It still shows up as a loss. The biggest difference between Rich Rod and Borges is that Borges now has Denard. He's wasting away Denard's talents and trying to make him into something he's not. Who did Rich Rod have? Threet? Sheridan? I don't think any offense would have made a difference. Rich Rod was trying to build something out of nothing and Borges is tearing down something into nothing.
Borges flexibility gets him less rope?
RR magical offense often failed against the better teams in Big Ten as well. It's not like they lit it up last year once the schedule got tougher.
I like stats and all but you can't say our offense was awesome last year against good defenses. I continue to be befuddled at the Borges critics who say he has ruined an offense that was not good against good teams last year. The plays are different but the issues seem to be not so different. Bad throws.
are made on a consistent basis which tells you that Denard has no intermediate/deep accuracy yet you continue to call for more intermediate/deep passes, that's not good play calling. You can call that goes to your QB's strength.
I would also like to see a few different calls to help Denard out, but my point was geared more toward the fact that a predictable spread like we ran last year was bottled up to some extent by the good teams we played. I would like to give some credit to those defenses rather than assume that it's Borges's fault that we don't roll MSU like we did Bowling Green. No matter what plays we call, good defenses will provide a stiffer test and require better execution. I believe much of the issues are with execution. This is no indictment of anybody in particular, only a statement that play calling can only mask weaknesses to some extent. Many on this board seem to suggest that since statistics show more productivity per play with the zone read that means we would automatically win more games with this team running more zone read. That is a sound hypothesis, I just don't believe it would test out to be true against defenses who are prepared for it. The thought that Denard can not beat good teams with his legs alone is not that profound. Good defenses have always exploited teams with a single strength. I don't agree with every play call but I commend Borges on his continued search for some measure of balance between under center and shotgun, zone blocking and man blocking, short routes and long routes, etc. I believe that at some point, perhaps next year, our execution in all of those cases will improve enough that we are able to attack defenses in multiple ways.
Our offense this year has been bad against average/bad teams as well. WMU and EMU were not great games offensively. We probably lose to WMU without the weather or defensive scores. We looked bad in long stretches against other bad defenses as well. This is not just an issue against good teams.
Michigan is averaging 445 YPG on offense.
That is without that horrible, terrible WMU game that Michigan almost lost thank goodness it was stopped in the third quarter.
Here's a list of how many points Michigan has scored in all of its games so far
What part of that is just plain "bad"? Sure, the two scores in the teens stick out...but one was in a trash tornado, and both were on the road. This isn't a bad offense...this isn't a stellar one either, for sure...but it is far from bad. Or would you like me to go over teh 2008 numbers with you, just to prove that this isn't a bad offfense? Please don't make me do that.
* - In 3 quarters of play
But the last teamsto win the National Championship without running some version of the spread and I believe that team was Alabama. So some aspects of the spread cannot all be bad, 4 out 5 of the last championships. It would appear that some aspects of a spread style offense could be utilized especially with Denard under center. Nothing against Borges he may just not have the personnel to run his preferred offensive game plan.
give me a break we moved the ball on every single team we played.. it wasn't the offense that didn't work last year, it was the 5 turnovers every game that our offense gave up that lost us the games...
How many times did we get into OSU territory last year just to turn the ball over? A LOT, several inside their 40 yard line.. Not to mention all the other teams we turned it over on average about 3 times a game, and forced none
The offense was doing well enough to win last year IMO, and being forced to catch up all the time since the D was so bad - that affected the O as well. Not to mention the failures at field goal kicking.
Having said that I find it a bit amusing that people are complaining that Borges "isn't using Denard right."
Are we wanting the spread option back already? So many people over the last 3 years complained that the spread wouldn't work in the big ten, now people are wanting to see more of the spread incorporated... they aren't saying that outright but that's what they are really saying when they say "denard isn't being used right."
"The spread doesn't work in the Big Ten" is an idiotic comment. It doesn't work great when you have an injured quarterback who is already inaccurate to begin with or a subpar offensive line, both of which we had last year. But it doesn't work in the Big Ten against good defenses? This is arrant nonsense.
If the measure of "good" is whether an offense with mostly sophomores and juniors on it, led by a first-year starting quarterback, scores at will against the toughest defenses in the B1G, then you're right. It wasn't that good.
But then by your measure, M's offense is fucking atrocious this year. 14 points against State? Jesus, we scored 17 against State last year. 16 against Iowa? My god, we scored 28 last year. And that was with one defense tied behind our back, whereas this year the offense doesn't have that excuse.
Wasn't MSU at home, without a complete windstorm. Think just maybe this offense would have done better in similar conditions?
What about the 14 points against Mississippi State - that was a beautiful offense.
Furtherermore, last time I checked, football was a team sport and the head coach was responsible for everything. Last year, defense - attrocious, special teams - not so good, offense - great at getting yards - less so at getting points.
This year, defense - amazingly improved, offense - some regression, but atrocious, I don't think so. Special teams - still need work, but better.
After watching Mississippi State, I am not convinced we were going to see the offense make huge strides in the scoring department - after watching three years of defensive futility, I have no evidence to believe that Rich Rod was going tonfix the defense (why didn't he fire Gerg after 2010)?
Yes, I can be frustrated that theboffense isn't as good as hoped, but all in all, I see a team that has improved enough in enough areas that in the only numbers that really count, I don't feel confident that RR would have done any better. Would he have had the defense to beat Notre Dame - doubt it. Heck, I'm not sure he would have had the defense to beat Western. It's asy to say that if only RR had coached the offense against MSUband Iowa we'd be 9-0, but sommany other things would have been different (and I think worse) that it becomes a ridiculous assumption
My point was not to say this year's offense is atrocious. It was to mock the post I responded to. And further, my point was to make the very point you made--football is a team sport. A good offense is made better by a good defense, and vice versa. That's why M's 2010 offense, despite the insane ravings of various posters, was #2 in FEI, which accounts for how shitty your defense is.
This year, with a better defense, M's offense is ranked #17 in FEI (through the Iowa game, with three tough defenses left).
So let's do this one more time, with feeling:
- MICHIGAN'S OFFENSE WAS REALLY GOOD LAST YEAR IN LIGHT OF HOW FUCKING HORRIBLE THEIR DEFENSE WAS AND MAKE NO MISTAKE THEIR DEFENSE WAS HORRIBLE (#108 IN FEI).
- MICHIGAN'S DEFENSE IS MUCH BETTER THIS YEAR (CURRENLTY #17 IN FEI) WHICH TO SOME EXTENT IS OBSCURING THE REGRESSION IN THE OFFENSE.
That's why M's 2010 offense, despite the insane ravings of various posters, was #2 in FEI, which accounts for how shitty your defense is.
In 2010, Michigan was #2 in Offensive FEI which in no way accounts for the defense. In Total FEI, which includes the defense, Michigan was #55.
Right now Michigan is putting up 445 YPG with fewer possessions per game than last season. Maybe FEI doesn't like them as much, relative to other teams, but they are hardly struggling. In terms of scoring, 2011 is right there with 2010--again with fewer possessions per game.
Considering we don't play 2 of the best teams in the B10 this year, the 3 teams we played last year that were 11-1 already have at least 2 losses already this year, the overall shittyness of the B10 this year, and the fact we still have to face 2 of the toughest defenses in the league, it might be wise not to say our offense is that good. People thought our offense was pretty good last year until the Wisconsin game, then all of a sudden it apparently sucked because it couldn't produce against 3 of the best 4 teams we played all year.
Wat? FEI is a drive-by-drive analysis that takes into account strength of opposition. If your offense only gets 8 drives because your defense can't get the ball back for you, you can have a great game FEI-wise and a shitty game score-wise (see: Wisconsin).
Similarly if your defense holds another team to 3 and out on every drive, but your offense throws 9 pick sixes, you suck on the scoreboard but your defense is awesome.
That's what I meant by it taking into account your defense.
that it was Denard's first year in the system as the starter; it would have been great to see what the guys could have done with a whole year of experience under their belts...
that people cannot understand that last year's offense was run by a first year starter at quarterback, had no special teams or defense backing it up and judging by all logical standards of progression it would probably have been better this year*
Not even worth arguing this idiocy anymore.
Threet/Sheridan/2008 offensive line would have all been godawful REGARDLESS of the system.
Denard and co. have proven that they can be better than godawful...in fact, pretty darn good...in a specific system.
Also, it's head-bashingly frustrating that a man with Borges' experience is so inexplicably hard-headed about a somewhat universal and decently effective play like the bubble screen.
mich had their worst o line ever that first year under RR. the O returned maybe 3 starters. a pro style QB would have been killed too.
borges inherited a very good experienced O and has cost us both losses.
but probably true...
A freshman QB (and as a transfer Threet was basically like a true freshman in terms of experience at Michigan) behind a makeshift o-line is a recipe for disaster in any system.
It also isn't like Threet was out there running the triple option every play. He got loads of opportunities to drop back, survey multiple wide receivers in their pass patterns, and throw the ball down the field. He stunk at it. Just like any young QB in the same situation would have, and not because some label placed on the offense made it impossible for a tall, not too fast white guy to complete passes.
"When the square peg doesn't fit into the triangular hole, you commission the sledgehammer."
You bring up the idea that we were okay with Rich Rod stinking it up in the first year due to possible future gains. But after that never came to fruition, why should we go along the same path again?
if he'd been more flexible. He could've kept alot of talent if he'd been more flexible. He built things from the ground up because in some areas he needed to, but in many areas he blew everything up real good and threw kids and coaches away and started over too.
Someone hasn't read "Three and Out" or been paying attention to anything.
Mallet was essentially gone before Rich Rod stepped on campus
sat down with him and talked about his place on the team. He may have stayed if RR tried to keep him or was as flexible with his system as Borges is with his. Malletts mom said that he may have stayed on anyways if RR had kept QB coach Loeffler.
There are two sides to the story, one of them involves RR being completely inflexible and throwing NFL talent away.
Here's a link to a Boston Globe article about Mallett highlighting the process in the series they're running about him called "The Making of Mallett."
This is rather contrary to other reports about this situation.
Someone hasn't read "The Making Of Mallet" or been paying attention to anything.
Three and out is written by a third party who has done credible work before and gives no reason to question what was written. What you are linking is based on Ryan Mallet and his families accounts....who do you think is more credible here?
Actually I'm pretty sure a lot of people have questioned the credibility of things in 3&O. And as credible as Bacon is, just b/c Mallet's family said something different doesn't necessarily mean it is incorrect. Remember, many things Bacon put in 3&O probably came straight from RR's mouth, especially personal accounts of interactions like this. I don't think you can just discount this article b/c it doesnt conform to exactly what you thought the truth was.
Did Bacon talk to Mallett?
This is not at all a slam on Bacon. I think it is a very good book and would totally recomend i. However, Bacon spent most of three years surrounded by one side of the story and many people on the other side of the story generally didn't talk to him.
Can people honestly rad that book and not find some big missing pieces? How exactly did things go from Loyd calling RR about the job to him not supporting him. Might that little missing piece help a bit?
Here's my advice on the book: Don't believe all of it. A lot of it is the opinion of people saying what they thought happened, but that doesn't mean it did. Michigan did not offer Pat Fitzgerald. Even Pat Fitzgerald said he wasn't offered and it never went that far.
As for the curious change in view of Lloyd Carr toward Rich Rodriguez, it's pretty simple: The more Carr got to know Rodriguez, the less he liked him. And that falls on Rodriguez. He showed little respect for what Michigan had been and is, and came in with a very arrogant approach. You know, he was the offensive coordinator under Tommy Bowden at Tulane, when Tulane went 12-0. Tulane hardly ever has a winning season, much less go undefeated. Bowden left for Clemson and Tulane took a look at Rodriguez and passed. Why? Complaints about his arrogance and how he treated people. You have to consider the possibility that people thought he might be a great hire for Michigan, then got to know him better and had some concerns.
Carr was never going to allow Miles to be hired, but neither was Brandon. And it all had to do with Miles off-the-field activities when he was in Ann Arbor, and their view of him is justified. He was married when he was at Michigan, but not to the woman he is married to now. His current wife was a asst coach on a women's team at Michigan. Not hard to figure out what Les Morals, as they called him, was up to.
Rosenberg is an idiot and I lost all respect for the Freep because they never ran corrections on the many errors in their lame investigation. But trust me, the people who developed negative views of him, that didn't happen for no reason. He has a massive ego -- it is his fatal flaw.
Really? Basically a redneck? Your argument is weak enough that you have to resort to namecalling based on the location of his birth? Stay classy, new posters, stay classy.
Edit: Original quote, since apparently it occured to the poster that his post was low-brow.
The more Carr got to know Rodriguez, the less he liked him. And that falls on Rodriguez. He showed little respect for what Michigan had been and is, and came in with a very arrogant approach. He also is more or less a redneck who lacks polish, has a foul mouth, and is not all that beloved by the people who know him.
Fairly certain the whole Carr advised Mallet thing has been out there since Mallet transferred, its not like Bacon reinvented the wheel on that one.
This is probably want happend;
Carr said maybe you should go as he was fed up with him and his antics
RR said well if you want to go theres the door and didnt try that hard to keep him as he only wanted to coach kids who wanted to be at Michigan.
This is not a controversy.
and is worth noting- Bacon's account is through RR's eyes. The statements in the Mallet article referenced in this thread would not have made their way into Bacon's book because hw only heard from RR. If we find out he'd interviewed Mallet, that changes things. But the feelings presented in that article do tell a different side of the story. That's worth some controversy. Bacon's is an enlightening, however one-sided account. Mallet didn't have to take Carr's advice, and the story presented in the article indicates he was open to hearing from RR, that it wasn't a done deal. Without hearing more from him, we'll never know.
The only evidence you have provided here is a link to an article with the following title:
Ryan Mallett's father says Lloyd Carr advised the quarterback to transfer from Michigan
The defense rests, your honor.
"Jim Mallett also said Rodriguez never asked to meet with Ryan Mallett, a 6-foot-7 pocket passer who clearly didn’t fit his spread option offense.
“Ryan’s the one who called (Rich Rod),” Jim Mallett told the Herald. “He said, “Can I talk about the offense?’ And then he told me, ‘Daddy, (Rodriguez) never looked me in the eye.’ He never visited with the family, he didn’t talk to us."
If this is true, then Rodriguez bears some of the responsibility for not having a viable option at QB in 2008. I think that's all he's saying.
Even if he kept Mallet, he would've had 2 returning starters on offense instead of 1. While Mallet is a big time athlete, we saw in 2007 how raw is talent was even with a tremendous support cast.
People forget that regardless of any attrition that could be put on RR (which, I doubt he had control over mostly), the 2008 team he inherited still lost the leading passer in school history (Henne), the leading rusher in school history (Hart), and the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft (Long) to graduation. That will make a dent regardless.
Not to mention that in 2008, Ryan Mallett had a 45% completion percentage and nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns. I'm not suggesting he would be as bad as Threet/Sheridan, but 2008 true sophomore Ryan Mallett is not the same as drafted after his redshirt junior year Ryan Mallett. Especially considering if he comes back, and he'll, I'll even throw Bowen and Arrington in there too, we still return only a QB, a WR, and 2 lineman, both of whom are sophomores. That still doesn't equal a good offense
Did you see Mallett take snaps from under center in 2007? He couldn't. A pro-style offense with Mallett gets us 2 more wins in 2008. Who cares?
with the load of runs and hits he had last season. I'd much rather have him available in every game, the entire game, for a better chance of victory.
what's the point of protecting him from hits if we don't use his talents? What exactly are we saving him for if not winning B1G games?
Denard ran the ball more than last year, but it was with less effectiveness.
79/688 8.7YPC 6TD
166/955 5.75YPC 8TD
71/552 7.8YPC 5TD
76/328 4.3YPC 5TD
averaged more carries per game this year than last year with lesser YPC and does not have as many big runs as last year. Simply put, Denard wasn't near as dynamic of a runner he was last year and it's even worse with Borges calling for more intermediate/deep passes.
Completely agree. Just happened to have those stats handy and thought I'd chime in.
To be fair - Richrod had the option of convincing Mallet to stay at the program. Had he convinced him to stay - would he have run a pro-style offense with the same proficiency? I doubt it. So to say that RR didn't have talent is probably down to not bringing Mallet on board.
That is false, and I'm calling you out on it. Look at the OL in 2008--Mallet wouldn't have been able to walk after a few games behind that line. Or the receivers--all young or not that great to begin with. Minor and Brown were good backs when healthy, which was just about never. Any kind of offense would have been a failure with the 2008 personnel, no matter who was the QB.
You haven't read 3 and out.
We had one of the best offenses in the country last year. It was the defense that was a disaster.
GOOOD TEAMS IT LOST
DENARD WAS BAD AGAINST ALL GOOD TEAM. ILLINOIS NOT GOOD TEAM BUT BEAT PENN STATE, HAD SAME RECORD. CANT BE GOOD TEAM IF LOST TO MICHIGAN.
NOTRE DAME NOT GOOD TEAM, BUT SAME RECORD IOWA, BETTER RECORD PENN STATE. CANT BE GOOD TEAM IF LOST TO MICHIGAN.
DENARD FIGURED OUT.
THIS YEAR PROVE! STATS SAME AS GAME GOOD TEAMS LAST YEAR!
OFFENSE WOULD NOT BE GOOD!
SPREAD NO WORK IN BIG TEN! OR GOOD DEFENSE!
DENARD ONLY FIVE GAME MIRAGE!
BE HAPPY WITH IOWA LOSS!
Yes, the fact that Borges has ran the spread before (and effective). He very much has a shorter rope because the players are way more talented, have a better chance at winning with a spread O, and if he has ran it before successfully he should definitely have a shorter rope than RR. RR should have ran pro style but had a small room for excuse since he had zero experience in that type of offense,
I think the bigger reason, at least on this site, that Borges is getting less rope is that Borges proponents were successful in convincing everyone that Borgess was flexible and had run a spread. Neither of which were true. Borges is a west coast offense coach. Always has been, always will be. You can run that out of the shotgun, doesn't make it a spread offense. You can run a handful of read-options a game (see every NFL team with a "wildcat" package), doesn't make it a spread offense.
If we had accepted initially that Borges just wasn't going to be able to adjust, we would have at least been prepared for what was coming.
talent do we really have? Seriously, compared to M teams of the past, how many of these players are going to be drafted? What position is Denard going to be drafted for? We need some perspective if we're saying this team is a team with dominant talent on offense. We've got ability, but we've never excelled against the big ten since 2006. That's it. Give them time to improve even the offense.
That's exactly the point! We don't have pro-style talent, yet we're trying to run that type of system. We have exceptional talent for a run-based spread, which doesn't use the same type of players that the NFL is looking for.
Talent isn't solely judged based on NFL potential. Hundreds of dominant college players that barely got a sniff in the NFL is proof of that. We have an explosive running QB threat. We have good receivers who excell at blocking down field. We have a talented O-line perfect for zone schemes. The talent is there, even if its not what the NFL (or Borges) wants.
The point is that we're not that far off last year's offense. We're struggling in the big ten. We had most of our points in our many losses when trailing significantly. We had Tate. Borges isn't doing a bad job. Let's let him improve an offense that was improving last year against big ten competition and still needs to improve more.
I just don't like the we were so good, or should be now, attitude and Borges screwed it up. We've had a good offense and we have a good offense now. We're going to have down games, especially in hostile environments, just like we did last year. Borges isn't the enemy.
[Edit: I'll grant you the point about spread players not necessarily being pro material; I agree. It's the Borges hate and his total responsibility for our failings that I disagree with. I do agree we need to run Denard more now, but we've all gotten greedy when a first year coach's 7-2 isn't good enough because we spy a perfect 9-0 around the bend.]
the spread; we could run it very well if Coach Borgess chose to, imo. I'm not saying we just be running spread 100% of the time, but it's what the offense does best, so why not highlight it?
You know what else helps recruiting? How about WINS? I think we expect that Borges should do whatever it takes to win with the talent that he has, just like we should have expected Rich Rod to do. I'm not sure that running Threet in the spread and losing to Toledo really helped a lot with recruiting.
I'm not sure that running Threet in the spread and losing to Toledo really helped a lot with recruiting.
Passing with Threet in a pro-style apparently isn't significantly better, as demonstrated at ASU.
Do you honestly think that we would get bowl-eligible in 2008 with THAT set of offensive personnel?
Denard, Tate, Roh, Ryan, Toussaint, Lewan...the list of Rich Rod recruits goes on, and despite the attrition, there's a solid list of talented contributors.
All that I'm saying is that I think that a coach should do everything that they can to win every individual game with the current personnel that they have. It might not have been enough to get bowl eligible, but you have to play to win, all the time. That goes for Borges and it goes for Rodriguez.
"Do you honestly think that we would get bowl-eligible in 2008 with THAT set of offensive personnel?" - BlastBeat88
Maybe if they had bowls played sometime between Thanksgiving and about a week before Christmas. That 2008 team on offense might as well have tackled Threet or Sheridan themselves sometimes.
If the offense put up a remotely respectable performance against Iowa and MSU, this team would be 9-0. That isn't preserving a flash in the pan, it is preserving an undefeated season and a great shot at the Big Ten title game.
And it isn't about what offense Borges runs. Making Stephen Hopkins the feature back to the exclusion of everyone else against ND (only to see him moved to fullback a few weeks later) was a really bad decision in any offense. Giving Fitz just 2 carries against MSU was a really bad decision in any offense. Running any play from any formation that doesn't force the defense to honor Denard's legs is just dumb. Lining up in a spread formation without forcing the defense to defend the short flat with things like hitch routes and bubble screens makes your QB a sitting duck, even if he is made of dilithium, and forces him to make difficult downfield throws with limited blockers in protecting him.
If Borges were running "his" offense (or Coach Hoke's) and the guys were having trouble working the kinks out things would be a lot more understandable. As it stands, we're shuffling quarterbacks to run a gimmick set at least once per possession, ignoring the running backs one week then lining up in the I and trying to pound the ball a week later only to abandon that when the game starts to get out of hand. This offense doesn't have an identity because it really isn't an offense at this point, just a series of plays.
Do you really think Borges is taking us to a dual QB, jet-sweep centric offense, and that not practicing it in games right now would doom the program down the road? The fact is, Borges and Hoke can't seem to agree on what they want the offense to look like and they certainly don't seem to be able at this point to call plays to reflect their vision. They said they were looking for a back to carry the load. Then it took until week 6 to give Fitz more than 11 carries. They said they wanted to establish a power running game and then refused to give the running backs the ball against ND or MSU. They preach protecting the football and yet Denard has been forced to make difficult, risky throws all season and his interception rate has skyrocketed.
If we were doing what the coaches said they wanted to do and it wasn't working yet, then you might have a point. As it stands, the offensive coaching staff is the main culprit preventing this team from having the kind of (very special) season they are capable of. Hopefully that gets turned around over the next three weeks and they can finish strong after learning a few lessons and coming back to play at home.
Borges has never done these things before. Look at each of his stops over the last 25 years. He has NEVER had a QB run the ball, period. That's why people were concerned with the hire in the first place.
for example, at Auburn, he had Kodi Burns who is a dual threat QB. He tried to turn him into a pocket passer and failed miserably. What happened with Kodi Burns? He moved to WR.
To me Denard just isnt passing as well as he is capable of either. He should have matured more as a passer by now. It seems like he has regressed if anyhting. I get it's a new system for him as well but many of these passes are just poor decisions and poor form.
Let me preface this with saying that there are some things i wish Borges did more of, and there are other things that i wish he did less of ... and a few things i wish he didn't do at all.
I think that there are far too many assumptions and projections about what this team would have looked like and done in RR's fourth year, and i'm not sure they're based on enough evidence. Yes, the offense put up insane numbers in 2010. Yes, the key positions returned. But, there seems to be an assumption that the rest of the teams in the Big 10 would not have or could not have made adjustments that produced a 2011 with far less gaudy numbers.
The big difference, and the one that almost nobody on this board seems to consider at all, is that there's no ready back up QB. How many games last year did Forcier contribute in? How often was Denard banged up, forcing RR to use Forcier? So if Borges or RR ran Denard 25-30 times a game, making the offense most likely to be as effective as it was last year, then do we have to account for the possibility of injury to Robinson? What happens in the event that Denard misses more than a series or two?
So, the big question to those who are sure that the offense under RR would have been at least as good or better than last year is, would Gardner have been able to step into RR's offense and be at least as productive as Forcier?
Barely running Denard at all to "protect" him is just as bad as him being out for a couple series. Either way, we lose. Running him like mad at least lets us win when he avoids getting hurt.
And recall that against MSU, Denard missed the end of the game not because of a running play, but because he got nailed while sitting in the pocket. QB is a dangerous position, and the nastiest injuries usually come on sacks and late hits.
Robinson carried the ball 256 times last season. In 2011 he's carried the ball 147 times. (per Rivals) Is 147 times with three games left "barely"? Granted, he's well off his rushing yardage totals, and it seems to me that he's run less and less as the season has progressed.
Of course it's a dangerous position, and no matter how he might be injured it would be a huge blow to the team. From available evidence, it doesn't look like Gardner's ready to step in.
But again, my point isn't whether Borges is screwing everything up, but the assumptions people make about how this season would have looked with RR still running his offense. Without evidence, i don't see how the argument can be made, especially if the argument assumes no adjustments by opposing defenses, injuries and/or pretending that the loss of last year's second QB has no effect.
I don't see what what we are to learn from comparing this offense to the 2008. If we just want to compare coaching effectiveness, why not compare to last year's team. For what it is worth, while our beloved Wolverines put up some pretty impressive statistics last year, our offense struggled against MSU (twice!) and OSU. While we put up some good numbers against Wisconsin, we did not get into offensive gear until after we were well behind. In short, we need to stop talking as if this was a dominant unit last year. They were good. Could Borges improve his play calling. Sure. Am I concerned that he still does not have a great vision for what he wants to achieve offensively? Yes. But I also think that if Denard hits one deep pass and doesn't fumble by literally putting the ball on the ground, we would all be feeling much better about this offense. I am looking forward to 8 plays of more than 20 yards against Illinois and using a blowout Saturday to springboard to a great finish to this season. Have faith. Go Blue!
I'm glad this is something new to talk about.
Other threads I'm going to start today.
1. Why does Debord keep running zone left with a fullback shuffle?
2. Why does RR hate defense?
3. Why does RR hate Michigan tradition and try to piss on it all the time?
4. Jim Tressel is a scumbag discuss.
NO OFFENSE WAS GOING TO WORK IN 2008!!!! ENOUGH
The only correct analogy was if Carr stepped down after 2006 and RR was hired and he had Henne, Hart, Manningham and Arrington and he tried to run Henne 10-15 times a game in the spread and we regressed from the 2006 offense.
I am 100% confident that if RR was hired in 07 we would have featured a shotgun that looked similar to the Cap 1 Bowl offense. We would have been in the spread and had zone reads installed but Henne would probably pull out and run it about 5 times a game to keep teams honest. We would have passed most of the time and the rest would have been Hart runs from the gun over Long or draws.
Then you could have judged if RR did the right thing or not depending on if the offense moved forward or sucked.
Comparing the 2008 offensive transition to 2011 transition is not worth talking about.
In 2008, RR lost the starting QB, RB, best two WR, an all american OT, and a traitor OG that was our second best O-Lineman. Al has an offense that was one of the best in the nation last year, with another year of experience.
I just don't get what people are thinking, defending his inept play calling.
Compare the offensive talent we had in 2007 to the talent we have now....
that it would be wiser to compare coaching changes with two established offenses (2007 and 2011) rather than one that was returning one offensive starter and an established offense (2008 and 2011). Unfortuantely, it's a comparison we can't make because it didn't happen.
Given that Hart is no longer in the NFL and didn't really make an impact, Henne is probably done as a starter, Manningham is 3rd receiver in New York and Arrington barely plays in New Orleans, that leaves just Jake Long as a total NFL success...
So over time, who knows, maybe one could make the case that the 2011 offense was more talented than the 2007 offense.
really believe Borges lost us both those games? A lot more rope needs to be given Borges. And I don't think the criticism's because he has knowledge of the spread. It's because he took over for RR and a lot of people here revere him for his offenses here. And he was successful. But vilifying Borges is not the answer. There are a lot of other reasons we lost. Probably Borges factors in. But Denard's picks are often bad decisions that Borges is recoaching later. Our lack of a dominant back isn't his fault either. Some more play action calls would be really nice to keep defenses on their toes, and improv Denard runs as opposed to scripted very predictable end arounds would help, but I don't blame Borges for our losses. Perhaps I was never fully enchanted with our inconsistency on offense last year, but I'm willing to give Borges plenty of te tp get this right.
"Our lack of a dominant back isn't his fault either. Some more play action calls would be really nice to keep defenses on their toes."
Until the non-Denard running game is consistent, play action won't be very effective.
I called it wrong. I miss those passes where Denard would fake a throw and then run or appear to tuck the ball then pull up for a five or ten yard pass. I guess I don't know what those are called. It's been stated that perhaps defenses may have learned how to defend that, so we haven't done it much, but man I'd like to see them again. Denard seemed really successful at them and I think that's using his running talents effectively.
That's the play he takes a step or two forward and then throws the ball. They're still running it. That play can't really be the only pass play in the playbook, though.
I can't remember a lot of "fake a pass then run" plays.
Let's just go with scrambles for that one when no one was open. Perhaps he's getting smarter, but i see a lot of those as throw aways now and not as much scrambling as I'd like to see. I think Hoke addressed that in his presser this week: that he'd like denard to be willing to scramble when little is there. I think he referred to that on the Fitzgerald touchdown throw actually (which was sort of a everyone-running-around-to-get-open play and there were opportunities to tuck and run).
When people complain about a lack of bubble screens, they aren't just saying, "Gee, that is a neat play to run some times." It is a play that, in a spread formation with a great runner like Denard, opens up wide open opportunities like the QB OH NOES!!!. The reason that play worked so well last year, and the reason we haven't seen it be nearly as effective this year is because it is a triple option play and we're now running only two of the options. Last year safeties were being forced to crash down to stop Denard from running the ball AND to provide support on the perimeter if/when he threw a WR screen. That is what allowed the slot receiver to park himself all alone in the middle of the field and then stroll in for a TD. Without the threat of a bubble ever being run, the safeties hold their ground on the perimeter and you see Denard having to complete a quick slant to the inside receiver in traffic.
The issue isn't spread vs. pro, the issue is running any offense that doesn't take full advantage of the opportunities presented to it. I'd be totally fine with running Stanford's offense, so long as we allowed Denard a few more opportunities to run with the ball. I'd be fine with running RR's (or Oregon's, or Urbay Meyer's) offense. The problem is that we aren't running any offense. We flop back and forth between a watered down version of the spread, a heavy I form look that we refuse to pound the ball consistently with the running backs out of, and a gimmicky two QB formation.
That being said, there are still clearly opportunities to be had in the passing game that Denard (and Devin) are just missing right now. I think some of the problem is just learning this new passing game and that we'll see a big leap next year. The frustrating part is that this is when we had a really easy shot to make some noise in a weakened Big Ten with tons of returning talent (next year we lose some great linemen in Molk, Martin, and RVB while the schedule gets tougher). A just slightly smoother transition on offense (or a gameplan that just reflected what the coaches have said they want to do) could have us sitting undefeated right now.
These are all really good points. But there are a number of schools that seem capable of running multiple types of offensive sets without a lot of difficulty. OSU w/ Pryor seemed to be able to move from I-Form to spread/read option with relative ease. LSU seems like they do a lot of the same things (although they accomplish that by rotating QBs, the rest of the team seems comfortable both ways). I'm not much of an Xs and Os guy. What do you think makes the difference there?
One of the things that seems like it is causing the regression for Denard (and this has been brought up on the blog a number of times, I think) is that the pass plays and route structures are more complex this year. It seemed like the RR passing game didn't have much to it, largely because it was needed mainly to keep people from loading the box against the run to maintain the numbers advantage for the zone read/QB run.
Denard looks tentative to me, like he's not sure what to do with the ball. My memory may be failing me here, but I felt like a lot of his picks last year were just bad throws, and this year they seem to be bad decisions.
Last year against MSU and Iowa Denard was a combined 30-47 on his completions or 63.8%.
This year, against the same two teams, he's 26-61 for 42.6%.
When you look at the picks he threw last year, at least the two in the end zone against MSU were good ideas, he just didn't make the throw. He had receivers with a step on their defenders, but threw behind them. His pick against Iowa was a bad decision, much like we've seen him toss this year: a throw seemingly to no one.
After watching the every snap videos for both games last year, Denard rarely threw the ball deep. This year, from memory anyway, it happened between 6-10 times in both games. So I dunno. The question would be: Is Borges doing enough to open up those short throws that enabled Denard to complete 63% of his throws against two good defenses or is Denard just going deep on his own and ignoring the simpler passes?
Denard (and the receivers) are being asked to do a lot more this year. The offenses are also very different and that was always going to cause some difficulties. I think we saw in the ND game (huge plays galore despite Denard playing poorly) and even against Iowa and MSU (missing Roundtree late, missing wide open Hopkins) that there are plays to be made in this offense that just aren't getting made and/or recognized in time (sort of reminds me of the early days with RR where you could see that if one thing had been executed better there were huge chunks of yardage available).
That sort of thing was always going to be the cost of the transition. What bothers me are the things that seem to be directly under Borges's (who I've been a huge advocate for ever since he got hired) control. He should know there are going to be glitches in the passing game and as such do things to make Denard's life easier (more handoffs, more short/quick passes, more "designed" scrambles, etc.). We seemed to see a little more of that against Iowa where Denard was regularly able to roll out of the pocket and hit Hemingway for a 7 yard gain (he dropped one and caught at least two that I remember). These seemed to then be followed up by bombs down the sideline to put the offense back off schedule. Or a quick move to WR for Denard.
If you are making this kind of transition, it also makes zero sense to me to spend so much time practicing a gimmicky, trick-play offense (I'm guessing they practice it as much as they use it in games, which is quite a bit). I can't help but think that if Denard had a few more reps with his receivers and a few less where he's running a fly-sweep that things might be clicking a little better in the passing game. Not to mention what this does to the rhythm of the offense and the speed at which you can get plays in.
He's also said (as has Hoke) that they want to be a powerful, run first team. Yet against ND we rarely if ever handed the ball off (and when we did Stephen Hopkins was getting the ball for some reason). Against MSU Fitz got 2 carries. Michael Shaw has disappeared from the offense despite being nothing but effective this year and last year when healthy. My hope was we'd see a more conventional offense this year with Fitz/Shaw splitting a ton of carries, Denard using his legs from time to time for big plays, and a short passing game to keep the defense off balance (with the occasional shot downfield). Instead we've seen erratic use of the running backs, a goofy two QB formation, and a passing game that seems to force Denard to make every other throw 15-20+ yards downfield (usually from a formation that gives him limited blockers in front of him).
Want to buy some land in Florida I have? It is primo.
I'm glad you wrote this Blaze, a topic worthy of critical thinking, instead of that muck we've had to process from Penn State. I'm going to stretch my brain responding to you.
I agree with your thoughts about the early Rodriguez years and how he said he would balance the offense yet mostly remained true to his own philosophy, and how this compares to Borgess and his situation.
Right off the bat, I would like to state Coach Borgess is the offensive coordinator not so he can put in his packages, but to provide the team with the best chance for success. Coach Borgess isn't here to convert the offense into something that makes him a success that translates into team success, but to have team success that would translate in him being a successful coordinator. Whether it be now or in the off season next year or the next, he can/could gradually install components of what he wants to run in the future and eventually make the turnover without sacrificing the present.
In his defense the success against Purdue might have convinced him the team had turned the corner, perhaps that's why we stuck to the initial game plan for so long, but now what is he going to do? Clearly there are some things that need to be ironed out.
In closing, I completely disagree about him having an obligation to himself and recruits that aren't even on the team yet; this is what you wrote essentially, isn't it? He is the OC for the present and if he's running the offense for the benefits of recruits of future classes, he may not have a future here. As coach Rod could attest to.
Ah, that felt good, thanks for working my brain!
Comparing Borges to RR or even Carr is useless in trying to determine how to go forward. Carr's teams sucked when you look at his record against ND, OSU and the bowls. Hoke preaches accountability so he and Borges should be held accountable for the wins and loses. Regardless of the quality of talent available, they are accountable for getting as much as possible out of that talent. This year they have not. The two loses could have been wins. We have four games to go, including the bowl game. They need to get on the same page and devise a plan to win those four games - with the current roster and without regard to future recruiting, or any other excuse. Hoke and Borges: be Michigan men and implement something that will work for your current players.
He had his troubles on the west coast, but don't forget that LC owned the SEC. The one loss being to UT when they should have been playing for the title instead of in Orlando.
You guys are weak, and he will bring down Hoke. Gerg took out Rich Rod, and we all forget so easily. He did the "right" thing by sticking with Gerg. Wait it cost him his job. Borges didn't run Denard at first and goal on the the one single #ucking time! Wake up! Remember play calls at Spartan Stadium? This has zero impact on recruiting and winning does. F!
You guys are weak, and he will bring down Hoke. Gerg took out Rich Rod, and we all forget so easily. He did the "right" thing by sticking with Gerg. Wait it cost him his job. Borges didn't run Denard at first and goal on the the one single #ucking time! Wake up! Remember play calls at Spartan Stadium? This has zero impact on recruiting and winning does. F!
We are 7-2, we have a junior QB who is playing his first year in a new system, and we still have 3 games left. Our losses were both on the road to the team that leads our division and to an experienced Iowa team that plays well at home. Before this season started, most of the predictions I saw on this board said somewhere around 8-4 as a good year. How about we see how we do against Illinois, Nebraska, and OSU before we toss the new offesnive coordinator under the bus? Do you think that a lot of the points we scored last year against Iowa might have been because they got a big lead and started playing a deep cover 2? And, seeing how Gardner has played this year, a really good point was made above when it was noted that Tate made a lot of those points last year and is no longer around.
His play calls were despicable. Why give up a chance of winning two games because of terrible play calls.mediocrity is unacceptable. Take that shit to Sparty land. We have better recruiting than MSU and are not performing like it. He needs to call plays that suit his players best abilities. He did the exact issue in multiple games. We are lucky we don't have 4 loses with this moron. I like Hoke, but am scared to death Borges will bring him down.
PurpleStuff killed it above, but to answer your post:
Expectations change when you see what is occurring during a season.
Many people thought our defense would be better this year, but I'm guessing zero people assumed it would be at the level it's at right now.
Many people thought Notre Dame would be a game in the loss column, but we somehow pulled out a miracle and won it.
And with the Big Ten being a mess of teams all in the 8-1 to 6-3 range, we were right in the thick of a divisional title race till we lost to Iowa. Now we need a miracle to earn that title.
I'm with you, I think we can win out. But when you look at how the MSU and Iowa games transpired, it's extremely tough knowing that had the coaches had a more established gameplan - see any of Purplestuff's posts in this thread - we should be 8-1 and possibly 9-0 with that horrible streak against MSU off the team's back.
I know some people are overreacting and calling for Borges head, but they are in the minority. Most people are just frustrated that we aren't taking advantage of this down year in the Big Ten and when you look at our losses, a lot of that falls on our OC. It won't matter in a few years, but right now it's a big deal.
You kind of argued against your own thesis. You pretty much said RR looked stupid for running his offense in 2008 because he didn't have the players. And now it seems like you are wanting Borges to do the same. Borges is in a similar, but opposite, situation as RR was except Borges seems to have a much deeper and more diverse playbook. Borges has done a good job of installing some elements of Prostyle but about as much as you want him to with the personnel he possesses. Generally speaking, Borges is doing what is going to get the most production/wins for the team, and that is utilizing the strengths we have (Denard). I have no problem with what Borges has installed. I think the majority of the fan base would agree. I mean, how many of us were crying "PLEASE NO TAKE AWAY DENARD!!!"
The only thing Borges needs to do is realize and admit that Denard cannot throw the deep ball! He couldn't do it last year and he can't do it this year, the best deep ball he threw was in the 2010 spring game to Roy Roundtree on a post route and hasn't thrown it since. He has a strong arm but can't hit a guy in stride on a deep pass, every time he throws it I cringe.
Yea but we can't just go away from the throw or else defenses will load up 7 or 8 in the box ala MSU. Iowa, who runs cover 2 99% of the time showed us a decent amount of 1deep bringing an extra guy down. We HAVE to be able to throw in order to utilize Denard's legs.
That's what the freakin' bubble screen is for: makes it dangerous to put 8 guys in the box. But we refuse to run it.
made a good point in his presser that when Denard slightly underthrows the long ball, we have the receivers to go up and get them. When he overthrows, only Tacopants has a prayer (paraphrased). He said he's coaching Denard on that and that we should see an improvement. That would've changed a lot of opportunities against Iowa. And honestly, we will be severly hindered if we have no long threat whatsoever. The coaches' thinking is that we need at least one, maybe two long balls a game (see their comments about making a big play). In the games we've won that I remember we've gotten them.
We have lost twice. Let's find out whether we lose two times or five times before we get too upset about our acclaimed first year coaches. Honestly, a 7-5 or better start is pretty good for Hoke and co. He and Borges have proved in their work together it's just up from there.
Tried to give away two other wins. We are lucky to only have two loses. Take off the rosey glasses. Borges sucks at play calling.
7-5 is not a good season for a team that was 7-5 last year and returned 18-20 guys depending on how you want to look at it. Especially since the schedule this year is considerably weaker.
What a waste of Hoke/Mattison and staff's work on the defense 7-5 would be.
you are basically comparing the potential of our offenses when being lead by Denard versus Threet/Sheridan, which grossly undermines whatever point you are trying to make.
It doesn't work for either offense or defense in this case. Far far fewer plays are being run this year compared to last year. The yardage numbers and points are bound to go down a little bit just because of that. Michigan has gone from something like top 15 plays per game to bottom 15 plays run per game, it's a pretty massive shift.
The offense against Iowa also left at least 7 points on the field (missed extra point, essentially 2 red zone turnovers) and could have fairly easily had as many as 15 more points. They really aren't that far behind last years offense and I think most people are overreacting. The offense is probably going to regress a little due to the transition, but it's not like Denard never ran the ball, it's not like Denard was never in shotgun, but that's how people are acting.
there were definitely points left on the table at iowa and part of the reason was the play calling inside the 10 yd line at the end of each half. borges really doesn't do much to help denard be successful. i mean, no denard run at the end of the game? i don't buy borges' explanantion that iowa stacked a LB on the outside to prevent a denard run. well, counter it! put a TE in motion to block that guy or use the RB to do so.
also, the O started churning in the 4Q once the shotgun was exclusively used. i know, shocking! the last possession would have probably been moot had he ran that offense more throughout the game.
then he also made denard look silly on the 4th and 1 at msu. it's one thing to call that play if denard is completing 70%. but he wasn't. and it was in a tornado.
beating a dead horse - bubble screens.
this is what is frustrating. we are oh so close to being 9-0 if borges would have given denard a better chance of success.
We shouldn't be comparing RR to Borges. We should be comparing Magee to Borges. Yes, RR had a huge part in everything offense, but we should really compare just offense to just offense. RR's defense or special teams shouldn't factor into a comparison between offenses.
The expectations with Borges are much higher in year one. They really should be.
Borges is doing what any coach inheriting a QB like Denard would do: maximizing his strengths within his offense.
As for "more rope," or "less rope," true fans should always support the coaching staff for at least five years. The only exception is when an assistant is promoted and turns out to be utterly overwhelmed and/or incompetent, or is caught offering illegal benefits to players.
The current staff is getting the kind of support that RR should have gotten, and that really any staff deserves. There is a contingent of whiners and complainers who piss their pants after every loss, but it works out that most of them did exactly the same thing from day one of RR's tenure.
Ultimately, anything that Borges can to do turn his offense into a hybrid prototype is great for Michigan, no matter how much "rope" is involved.
But don't you think the contigent is surprisingly large for just the second loss? I really hope we don't go through such dramatic whining and complaining every loss.
I think a lot of the heat Borges is getting on this has more to do with residual arguments of "was the offense good last year" and "should RR have gotten another year" than Borges actually trying to do his job and win games. I think every time we lose there will be a contingent of posters saying "I told you so" and hating on Borges use of Denard. Not that it is baseless criticism, I just think its exaggerated b/c of the past year. Thats all I'm saying.
I think you're right. We're really talking about RR again. I'd rather let Borges just do his job. But I know there are a lot of hard feelings about the past, and that's probably why this thread has become such a hot topic. In light of that, it's probably better to step out of the conversation.
Is failing us. Terrible play calls! Did you watch the Iowa game? I doubt you did. He has single handily cost us 2 losses and tried to give away two more.
Should have lost 4, but we're lucky. Borges can not call plays. He will bring down Hoke a'la Gerg did for RichRod.
Is not our coach and will bring down Hoke at this pace. We are extremely lucky that we are bowl eligible. You do remember the games don't you? You are an msu fan if you appreciate play calling that is just unimaginable. Wait, msu has a better record with worse recruits. F!
Why RR should have gotten another year. Fire the whole defensive staff after the tOSU game pay for some better assitants, and viola! We would be looking at a team that is 9-0 easy. Because I'm sure in trash tornado we would throw the ball 41 times. Borges is a great offensive mind, but until Morris arrives and can prove he can play expect 8-4 or 7-5.
Money wasn't the only factor, what DC in his right mind would come to Michigan for one make it or break it year with a young defense that just finished 110th in the nation?
Also, would you trust RR to make another hire on defense? He made multiple bad ones
Why not win a game you should and could win? That's all that I'm asking when it comes to this team. Eight wins is great for the coaching staff in their first year but ten is very reachable. RUN DENARD.
When I looked at this team at the end of 2010 I was expecting a 10-2 or 9-3 season. For all practical purposes it returned everyone. The offensive failures were due to inexperience not scheme. Furthermore, the schedule was much easier. Replace UCONN with SDSU, replace Wisc with Minehaha, and PSU with NW. Anyone remember Henne as a 2nd year QB? He was pretty inconsistant.
Instead we are stuck exactly where we were last year. There is no team that we can say we have beaten because R^2 is gone. The responsibility is soley on Borges. For whatever reason every week our offense seems to be a motely colllection of gimick plays. Even Jim Tressel realized that he was better off putting Troy Smith in the shotgun. And yet Beanie Wells seemed to get his carries.
If there was nothing, I could accept working with building the scheme now and living for another day. Yet we have an exceptional talent that is completely being misused. I do not believe R^2 would want to run his QB 25 times a game. If you look at WV, Steve Slaton got the majority of the snaps and thus the reason for the big push to recruit Dee Brown.
I do not want to wait three more years and listen to excuses that Borges does not have the players he needs to succeed. A coach coordinator should be able to succeed with what he has. The 2014 season, Borges is going to have to figure out how to run his offense with 4th and 5th year players recruited by R^2's staff. Next year we will still have no power back, no fullback, and no blocking TE's. We graduate all of our capable linemen next year. The offense is going to absolutely have to carry the team as the defense will take a major step back.
So are we going to have to listen to three years of excuses because Borges does not have the players he needs? Maybe that is the reason why he got run out of the SEC and was stuck in the mountain west.
Do we stop Iowa on the 4th and 1 with RR as the head coach? honest question? I get the whole offensive argument, but anyone telling me we'd win 10 games this year with last year's defense or anything close doesn't know shit.
"I do not want to wait three more years and listen to excuses that Borges does not have the players he needs to succeed. A coach coordinator should be able to succeed with what he has. "
Well Said. Its easy to sit there and say we RR would have fired GERG and someone better would have come in and everything would have been perfect. Playing good defense is more than just bringing in a new coordinator. Its a mentality that RR just didnt get or didnt care to stress. The defensive struggle is just as much RR's failure as Greg Robinson. Thats part of being a head coach. Maybe UM would have put up more points against MSU and Iowa running RR's offense but its safe to assume they would have given up more as well.
Please read Three and Out and find the part where RR stresses a defensive mentality of weakness and loafing.
Not that I agree with what the poster above said, but is that really what the 3&O book has come to? Not only are we going to use it as the gospel truth and assume every detail is accurate, but now we're going to assume anything not in the book never happened or can't be true?
And it saves them from formatting actual arguments by just saying "read the book".
I can read where its said he stressed it or I can look at 08-10 being the worse 3 defensive years in the history of UM. Go ahead an say it was the talent. I say its coaching. Lack of fundamentals, technique, effort and toughness. Those are qualities less talented players can still be tought.
I cant honestly believe people are still crying for a 4th year for RR. Worst record over a 3 year span, worst defense, terrible special teams, worst bowl game loss ever, NCAA sanctions, sideline rants.
TOUGHNESS! ARGH! Of course our guys weren't tough last year....I mean they lost 6 games, therefore they weren't tough. It's just simple math.
Also, that wasn't the worst 3 year span of the program. Maybe do a little research before you say something dumb.
Sorry I got so used to RR tenure setting so many worst records I just got carried away.
I also mentioned fundamentals, technique, effort. Did you miss that? Its not that they lost 6 games its how they lost them.
Thanks again for the correction. Next time I'll be sure to say RR was the worst in the last 40 years.
This is about Borges, who sucks at play calling. The team is wayyyyyy better now than last year. Without Borges we are easily undefeated and other games would not have been so close. He will be the demise of Hoke, sadly.
Look, I don't think we should get out the pitchforks just yet. But the reality is, this team had a very good chance to be 9-0 right now, and the biggest reason we're not is inconsistent offensive play. This isn't '08 where the potential spread is 3-6 wins - this is a year where we could be first place in the division if we had beaten MSU. The blame will naturally fall on Borges because the defense has improved greatly while the offense has seemingly regressed (or at least stagnated). The players are almost all the same as last year (but now more experienced) so the variable is coaching and playcalling. The offense has showed a repeated ability to be successful running "spread-lite" and yet we don't use it consistently. And it's not like we're running all pro-set either.
What's frustrating is that Borges has showed a willingness to run plays that suit the offense, plays that seem to give us the best chance to score and win. But then he goes away from them. I'd probably be more understanding if he was running a consistent west coast or pro style system that we just struggled with. But unless the Gardner gimmicks are a long term plan for the offense, much of the playcalling just seems grab bag. Play-action from sets we don't run from. Tunnel screens instead of bubbles when the box is loaded up. Gardner arm-punts in the middle of otherwise successful drives. 20 Toussaint runs against Purdue but only 2 against MSU. I'm sure Borges has (or at least thinks he has) a good plan in place. But man, it's incomprehensible from the outside.
Whenever people say that Borges has run "the spread offense" before because he has used shotgun, I chuckle. This is like saying that Paul Johnson runs the under center offense just like Lloyd Carr. All spreads are not made the same, and all coaches are not equally effective in coaching other schemes. There is a reason that Rich Rod and Chip Kelly get paid the big bucks to install and run their offenses; otherwise, teams would just hire any random kid who has played NCAA and knows what he is doing and would save themselves a lot of money.
You just described my dream growing up.