Both OC's called awful games today. MSU has had that problem all year though.
Disagree. MSU called a good game. Maxwell completed one bomb, but missed on several. I have to agree with the original poster that, playing at home, with our senior QB, to have that kind of offensive output on day we should have steamrolled, was indeed frustrating. If anything, this game once again proved that Narduzzi > Borges. Relieved as hell that we won this game? Absolutely, but you can thank the defense for that. Queasy about our offense's performance akin to how I felt after the VT game? Yes.
Narduzzi is their DC. Their OC is named Roushar who they all seem to want fired.
2 cents: I took that as their DC comes up with a better gameplan than our OC for the 2nd (under Borges) year in a row.
disagrees with you. They are calling for OC's head.
"Gripes ABOUT Borges." Some folks will click through thinking Borges was griping about something. This way it is more hits, but you don't want to get them this way.
This is correct, I clicked thinking Borges was complaining about something. May you suffer a thousand indignities.
I totally just did that. I thought I was going to see a post game presser video/transcript of Gorgeous Al complaining about something. But instead all I got were snowflakes.
I agree to a certain extent. It's very frustrating at some points that Borges isn't seemingly adjusting. But in his defense, this is not the offense he's an expert in. Perhaps he's sticking more with what he knows. And honestly, if the D is going to play at the level they currently are consistantly, then the team can lean on them. Borges stuck decently to the game plan, and we rolled up over 300 yards on a top-10 national D. And we won. Hopefully we'll see more offensive adjustments, audibles, checks, and such when Borges' offense gets fully rolled out with his players in the next few years.
Saying he's not an expert in this offense is a copout. If random people online are able to point out things that you should *maybe* try during a game, then you're not doing your job as an OC. This is year #2 with Denard. By now, we should have more than two passing plays in our offense. The hail mary bomb and the line of scrimmage pass are seemingly all we have.
Now you can blame some of that on "trust with Denard", but the guy is a senior and RichRod trusted him with more passes during his first two seasons. So, if you can't trust a senior QB and can't come up with some plays that he can execute, then what are you doing as an OC? I think this whole idea of "wait until he gets guys that run his system" is wearing pretty thin. He's shown little success in using the weapons that he has in his 18 games or so as an OC, so what makes people think that's going to change when Shane Morris gets here? And if Borges doesn't trust a senior QB, is he really going to trust a freshman?
How dare he waste board space with this tripe that nobody wants to discuss! I mean, it's not like it's the most commented thread of the night other than the Night Games open thread. Oh wait...
Borges wasn't perfect but let's be honest, Denard wasn't exactly on today. He made a lot of the play calls look bad due to bad reads and poor throws. Lets also not forget that staee has a pretty stout defense and played well. We won't face another defense that strong until our bowl game.
A couple throws that stick out to me are 1) the lob to Funchess in the endzone. Great call - split your 6'4" tighte end out so a db is covering him. Denard just underthrew the ball. 2) I think it was the throw to Gallon (?) in the endzone. Gallon was open but the throw was behind him - whether Gallon should have sat in that spot I don't know. Both of those had touchdown written all over them.
There was the pass to Gardner that he dropped/broken up that was underthrown, the Roundtree miscommunication on a corner route in endzone when he was wide open. It's easy to blame Borges but if a few of those plays are made this game is completely different.
Gardner should have made that catch. No two ways about it.
The Funchess and Gallon plays could have been a bit sharper, but they were decent. Funchess was exceptionally well defended. Gallon had a shot at it. Eh.
He should have but how many times has Denard underthrown receivers open running deep? Too many times but I've accepted that wont change. God bless him though.
Yeah it was definitely underthrown, but two hands on a ball means it should be caught for sure.
but maybe catchable.
Gardner is in his first year of playing WR in organized football. Denard has been a QB since high school. I'm willing to cut Gardner a little more slack for not performing up to BCS level WR standards than I am Denard missing throws to wide open players.
Devin had beaten his guy badly and was open for an easy TD but Denard underthrew that pass so badly that Devin had to turn around, stop and wait for the pass to (eventually) get there. In the meantime, he knows that the DB who he beat and possibly a safety are on the way ready to lay the hurt.
Fault allocation on that play: 75% Denard / 20% Devin / 5% Cruel and Uncaring Universe
I can't be the only one thrilled that we finally have a player to do this with. It's been so long. I loved it. That call was no hesitation. They didn't try to disguise it as anything else. It was just, "Here, we're doing what you think we're doing. Try to stop it." A better throw, and it would've worked, too.
so Denard threw it to the opening. I don't have a problem with that. It didn't get picked off. A better decision would have been to lob the ball over the linebacker that was threatening the bullet passing lane, but that's a bang-bang reaction.
It was slightly behind Gallon but after rewatching the game, I think he should have caught it.
1st half and 2nd half until msu scored:
1st down - 11 runs & 2 passes
2nd down - 7 runs & 4 passes
3rd down - 2 runs & 7 passes
1st and 2nd down 75% rushing plays .... and here is first down run yardage in the first half: 0, 0, 3, -3, 4, 38, -6, 4 not like we shouldn't have mixed things up a little bit?
Second game this year we've failed to score a touchdown. Just sayin.
we played against a great defense too.
With the talent that we have on offense, we should be able to score a TD regardless of the opponent. We have a senior QB who is breaking records left and right, and a junior RB that ran for 1000 yds last season. We should really be expecting more out of the offense than FGs. Even against a good defense. If we play Oregon in the Rose Bowl and give up 30+ points on defense, are we really going to say "oh, they're a great offense" so that's OK. Doubt it.
I agree that we should expect to score TDs on everyone. But when Denard misses a wide-open Roundtree in the endzone, Gardner drops a 40-yard pass that hits both hands, and then Denard throws behind a wide-open Gallon in the endzone . . . why is that all the fault of the OC?
I love Denard to pieces, and will miss him terribly, but let's face it, he's an inconsistent passer. He can throw a 20-yard strike to Dileo in tight coverage on one hand and then overthrow his tailback on a screen. It seems like we never know what we're going to get when he drops back to pass.
We've played three of the best defenses in the country, to be fair.
But our clock management has been very disappointing all year. Just breaks down at certain points.
He does really need to hit the open receivers and not under throw them.
with your logic here.
After the Alabama game everyone was screaming about why didn't we run Denard more instead of passing. It was a valid critique for that game, but runs counter to the "all we do is run straight at good defenses" argument.
Running on the outside didn't really seem to help very much against MSU. They only got to the edge once, IIRC. The other times they tried, they took losses.
We won, right?
Denard played well enough to get that win, but don't forget that he might be missing reads/check downs/etc as opposed to Borges just not putting in the correct play.
There is no might about it. Denard definitely did but as Denard also does, he made a play when it mattered most. Thank god we won.
wasn't happy with the offensive playcalling, but we won! win is a win. especially against a rival.
...I get it. But wtf? 18 zone reads in a row against a defense that is built to read it is no way to gameplan. When it was effective was when the mix included first down passing plays or misdirection runs. And that was not often. "Eventually Denard is going to get loose" works against many a team, but not Spartina.
Maybe the plan was to play it safe since the D was hanging tough and then explode later but that was hard on the eyes. Still, WIN!
The last feller 'round hea used that word, they got theyself banned. Banned good.
Frankly, say whatever you want to say about Borges, but we managed to get it done. In my mind, that's ultimately all that matters. Could/should this game have been 24/10, 35/10, 38-10? Sure. Yes. Who cares. An ugly win is a win, take it and move on to the next. Borges is not great against MSU. At least this one is in the correct column. Go blue.
How many times is 12 points enough to win against MSU? Not often. In our last five we have allowed 13, 6, 13, 0, and 10 points. Mattison uber alles
Had we held ND to 6 we would have beaten them in OT
7 of the 13 against UMass were on a Pick-6, so, not given up by Defense.
You're right. And I'm not just saying that because you're hot. Really, I'm not.
Pretty much can't argue with your points. But a lot of people are griping without accounting for MSU's defense, which has crushed everybody this year. Michigan could have had a better offensive product, but we'd still be looking at like 20 points.
Michigan's ZR plays seemed to get RPS'd a lot, and I'm interested to see the UFR on that. On replays of some of those big Fitz losses I wasn't seeing gaps that Denard could have pulled and run thru.
For Denard, intermediate passes that could have exposed MSU's overcommitment to the ZR were risky, and there was never a time where Michigan needed to be risky in this game.
Still, there are advantages available that Borges doesn't exploit, and that bothers me.
that to my eyes, (and someone please correct me if I'm wrong), I didn't notice one new offensive approach, any new tendencies, any new plays, or frankly, anything different at all from our usual game plan. You would think, after having seen MSU last year, knowing exactly what they would do on defense to bottle up Denard, and knowing that they would play the same approach this year, that Borges would have has an attack that was prepared for that on a RPS basis. But he didn't appear to do anything new or different at all.
There were subtle changes yesterday. Our snap count was more varied and if you noticed, they were not effective at jumping it this time. We also used some different blocking schemes. I do not believe we used as many 2-TE sets as previously, although I'm not positive. We split Funchess out wide on a few plays, which we'd not done before (and which resulted in a key reception on our third scoring drive). I had not seen us run the route that Gallon ran on the goal line to get wide open. Fans want the gimmick plays in rivalry games, but it's the subtle stuff that really makes a difference.
Aside from shoddy red zone execution, we were definitely more effective offensively yesterday than we were in the 2011 game. We doubled our rush yardage output (from 82 to 163) and also increased our passing yardage (124 to 163) despite numerous execution problems (Gardner's dropped deep ball, Denard missing open Roundtree and Gallon in the end zone) that kept it down. I thought it was a decent overall gameplan. The one big criticism I had was that Toussaint did not get enough carries.
Copied from other thread:
This is getting ridiculous. Borges tries to throw and it's "OMG! Run the ball, that's the only way to win with Denard!" Then when he sticks to the bread and butter running game and a good defense shuts it down, it's "Where's the counter-punch, Borges?"
We need to face facts as a fan base. With Denard at the helm, this is a one dimensional offense. If we try to open up the passing game, we become extremely vulnerable to mistakes and negative plays. If we stick to the running game regardless of what the defense shows, we risk being shut down.
This was not a great game for this offense. There may be another game like this. But just because this offense puts up 45 on Illinois and Purdue, it does not mean that they should be doing it every game, and the only reason they wouldn't is coaching mistakes.
Enjoy the Denard offense for what it is. It may be the most exciting offense this school will ever see, but that does not mean it's the best.
To your specific concerns. Get Funchess involved? How 'bout trying to use his height in an endzode fade? Oh, maybe we did that but his ball skills are still too raw and Denard's touch is less than perfect. Funchess will be great someday, right now, he's good.
Unstoppable throwback screen? I counted at least 2 of them in this game, the second got blown up for no gain. Another screen got blown up for no gain as well.
Idk if you were in the live chat, but this basically encapsulates how frustrating that was for me. We are in an exceedingly unique situation with an exceedingly unique player. Borges is doing what he can do and Denard is doing what he can do. For now, I think we celebrate the odd-couple marriage that it is, and we love Denard for who and what he is, and we look forward to the future, and we celebrate the past and we love and revel in the present. It is what it is and it was what it was and all of that, ultimately, is golden and full of promise and happiness. Is it maddening at times? Yes. It is maddening in its brilliance the rest of the time? Obviously. Does any other team anywhere have this problem? No, and for that we're lucky. Go blue.
ok good talk see you out there
People on this blog need to Look at this offense objectively. We have a QB who, while an explosive runner, cannot read a defense and provide enough of a passing threat to back defenses off the LOS. Against any solid to good defense we will struggle to move the ball. Borges called a conservative game by necessity.
The thing is A lot of other ofeenses have been effective by attacking the edge against MSU. When we did we where very succesful. Denard and Borges have to see that a passing game doesn't always have to be 20-30 yard passes. You had their entire defense in the box with the corners in man to man and only one WR screen ( for a huge gain).
They need more designed runs for Touisant and not a bunch of read options. Throw the ball to Funches more and Gardner less and let the slot ninjas do what they do best. Denard is Denard tho. He will have atleast one just awesome pass a game , one absolutely terrible WTF are you thinking throw... maybe 3 and break 1-2 long runs ... maybe 3. He can't really handle pressure well and honestly hasn't improved much at all since his sophmore year.
Denard would be most dangerous if he would tuck and run when nobody is open. Seriously 3 step drop , take your 2 reads and run if they aren't there. Swing passes to the slot and throw 1-2 deep balls just to keep the defense honest. If the defense is all in the box and blitzing every down the short outside throw should be there all day.
Borges has coached some good offenses Cade Mcnown qb'd UCLA team , the undefeated Auburn squad and even San Diego state but ultimately he was fired by those schools (cept San diego). He is a serviciable offensive coach but not a mad genius or anything. If he was He'ld be either A. still coaching at Auburn / UCLA or a head coach somewhere else.
not runs. I remember ND gashing the MSU D with sprint draws. I don't think either of those O's are better than ours yet they managed to put up more points than us against State. Hell, even EMU scored more than we did. Bottom line Narduzzi owns Borges.
I think you're exactly right in some regard and this has been overlooked. I fear if Borges had opened up the passing game more, you would have seen a few more interceptions. Those could have definitely lost the game.
It wasn't pretty, but then again, we didn't exactly execute in the red zone either. Gardner drops a pass on the 3 yard line, Gallon drop/Denard underthrow (I think Denard had no choice but to slip it in where he did). My point is, it could have/should have been 20-something points. I'm okay with that against a good D that was geeked to stop us.
We won the game, which nullifies your nullification. Borges didn't throw more because it wasn't worth the risk.
What risk? They're called interceptions. And against a swarming defense where Denard is running around and has very little time in the pocket, like this game, that's a recipe for disaster
You're wrong Ryan. Think back to every game that Michigan has lost with Denard as the starting QB. What do they ALL have in common? Turnovers. Denard's major flaw is that he has been a virtual turnover machine, especially in big games. If not for the pick 6 last season versus MSU, Denard might very well have brought the team back. Even in wins like ND and VT last year, Denard nearly arm punted the game away. Borges wasn't going to risk that this time around. He wasn't going to come out and try to make Denard play like Tom Brady, and he wasn't going to abandon the run, he was going run the ball, and when he needed to throw, he would, but he wasn't going let the game hinge upon Denard's arm.
They sold out on the run last year too. And Notre Dame sold out on the run earlier this season. Michigan stopped running in those games. Michigan lost, because the passing game is unreliable.
And then everyone ran back to this board and complaned about Michigan abandoning the run game.
I really don't know what Michigan's fanbase expects. The thing about great defenses is that they are good at making the opposition one-dimensional. Borges tried to out-scheme Bama and ND by coming out passing. How'd that go?
Michigan kept running, and Denard's long run and 3rd down reach were HUGE difference makers in this win.
You're some dude in a blog post that no one involved with the team cares about who can't be happy about anything. Your deep "numbers crunching" (I must have missed the analysis....) is no more or less effective than Muppets. But far more insufferable.
Expectations are your problem Ryan. You know who are insufferable? Those among our fanbase that INSIST upon complaining about everything that Borges does, no matter the opponent, and no matter the circumstance.
Borges called a game that everyone in here had been screaming for since the Bama game -- he called a game that "played to Denard's strengths." You're not righteous in your expectation for "more." Michigan won a defensive battle against an arch rival, winning is the ONLY expectation that a fanbase is afforded, and Michigan won.
As I said elsewhere, Sparty got very lucky -- they put in on the ground twice deep in their own zone, and got BOTH back. Borges played field position, played to limit turnovers, and kept the ball in the hand of his play-maker as much as possible, waiting for one to break -- which it did. Not sure why that is so objectionable.
I am usually a fan of being a dick to morons on the internet, but maybe you guys should just go read other threads and let people who want to critique the game plan talk to each other about it.
For those on the board who simply will not entertain a criticism about Borges' playcalling, the WCO, etc. -- does his clock management really seem up to snuff? How about our ability to get plays off in a rapid fashion when we need to (late in the game today, down two scores against ND)? I'm watching Arizona put up 52 points on Washington (which held USC to 24 points last week) right now. Even when we absolutely need to move quickly, we cannot (under Borges) move as quickly as AZ does as a matter of course. (Feel free to add other modern offenses if the RR connection makes you see red.) I understand Borges and Hoke want to be a ball control offense, etc., but when we need to move the ball quickly, what is the advantage of being unable to get plays in quickly? And as an aside, doesn't the fact the Patriots are interested in what Oregon is doing (in terms of up-tempo, quick plays), and that Saban is complaining about it suggest that it might be a good idea to learn how to play quickly at times?
I agree that there really is no excuse for our poor clock management late in the game, but in this case there are a couple of caveats.
First, it appeared as though the team couldnt hear the calls denard was making and that slowed us down, I saw a play or two at the end where Gardner was trying to get the crowd to quiet down so that the offense could get the playcall and hear the count.
Second, a RS Junior, Fitz, makes one of the most boneheaded plays ive seen by catching a ball behind the line of scrimmage going to his knees while in bounds. There is absolutely ZERO upside to making that catch and someone who has been in the program for 4 years has to know be aware of that.
Also it looked like we lost time when they went to review Denard's stretch for the first down and never added that time back on the clock, but I'm not sure about that one.
Like I said, overall I've noticed a trend of questionable clock management late in games or at the end of a half, but in this particular game I think there were a few confounding variables that weren't necessarily the fault of the coaches or Denard.
Me thinks this was one of those days Borges wishes he was back on the sidelines and able to micro manage.
Also it looked like we lost time when they went to review Denard's stretch for the first down and never added that time back on the clock, but I'm not sure about that one.
Yes - we were screaming "RESET THE CLOCK!" in the stands. We lost 8-10 seconds there.
This game plan is a direct response to the MD game, where Borges designed and called numerous inventive pass plays of varying lengths, a large number of which were intercepted.
MGoRyan can was the ND replay for an example of the gameplan he would rather have seen.
If Michigan plays the way it did today against Notre Dame it's probably a win.
Agreed. We have the weapons for exciting passing plays, but not for a reliable passing offense this year. We stuck to our core competencies yesterday and kept from anything stupid that would have left us digging out of a hole.
Denard had 96 yards on 20 carries and Toussaint had 52 yards on 10 carries. If you're saying that our problem was that we needed to pass the ball more, I disagree. The passing game was pretty iffy most of the game, but the run (aside from a couple of plays where MSU had an unblocked run blitz going) was mostly pretty good. I think Fitz was underused, if anything.
also had 9 carries for an 14 yards. he was ineffective, again. what happened after that 38 yard run? a run for a loss of 6 yards, which killed that drive.
Yes, really. This is Michigan. We expect better than to not score a touchdown against a chief rival over 8 quarters (ND/MSU), especially when led by a senior QB, and the last such game being at home. Borges does deserve heat especially for his inability to adapt to Narduzzi's "Denard Rules" now two years straight. Next year they won't apply since Denard will be gone. Borges will probably be relieved come MSU game.
Is the expectation to rack up stats or to win? I'll take the win. Not that many teams do well against MSU's defense. It's not like they suck against everyone else and play over their heads against us. They were giving up 270 yards per game coming in. We gained 326.
I think Borges' game plan, given how the season has unfolded, was the right way to go.
Imagine you are Borges, game-planning for MSU:
1) You have accepted the reality of Denard's limitations and run 75% of the time over the last two games, which worked great against Purdue and Illinois.
2) Now you are game-planning for MSU. Terrific defense, more than capable of pressuring Denard. Against the best two defenses you have faced, Denard threw 6 picks, mainly b/c he makes bad decisions when pressured.
3) You decide to limit Denard's throwing against MSU and run as much as possible. You take a deep breath here; you know MSU will respond to a one-dimensional offense like this by loading the box. They are very good at stopping the one thing you do well.
4) Your saving grace: MSU's offense is terrible, and Michigan's defense is very good.
5) You, Mattison, and Hoke all decide together to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible. Sure, it will be tough sledding. But in a game where BOTH offenses are one-dimensional, and BOTH defenses are very good, I like my chances b/c I have the best playmaker on the field. Let's play to his strengths and trust that we can make a few more plays than the other guys.
Developing the game plan isn't merely about Borges' playcalling, but also must take into account how we expect our defense to do against their offense. Our defense did come through, and our offense did make enough plays to pull it out.
I love this defense! So nice that the offense doesn't have the pressure of thinking they have to score on every drive. Against a tough opponent, we can make a strategic decision to play the field position battle and feel very confident that it will work out for us in the end. Against lower-tier opponents, forget about it - they can't score on us and can't stop us.
It was particularly hard to watch them come out in the second half and continue to try to run it up the middle on a defense that has not allowed us to run up the middle for years. I about threw my beer through the TV in the 3rd quarter hoping it would hit Borgess.
On the other hand... that may be preferable to Denard punt passes in a tight game like that... so maybe Borgess is brilliant.
Agree. To me this was the most important win of the year, by far. Not only to end streaks, and preserve BIG championship aspirations, but simply to shore up our backyard. 5 years in a row and you start running into 15-16 year old recruits who've only known MSU's dominance about as long as these kids have been sentient. This win was huge for recruiting.
And yet, as thrilling as it was to win, I have zero interest in watching the game again on my DVR. Our offense was just that frustrating.
Next week vs Nebraska should be interesting. Given that Nebraska doesn't spend 365 days a year keying in on our schemes the way MSU does, I'm hopeful for a comfortable win even though the game will be away.
If you are talking about the first scoring drive, that can be attributed to the bad read Denard made to give the ball to Fitz instead of pull and Fitz lost about 10 yards. If you look at the first play, Denard is very indecisive on the read/give and rides the mesh point for a long time trying to make a decision, and then makes the wrong one.
Then Denard and Roundtree had a miscommunication on third down when Roy was wide open in the End zone.
If you are referring to the second time we were at about the 5 yard line, that drive was undone by two marginally thrown balls by Denard. He was about 2 yards behind gallon and 2 yards short to Funchess.
I don't think you can really blame those on Borges, there may be some gripes to be had with Al's gameplan, but I'm not sure this was one of them.
Had Denard pulled the ball on that first play you are talking about, UM probably goes up 10-0 in the first half and cruises to a comfortable win--and this thread doesn't happen.
Sorry, but I try not to bitch about the coaching staff until they have had five years. I also try not to bitch about the coaching staff after a win.
This may come as a shock, but the other coach is getting paid a million dollars or more, too. Sometimes, opposing coaches try things that work really well against Michigan; that's just the way it goes.
It might appear that Michigan "struggled" or should have won by more, but there is another way to look at it.
My take: STAEE got every lucky break in the book, committed tons of personal fouls that were never called, and were the beneficiaries of numerous questionable calls in the second half, and they still lost to Michigan.
If I bitch about anybody, it's going to be the refs. Since MIchigan won, I won't bother. For those who want to whine about the coaching staff, please remember the bright side: Sparty doesn't get to brag for at least a year, and maybe a lot longer.
I don't have issues with his play calling. But I have to ask Borges about our red zone efficiency. Crossing out the FG's, we really suck in this category against decent D. We seemed to move the ball all right up until the red zone and then we literally suck. NO TD's against ND & MSU. WTF?
It wasn't like that last season. If I am not mistaken, Michigan's offense was among the top teams in the nation in RZ Efficiency in 2011. The poor performance this season might have a lot more to do with the Jimmies and Joes than the X's and O's.
In 2011, particularly later in the season, Touissaint was a beast. Not so much this year.
In 2011 we had Junior Hemingway, who made up for a certain degree of ... umm ... slop in the passing game.
Well, on paper, our offense is as good as in 2011. Against ND and today, things looked good until we hit the red zone. To me, this sounds more like an X's and O's issue in the red zone againt stout D.
Again, I believe Borges is a competent coordinator. But he seems to have some wrinkles in his O to think about.
I've got to disagree about our offense being as good on paper as 2011's. We lost David Molk, voted the best center in the country, Junior Hemingway, Denard's favorite downfield target by far, and Kevin Koger, a reliable TE. I'd have to say we're weaker at all three spots this year, whereas I'm not sure we're stronger anywhere than we were last year.
We are stronger at linebacker.
That totally screws up our red zone offense.
That's why I said "on paper". While Molk/Koger/Hemingway are all gone, the D's that we face is, IMO, not really as stingy as in 2011 (except Bama). We moved the ball much better againt ND and MSU this year compared to 2011. Our OL overall is doing better than I expeted, and Dileo/Funchess/others are stepping up. Yet, our RZ efficiency basically plummeted. Missing so many opportunity in the RZ is becoming a trend, which concerns me.
That still doesn't make sense. Alabama and ND are better defensively than anyone we faced last year, save maybe MSU, and MSU is only a hair worse. Our offensive problems have come against those three teams. We've looked fine against everyone else.
You could argue that with Denard being in his second year in the system we should be better, and I wouldn't necessarily disagree, but in terms of offensive talent, I don't think we're better than we were last year. Some of those who are very talented (Gardner, Funchess) are still very raw.
I am not talking about talent levels. I'm just talking about numbers in ND and MSU games in 2011 and 2012. We moved the ball much better in 2012. Yet, our RZ performance is worse. That's what the numbers indicate. You may say that it's just the randomness in the game, but I disagree.
as I mentioned in a different post there were a couple of plays that could have been TD's. The lob to Funchess that was severely underthrown and Gallon crossing in the back of the endzone. While the play calling in general can probably be questioned in the red zone, at the same time the players have to execute.
I will not complain about Borges even though I probably should. We beat State. I'm cool. I'm cool.
The only thing that chaps my ass is the 2:00 min offense. Its beyond terrible and we should be greatful that Coach Dan called a pass on the MSU 2nd down which saved a possible TO and time. I don't get why its so bad. They take forever to line up and hike the ball ect.
Have we learned anything from this year's Alabama and ND games? Anything? I give Borges credit for caling a scheme that is within Denard's skill set. Borges called a game plan that limited the potential for interceptions. It was pretty obvious. As ugly as the offensive play calling was, it was designed to limit turnovers. There was a lot of luck that occurred in last years ND game. You can't count on luck to win games on a consistant basis. Give Borges his due.
I missed the first half because, for some reason, I couldn't find a sports bar with this game (in Atlanta, GA) and I only found one in time for the second half.
When I saw the 6-0 score and the stat line of one interception, I thought, "thank god this isn't ND all over again."
Conservative, boring, ineffective, maybe. But I'll take all of those over 6 turnovers.
I agree that MSU was focused on Denard and it was a good idea to call plays that limited Denard's opportunity to turn the ball over, but why not run Fitz more? He looked good when he got his touches. Also, more bubble screens! A great way to slow don't the pressure on Denard.
I could have sworn MSU was doing a good job of mixing up where their corners were playing. A number of times they were no more than a couple yards off the line of scrimmage. Considering that with Denard/Borges there is almost no audibles, if you call a bubble screen and the db's are on the los, it's either a recipe for disaster or a waste of a timeout to get a different play called.
Can't say I agree. Just because there were no pix other than the hail mary does not mean Borges did anything particularly special to limit turn overs. There were several balls batted at the LOS that could have been picked off. Denard threw into several tight windows as well. GIven Denard's history I'll chalk it more to luck than to Borges' anti-turnover scheme.
Either way, we won. Exhaaaaaale....
I heard directly from "Huge" that Hoke has directed him to run more. In no way am I able to vouch for his voracity.
The definition of insanity: running a zone read against a run blitz over and over and expecting a different result.
I realize that this is a forum through which a fanbase can discuss/vent about their team, the play calling, etc. But, this is bordering on ridiculous.
As someone else said, when Borges came out throwing to try to beat a "Stop Denard at all costs" defensive scheme, it wasn't successful, and he was absolutely crucified for trying to make Denard into Tom Brady. Then, when he decides to "let Denard be Denard" against a very good defense, people STILL bitch. I don't have a problem with the play calling today in any way. MSU's defense is SIGNIFICANTLY better than Michigan's offense across the board, except Denard. For the most part, they gave Denard very little time to throw, and their LB play is outstanding, so that even when he was able to slip the ball out of pressure -- either throwing or running -- MSU LB's were there to quickly limit the gains.
You guys can belly ache and say things like "frustrating, nauseating, etc." But, the bottom line is that with the defense holding Bell in check -- MSU only real weapon -- Borges SHOULD have gone concervative. MSU got very lucky that this game was even close -- they put the ball on the ground TWICE and got them both back, and had to resort to a fake punt, ALL within their own 20.
Quit your bitching!
Was the "someone else" you, the other 4 times you've posted on this thread? I mean, I realize that this is a forum through which a fanbase can discuss/vent about the other fans on the forum, the discussion topics, the opinions, etc. But, this is bordering on ridiculous.
As someone else (namely, me, the last time I posted) said, you should stop trying to be the thread police and click on a different thread.
You can belly ache and say things like "ridiculous, frustrating, etc." But, the bottom line is that even with a Michigan victory -- something ungrammatical goes here -- sometimes people want to talk about what they weren't happy with.
Quit your bitching!
I am not "policing the thread" I am participating in the thread. If I disagree with the comments that people make, I am going to say so. If YOU don't want to participate, or are incapable of out-debating me or others, then go play with you ugly dog or something. What the fuck are you talking about "ungammatical?" If anyone is being such, it is your hack job of a post. I understand that people what to talk about things they're unhappy with. But, if what they're unhappy about is irrational, erroneous, or both, and they feel the need to air it in here, they're going to get a response. It's ridiculous because Michigan fans are NEVER satisified. MSU whipped our asses last year, and this year we were in a fist fight from the first play. Michigan had its chances, and MSU tried to fumble the game away, but neither happened. In the end, Michigan's senior, record-setting QB did what we ask him to do, he put Michigan in position to win the game. If you don't want counter points, sit and tell your ugly dog what you think.
8 quarters, 0 TDs vs two main rivals with an electric, senior QB. We had the luxury to get a split of these two games so far 100% because of the defense. Borges does deserve some heat. Thankfully for him, next year he finally gets Shane Morris and Borges can start incorporating his scheme. But the jury is definitely still out.
People keep bringing up this "electric senior qb" and "most exciting player on the planet EVARRRRRRRRRRR" argument. It doesn't hold any water. Whether it was CM and RR, or Hoke and Borges, Denard has always struggled against good defenses. When you see an issue that spans two coaching staffs, especially when one staff ran the "perfect" offense for the QB, you have to stop and think that maybe just maybe it is the player that is the limiting factor and not the coaching. Borges gameplan today was the exact opposite of what he did in the first half of ND. A half he was crucified for, and yet we still are not happy. After 3 years of watching Denard be shut down against great defenses, we just have to step back and acknowledge that while he is a great player, Denard has many flaws that hamstring the offense against good defenses. He is our best option at QB and so we roll on with him taking both the bad and the good. It is what it is at this point and its not on Borges or Denard.
Denard isn't exactly ever gonna be playing to his strength against a quarters defense. Whose diary was it that pointed that out? Whoever it was, it was a great read about crashing defensive backs and man defense. That defense is most susceptible to quick accurate passes, trying to set up big gains outside. In our case, we just do our best with that in the hopes it will allow your base veers to work. Today wasn't pretty, but we won, right?
Unfortunately, denard is only so reliable in the pocket, and Borges has only had so much time to get Funchess and Gardner coached up. While Dileo and Gallon will make their big plays, I'm not sure you can expect Borges to develop an offense to run through them, when the play book is intentionally abridged to denards strengths. A win is a win. Next.
And a lot of this has to do with Denard's reads, but get Fitz more touches. He ran well today. I would have liked that have seen them have more designed runs with Fitz going downhill, kind of like what OSU did against MSU. MSU didn't really defend to shut down the run game, the defended to shut down Denard, and sometimes they kind of just ran into Fitz while getting there. Fitz played well today IMO, and I hate seeing Michigan's starting RB only get 10 carries.
That and the hurry up offense at the end was pretty brutal.
but it DID get there.
I was pleased by the time we left on the clock for Sparty to work with.
That was my main beef as well. Toussaint was looking as good as he has all season and I thought we needed to commit more to him. It was particularly frustrating on our next-to-last possession, when he picked up six yards on first down, but then we squandered it with a zone read that was blown up on second down, followed by the back-to-back penalties. I wanted to keep feeding it to him there. We were already in FG range.
But Borges did have some nice playcalls that went unrewarded by sloppy execution. Gardner needed to haul in that deep ball. The swing pass to Toussaint would have been a big play if thrown properly, but he had to wait too long for the ball and make an awkward adjustment, and MSU had time to snuff it out. The same was true for one of the screens to Smith. And anytime you can get a receiver (Gallon) totally open in the middle of the endzone on a 3rd and goal, you've made a great call. That should have been an easy pitch and catch, but Denard gunned it behind him.
Fortunately, this is all nitpicking. For the first time against Dantonio, we outgained and outrushed MSU.
In a defensive struggle it's easy to overlook poor execution by the players and lump it in with a bad offensive game plan. If Denard hits Gallon and makes a better throw to Funchess that's 17 points (figure they wouldn't have needed the last second FG), which is near the top end of points that Sparty has given up in a game this year.
1. I don't even know what you are complaining about here. Give MSU some credit, they are a very good defense and weren't going to give us anything, much less a receiver open by 15 yards.
2. We tried the throwback screen a second time and it was an utter disaster. I think we lost yardage.
3. Funchess was invisible for most of the game. We did try to get him the ball once in the endzone. It was incomplete.
4. I honestly don't know if this is on Denard or Borges. Borges says he allows the QB to audible but I don't think we've seen it all year.
Against ND we threw too much (against a team with a great front seven but a questionable secondary). Now against another great defense we are too vanilla.
I do think we ran the Zone Read too much today, it was blown up nearly every time. I would have liked to have seen plays that developed quicker. We did manage 326 yards against a team allowing only 270 yards per game. And We Won!
The zone reads were absolutely atrocious today. They developed very slowly and by the time Denard took it himself, the secondary and linebackers were there to fill the gaps, and if Denard would go to Fitz, he would be caught running laterally towards the sidelines and end up losing five yards. IMO Borges should have made the adjustment and Denard needs to be faster with his reads. And there are my complaints... Great win and GO BLUE!!!
Denard has always been slow on the Zone Read, and he's not going to get better at it now. That's part of the reason why the Inverted Veer works so well for UM; it's a slowly developing play to begin with, which play's to Denard's strengths (in addition to some other excellent things in the blocking scheme).
One of the things we've seen as defenses have adjusted to the spread option is a bit of a move away from the more lateral zone reads into ones that get vertical much more quickly. As an example, watch the tape from the OSU game today. They ran that same pistol zone read about forty times, right up the gut. That thing is basically a halfback dive for how often the QB keeps on it, but that's not surprising. The point of the ZR, for just about everyone but UM, is to get your running back to the hole with a numbers advantage. The QB keeper aspect is supposed to be a constraint, not the goal of the play (unless you've got a player like Denard keeping it). UM obviously plays it a bit differently, and Borges doesn't seem to have a great grasp on the concepts or what they're designed to do (he mostly seems to be aiming to get the ball on top of Denard's legs which is going to be incredibly effective against all but those top ten defenses this year).
With the quality of the defense and O-Line this year, and the terrible quality of everyone else in the B1G, UM will probably roll for 300+ rushing yards on everyone except maybe Ohio, and probably them too. I would have liked to see more north and south running (with Denard's option being a lateral movement) like OSU runs with Carlos Hyde/Braxton Miller option, but I don't think Borges is quite that savvy, the team hasn't practiced it, and there's no point in doing so beyond this year.
Denard's decision making under pressure isn't great. There were a number of times that he attempted passes (most of them overthrown, broken up or dropped) when he probably should/could have run for a big gain. Other times, he decided to run when he had open receivers. So, Borges is working with what he has.
Denard is an awesome athlete. There may never be another like him to strap on the Winged Helmet, and I'm going to savor every remaining minute of his Michigan career. But to say that the offensive scheme and its deficiencies are all on Borges overlooks the skill deficiencies of the player who actually executes that scheme.
the players have skill just not for the system that borges is using. But lets look at a different sport like basketball. in basketball if you have pg that can break down the his man, u open the floor and let him make the decisions. if u have a big that can play inside and out, then u utilize it. michigan has talent and skill players. some are just not playing in the ideal spots. roundtree in the slot had 72 receptions, on the outside he has less than 25. great coaches alway but there players in the best position to succeed. mattison has done it on D with undersized players.
The plays were there. The only WTF I had on play calling was that screen for a loss on the last drive. Other than that, I blame execution.
And MSU linebackers
did play well yesterday.
If you are frustrated with a Borges, try having a Roushar.
is calling for a mutiny.
I think Borges problem is that he can run the ZR offense decently well but isnt a genius at it like RR so he may lack the understanding of constraint, playcalling, etc that make it lethal. I think he's probably fairly happy that he's made it work so well thus far
Yeah, RR did so well against the great defenses with his scheme.
What the [email protected] did you say? I'm thinkin you are being sarcastic... Where was the genius when we got beat by every team with at least a pulse? Never knowing which Michigan team was going to show up( with the exception of a few players) got old in "The Genius's" first season here. Good for him being in the PAC-12, it's a non defense league, it's in their charter. It's a given that we play defense here, should have studied Michigan football history. You know, like any genius would do, learn about what he's getting into.
I have lots of gripes about Borges but I'm also not in the mood to be pissed off, namely because I'm happy as hell! If, at the end of that game, you're not happy and just moaning about Borges, you're a terrible fan.
better week to week. No bitching.
This is a good defense whether or not people want to admit it. Our wide outs are not good enough to beat their tight coverage on the outside as evidenced by Gardner falling over on one play and dropping a key pass on another. The bubble wasn't there because they put their corners 2 yards off the LOS. So they stack the box. Our whole offense this season has been based on the zone read and they were able to take it away for the most part. So what do you expect from Borges as a playcaller? Abandon everything? Air it out like ND? If we had executed better, and I don't mean just Denard, I mean Mealer on the screen to Toussaint on the second series, eliminating penalties, drops, this game would have been a reasonably comfortable victory.
People thought going into ND that we should air it out. Their secondary was vulnerable. Denard had maybe improved his accuracy. It didn't work. Now we go relatively conservative and people jump all over Borges. The man can't win.
All of that being said, I thought he was being a little overly stubborn in the 3rd quarter with the zone read, especially on first down. I think it was the second drive where, for example, he busted out the play action on 2nd down instead of 1st down and it got batted down. Regardless, I still have faith that the man knows what he's doing and I don't think people give him the credit he deserves from game to game adjustments.
I'm not going to bag on Borges until I see what he can do with a pro-style QB that fits his offense. That being said, I do feel like he doesn't adjust well when the other team is stuffing Michigan. It seems like everyone in the stadium knew MSU was coming on those big blitzes, yet Michigan kept running slow-developing plays that got absolutely destroyed by them.
I'm confident Borges is just trying to hold down the fort until we get a pass-first QB. Which will be next year. And it's gonna be a true freshman QB. No way Borges and Hoke want to spend a year under either of our spread-type QB options. Both Henne and Barkley did well as freshmen.
I would not write off Gardner or Bellomy. I think they both have pretty good upside as passers. They just need the reps.
Gardner will not go back to QB, IMO.
I think he would not have switched to QB if he wasn't confident he'd get a chance at starting. IMO he starts there next year and its his spot to lose, which is a real possibility.
I'm just saying, but if "holding down the front" includes a trip to the Rose Bowl, which looks likely...well, that's not half bad.
It's important to remember just what the rest of the season looks like.
was calling to the MSU defensive linemen.
I think we're going to see a big boost in terms of overall QB play maybe not next year, but the year after and following. Borges will have the type of QB he was brought in to coach. I love Denard, and the man makes plays, but in terms of this offense, he is a square peg in a round hole.
Borges is doing what he can until Morris comes into the picture. Ideally, though, I don't want Morris touching the field next year. Unless he is our best option, hand him a clipboard and a headset, get him acclimated to the offense, and he can take the reins as a RS freshman in 2014.
90 yards last week and doesn't see the field today? I apologize if someone has already mentioned it, but how does he not at least get a few snaps where he can go north/south instead of running all these zone reads that Fitz can't break (yeah, he had a 38 yard run, but had 9 for 14 yards otherwise)
AFAIK, Fitz lowered a shoulder for the first time this year, so he might've stepped up in practice. My theory during the game was that we just ran all those other guys last week to give MSU something else to think about.
I second that statement. Totally different game IMO, I could be wrong. Obviously the coaches know more about the players than I do, but from where I sit, I could use more of two things... Moar Rawls, and moar cowbell
Uh, Denard and RichRod got crushed by this same defense 34-17.
Happy for the win but.....
I swear our inability to get TDs when we have first and goals inside the 10 yard line are going to be the end of me. And it's 100% bad playcalling on 1st and 2nd downs putting us in bad situations in later downs. It costed us the Notre Dame game and it's infuriating watching us continue to bang our heads against the wall game after game with the same damn predictable plays even after they said they took a week to figure out what they did wrong.
Last year we were good in those situations because we kept defenses off balance but this year other teams can count on the exact same sequence of plays once we get down there.
And it's 100% bad playcalling on 1st and 2nd downs putting us in bad situations in later downs.
I don't agree. Here was our play sequence when we had first-and-goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter (the drive where we ended up kicking to go up 9-7):
First and goal, at the 10: zone handoff to Toussaint which picked up seven yards.
Second and goal, at the 3: fade to Funchess that was broken up by the MSU linebacker.
Third and goal, at the 3: pass to a wide-open Gallon that is thrown behind him and dropped.
What was bad about that set of playcalls? First down worked very well, second down got Funchess isolated on a linebacker, and third down got Gallon all alone in the middle of the endzone. I guess you could argue that Fitz should have had another carry after first down, but the next two calls weren't bad by any means.
When neither team can reliably punch it in on a short red zone, it's a sign that the O-lines are suspect.
work to do. That is true.
genius savant against a good, funadmentaly strong defense that stays home and tackles well.
Its called football.
Dana Holgerson is a genius right up to the point he started playing good defenses.
My biggest Borges gripe is calling a qb designed run up the gut after MSU has stuffed it all day after getting six on first down. There Was a drive in the fourth quarter we made it to their side of the field and we got 6 yards on first down for second and four and wound up in third7 because of a draw call. Fitz had some room and u know MSU is looking for Denard to run. Give to Fitz or ...gasp...try a bubble screen. The outside was there for the taking on multiple occasions, but we kept trying to pound the middle.
But hindsight is always 20/20. On that same drive, we entered MSU territory when Denard ripped off a 40-yard run . . . on a QB draw.
That's our record with this coaching staff. How soon we forget and quick we are to criticize. All that were expecting 20+ points against State's defense haven't paid attention. Admit it, Sparty has a defense that is very good against Denard and has been all three games that he started.
We should be reveling in that fact that this is the last really good Defense that we will face. All of you will be singing the praises of Gorgeous Boregeous as Denard becomes the all-time leading rushing QB. However, it will largely be due to the same plays being called against poorer defenses.
Enjoy the win. Nebraska's next.
I do miss the play where Denard starts to run to one side, and the defense moves in thinking it's a run, then he stops and tosses the ball to a (usually) wide open WR.
RR ran it frequently, they ran it a few times last year, but I don't think I've seen it this year.
QB OH NOES
The offensive play calling was predictable. Just happy our D kept us in the game. If you'd have told me at the beginning of the season that it would be our D that was winning games for us, and NOT our O, I would have said you were crazy....especially after losing Martin and Van Bergen.
I can't really think of an OC who would not be happy to inherit DR, but I am certain there are many who would have rather inherited him at another position. There is no doubt he's the most exciting offensive Michigan football player I've ever seen. What he is going to accomplish in three years is mind boggling, but he does present some problems, strictly from an OC's position. We know he has the arm strength to complete any pass, but we don't know when he'll step into a pass or revert to old habits and stand with feet at equi disant as shoulders and attempt an arm throw, like he did with Gallon completely open in the end zone tonight.
Just because he inherited the most exciting offensive player we've ever had, does not automatically equate to inheriting the greatest qb we've ever had. While it's true that no other UM player could have pulled out as many last second victories as Denard has, it's also true he has to be, perhaps, the most difficult to build a game plan around simply because you don't know what you will get.
He was poision the past two weeks vs. Purdue and IL, where he was only asked to throw 15 times and he let his feet do the walking. This makes it easy for an OC. But tonight, where he had a decent first half throwing, he definitely let it affect his second half release, and we had far too many completions by virtue of our receivers bending over, sometimes waiting to catch the ball. Borges had no choice but to accept this guy as our qb and take, good or bad, whatever came. However, just because of who Denard is, that can change in one series. Who the hell were you going to replace him with? Why would you want to replace him? Neither question requires an answer because we all are already aware.
But he is not an RGIII, who can repeatedly hit his man in stride on the long ball. If he was, he would have won the Heisman last season and been the front runner again this year, simply because of the the extra threat his legs pose. He has also never been complemented by that "can't miss" back who he could simply hand it off to, thereby making his job easier.
With Denard, you get what you get. It could be a well devised game plan vs. ND, but "wait a minute," I didn't know he was going to go Darius on us and toss up six picks. But when planning for the Purdue game, I thought we might need twenty passes from him, but the kid went nuts and ran for over 200, and followed it up the next week in a 150 yd homecoming performance where he didn't see the fourth quarter.
It is so easy to set back and, in retrospect, and in the course of a game, that is immediate, say what we should have done, but by saying "it was so obvious" does not guarantee that it would have worked either, because my guess is Borges thought his play calling had a realistically high percentage of possible success. That is why you call them.
We could easily end up as a two loss conference champ, or we might snub our toe another time or two. All any OC can do is devise a game plan that he thinks Denard, at his best, will be able to pull off and give us a good chance of winning. And even tonight, when he seemed to struggle to really get a grip on the game, when the chips were down, he managed to get us in the field position we needed for a last second victory, and possibly realizing that he had something going with Dileo, had him in there for that last pass. Who know? All I'm saying is Al, going forward, will be game planning around a far more orthodox, yes, hugely less exciting player, but possibly one that will make his job much easier.
As I watch Denard as an ex coach, I am amazed at how this kid plays football. He is extraordinary, but having him in a position where every play you call involves him to a degree, I know without a doubt that each play that is called is predicated on this kid having already proven he can do whatever it is he asked to do on that play. Now whether he does it or not is up in the air. But rememember, especially tonight, he was going against a damn good offense and this is a young man that w/o a RS year, was thrown into the fire and is going to end up with a damn fine two year run.
Let's start second guessing Al next year. This year is still Denard's.
Thank you for saying what I have been thinking for two years. And much better than I could have said it.....
Can't believe we don't have a designed roll out with a run / pass option for denard for use inside the 5 yard line. Seems unstoppable
He can't throw on the run. Takes too long to set his feet and we've all seen how that goes.
Not defending too much because the predictability factor was there all game but on points 2. & 3.: Funchess had a TD pass fall from his hands. I would've loved to see more of him but Kiawikowski (sp) also got involved from a TE standpoint. And the throwback screen worked the first time, but the pass (again) was too high hurting the fluidity of the play and giving the defense time to adjust. On the second screen it was perfectly defended. Borges ran multiple similar playsets back to back to back with different calls - 3 wide, 2 back set on first: read option, same set on second: play action, same set on third: pass. Denard essentially made the read on the defense and called the play as per what he was given. Execution in the red zone was the biggest problem (that and the special teams blunder). This staff wanted this game much more than they led on.
Zone reads were too much. Need more Toussant plays. Backside screen makes me sweat a bit because Denard doesnt look before he throws to the screen man and if one person on that defense is around the area it can be an easy pick 6. Anymore, the plays that make him very dangerous is when its a pass play and he hangs in the pocket for a good 5 seconds or so to get the dbs back far enough off the LOS and then tuck and run. So many times I saw him hang in the pocket for a long time which was good but never took off when sees only 2 guys in the box with open lanes to run. Triple receivers on one side is always good safe pass because there is always one db playing deep off the rceiver to cover the backside pass. When that safety moves up to help cover the trips is the backside TE slant works awesome. You have to throw a little to take some preasure off of denard's running game.
Oh and 3rd and 15's and beyond are almost impossible to convert. The whole game we were faced with 3rd and a mile. Forget about the punt throws. Denard has the worst quarterback mechanics I have ever seen in my life. He Still has his feet and shoulders square with the LOS when he throws. He still throws off his back foot. A lot of his over the middle throws are batted down because he throws side arm. He is very inaccurate because of his mechanics. We need to stop throwing hail marys and only throw deep to a wide open receiver.
Borg(es) response to the OP:
"You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."
I could not believe the number of times I looked on the sideline and found #19 standing there. What the hell?
It's because he's not a great blocker. We use him primarily in passing situations.
Remember a week or two ago when Borges said after games he goes through every play, and the ones that do not work out well he determines whether A) he made a bad play call, B) the offense failed to execute (e.g. someone missed a block, receiver ran wrong route, etc.), or C) the defense just made an exceptionally outstanding play?
Now we can fault the OC for A) and sometimes for B) if the lack of execution is because the coaches haven't prepared the players properly, but most of the offensive difficulties were caused by failure to execute or exceptional defensive play.
It should be pointed out that, although we only managed 163 yards on the ground, this was good enough to exceed the average yield of rushing yards for the Spartan defense by about 45%, as it was 91 yards at the start of the game (it is now 100 yards, incidentally). From a numbers standpoint, what we did on the ground was effective overall against a defense that was designed to take this away for the most part. Actually, MSU runs a defense that is designed to take away some of the plays we are best at on offense, so if the approach looked different, that would likely be why, I would say.
It seems like the playcalling went conservative to mitigate mistakes, and it worked - Denard threw one interception literally as time expired in the 1st half, so it meant nothing towards the outcome ultimately. Denard still averaged 4.2 yards per carry, and 4.2 yards, as we can well note in games like this, can make all the difference in the world.
In the air, there actually were several great calls, I thought, considering the defense we were facing. Many of them sadly fell victim to slightly off-target throws or drops, but when you're only getting narrow windows in coverage designed to prevent big plays, we did still make a couple when we needed them (Drew Dileo, in particular). If we could throw darts and hit receivers deep all day in tight coverage, that would be awesome, but we don't necessarily have the personnel to do it right now - that being said, we still had four receivers with one 10+ yard receptions, which is significant enough against a good pass defense (for two of them, it was their only catch on the day, of course).
We were able to exploit the Narduzzi defense just enough to win, and we made timely plays against it when we needed them. We did it with personnel still not exactly in the OC's wheelhouse too, which actually gives me a lot of hope that when we are fully staffed in this offense, if you will, we should be just fine.
Fresh off a loss in a rivalry game where we watched Denard basically lose the game by throwing turnovers, we win a game by running a much more conservative game plan, in which Denard throws notma single meaningful pick (end of half interception, whatever). And people complain.
Where was the counter-punch? We completed 50% of our passes - maybe they're rolling around the turf as incomplete balls. Like the one to Funchess that Denard should have thrown higher. Or e pass to Gallon in the end zone where Denard threw the ball 4 feet behind him. Or he miscommunication between Denard and Roundtree. Or the ball Gardner dropped.
None of this is to blame the players - they're going to have execution errors, and they did. Whatever.
Furthermore - where was Funchess? In a game with a 50-50 run/pass split are you shocked that we didn't play our worst run-blocker more than half the snaps? There are other things that position is asked to do other than catch balls, and Kwiatowski does those things better than Funchess.
Ziff, youmare one concern-trolling motherfucker.
You Chitown are a drama queen. Oh no you can't complain after a win. Think about the children!! We were lucky to win. If you say you weren't complaining during the game you are a liar. You can try and spin it any way you want but we didn't score a td at home today.
As usual on the internet people make some points and you just bitch instead of addressing the points. I didn't call for Borges to be fired, I didn't say he sucks, I asked why would you not go back to plays that work? It's a valid question and Borges screwed up. Denard did not play well, but we had a few plays that we're open and we never revisited them again.
I'll give you credit you did address the Funchess point and it's a valid one, but if a guy can't block I got an idea flex him out and have him run a route... just as effective as a block.
Don't worry about the coaches feelings because I can assure you they were not happy with the game either.
Dear Special Teams Coaches, don't worry about being played on a fake punt even though it almost cost us the game and you should have been ready for it because that's the coaches damn calling card. Just take the week off and do the same shit, because you won the game.
We were lucky to win
I disagree 100% Ziff.
MSU's offense put the ball on the turf TWICE inside their own 20, both fumbles were maddeningly close to being recovered by Michigan's swarming defense, and yet ended up in the hands of the lone MSU player. If, as Brian et. al. claim, the recovery of fumbles are mostly luck, MSU got exceedingly lucky, not Michigan. If even one of those fumbles is recovered by Michigan's defense, the game wouldn't have been close.
Further, MSU dodged several bullets thanks to poor execution/reads by Denard -- namely the throw behind Gallon. As to the fake punt, I am not as concerned as you seem to be. IIRC, the punt was DEEP in MSU own territory, and not in traditional "fake punt" territory, that's why it worked so well. IMO, when you see a coach taking such dramatic and risk chances like faking a punt deep in his own zone, you see a coach who is desperate. I agree that you'd think that Michigan's coaching staff would suspect a fake from Dantonio as that has been his M.O. for a while, but it's not like it was 4th and 2 from Michigan's 45.
We didn't score a TD at home because State's defense is very good, and Denard didn't execute, simple as that.
Ziff, I wasn't upset, because I was too caught up in a fun game.
I am in awe at your consistent inability to enjoy wins. If you clutched your pearls any tighter than you constantly do after wins,
they'd be sand by now.
unlike you, I recognize the law of diminishing returns regarding the throwback. If you need a lesson, look no further than MSU's power play.
I also, unlike you, recognize that teams play and practice a certain identity and package of plays, they are not as malleable as players in video games.
Ziff, I wasn't upset, because I was too caught up in a fun game.
I am in awe at your consistent inability to enjoy wins. If you clutched your pearls any tighter than you constantly do after wins,
they'd be sand by now.
unlike you, I recognize the law of diminishing returns regarding the throwback. If you need a lesson, look no further than MSU's power play.
I also, unlike you, recognize that teams play and practice a certain identity and package of plays, they are not as malleable as players in video games.
Furthermore, who do you think your audience is? I'm not addressing the coaches, I'm addressing you. My willingness or unwillingness to "hold them accountable", or whatever it is you think you're doing, for the punt fake is immaterial. I'm not writing open letters to anyone, that's sort of my entire point.
I have no audience. What do you think Brian's game review will look like? I think he'll have some sad words for Borges. He has an audience so I'm not on an island all by myself here. I enjoy plenty of wins. Being outsmarted and playing like shit but winning because the other team sucks does not make me jump around in delight and think we are awesome.
We have the potential to be better than we are on offense and we are not. Don't insult me with your lazy, bullshit "video game" crack. I'm fully aware of practice limitations and gameplans, I'm not on here talking about triple reverses and 2 QB systems. I'm asking why we don't run plays that have already worked when they play right into the weakness of the defense we are playing.
Comparing MSU's power play is comical. That is the base play of their entire offense. They have run it 10+ times a game for 7 years. We ran the throwback screen once and it got 20yds. When you have a successful play you should have a variant on it. Maybe run it again and have the other WR fake block and go deep. The beauty of having a successful play is that you force the defense to adjust and that opens something else up.
Ziff, what's comical is your constant polyanna routine, and coming on the board, always, to find the touch if grey to every diver lining. That is the definition of concern trolling, which is what I accused you of.
If you want to compare your amateur (even compared to Brian) obversations to Brians career (where he passes admittedly amateur observations) behore he even makes them to defend yourself, have fun. You're creating a future reality that doesn't exist to defend your pearl clutching. Have fun working up your complaints for our next win.
This is a fine topic to discuss. Denard struggled, but Borgess also called some weird plays. For better or for worse, the running game isn't getting going without Denard running quite a bit. Yet as the game progressed, it became clear that Borgess wanted to throw the ball to find the weaknesses in the Spartan defense, and basically abandoned the run with Denard. Sure it worked somewhat, but it was an offense predicated on a sometimes-erratic QB making tough throws. It was questionable, and comes on the heels of other games wherein the offense didn't same able to respond to changes made by the defense.
Beyond that, though, the team won, and that's huge. It is a rivalry game, so expect to see new formations and wrinkles that can make even competent units look bad. But for those acting "stop your bitching, this is a dumb topic", I ask you to look back at your posting history here and then start throwing your dumb rocks.
I thought the play where Funchess was split out wide like a a wr when they tried to lob the ball to him was a new play????
Does anyone else keep waiting for trick plays or gadget plays that never happen?
Like a halfback pass on the goal line? How well did that one work against ND?
I'm completely with you. Out of the 20 games he's called at Michigan 6 or 7 have been complete duds. He's fucking up one out of every three games so far. That just won't cut it. I'd honestly like to see him go, and I'm not the type of personal calls for someone's job
Hard to judge a guy when he is outside his expertise. But I agree there is concern. I have seen Auburn's undefeated team referenced as a Borges credential but in reality their offense wasn't very good that year and he was ultimately canned.
We didn't win because of the offense. A 38 yard FG as time expires is basically a coin-flip, and it was a minor miracle that we even got a chance at that FG to begin with. We got pretty damn lucky to win because the offense was incredibly ineffective at scoring points all day. So saying "we won--shaddup" is pretty silly. The offense clearly didn't play well enough. Just because the team managed to pull a victory out at the very end doesn't mean we should just ignore the struggles of the offense.
Any time you win without even scoring a touchdown (and the weather didn't suck) I think you have to endlessly praise your defense and then figure out what the hell went wrong on offense.
As well as the defense played, we did fall behind twice and need the offense to mount a game-winning drive at the end. The offense also flipped field position several times, and never turned the ball over (except the meaningless one on the final play of the first half), thus keeping the defense out of bad spots. That's why "but we won" is a legitimate argument.
We fell behind BECAUSE THE OFFENSE NEVER SCORED!!!!!! How can you NOT fall behind when you never score a touchdown?
Yeah, the offense managed to micaculously pull the game out in the end. That doesn't magically absolve it from the being complete ineffective all game long. The reason the offense had to mount a miracle last-second drive is because it didn't score a touchdown all day.
Honestly, when your offense never scores a TD, you are going to lose most of the time. We probably should have lost yesterday. Claiming the offense played "good enough" is just not true. The offense played good enough for the game to be a coin-flip if our defense played great. Lucky for us the defense DID play great and the coin came up heads.
How was the offense "completely ineffective?" They moved the ball and when we absolutely needed to get points, they scored. They didn't give MSU any short fields. Could the offense have been better? Certainly. Doesn't mean they were "completely ineffective."
Was the MSU offense "effective" by your criteria? I mean, they did score a TD, so...
How do you figure out what when wrong with the offense without giving some credit to the defense they were up against and the built in intensity of a rivalry game with an oppoenent whose entire season (in terms of the conference) was on the line? And how do you disregard the built in limitations of gameplanning when you have a QB with a penchant for throwing interceptions?
Michigan put up over 300 yards, the second most that State has allowed anyone this season. Yeah, a couple of those FGs should have been TDs with better execution but to say that Michigan got lucky is what's silly. I'd say State got lucky that Denard missed a couple of chances to put the ball in the endzone.
The OP has the right to say whatever he wants, and point #1, at least, is something Brian has asked for a year and a half now. You could add "where are the bubble screens" legitimately as well. These were staple plays in the RR days that would work well with our personnel, and help push defenders out of the box.
That said, I do think as fans we need to realize we're not OCs. We tend to gripe that "Borges didn't do X" because Y obviously didn't work all that well, but sometimes we selectively forget that he did actually do X, as in point #2. (FTR, we did do the throwback screen, and it didn't work.)
It's also worth noting that passing plays typically have more than one read, and so to answer #3, Funchess was almost certainly "involved" in the plays Borges called--either he wasn't open or Denard didn't make that read. MSU has good, athletic linebackers, and they probably made covering him a priority. I'd have to see some tape to know that, though.
For #4, that would entail Denard being able to accurately read the blitz. Otherwise you throw a screen and it blows up.
Is that on Mattison? Or is that a special teams coach? That was obviously a huge turning point if it doesn't succeed. I am amazed that we were not prepared there.
In hindsight, most of the plays that didn't work were Denard or a receivers fault. Making the wrong read on the option or the throw, or just a bad pass. That option read in the red zone when Toussaint lost 6 yards was probably Denard's fault. My only gripe with Borges is that we should have pounded Toussaint and Rawls, MSU was clearly completely sold out on stopping Denard, Toussaint averaged 5 yards per carry despite having only 10 runs, 2 of which he lost about 12 yards on which were totally because of misexecution by the offense....luckily Denard did break free once to give us the field position advatage...and luckily Dileo and the D came to play.
While he had 52 yds on 10 carries and a couple of those lost about 12 yds, he had one carry for 38 yds.
While the clock management at the end was God awful (although it ended up working in our favor) and it did seem like the offense was sticking to plays that Sparty was keyed on, I can't blame Borges. Last year we attempted tons of passes in a wind storm on the way to an ugly loss. Even though it wasn't pretty, Borges is mitigating Denard's arm and giving the run offense every opportunity. Could he have adjusted or thrown more on first down? Yes. But if he calls a more aggressive passing game and Denard turns the ball over and we lose, he gets torched even worse. There were no naked boots in the passing game, I remember one rollout that didn't count and everything else was in the pocket. With all that said, Denard won the game with his arm. I'm not going to blame Borges especially when our defense is at the level it is.
Denard almost lost the game because of terrible accuracy on the most basic of throws. He almost lost the game because he inexplicably doesn't understand when to tuck and run and then tosses up shitty deep balls that no one but Hemingway could catch.
As much as I dislike Borges overall, he put Denard in position to score touchdowns but Denard couldn't execute. The under thrown fade to Funchess and the throw behind gallon on the slant when he was wide open over the middle come to mind.
Bottom line is saying that Denard won the game with his arm is misleading. We shouldn't have been in that situation in the first place.
Borges is the luckiest guy in the state today. If Michigan would have lost the game it would have all been on him. We have so much talent and he calles the dumbest plays with half the talent standing next to Hoke.
No, the luckiest coach in the state is Dantonio. Consider:
-Twice, his team fumbled inside its own 15-yard line, and both times, the only Spartan in the area managed to recover.
-His defense twice left Michigan receivers (Roundtree and then Gallon) completely uncovered in the endzone on 3rd and goal plays, and both fell incomplete, leading to field goals instead of touchdowns.
-His corners got away with at least two borderline pass interference infractions, which would have kept Michigan drives alive.
-His pass rushers were never flagged for roughing the passer, despite a few hits that were high and late (most notably the clothesline attempt on Denard on the deep ball to Gardner).
-He called a fake punt on 4th and 9 at his own 20-yard line, even though there was still 10 minutes left in the game and his defense was playing well. He would have been absolutely pilloried if that call had failed.
-The officials inadvertantly let about 10 seconds run off the clock on our final drive and never asked for a reset.
You can also add:
- Had the good fortune to coach while RR was in AA, allowing him to build a talent level that Sparty normally cannot touch and whose momentum will keep MSU above average for a while.
- Has the low expectations that come from being a Spartan and consequently gets his good points magnified (the media was picking MSU to win everything, assuming their O would be ok under Dantonio's tutelage) while his bad points overlooked (I was too nervous to have the sound on the TV at that point yesterday, but I doubt the BTN crew pointed out how we successfully spiked the ball before Ice Cold Gibbons's final field goal vs. the Yakety Sax coached-by-little-leaguers scene the week before when Sparty needed to spike the ball at the end of the first half for a field goal that, it turns out, would have won the game).
People, enjoy the win fergodsakes.
then get to work tomorrow to improve and beat NEB.
What's your resume? You sound like a Whiney little bitch! But once we see your resume I might take that back.
1. What play are you talking about? Reverses and counters don't work that great when you're getting penetration up the middle. They work if the defensive ends are getting too far upfield, but with middle linebackers blitzing and defensive tackles shooting through, you're better off running right at them.
2. The throwback screen might have been open one more time, but that's a play that you don't want to call too much. It can end badly...
3. They tried to get Funchess involved a little bit. It didn't work. MSU covered him well, and our quarterback is a far better runner than passer. You could say to get Roundtree and Dileo and Gardner more involved, too, but our QB was 14/29 passing.
4. Eh, fair enough.
I do not like Borges play calling. I guess you get what you pay for:
is Denard coached not to take off running during passing plays? I remember him running more 2 years ago. So many times he could easily gain 5-10 yards but it's like he's told to pretty much stay in the pocket and find someone... it's killing me to see that several times a game, esp on a couple of crucial downs where he has tons of green right in front of him
is Denard coached not to take off running during passing plays? I remember him running more 2 years ago.
People keep saying this, but I don't think it's true. Two years ago, fans were asking the exact same question. He's never liked to scramble.
Then his football IQ must be tremendously low. His poor decision-making and lack of development since his sophomore year seems to support that argument. Sigh.
there was a reason he "resigned"/got fired at Auburn... if he's still here next year, God help us
So far we're 16-4 with him calling the offense. I don't think any changes are coming soon.
I love Denard as much as anybody, but he's not a good passer, and maybe even worse at decision-making in the passing game.
Borges has repeatedly said he wishes Denard would tuck and run more on passing downs; I have to assume he coaches Denard to do it. Denard just doesn't do it.
If find it ironic that after weeks of bashing Borges for not "letting Denard be Denard," Al finally calls a game that is completely Denard/spread focused and the four criticisms leveled at him all concern throwing the ball more.
Really? You want more turnovers? Other than the two minute drill, Borges did what he had to do, and what everyone has wanted him to do: call plays that fit Denard's strengths and DON'T TURN THE BALL OVER.
It's time for fans to be honest and recognize that our offense's shortcomings are much more about our QB's talents than our OC's playcalls.