (Roundtree is the best fit, but we had Gallon in there as well). Plus, youre taking out a position that we have depth, experience and talent at (slot) and replacing it with a fullback where we have neither depth, experience or talent. Add to that a 5'10 speed demon QB who now lines up IN FRONT OF two potential blockers, effectively eliminating him as a power running threat. Also, as I pointed out above, 3 step drops are functionally eliminated since he's going to get so many passes batted down. And starting under center gives him less time to read the defense/blocks.
On top of this Borges is running two disparate systems which is not good for any offense. Usually as an o-coordinator you want your kids to run ~10 plays or variations thereof for 80-90% of your snaps. The more plays and blocking schemes you ask your kids to learn, the lower their level of comfort with the entire system, or in this case two systems.
I hope this works out as much as anyone, but Borges seems to want to keep asking our kids to do things they simply can't do.
John McColgan is a RS Senior FB. Good lord.
As you do. Also, Jeremy Gallon or whoever is the third WR is better at their position, no?
McColgan has played in 25 games. While I'm as impressed as anyone by Gallon's breakout performance this week, I'd like to see more from him before labeling him - or any other third WR - as more important or "better" at their position (an almost entirely subjective matter when you're comparing a RS Senior FB and a RS Sophomore WR).
Steve Watson is probably your number two FB, if Hopkins doesn't get the call.
I'm not defending the OP's argument, but McColgan basically recorded very career high (yards, runs, catches, etc.) in that game against ND. Nothing against the kid, and I think he'll be fine in this offense, but he was never really used by RR except in special teams. Just because he's been here for 4-5 years doesn't mean he's "experienced" on the field.
I was dismissing the OP's statement about FB not having experience or depth, which is ridiculous when you have a player like McColgan backed up by Watson or Hopkins. That he doesn't get touches doesn't mean he isn't experienced in what a FB is suppoed to do. Block, followed by occasionally getting out in the flat for a catch.
McColgan is not very good at what he is supposed to do (eg., blocking/running/catching passes). Gallon (or whoever else we're talking about) is much, much better and creates many more matchup problems. Plus, using a FB is tactically a bad decision. You are basically conceding being able to outflank the defense. This is a big deal when we are physically inferior to most teams we're playing and the guy at fullback is a walk-on. This is nothing against McColgan. Also, Hopkins is a HB for a reason.
I wish a guy with Al's knowledge believed that. Better blocking by the offensive line and better RB's will cure the running game.
While I agree with the main premise of what you're saying, on our particular team whether you run out of the 'gun or under center definitely makes a difference. How many QB designed runs come from snapping under center? Although we haven't used it much in the last two games, the zone read is always ran from the 'gun. Basically we have our multi-dimensional QB running designed QB runs and zone reads when we run from the 'gun, and when we are under center we are running power plays, off tackle, and dives from our RBs. I would definitely say that is a difference. Wasn't meaning to be argumentative to your post, just that in our specific case there is definitely a change out outcome as far as YPC when we are running out of the gun or under center.
I'm saying that if you want to run the ball better than you are, it does not follow that you then must run more from under center. You can run the ball better from the gun as well--if you have better blocking than we have had, and better RB play.
I hope people don't get too worked up over coach-speak. We have a staff that is great at it.
I know that GMat and Gorgeous Al have been around, but man, even Brady speaks in couched/white lie coach-speak like no one's business. The philosophy seems to be, tell 'em what they want to hear...then do what you want to do, how you want to do it.
To a point, it's almost like, why even bother listening/taping/writing it down.
and I don't mind it. I think one thing Brady immediately recognized when he took the job is that a very influential portion of the fanbase wants a return to old school ways, like REAL old school ways (at least offensively), so he has taken it on himself to at least make them believe that is what he is doing. Unfortunately it seemed RichRod was, I guess, "too honest" to the point that those elite few stopped believing he could ever succeed.
I take everything these coaches say with a grain of salt, and I suggest everybody else do the same. For example, Brady has preached MANBALL since he came in, but also admits he mostly stays out of the offensive stuff and Al's track record doesn't favor MANBALL.
I do love this coaching staff and don't mind the "lies". Makes everything a bit more interesting and, I think, will help keep some of the politics off his back a bit.
I'm not worried as much about MANBALL as I am that the West-Coast type offense being installed is fitting a square peg into a round hole.
Putting it another way, I don't necessarily see it as a good thing that Denard throws endless amounts of precision passes with zero threat of him running and trying to rely on the ineffective ground game to generate fear of PA.
There are plenty of pro teams now that barely run out of the I-form in non goal line situations. The Patriots and Lions don't even have FBs on their roster anymore. I just don't understand why people don't consider the 1-back shotgun a "pro" formation.
yeah. I hope it is justingoblue said, because otherwise, we are left with this...
If only Al would use Picture Pages with Brian Cook, all his offensive woes would be solved. And the way all you little scholar Picture Pagers are catching on, Brian oughta be able to franchise this and make billions. Any head coach worth anything will sign up at once.
I guess I'm missing the funny part of your sarcasm. It can't be sincerity, because clearly Michigan has the resources to do their own picture pages. So yep, it's just unfunny sarcasm.
Well, you're definitely missing something.
He's being unnecessarily harsh, but it is getting a little silly that amateurs around here seem so adamant that they know better than Borges despite having a trivial fraction of the experience, track record, and familiarity with this roster that Borges has.
I actually completely agree with Borges. Let Denard work under center, focus on passing technique and letting the RB's be the focal point of the running game. This saves Denard from heavy contact (hopefully), lets the RB's get in groove for games when we will really need them, and gets Denard mroe comfortable with passing tenchique/timing.
But Denard is by far our best runner. That is the problem
Agreed. He probably always will be. That being said, we don't need to work on Denards running right now. We need to work on Fitz, Shaw, play-action from under center, and pro style passing aspects of the offense.
To me, this is a good opportunity for us to work more on our weaknesses. I guarantee that if push came to shove, Borges will abandon the pro style and let Denard do what needs to be done.
Except that we DO need to work on Denard's running, and, more importantly, the O-line's ability to block for him. Remember, our offense wasn't good enough to beat the best teams last year. Since the best case scenario for under center running with our personnel and experience level is "okay but not as good as Denard running from the gun" we should perfect the things we're pretty good at rather than try to get to mediocre at new things.
Borges has already shown that, when we really need to score, he'll draw deeply from spread concepts that suit Denard's talents. So why waste time on plays you're not going to trust when the chips are down?
Absolutely. These running backs need to get their act together sometime, and against teams like we play in the next 3 games is the perfect time. It's also the perfect time to not put Denard in a position to get injured as much. We've GOT to have a rushing offense that doesn't rely on Denard, and from what I understand, that is easier to do from under center.
Exactly. I should have put that in my original comment.
These next few games are a perfect time for us to work on the things that are going to be crucial for our us to be good at later in the year.
I like this "hybrid" offense, but the problem we have right now is the under center aspect of it. Once that gets more reps and becomes more polished...watch out.
I completely agree... as long as the running backs can, you know, run. There's no point in hampering Denard so that the running backs can split 30 carries per game if they're not producing. I'm sure Borges will go with what produces results; he's not stupid.
I was impressed at Lewan's speaking ability. I know newspapers cut out "ah"s and "um"s, but his interview translated nicely onto paper. I used to read transcripts of myself in court and I read like a blithering idiot. I quickly stopped reading them.
by putthing the onus on the o-line, where it belings IME.
Well the two runs that appeared to work successfully vs ND were two zone-read keepers out of the shotgun. The two most successful runs vs WMU were zone blocked handoffs out of the shotgun to Fitz and Shaw. We all know how well the RBs ran from under center.
To the untrained observer, its obvious that we have to run more from under center...
To quote Denard, "WHAAAT?"
Our three best running backs (Fitz/Shaw/Smith) carried the ball three times against ND. One of those carries came from under center (the offensive line refused to block anyone and Shaw made a great play to avoid a huge loss). This team can be effective running the ball from under center and Denard showed he can make big plays in the passing game there too.
The only valid criticism of Borges is the fact that he gave Hopkins the bulk of the carries against ND. The design of the offense is fantastic, whether we're under center or in the gun.
Is a good point. Hard to extrapolate from a game where we were behind the whole time. But doesn't that make it all the more worrisome that he waited until the 4th quarter to open it up?
The offense was pretty wide open from the get go, largely because ND overloaded the box and often kept a spy on Denard. The only thing that changed late in the game is that Denard made better throws and guys hung onto the ball. If our guys had executed like they are capable of early in the game we would have put up six or seven hundred yards worth of offense, against a pretty decent D.
I should probably wait for the UFR before making proclamations. I was pretty drunk. But we had 85 yards of total offense in the first half, 44 of which came on one throw.
On a similar note, I guess my question would be this: when you say "what our guys are capable of" in relation to execution, what do you think we're capable of out of the I-form? Because most of the positive plays out of the I-form I can remember this year (again, standard caveat, alcohol, etc) have been Denard making shit up after the play breaks down.
I fully admit I'm probably missing something significant here.
Umm, the sample size is small because it was obvious early on that the plays weren't working. Or would you have preferred we go 3 and out a few more times just to see if under center runs would start to work?
Mike Shaw had one carry in the first half (a zone read out of the shotgun that Denard misread that would have been a huge gain had he kept the ball).
He didn't carry it again until late in the 3rd quarter (we scored two plays later). Smith didn't carry the ball until the 4th quarter (again out of the shotgun, and we scored on the next play). Where are all these three and outs being caused by a refusal to abandon the ground game?
Stephen Hopkins should never have vaulted to the top of the depth chart, but complaining that under center running didn't work because the line sucked on one play (the only one run by any of our top three backs) is kind of insane. Even Hopkins' runs didn't cause the offense to sputter in the first half. He gained three yards on a 2nd and 10 carry where we failed to pick up the first down on the next play. He then had two short runs on first down later in the half. One was immediately followed by an INT and one was immediately followed by a long TD pass.
Ultimately, I trust Borges. But under the center will work only against subpar teams right now. Great, get it going against EMU. But we better show something else by the time Big 10 play comes around.
We've started both of the opening games lined up in the shotgun with Denard's number being called on a number of designed runs. If the running game isn't in a rythm it is because we haven't called running plays.
Acting like Denard is somehow stifled under center is ridiculous. Just rewatching the ND highlights, all 4 TD passes come with Denard under center as did the 15 yard gain to McColgan. Seems like he was pretty effective there to me, and a lot of that was because ND bit hard on play action over and over again. I'd just like to see Al mix it in earlier in the game and get the backs involved from the start.
Not giving Stephen Hopkins the bulk of the carries when he is the 4th best option on the team would also probably be a good idea.
To quote Brian from an earlier post, "the only difference between Denard's passes this year and Denard's passes last year are the defenders." Last year, Denard's threat of running from out of the shotgun gave him wide open receivers to throw to, to which he completed better than 60% of his passes. This year, we are completing passes in double coverage (Hemmingway, Gallon in the end zone), and throwing up jump balls to guys in single coverage. If its not the scheme, then what is the reason that our receivers look so much better covered this year?
He had over 100 yards rushing against ND and averaged nearly 7 yards per carry despite taking a knee a time or two before the half. If he doesn't repeatedly make the wrong read against ND on Saturday he would have had another 200 yard game on the ground easily.
If you think Junior Hemingway standing 40 yards downfield with a DB nearby is covered then you are just mistaken. Just like in the Indiana game last year, that is an easy chance for a huge gain, and something that has always been a staple of Al Borges' offense (go back and watch McNown throwing to guys like Farmer and Poli-Dixon and completing "jump balls" all day).
We scored more points against ND this year than we did last year (despite their defense probably being a little better and the fact that we gave the ball away three more times) and averaged 2.4 yards more per play. And that is with Denard playing horribly in the run game and missing open receivers. Denard had 338 yards on 24 attempts on Saturday with 4 TD. Last year he had 244 yards on 40 attempts with 1 TD. I'll take the former, even if it comes with a lower completion percentage.
People seem to be remembering the big plays (we had about two through the air against ND last year) and forgetting all the quick hitches to a covered receiver and the screens thrown behind the line of scrimmage. I'm guessing any difference in perception has to do with people's eyes rather than any overestimated change in scheme.
If we don't throw the ball once, and Denard gets ZERO carries against EMU, and we get the win (of course), I would consider this game a tremendous success.
Give it up guys. We're going to run probably 40% of our plays from under center, stop complaining about it. I'm fairly certain Borges knows more about running an offense than we do. What's wrong with diversifing the offense? It's not like the shotgun is going away. Plus, if we actually establish an I-form run, it makes Denard even more dangerous on bootlegs and the like. I recall seeing a few wide open plays from under center where Denard simply missed the big play throw or overlooked the wide open receiver (wheel route). If he can make better reads and throws (like a good QB should), he will be lethal.
Quit looking at the short term...
The only problem with this line of thinking....Denard has missed open receivers and overlooked better options with regularity his entire career so asking him to just clean that up is like asking him to be a better QB. Denard is a running QB, not a pocket passer. That means you can't just ask him to be a better QB. At this point, it's pretty easy to see what we have in denard
After Borges' comments, you might want to keep the firearms locked away.
We act like Mike Vick played in a strictly spread option offense both in college and the pros. Also, I fail to see how Borges is a moron for eventually wanting to run his offense. With Tyrod Taylor, an outstanding runner, under center, Va Tech won the ACC title multiple times in a pro style offense in recent years. With Terelle Pryor, OSU won a minimum of ten games a season. Is it as excting? No. Can it win games? You bet.
Defense and special teams make kind of a big difference in those examples. Not to mention in the OSU case in particular when they had to score? Spread.
I mean, we still run mostly spread. We run a hybrid offense, and Borges is running it in a hybrid manner. This is similar to how both OSU and VaTech ran hybrid offenses.
We also act like Denard Robinson has as good of an arm as Mike Vick. He doesn't. Lets help him out and put him in positions to be successful.
when facing the bigger DLINES. I don't mind saving DROB in these smaller games...but come MSU we better go back to the shotgun. I suspect Borges practices are 50/50 under center /spread.
I think people forget that Michigan was not exactly an offensive dynamo after the Illinois game last year. I've never seen so many people bitch about our offensive gameplan after we just gained almost 250 yards in the 4th quarter, mostly under center. Sure the first 3 quarters were a mess, but lets give the new staff a chance to figure things out.
Those 4th quarter yards were pretty much a fluke attributable more to coverage busts and winning contested jump balls with midgets than to anything the offensive design created for them.
It's bloody obvious the I-form is sub-optimal with this personnel and the two formations (I-form and gun) don't complement eachother at all. You want to be sub-optimal 40% of the time?
Rodriguez's spread was based on having legitimate counters to everything the defense did to disrupt Michigan's base plays (inside zone, outside zone read option and qb power). This hybrid looks like its just a hodgepodge of plays that don't complement eachother.
Now, finding a way to integrate a more advanced passing tree on top of the spread base plays that were already established last year? That is something the offense may have been lacking and something I can get behind.
I think that a spread shotgun base with power running concepts (pulling,downblocking) is the most logical solution from a scheme standpoint and also one which maximizes the efficiency of Michigan's practice time (because they already know most of it).
Thanks for reiterating exacting what Brian said. RR's spread also didn't do sh!t against any GOOD teams last year (see points scored against good opponents). The end.
but that doesn't mean i'm reiterating it.
I've been making this point to people for months/years
And just because yards didn't translate into points last year doesnt mean you need to 'get tougher'. It means you need to find a way for the offense to quit stalling out in the red zone and turning the ball over. I form doesnt solve either of those.
Quit worrying about Borges and offense and plays and pay no attention to whatever he says, just watch what we do and when and how as the games come along. He obviously wants each and every defense we play to have to prepare for both the spread and the I-formation, regardless of what we use when and how and why.
You don't get to be an old and employed offensive coordinator being a fool, there are a lot of unemployed young wise men!
...who made Jason Campbell, Cade McNown and Cadillac Williams into 1st round draft picks.
Did Borges make Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown into first round picks? Lets give the players some credit for this.
His track record speaks for itself, and he has taken average QB's and made them great. The team is on a bit of a learning curve at this point, and there probably will be a few bumps along the way, but before long the kinks will be worked out. Besides, I think that asking Borges to run a spread offense just because of Denard will work about as well as GERG's 3-3-5.
Tell me this. For everyone that thinks we should simply design our offense entirely around Denard's ability to run, what happens when Denard gets hurt? Do we have one playbook for Denard and then a back-up playbook for everyone else that the rest of the starters don't get a chance to practice? I think that designing a playbook around a single player is very risky. If he god hurt (God forbid) we would be absolutely screwed since we don't have another Denard on the roster. I don't think its worth it to transform your system to maximize the abilities of one player.
I agree, but DG was recruited to run a spread offense and absolutely has the tools to do so. Not to mention our cadre of 5'7 slot ninjas who go totally unutilized when we put in McLoghan (sp?) at FB and the fact that our o-line is much better at zone blocking. The 40% of the time we run the non-spread portion of our offense, we basically throw yards away.
But he's also 6'4" and he doesn't run a 4.3. From most of the commentary I've seen, people want to eliminate the plays where the quarterback might have to throw over a defender and they want to utilize Denard's dilithium to turn safeties into linebackers. I don't think Gardner (or many other quarterbacks) would fit that system very well.
Our problem isn't I vs gun, it is finding any way to get someone other than Denard to get some yardage
with the caveat that I think the best way to do that is out of the gun. I'm certainly not asking for Denard to run power more often.
The top two RBs last year, LaMichael James and Mikel LeShoure, both ran out of shotgun offenses. I'm not familiar with all of the offenses on the list, but I bet the same is true for many of the other top RBs. It's just not true that you can't use the RB effectively from the shotgun. People are doing it everywhere. And not just on read-option and outside stuff.
The real question is: How effective were OUR running backs out of the shotgun last year?
Answer: Not effective enough.
Also, which of our backs have shown the ability of the aforementioned backs?
While that's certainly true, our running game itself was excellent. That's because we weren't asking the offensive line to block in ways they really aren't capable of doing.
Our running game was excellent because Denard always had an extra blocker and had 20 carries per game, or fewer if he got hurt. Everyone else was average at best.
Borges knows what he is doing.
Have a cookie.
uhh..so far our coachs have shown the ability to MAKE ADJUSTMENTS of which RR and GERG were very much unable to do. As much as I think 'Gun is the only way to deploy Denard, I am happy with them starting out a game; sucking at it, adjust @ halftime, #winning.
Until we play a team that's too good to suck for a half against...
It boggles my mind. Last year, we came up with every excuse in the book to say our offense wasn't any good and RichRod wasn't that great offensively because it stalled in the first half and we had to come back too often. Now we are using the exact same mindset to praise the current coaching staff for making adjustments and getting us back into the game. The only difference between the Wisconsin, Penn State, and Iowa games from last year and this past week's ND game was that our defense was able to stop ND a couple times
For the last two years, as the season progressed, the team regressed, admittedly in part due to tougher competition, but, regardless, the team did not seem to get better as the season went along. It may well be that Borges (and the rest of the coaches) believe that by playing both spread and I-formation in actual games, the team will improve its execution in both formations so that as the season goes along, the team will progress. That is not to say that the coaches did not care about beating ND, but my guess is that if they knew in advance that we would win only two of the three games against ND, MSU and OSU, they would choose wins against MSU and OSU.
We lost out on practice time when we lost the last 17 or 18 minutes of the WMU game. We needed those reps on offense. We didn't get them. We still have not run all that many offensive plays. It seems logical, at least to me, that the coaches will try to work out the wrinkles in our running game over the next three Saturdays so that when we face stiffer challenges at Northwestern and MSU they will be in the best position to determine what we are best able to do to win those two important conference games.
The offense has run around 75-80 plays so far this year.
I could care less what type of offense Borges professes to want to run Sunday through Friday; but on Saturday, I want him to employ the best unit for the talent and situation before him. I suspect we'll see a bunch of pro-style "MANBALL" runs against EMU, then a return to the 60/40 spread/pro against SDSU. Borges wants to win, and he wants to win now, so he's not going to push for Denard to change his game just to fit in.
What will be interesting is what Borges does once Denard leaves. Then he'll have a 5* in Devin and a 5* in Shane, one designed for the 60% offense and the other for the 40%, with less overlap/reliance on a singular player like Denard. My guess is that he'll try to push Devin more toward the I-form, pro-style offense with designed runs we saw with teams like Va Tech, OSU (with Troy Smith), and Syracuse (with McNabb). But who knows. Right now, though, this coaching staff has shown a proclivity toward talking up the blue hairs while still being realistic with the capabilities of the offense. That's a smart coaching staff, and so I'm fine with how they gussy it up for the papers.
I actually think he would be an excellent pro-style QB. He's got the arm, the height and more escapability than the average dude, although not as much as Denard. When Denard is gone we're going 100% West Coast baby. And, I should note, at that point I will have no problem with it because a west coast style will be an optimal use of our personnel. The problem is that this year running ANY plays out of the I-form not in goalline situations is essentially throwing away yards.
Borges explicitly said that he would like to be under center "a little bit more, not a lot but a little bit more."
A little bit more.
Breath deep and try to survive.
"I'd like to be under center a little bit more," Borges said. "Not a lot more, but a little bit more."
From your own goddam link.
Edit: In other words, what that guy right above me just said before I said it.
Coach Borges is right. This staff has to find away to get the running backs more involved in the offense. Coach knows the only way to compete in the Big Ten is to have stability. Without the running backs contributing this staff will end up being a repeat of the last staff, look good against the cupcakes, and sputter against the top dawgs. Denard can’t be the entire offense otherwise we don’t stand a chance in the long run.
but you don't need to be under center to get better production out of the RB's. You can run plenty out of the spread formation.
Denard is allowed to be Denard + hot RB action = wins
I commend you for making it obvious that this was a neg-worthy thread just from the title.
I think it's likely that Borges will continue to do alot of tinkering to find a way to develop a consistent non Denard running game and that will result in lots less offense from Denard than is acceptable in Mgoblog land. Even if we're 5-0, there is liikely to be quite an uproar
No kidding...Denard is likely to win a Heisman with a spread game. So, yeah, we're gonna be in an uproar if he is cramped in an I form only offense that is not suited to his skill set.
I'm hoping for a heavier slant towards spread formations this year (75/25) and less every subsequent year until we get to a mix that fits our offense the best at any given time.
to suggest that "the kids are going to get confused" because they run Power I AND spread formations at the same time.
There are tons of examples of teams that do it all. Norm Chow at USC ran I-formation, split backs with trips, Ace, offset I, and shotgun pro. Borges did the same at UCLA. The playbook was huge. Those players were on great teams. They were not confused about their identity as "Smashmouth" or "Finesse". They knew how to do both. They just played and executed and scored a shitload of points.
I don't understand why Michigan fans are so wrapped up and vested in the offensive identity badge that Michigan should "officially wear" because we're Michigan!. Forget that shit.
Besides Michigan is already doing everything under the sun right now.
All that matters is scoring a ton of points and beating opponents as decisively as possible. Sometimes that means bringing the hammer with Manbaw 36 belly shit, and other times it means breaking out Denard and running speed option, faking opponents out so badly their faces melt Indiana Jones style.
Ohio State runs both...
Thankfully, we don't have Jay Paterno coaching Denard.
doing things, I happened to look to the side at what some of our Big Ten brethren are up to.
Don't look now but 3 of the top 4 rushing teams in the Big Ten conference primarily operate out of the shotgun and happend to be scoring more touchdowns than PSU, Iowa, MSU and Ohio State....
Illinois 566 yrds, 8 TDs
Northwestern 547 yrds, 8 TDs
Wisconsin 449, 7 TDs
Nebraska 448, 8 TDs
Michigan is dwindling down in 9th place with 304 rushing yards in 2 games and 4 TDs.
How many of those yards are by the teams QB vs from their rb's??
UM getting production out of their running back was a problem out of the shotgun last year too.
Betcha wisonsin is still the number one B1G rushing attach by the end of the year. It all depends on where the team has talent.
And ND is better than most of the teams they played. Hell, Western is.
Calm down people. This is his exact quote: "I'd like to be under center a little bit more," Borges said. "Not a lot more, but a little bit more."
Navy annually gives teams fits because they are not used to it. WHy not throw it a smidgeon of option under center to throw teams off? The sight of Denard running with the ball surely will cause some defenders to go Tommy Rees and have eyes only for one man.That should open some lanes for Fritz/Shaw/Hopkins.
I never understood why RR did not try this. At least show some different looks in terms of formations. He had an I-form already. Why not use the triple option?
Is it because of the blocking scheme is so radically different than what UM is currently using?
Perhaps the experts on here can shed some light on reasons why UM has not used the triple option.