Washington is how I would like us to look this year. San Francisco is how I would like us to look three years from now
spoiler alert: i linked this
Washington is how I would like us to look this year. San Francisco is how I would like us to look three years from now
I could not understand how those pro-style teams adjusted so well to the spread and we struggled so badly in incorporating concepts. The interesting thing I noticed is how they run pro-style and would switch to the zone read which just crushed the keys of the LBs. I saw games with Seattle vs Bears and Washington vs Dallas where the defense was clueless. They also actually read a defensive player instead of blocking them all like Al prefers.
Our problem wasn't so much incorporating the spread, as incorporating the pro-style aspects given [insert "Denard's limitations as a passer" or "Borges's inability to maximize Denard's strengths in the passing game" here, depending on your preference. I have no desire to reopen this debate].
It's a lot easier, when you already have a quarterback capable of passing the ball in a traditional pro-style system, to then take advantage of that QBs legs using some spread elements (even if the QB is not quite the runner that Denard is). It looks like this is what Borges is planning on doing with Gardner next year, which sounds great to me.
Russell Wilson, Kaepernick, and RG3 are much better passers than Denard. Gardner on the other hand, could make things interesting this year.
First, they're all the best of the best. Second, they don't have any time limit on practicing. That second one helps a lot.
There are pretty significant limits on practice time and type in the NFL's CBA. What they don't have is any limit on the amount of film and meeting time they can have
is having the success of Wilson, RG3 et. al. destroy for all time (hopefully) the myth that the spread "won't work" in the__________ ." It works, period (as does any well conveived offense, but for some reasins spread haters didn't see that).
Run oriented, a lot of 2 back sets, strong play action as a foundation. Gardner can definately add something to all of this like CK.
So wait....it is possible to have designed runs for Gardner in an offense? I thought this idea didn't exist.
This year, though...we have Russ Bellomy again.
...here's to hoping that he improves the off season.
If we are going to run the pistol, maybe Borges should look at film from Nevada where it was invented.
My thoughts exactly. Chris Ault seems to be pretty willing to consult about it with NFL coaches but maybe he'd be hesitant with another college coach. The likelyhood of Nevada and Michigan playing each other this year is almost zero though.
If I am not mistaken he retired this year as well so he might be more willing to consult with another program.
Chris Ault has retired from Nevada.
I have a strong feeling that our Offense will be MUCH improved next year. Gardner has the potential to be an NFL QB. Our offensive line should be improved even with all of the youth. Borges is pretty smart to take a look at SF / Wash's offense. There is a lot you can do when you have a QB with the skill set of DG.
Ah, the offseason, when every aspect of the team is supposed to improve.
But seriously, I agree with what your wrote, with the caveat that I don't know how the pass offense will be next year with 3 new starters on the interior. Run blocking should improve though, because that can't get any worse.
The issue will be the O-line performance and, hence, the running game. If we can knock the d-line back and unleash some combination of Fitz / Green / Smith with effectiveness, then Gardner will be hugely successful. If not, he will have an up and down season. The good news is that there is reason to be optimistic about the line.
Like unWavering said, There is no way the run blocking can be any worse than it was last year.
Like unWavering said, There is no way the run blocking can be any worse than it was last year.
Hold horses sir. Interior offensive line is going to be very young. Even at Lewan's talent level a few yrs back there were a lot of mistakes at that age and these 3 are not going to be 3 Lewan's. The tackles should be better (slightly) just by age and experience.
RBs should be better just because last year was horrid. QB we shall see - I think better but I dont know. Gardner showed relatively poor accuracy in last few games but hopefully a step up.
WRs a wash, hopefully some young buck adds an X factor.
So I think think having new RB blood will help but the interior line is going to test your patience, especially the first 6-8 games.
On the plus side far easier schedule.
Both the Redskins and SF ran quite a bit of zone blocking schemes, which would be a significant change for Michigan the last couple years. Now, especially SF, ran a lot of of power and trap plays (they have effectively run their wham play the past few years, which is a variation of a trap play with the pulling guard being a H-back coming across the formation instead). So it's a mix of zone and man blocking, but would be much more zone oriented than anything Michigan has run the last two years.
I think with Houma and Kerridge and the TEs that will be on Michigan's roster you have a great chance to run the pistol diamond set that both of these teams ran last year. Houma gives you a bit more of an athletic FB that can slip out into the flat or run the wheel route, while Kerridge is much more of a blocking FB, but the options leave a lot of room for big plays with 1-2 TEs and 2-3 backs in the game.
which was our base running play with Denard, so there is something to build on there. More importantly, what Chris Brown from Smart Football points out with respect to SF, is that
The read option is actually just something the 49ers have grafted onto their existing running plays. It’s a concept that can be incorporated into almost any existing blocking scheme. Harbaugh and Roman have chosen to blend old-school ideas with the new-school read option, and it’s come with tremendous success.
Brown points out in the same article that SF's fullback also makes a read -- if the DE crashes, he lets him go and blocks the scraping linebacker. If the DE stays home, then the fullback blocks him. If the DE goes for the QB, then the fullback blocks the nearest linebacker.
Was also done quite extensively by the H-back in RR's offense, so it's not entirely new or too difficult for the college game. And it's not a lot different than a lot of the reads fullback's make in the traditional run game, so if they incorporate that scheme I would expect Michigan to do much the same.
Your comment about man vs zone isn't really true. The beauty of what Harbaugh and the 49ers are doing is that they're incorporating spread-option runnning plays into their already existing traditional man blocking concepts.
I didn't watch SF too much this year, but I thought in the Super Bowl I saw them run a couple zone based blocking schemes. I know Washington is primarily zone based (as most know, Shanahan is in love with zone blocking). All that being said, as I previously said, it will be interesting how Michigan utilizes some of these concepts. Borges, much like you're claiming 49ers have done (which I have no reason to not believe) also fit a lot of the spread-option running attack into his traditional man blocking concepts, so it's not out of the realm of possibility. It'll just be interesting to see if they try to incorporate a bit of zone blocking as well.
A lot of NFL teams use both man and zone blocking schemes. In an ideal world you would utilize both concepts depending on situation, goal, defense, ect. Unfortunately, in college it is difficult because you only have players for a limited time and OL is a very complex position to learn.
We already do both zone & man. The inside zone was probably our most frequently called running play the past two seaasons.
Did you happen to catch the TD run by Frank Gore in the SB? Was that a variation on a trap play? Was that a trap counter?
For those that love smartfootball's writing, Chris did a stupendous write-up on the Pistol Offense for SBNation.
He goes into lengths about the offenses run by RGIII, Kaepernick, as well as Russell Wilson.
Probably the most encouraging aspect of the offense, as conceived by Ault, is that the most basic play is North-South power running. Perfect for Derrick Green.
The main benificiaries of the pistol read option plays for SF and Wash were Frank Gore and Alfred Morris, both backs who look and run like I believe Green runs. Their running plays simply provide more blockers at the point of attack.
Hope they don't plan on running Gardner much. Worst-case scenario and Gardner gets hurt, I'd hate to burn Morris' redshirt, and we're not sure how much improved Bellomy will be.
The fear is legitimate and obviously you don't want to kill the guy, but you have to do what puts you in the position to win games. Players get hurt in football and I understand the desire to avoid that, but at what cost? If running Gardner a certain number of times a game to open the offense can win us games we otherwise wouldn't, it is worth the risk of injury. Utilize your assets, run the best gameplan you have and plan for the worst in case something happens. We have the players to do that.
don't necessarily run the QB all that often. Play choice where the QB can run (so long as he does it every now and again) can be enough to have the desired schematic effect. If the QB is a potential running threat, that threat has to be accounted for by the defense.
However, like the NFL offenses in question, i assume that Gardner's legs will be the check down. He's shown good ability to both throw on the run and make that choice correctly. If the defense is going to give you 10-15 yards, take them and fall down.
This pleases me.
In related news: Coach Heck in his interview with Doug Karsch said something along the lines of the offense starting to look more like Borges' offense from San Diego State.
Is this good or bad news?
Well, in 2010 SDSU's offense put up 35 points per game. Michigan hasn't averaged 35 points per game since like 1992, so......maybe?
It was a good enough offense to get Ryan Lindley drafted...
Don't buy it. We could have done some of this stuff last year and the year before and we didn't. He's not going to suddenly find the light.
last year Borges was still trying to learn how to run a spread offense, and how to utilize Denard effectively. It would be a bit much to incorporate even more new offensive strategies/formations/plays. There is only so much that you can implement as a coordinator and teach to the players in a given time. I imagine the focus of the offense will be shifting towards something Borges is more comfortable running and that allows him to add some different things to his playbook this year.
It would have been a lot to ask of him to learn two new systems in a year. It is not going to be suddenly finding the light but I think Borges will gradually incorporate new things.
The thing you might notice about these newfangled NFL offenses (two of three are referenced here, but i'll include Seattle) is that the QBs running them can pass effectively. All the scheming in the world doesn't help if the offense is effectively one dimensional and you don't have an overpowering O-line.
Also, these kids have limited time to learn things and are still developing their skills. If Denard had a hard time incorporating new concepts into the offense and running them, then it's really not possible.
It would be interesting to see some pistol formations mixed into the offense. I know how much Borges loves to mix up formations. I am thinking some pistol double stacks.
Borges used the Pistol formation from time to time in 2010 with Ryan Lindley. There's a bit of a misconception that you need a running QB to utilize the Pistol. Petrino used it at Arkansas with Mallett. Okalhoma St utilized it with Brandon Weeden. Both were and are pure pocket passers.
Didn't know Borges used the pistol at SDSU, but then again I don't really know much about any of what Borges used before here other than what I have heard second hand.
I know you don't need a running QB to utilize the pistol offense the benifit is really in the balance between the pass and the run. The RB is able to start moving downhill a little before getting the ball in the power game and doesn't tip strength to one side. At the same time the QB gains some of the benifits of the shotgun in that drops are less and they have improved vision of the feild compared to under center. I think it's this combination that intrigues me, hopefully we can effectively use that balance to greatly improve our play action passing game.
We already debuted the pistol against OSU and used it against South Carolina. Granted, in true Borges style we only ran one play out of the look but the fake inverted veer sweep to Denard was from full house pistol.
Gruden even pointed it out during the bowl game although he laughably attributed the formation to the Redskins rather than Utah...
Lets not lose sight of that
Along with every NFL DC and position coach. On the NFL XM channel "Moving the Chains" they were saying the DC's are going to study and bring in college D coaches to bounce around ideas to stop this. It was already in motion for the Cam Newton Panther team. I'm all for some "Pistol" concepts at UM but I don’t think it going to be a staple in the NFL.
and that is, "Just hit the QB whenever you get the chance". I am pretty sure teams are even going to be willing to take a few early penalties if they get the option to just clobber Wilson, Kaepernick, or RGIII.
I suspect Devin Gardner will continue to run about as much as he has or mildly more. We'll definitely continue to see him on the run/pass option roll-outs because he's been scoring touchdowns with those left and right. He's had a couple great QB sneaks as well. We also want him to keep up his scrambling instincts. He's been exceellent at escaping pressure and keeping drives alive.
I could see us sprinkling more of a standard read-option, or a "belly" play where DG can keep the ball (keeping the defense honest), but it's designed to go with Green (or Smith, or Toussaint) most of the time.
I also agree with those who've pointed out that Gardner has NFL potential at QB. If he gets his medical redshirt then I see him almost certainly developing into an early-round NFL QB prospect. If not I still think he'll make his case this year but he might be more of a mid-round sleeper or late-round steal rather than a top-ranked prospect on most draft boards.
The main area of concern (as I see it) is probably on the blocking schemes. The interior offensive line is going to be a very young, but very talanted group, so you don't want to throw too many new (this year) schemes at them at once. Against most of the D-lines we'll encounter this year we'd be better off relying on the line's talent rather than doing anything that could result in missed assignments.
"If he [ Gardner ] gets his medical redshirt then I see him almost certainly developing into an early-round NFL QB prospect."
Speaking of ... any news on that? Last I heard Hoke was expressing pretty solid confidence it'll come to pass.
they're looking at Washington and SF's offenses, both of which rely heavily on extremely mobile QBs with pretty decent open-field speed. Speight might have a bunch of good qualities, but fleetness of feet ain't one of them.
That's some time from now!
Speight is honestly in that bubble where he may never see the field except I'm backup roles. Kinda like bellomy is now.
Morris is quite mobile in a Aaron Rodgers since and could run the zone read. Then I would bet we make a run at jayhu Campbell out of Cass tech if he continues to progress, and I be leave he is in Devin Gardner mold as a QB
I have a conspiracy theory about this. I was pretty stunned that Speight got the nod, he is not the best QB we could have gotten this cycle. What if the coaches purposely wanted to get a good but not great player and then for 2015 go for the big fish.
The coaches offered Speight first because they like him better than Cornwell or O'Connor. In regards to 2015 QB recruiting, I believe that Brother Rice's Alex Malzone will be the QB that the coaches target first and eventually offer.
Just wondering if the staff already indicated him as a priority or any basis for your stance.
Kevin Dillman from La Mirada will be a top 3 QB recruit for 2015, runs a west coast O, and thought the UM staff already contacted his HS coaches. He would be my guess for the first offer and Malzone as the second option.
I'm guessing he just said that because he is an in-state guy.
Not only has the UM staff contacted his HS coaches, Dan Ferrigno visited his HS in Jan. La Mirada also has 2014 TE Tyler Luatua that already has an offer.
Interesting. One thing to remember about Michigan's offense last year was that it was built around a QB with extremely limited passing abilities and then had to morph, mid-season, into something completely different.
I'm not sure what we're going to get this year from Borges but my guess is it'll be pretty different than what we've seen to date. Not sure if it'll be like SF's or Washingtons or San Diego State or a fusion of all three but one thing i AM sure of is that it will look nothing like what we've see so far.
And Eric - you definitely post great, great stuff. Nice job!
SHE IS BACK!
Denard completed 62.5% of his passes and threw 18 TD to 11 INT as a true sophomore (when he was the top offensive player in the conference). Those numbers then got significantly worse after the coaching change when one would expect a maturing QB to, if anything, improve.
The problem was that our offense wasn't based around Denard, but was instead based around making sure we did a bunch of stuff under center and incorporated the West Coast passing plays Borges brought in. Then, to mix it up if/when (usually when) those things proved ineffective, we ran a couple of designed runs for Denard or (by this past season) one type of read play.
We ran two offenses that weren't integrated (teams knew what was coming by alignment much of the time), weren't complex (when you have to split practice time you can only install so much, e.g. the one read play we used this past season), and didn't use our team's skillset all that effectively (even on the read stuff we were pulling guards on virtually every play who by all accounts struggled at doing just that).
None of that should impact the team going forward though. The offense will look like a good, conventional offense, with the occasional Gardner scramble mixed in. That should yield fantastic results. That doesn't mean a great opportunity wasn't missed the last two years though or that it is somehow the fault of the most productive offensive player in school history.
Didn't you mean the Pistol offense? Yes, it has read option concepts, and even some zone blocking schemes, but there is a distinction between zone read option teams and Nevada/BYU/San Fran/Washington Pistol schemes.
I would love it if we worked in more Pistol, trememndously versatile and can use those hybrid TE in even more ways.
Derrick Green deep, Shallman close; two tight ends and a balanced line. Here's the snap to Morris....
And someone said monkeys would fly out of his butt when I mentioned this. muahaha.
Honestly, the way San Francisco used blockers out front of the QB reads sounds like stuff that Michigan was trying with limited success this year with Denard. Remember how perplexed Brian was that Michigan was putting a blocker on the defensive end? San Francisco does that and does it effectively.
SF's use of blockers on read option plays is consistent with the finest MANBALL traditions. One of the reasons I enjoyed watching them so much this year is because they demonstrated that you don't have to be Oregon (which I also enjoy) to run creative, explosive read option plays.
The Green Bay game was the one that everybody really noticed because of CK's huge runs, but the Atlanta game is actually what Michigan wants--the threat of Gardner removing a defender, while the blockers plow open space for Green to destroy defenses. I expect to see a lot of that this year.
I think we'll see a big step forward for our offense this year. While some may argue with me, I believe our offense was much better with DG passing and Denard as a RB. If we had a whole off-season to work on those concepts, for DG to play QB, and a decent interior O-line...the results could be very, very good.
I really believe the 2013 season hinges on two factors:
DG has proven he's a pretty darn good passer, and he's not losing any significant production at the receiver position. I firmly believe that replacing Roy Roundtree is a much easier task then the two above.
Using Pistol and other schemes designed to get more blockers to the play, or open up more space in which to run, seems like a great idea to help move the football. But the most important factor will always be execution, not scheme.
I like your outlook, though I think the more interesting question to me regards Devin's development as a passer. Without standout physical talent on the edge, Michigan will rely on route-running and use of space to get guys open, and Devin has to hit the open men.
A dominant pass-rusher is going to be a question mark for Michigan for a while; if one of the young guys can emerge here, the defense will be scary-dangerous. I totally agree with you on this.
Especially modeling on SF. Throughout the playoffs i kept wondering if SF's offense is the future of the NFL. I still don't think that there will be true, running spread offenses at that level; however, much of the best QB talent coming out of college will continue to be dual threat.
SF runs my ideal of a hybrid offense, and i would be incredibly happy if UM looked like SF. I think we all would be, because we're likely to win a lot of games over the next two (hopefully) years with Gardner running a SF style offense.
While much of the best QB talent coming out of college will continue to be dual threat, the one thing Newton, Wilson, Griffin and Kapernick (sp?) have in common is they are all really good passers. The dual threats coming out of college that have a chance to make it in the pros are the QB's that can throw. The Pat White/Denard Robinson dual threat college QB isn't going to make it in the nfl as a QB.
They have to be actual dual threats. Gardner has that. He wasn't perfect in 2012, but given his still limited game experience the downsides of his passing game are understandable and hopefully able to be improved.
"While much of the best QB talent coming out of college will continue to be dual threat, the one thing Newton, Wilson, Griffin and Kapernick (sp?) have in common is they are all really good passers."
Agree. The QB needs only to run well enough to pick up first downs and keep plays alive.
That's why I think Gardner at QB -- assuming his passing effectiveness improves -- will prove more potent that Denard.
By the way, that's exactly what Meyer is doing with Miller at Ohio State ... he's said as much. He's trying to get Miller to view his legs as secondary to passing.
Borges on record as saying: "You run for yards but you pass for miles."
Wilson, Griffin and Kaepernick seem to understand this ... and they have the passing skills to be effective in that part of the game, and the legs to make plays if they have to.
All the above posters have valid points about zone vs man blocking schemes and when & how to use the Pistor formation.
However, isn't the core issue whether the OL can execute fundamental power plays? Does Al need another variation to confuse the D so the OL execute the basics?
We were dreadful last year in short yardage and the interior OL was problematic the whole season. Hoke's whole program is based on controlling the LOS and SF-style pistol is just an extension of Harbaugh's manball.
I assume that this means that Borges will be looking into the Pistol offense. Based on that, I'd hope for a few of things.
(1) I hope that they reach out to SF to get a more in-depth look at the offense that they run. With Harbaugh's connection to Michigan, I would think that would be easy to arrange.
(2) I hope that they reach out to Chris Ault. Nevada ran a lot of packages with TEs, so he might have some more tips on how to get them more involved.
(3) I hope that they run the veer (not inverted) out of the pistol. Borges loves pulling guards. Running the veer would allow them to pull the guard, get our RB going north and south, allow the QB to make the read, and allow the QB to run east and west on the event of a keep, which could potentially lead to PA off of the keep. I don't know that I've seen too many teams running this variation, but I think it would fit perfectly with what Borges is trying to do with the offense.
That bullshit read option will never work in the B1G. Sissy pussy ball puss sissy things guys.
by Borges. These offenses allow great diversity via read-option, pistol formations that can make even an elite defense struggle. I don't care how elite your offensive line and running back are, an elite defense can stop a traditional I-formation offense and force a quarterback to rely on drop back passing. An elite defense can not stop a highly efficient read-option, pistol based offense. Yes, it works in the BIG and in the NFL, if you have the right caliber athlete. This is still smashmouth, hard nosed, Schembechler football, just coming from different angles. OSU does it and led the conference in offense and you saw how bad our offense was in 2011, with essentially the exact same players.
Because Alabama, the ravens, etc run a more pro set look. Why are we looking at 2nd place teams?
We have to conform to our personnel mantra but vinny smith on 3rd and short doesn't exactly ring true there either.
The Vikings were not going to pass..they hand off to Peterson and everyone is going to stop it..but they cant..its because they block good and AP runs harder than any back..so i want our running game to look like Minnesota but with a legit threat to pass..its not about faking option and QB running..it can be simplified if you execute..and we are heading in that direction with our OL recruiting and the power of Green
This would have been great the last two years. Gardner is a totally different player from Denard, especially in terms of quickness/size (Gardner is just a bigger guy and a less "darty" target in a confined space).
At this point we should just stick to one offense (the one Borges has always run) with the caveat that Gardner be encouraged to pick up first downs with his legs if nobody is open (basically what we saw at the end of the year, just with an expanded playbook and crisper execution as Devin gains experience and actually practices at the QB position).
Switching it up now that Denard, Omameh/Barnum, etc. are gone and the personnel is a better fit for what Borges likes to run is just kind of silly and only makes me sad that it took this long to figure out.
So you're saying we are gonna run the pistol! (Too bad Vincent Smith won't be here to throw up the guns anymore..)
It's worth mentioning that the NFL's struggles were at least in some part related to the fact that they simply haven't seen much spread to run stuff. College defenses (like Narduzzi's, for instance) are clearly designed around the idea that the QB will be a run threat. They know that traditional pass-only defenders need to be involved in the run. While I'm sure plenty of NFL guys know it too, the number of times when teams just flat out screwed up their numbers just doesn't happen in college these days. The scheme is too old.
Relatedly, I saw a great screen shot of the Bears lining up against one of the spread teams this year in obvious C2 (turned out to be C2 man, at that) against a 4 wide set. That left 5 in the box against 7 for the offense. Guess how well that turned out.
I don't watch the NFL that much but I bet if I went back to the All-22 and checked out the numbers on a lot of defenses that they lost the battle well before the snap.
Washington: too late, would hurt Denard's feelings.
SF: good! lots to learn from them. Might as well watch Stanford too.
I still think that the MANBALL mandate from DB has kept Borges from incorporating everything he wants to. I also want to see Borges get five years and have his own class of redshirt seniors before judging him harshly.
It's obvious to me that the only way Borges is going to be able to be creative is to say that it's one of Harbaugh's plays, because he can use the "Michigan Man Lineage" argument to get it past the AD.
Bottom line: the OC can only do what the HC will allow, and the HC can only do what the AD will allow. I hope Borges is allowed to be really creative soon, and I hope it doesn't take four more losses to Ohio and ND before it happens.
Washington, SF, and even Seattle have shown that even in the pros a big and mobile QB can be deadly in an offense that incorporates that mobility into a strong passing offense. Gardner seems exactly like the type of big bodied, strong arm, speedy QB needed to run such an offense.
Whatever keeps Al Borges from running Vincent Smith from I-Form into an unsurprised defense in the biggest goddamn game of the year....oh wait, that already happened.
Yeah, I'm still not over it.
Graduation will prevent it from happening next year, so I wouldn't worry about it.