For god's sake, we all know what Denard can do, and if you don't let him do it you're just being counter productive. Threet couldn't run the zone read, and Denard was born to run. If you design otherwise you're just being close minded.
In Defense of Al Borges
Asking a coordinator to run a scheme that he has no experience in didn't work out so well on the defensive side of the ball under the last offensive-minded head coach, what makes you think it will work on the offensive side of the ball under the current defensive-minded head coach?
Do you think that we couldn't make a tackle under Greg Robinson was because of where people lined up before the snap? They clearly were not coached well enough to play football against competant teams. Missing that many tackles is not a function of where you stand before the snap, it's because you haven't been coached correctly.
EDIT: And that's fundamentals. It's being physical in practice.
True, but Rich Rod's obsession with the 3-3-5 and his stupidity in forcing it upon coordinators who knew nothing about it was at least in part to blame for our defensive struggles. Cases in point: Purdue '08 and Penn State '10.
around who isn't familiar with most schemes. They know how the schemes work. It's not like football guys sit on their preferences and never entertain alternatives.
I can't believe I still read the 3-3-5 was 'forced' on GERG and GERG was helpless and had to go read books on how the ILB responsibility changed from taking on the inside shoulder and now has contain! Cats & Dogs living together.
So, in all the years Borges has run his stuff, he never looked at the spread or zone read or speed option and said, "Is this a foreign language?"
The problem is that Denard isn't very good at running the zone read. He's better at running the inverted veer, but I don't think the inverted veer would have worked well against Alabama.
That hasn't been a focus for him since his sophomore year, if we were committed to running that play they would have spent a boatload of time drilling the reads into his head. I'm also not sold that he has been allowed to read shotgun hand offs since then either. It may not result in a better situation than we have now, but it fits his physical skill set.
Denard was pretty good running the inside zone read last year against Notre Dame. He had success with the "inverted veer" against OSU and that's about it. It got blown up last night the couple times they ran it like everything else.
What's unquestioned is Denard was VERY good at running QB outside zone and we haven't used it once since Hoke & Borges arrived. Watching Denard wait for blockers on the QB sweep is painful. This is square peg round hole stuff. Wouldn't have changed the outcome last night but it does matter in the grand scheme.
Beyond that, Denard had one meaningful designed carry before the game was out of hand. That's just poor coaching unless you aren't trying to run the ball at all.
whatever has been the emphasis, he is a terrible read guy. It appears most runs are tagged and he dutifully carries out the fake with no one around, which leads me to think it's ISO strong or weak or something to that effect.
It's also important to remember that RRs offense was pretty ineffective against stouter Ds. And by stouter I mean stouter than Indiana.
Oregon doesn't seem to have that same problem and they run an identical offense to the one RRod installed here....we don't have elite talent yet so we aren't going to beat many elite teams.
They way we are going, in 2 years, we likely will have all the pieces in place.
Can you elaborate a little bit, then? The concepts are not the same? Are you basing it on his WVU days or Michigan tenure? I'm just trying to learn as much as a I can here.
The general concept is the same (shotgun, spread defenses laterally, employ a quarterback who is a running threat, zone blocking schemes, etc.). But Chip Kelly and Co. have helped that offense evolve at a breakneck pace. He uses more inside zone reads and runs a lot more variations/formations. Rodriguez tends to run a very vanilla zone read spread offense. He ran (at Michigan, anyway) a few plays and tried to run them crisply every time.
For all I know, Rodriguez could do more with his offense but chooses to keep it simple. Either way, Kelly's offense manifests itself in much more complicated ways than Rodriguez's does.
Thanks, Magnus. I think the point I was trying to get across is that a head coach is constrained by the players he has on the roster. You can't run a sophisticated offense without a lot of talent and with underclassmen all over the place. Chip Kelly has talented upperclassmen with experience (except for the FR QB who looks to be playing well ahead of where he should be) so he can do that. We don't, and certainly did not during RR years, so we can't.
And yet we've been saying "Oh, we don't have the pieces yet" for the past four years. That's a long-ass time. An entire football class, in fact. If the pieces weren't in place at the end of the four years, then it's a poor job of planning for the future and poor coaching.
Oregon has had an extremely potent offense for much longer than four years.. So bottom line is, whatever Chip Kelly is doing, he's doing it better than Rodriguez.
There was a coaching change a while back. Guys RR recruited, like Dee Hart and Jake Fisher, decommitted and went to places like Alabama and Oregon.
Oregon has been much more consistent with coaching and playing philosophy....they also have been much better at recruiting (and cheating, by the looks of it).
Borges offensive game plan last year against OSU put more points on the board than RR did in 3 games against OSU.
Are you shitting me? Were the players exactly the same both years? No, right? Everyone on our squad was older with actual game experience and OSU lost a shit ton of talent through the draft and scandal. Also, they didn't have a competent head coach.
None of that factors into the different results? Just a different head coach for us?
It does when the opposition loses a ton of talent via draft and scandal. They were 12-1 the year before and then went 6-7 last year. What might account for that difference? Maybe losing TP, Tressel and whole host of other players? Or was it all because Borges is better than RRod?
Did YOU eat the magic beans by any chance?
But you would have thought that he learned that running up the middle with Vincent "Devin" Smith against a high-cailber defense is just not a great idea by now.
they were doomed, but Vincent Smith really?! Anyone else quit drinking beer and go to whiskey? Fuck me.
Yes, I said WTF about Smith. Yes, I went from beer to whiskey. Then after watching Rawls and worrying about Denard getting killed, I wondered what better option he had.
I went to whiskey after the second Bama TD
"I don't think no one is calling for his job."
So somebody IS calling for his job?
Are you an idiot? Did anyone force Hoke to bring Borges along with him when he came over from SDSU? Would Hoke have brought Borges with him if he didn't think Borges was up to the task?
And WTF did you do to screw up the formatting of this thread? I agree, stupid people are annoying.
Are you and your 19 points really trying to have a semantic debate about what it means to "hire" a coordinator? Is that why you're posting these HTML-destroying comments of yours?
be a point elitist given this thread you've started IME. The spread vs. pro set debate is irrelevant concerning this game, as is the easy pass you've given Borges because he doesn't have NFL personnel as in M years past. The OC's job is to use the personnel he has to their greatest advantage and score points. I don't care what formation Borges uses, but to have 1 designed run for Denard the entire first half, and using him as a pro style QB and asking him to throw into NFL size openings this game, is frankly, stupid. As is the sight of Vincent Smith's 5'6 frame pounding it up the middle again and again. That is stupid as well. And I don't even think that's a matter of opinion.
Despite these words, I too support Borges and especially the entire coaching staff, but that offensive game plan was just dumb. I'm not saying a better plan would have meant victory, but I firmly believe a better plan would have prevented the national embarrassment we all suffered through.
Might be because of Nebraska and Ohio last year, as well as his entire sophomore season. The kid had a bad game. I think Borges should have called more runs for him early. But either way I'm pretty confident Michigan's O will look significantly better the rest of this season. So there's no need to call for benching our senior, three year starter after one bad game with some questionable play calling against the best defense in the nation.
Last year Borges showed he knew how to let Denard be Denard. I'm confident we'll have a heck of an offense by the time the B1G season rolls around.
Now, about that defense...
The offensive line did not give Denard "all night" to throw. He constantly had a 6'6" defender in his face, and he had to throw the ball high to avoid batdowns and interceptions. Add in the fact that receivers (Roundtree and Gardner) were either running sloppy routes or dropping the ball, and most of the blame can be taken AWAY from DRob.
As much as I know it will pain everyone, I can't want for Brian to UFR this game. If for no other reason than to prove that Denard wasn't the source of our poor passing game so much as the receivers. (The only exception was the SECOND int, that was DRob's one really bad mistake of the night)
The first int was pretty bad too. I know our receiver fell, but the Alabama defender had him completely blanketed when the ball was thrown
Not blaming the refs, but it looked pretty clear to me that he was pushed out.
I don't know what game you were watching, but there was no "falling" about it. The Alabama defender launched him out of bounds while the ball was in the air.
Look at Denard's placement of the ball, and where Roundtree would have been had he not gotten manhandled. A lot of what I saw last night involved the ball being in a place where only Michigan receivers had a chance to make a play on it. Denard consistently got the ball where it looked like his receivers SHOULD have been.
Our 2008 offense returned 1 starter (Steve Schilling) from the year before. Brandon Minor increased his ypc by nearly a yard per touch. Freshman Steve Threet posted virtually the same QB efficiency rating as Ryan Mallett did the year before (completed 50% of his passes with 9 TD and 7 picks to Mallett's 43% completions for 7 TD and 5 picks on about 60 fewer throws). Threet also made a contribution in the running game (long Wisconsin run being the main example). Greg Mathews had virtually the same production as a sophomore under Carr as he did in both years under Rodriguez, despite playing with less experienced QBs.
Roy Roundtree has gone from the 2nd leading receiver in B1G games as a sophomore to a shadow of his former self, due in large part to a slight position change and play calling differences (if you know of some dramatic change in his physical makeup, I'd love to hear about it). I don't see how having a player get dramatically less productive is a sign of great adaptation. I'm guessing your next thought will be to mention Junior Hemingway without looking at the numbers and realizing that his 2010 and 2011 stats were virtually identical on a per game basis. Roy's drop in productivity hasn't been countered with a similar increase somewhere else in the passing game.
We have a player on our team who has rushed for 3,200+ yards in his career (with 2,800+ of that in the last two seasons) and scored 35 TDs on the ground. With Fitz out, he's by far our best returning weapon on the ground, and arguably one of the best in college football. Tonight he didn't carry the ball until the score was 21-0 (he picked up a 1st down on 3rd and short). He didn't carry it a 2nd time until the score was 31-0 (he made it 31-7 with a TD run). I realize what he was going for and he didn't have the worst plan in the world, but I think if your plan involves never giving #16 the ball the burden is on you to make it work.
I am probably a bigger Al Borges fan than you and was raving about the hire the second it was made. But these are looking like some fairly major screw-ups at this point. We'll see how the rest of the season goes. Hopefully the ship is righted, it is appeared it was at the end of last season. It at least seems that Fitz has a positive influence on both the talent level of the team and the play selection.
But I suppose the argument is we're not going to destroy our qb in the first game of the season when it's non conference ball and isn't crucial to the staff's stated goals. After hours of cooling off, I'm actually grateful for this. The only thing that would make me more depressed than possibly having Lewan, Countess injured is having denard injured too. Which, after that Cb hit, who knows.
It would be meaningless to lose by 10-20 with a couple Denard flashes than to lose by almost 30, which happened.
And I have no problem with Borges trying the game plan at the beginning. They scored 21 so quickly against us, it was hard to think. And without Fitz, and with the analysis of Bama's D being impenetrable up the middle, I have no problem with trying to air it out.
However, I saw little attempt for misdirection, which I think would've been crucial against Bama and I saw no attempt at hurry up which a front page analysis said would be crucial. In those and the multiple Smith squashings, I share the disheartening of all.
To say this game wasn't crucial to stated goals is absurd. Games like this directly affect recruiting and recruiting well is basically half of your plan to achieve the goal of winning the conference and going to the Rose Bowl.
Today you think it's no big deal. 3 years from now when Joe Blow misses a tackle in the 4th quarter of The Game and we lose because the 5 star LB who would have made that play was watching this game and decided to go to Notre Dame, you'll understand.
...I get your point and all, but to assert that the mystical five star LB is going to go to Notre Dame because of a well televised embarrasment is probably not the best of examples..
Roundtree doesn’t have the speed or the strength to get separation in tight coverage. He was successful two years ago because of of the position he played in RR’s system and the fact that we actually had a deep threat then (Stonem).
Denards inability to connect on a meaningful pass, even the few times he rolled out, was what killed us early in the game. Play calling was actually great, alot of different reciever looks and handoffs, on alot of those incompletes the WR was WIDE open, denard just couldnt get it there right.
And about people complaining that they should have ran denard more.... on 96% of plays there was NOWHERE FOR HIM TO RUN!! the box and flats were full of bama players by design......
And one of thje ways for denard to be ran more and to have more running lanes open up is for him to make the bama defense respect his arm by actually completeing passes..... which he could not do.
Also, Denard is a great kid, a great athlete, and I definitely think he has a future in the NFL (at another position), but he doesn't seem to have the mental fortitude of a quarterback. He gets rattled easily, makes poor decisions, and doesn't play like he has nerves of steel. His attempt to tackle Dee Milliner by leading with his throwing shoulder doesn't inspire confidence. I think Borges keeps dialing up drop-back plays for him because he hits those throws in practice, but can't duplicate them under the pressure of a collapsing pocket and a front seven that has no qualms about causing him bodily harm.
Don't get me wrong; I think he's our best option at QB right now and he'll continue to put up big numbers against defenses that don't produce multiple first round draft picks. But there's a reason why no other big time program recruited him to lead their offense.
actually way way in on Borges, who has done nothing (at least yet) at Mich, but naysayer on Denard (though ya like him). "Nuff said. No coach or coordinator is worth his muster if he doesn't coach to his personnel. Yesterday was a repeat of MSU and VTU play-calling. It'll be a long season if that continues.
I may not be remembering this right (beer and whiskey will do that), but I seem to recall an early pass play in the game where the Michigan receiver clearly had the defender beat. If Robinson connects on that, it's likely six points, or at least deep into Alabama territory. But the throw was off, the receiver had to twist backward, and the defender got a hand on it (or so it looked).
One play, I know, but it's indicative of a consistent problem of Robinson and it's a key problem because it makes defending him easier. I like Robinson and he does have great talent, but I don't have confidence right now that he is the QB to take Michigan to the next level. No one else on the team can step into his shoes, so he's the man for now.
2-3 steps is 5 yards or more. He didn't have that much separation.
Denard had a terrible start, didn't set his feet and missed open receivers early. But I disagree that there was "nowhere" for him to run. Borges committed to Rawls and Smith running and Denard passing - I think the game would've been closer if he let his best runner carry the ball a bit more than he did. I felt like Denard didn't run at all until things already got ugly.
Speaking of which - as frustrating as the offense was, their O line absolutely dominated us. We had no answer. While I'm confident that Borges and Denard will look much better in every other game we've got, I am not as confident in our front seven on D.
It's Denard's running ability that gets those receivers open in the first place. That's the trade-off with Denard. His running ability opens passing lanes that sometimes he can't take advantage of. Which is exactly what happened last night.
Denard had a bad game against one of the best defenses in the country. He won't be the first or the last. Heck, it'll be interesting to see how many teams score two touchdowns against Alabama's defense this year.
But after the last two years, and OSU last year, people are seriously calling for the backup? Holy hell.
to know that every DC out there is planning how they take away the run and make him pass.
It looked to me like he correted the throwing off his back foot problem, and he still sent most of the passes high and uncatchable.
We'll see, maybe it was just a fluke, but I am guessing this will happen again against better defenses.
How is this different than what every DC has ever wanted to do against Denard? You act like Saban oppened everyone's eyes, which is ridiculous.
Then when Denard somehow does throw a good pass it's dropped. Like a cruel joke. I don't wanna even talk about roundtree anymore.
I dont know how you saw different receiver looks last night. No, seriously, I wanted to see what receivers were doing downfield but abc sucks and only shows you the backfield, the line of scimmage and maybe 3 yards behind the d-line. You literally cannot see what Denard's throwing at until the cameras get there, which incidentally is also when the ball does. (Been a bitch of mine for years)
Excellent post. Michigan had one legitimate offensive playmaker coming into the game and Alabama defended accordingly.
Brian tells me what to think of this (no offense Brian). I can't get over all the Vincent Smith tonight. It pretty much reaffirms what I thought of Borges last year.
Fitz was out. Rawls was getting caught behind the line of scrimmage. Seems like no hope, he went with the veteran. I would've liked to see more Denard runs, just not killing him, but there seemed like few options at RB. That said, I was dismayed at Smith getting hounded consistently.
Remember how people blamed Carr for leaving the program with no talent? How many sure lock NFL players are on this roster from RR? Lewon is deffitentlly the only high pick. If Michigan goes on to win the B10 or even wins 9 games these coaches have done a great job. I will say this about Borges, he had no problem running the zone read against Nebraska and Ohio last year. I'm hoping he will run more of the zone read in B10 play. However, The zone read isn't going to work against Bama. That's why I'm not a fan of that offense unless you play in a weak conference and can't recruit elite offensive lineman. Even Auburn has dumped the spread for a pro style offense and they just won a BCS title with the zone read. They had a 250 pound QB that is going to be a pro bowler named Cam Newton. Michigan will start producing NFL caliber players on offense in the near future. I still like the direction of the offense.
Agree that this squad is weaker than we will be in future years because of the transition from Rod to Hoke. And while I think Hoke had a heck of a lot more to work with last year than did Rod in 2008, this staff has done an excellent job in managing the transition and deserves a ton of credit.
But the spread can work against a defense like Alabama's. Cam Newton and Auburn proved that in the Iron Bowl a few years ago.
Denard is a bad passer (surprise!). Remember last year when he completed 55% of his passes and threw 15 picks? Borges called plays that were there. Players have to make the plays. Toussaint screwed over his teammates by getting suspended, and Thomas Rawls/Vincent Smith aren't on Toussaint's level, obviously. This game was all on Denard's shoulders, and it just didn't work out.
Well maybe the offense was on Denard's shoulders, but unless he was going to play defense too I don't think the result would have been any different. Alabama ran all over Michigan's D.
Yeah, just the offense, obviously. The defense needed to play the game of their lives, because even if Denard played very well, the offense wasn't going to score 35+ points.
There were open receivers and Robinson missed them. I think Borges may have over-estimated Denard's improvement over the offseason.
We do not have the playmakers to compete yet.
Maybe Alabama is really good.
You know, this is an element of last night I've been thinking about more and more.
What if what we saw last night was not so much bad Michigan, but the first game of Alabama's march to another NC? What if Alabama is simply the best team in the land?
I'm very serious ... what weaknesses were evident in Alabama? I don't see any weaknesses. In fact, given McCarren's maturation, this year's Alabama might be better overall than last year's.
Two weeks from now ... Alabama goes to Arkansas. If Alabama dominates them like they dominated us ... then what we witnessed last night might well simply be the opening salvo of another 12-0 run by Alabama.
I think they can still be taken advantage of in the passing game, we just weren't able to connect enough to do that.
Basically we all knew Michigan would have to execute perfectly and get some luck to beat a much more talented team, and we didn't do that. Im glad at least Borges took what the D gave him - a healthy denard.
Yeah. A really good QB and recievers who hold on to the ball will put up at least 28 pts on Alabama. If that's enough to win against the Alabama D is another question.
Exactly. Most of those early throws were pretty close, but into really tight windows.
how we crushed Rich Rod for not being ble to adapt to the personal he had, but for AL it is okay. His play calling has been subject in all of the LAST THREE LOSSES. go look at the tapes.
So, by this, you mean the loss to MSU when Fitz didn't play any but two downs and Denard threw a pick-six to seal it, Iowa where we got jobbed by the refs, an this game where we got outplayed by - SURPRISE - a better team? Quit fucking complaining about a total of 3 losses in two years. Seriously, this is the shit that I hate about Michigan fans. We overachieved last year and have played ONE GAME this year. Fuck.
It cracks me up that people who post on this board somehow seem to think that they know better gameplans than the man who does it for a living and works with the personnel full-time. Good lord. I'm as pissed at the delay-run calls, too, but when your QB has a 6'6" DB bull-rushing him and his receivers are dropping the balls that even get close, what do you expect? This could have been a closer game had our WRs not had the dropsies and ha we not lost our starting: CB, TE and RB for essentially the whole game. Get off Borges' nuts until you can think level-headed and realize we just played the most talented team in the country.
Maybe people are being overly critical. But you are nuts if you don't see problems with that gameplan
And you are nuts if you don't see how Alabama's defense, filled with talent, was lining up. Do you really think Saban didn't know, until proven otherwise, that Denard's legs were Michigan's only offensive threat?
Ah, I see.
So because you think your opponent has prepared for your "only offensive threat," you dont use it. Brilliant strategy.
I guess my problem with the playcalling tonight wasn't the lack of Denard runs. Really, my issue was with all of the "denard-bombs" or attempted passes >20 yards. We all know Denard is inaccurate, but Borges kept looking for the big-play. More often than not this did not connect. My feeling is that Borges did NOT believe we could sustain long drives against Bama and was looking for quick strikes. I found this to be the most disappointing; it usually ended with our D having to come back into the game early.
Meh, I still like Borges. Maybe he just brainfarted most of the night in playcalling but I stil see us having a 9 win season, which would be very respectable given the difficulty of our schedule
I, like the rest of us on this blog watched the embarrassment last night, and I must say I was shocked at the sheer manhandling on both sides of the ball. We can all get on here and blame Borges, Denard, etc.... At the end of the day we must look at the opposition, the NFL factory we all call Alabama like it or not!! has been in place for several years Sabans system works because he gets the players that fit that system!Their O-line could start any NFL team today, and as far Borges name one offensive cord. In the country that couldve taken this team to victory last night so anyone hating on the coaching staff, the team,each other on this thread are obviously bandwagon riders when we win we are beast but if we lose then we suck!!! Let's be realistic we had a great first season under Hoke and this year who knows but this is for sure as we recruit Our style of players we will start adding hardware to the trophy case!! So let's stop the blah blah and let's win a B1G Championship!!
You mean he didn't game plan to run our most valuable player into the strength of Alabama's gamelan? Nail him to the wall! In all seriousness, Borges probably planned to throw a lot because of what Denard looked like in practice. The short screens were pretty effective and the long ones ended up, well pretty much like they always do. But it was 21-0 midway through the first quarter with Denard dinged up, so it's not like he had much of a chance to adjust.
Borges has to install his own offense, but he is doing it with spread personnel. I would like to see a hybrid, but it makes no sense for Borges to stray too far from what he is going to be doing. He has to install his offense anyway, so it might as well be now.
When you change systems and coaching staffs, shit happens. That's football. You can't fully judge Hoke or Borges until they have their first class of their own seniors.
I still think exactly what I thought earlier this week: Michigan loses to Alabama, loses one conference game, and finishes 12-2 when they win the Rose Bowl. I will continue to think that way until it becomes mathematically impossible.
This is the way I take Al's play calling.
He has things he wants to do (basically, run a passing spread).
He has things he knows worked well last year (run Denard from shotgun).
Given any amount of time off, he reverts to the former, as it is his nature. Perhaps the long off-season, plus a bunch of practices, lets him convince himself "hey, Denard can do this!".
But then Alabama happens.
Denard will be back to running more in the coming weeks, because Al is not stupid, and frankly all future QBs won't be Denard. So not too much to worry about methinks...
I'm not sure why anyone needs to defend Borges. Michigan didn't lose because they had a poor offensive gameplan. Michigan lost because Alabama was better at every single position on the field. I don't think that's really even that debatable. Why that is the case may be up for some debate: Hoke not having his guys in place, Borges not being able to run his system, poor RR recruiting, poor Carr recruiting, Saban death star fully in place and operational, Bama oversigning, etc. All those variables contributed to a mismatch on paper and on the field. There is no shame in losing to that team. They are damn good and Michigan is still emerging from the darkest time in its football existence. We take our lumps and move on as a fanbase. The team takes its lumps and learns from them.
Our punter and KO specialist were better. By far.
someone tell me why the fuk we kep going after the best CB Dee millner
Amen!! On to next week and air force
I tend to agree with the OP - thinking about this in time and space, it may be a couple years before we can really fully evaluate Al Borges fully utilizing his system here at Michigan. Some of the pieces are here, more are coming. What Borges has been able to do to date, however, has been pretty good overall and speaks positively about his abilities.
He's already shown himself to be a solid, creative OC by adapting personnel suited for a totally different offenseto his own as well as adapting his own thinking to suit certain personnel. Having said that, if the limitation of all this - combined with the lack of your best RB for that game - still manage what would statistically be an average performance against Alabama's run defense and a better than average peformance against their pass defense (comparing to 2011 opponents), then I won't worry about this too much in the grand scheme.
If the Alabama game was a benchmark for the offense, then in some important regards, we have reason to believe we'll be just fine from here onwards. They'll learn a lot from this game and make adjustments, but there's no reason to change any of the predictions for this team yet.
You have one of the best offensive weapons in the country, but instead of playing to his strengths you run him out there seemingly only to prove that he can make NFL throws now? I think Borges is a really smart guy but he seems very stubborn. I'm excited for the future but there is no point in even starting Denard at QB if your intent is to utilize him like that (note that this does NOT equate to me saying Denard should be benched, which he absolutely should not be)
He doesn't seem stubborn to me at all. He clearly prefers more stuff under center, but he obviously eschewed that during the second half of last year and for virtually the entire Alabama game because Denard is more comfortable from shotgun.
Is he capable of making mistakes? Sure. But no matter what Borges did last night, it wasn't going to work well enough. Not with Alabama's defense, our middling receiver corps, and missing our starting running back.
This was a championship level team with deep talent and we were missing some critical talent for most of the night. Could we have done better? Definitely. After Countess went out and it was clear the defense was completely outmatched, it seemed like Borges decided to take the safe(r) route. Likely he didn't run Denard because he didn't think it would be worth risking it and the box was consistently stacked. Fine, I can respect that decision--in the long run that is probably the right thing to do.
What I don't understand is Borges not even trying more of those short passes and bubble screens that we know Denard can usually hit, and which certainly had a much better chance of being effective than "Devin Smith" smashes up the middle. I do think it was the right call to keep testing those deep routes. Those are the only reason we got any points on this team and I think Bama underestimated Denard's arm strength. Denard designed runs probably could have gotten us more yards, but I don't have a lot of faith we would have scored with them and it could have resulted in our starting qb being injured for ND. I'm more worried about our D.
In defense of Al Borges:
1. One team scored more than us against Bama all last year.
2. We are a running team that could not run block against a superior defense.
3. I'm glad he didn't run Denard that much when he had a hurt shoulder, and later a hurt back. Our players were getting physically mauled by that defense, and we have three total scholarships quarterbacks.
4. If you thought we were a national championship contender, you just got your wakeup call. This is what it looks like when consistent top 3 recruiting classes go up against ones anywhere from 10-30 (the RR years) when elite coaching is a factor.
Honestly I think we're all grasping at straws to make us feel somewhat better after an embarassment so here's mine.....Denard had very comparable numbers to McCarron. 11-26 for 200 1 Td 2 Ints to 11-21 for 199 2 tds. Musburger said something that struck me. He mentioned McCarron "managed" the offense all game long and didnt turn the ball over. He reminds me of the Ravens back in the day with Dilfer. "Don't screw it up for the Defense" essentially. We are comparing last year to one game so far... against the #1 D, the defending National Champs, etc. Another fun stat...UM fared better than LSU in the NC game by not only crossing the 50 yd line but also scoring 2x. Hell Bama may not give up 2 more tds all year.
Alabama will give up more touchdowns if/when they face a better passing attack. Their coverage was not particularly stellar, and their pass rush wasn't out of this world, either. Denard side-stepped the rush a couple times, but he often had lots of time to throw the ball.
I haven't posted in any of these threads yet, but if anyone blames anything other than "Alabama had better players than us" either didn't watch the game or is an idiot.
Take both QBs out of the game. Bama got 6-8 yards every time they ran the ball. We got 0-2 yards. That's about the difference right there.
Borges was and is in a tough spot with Denard. Denard is an amazing athlete and a great person but has his flaws at QB - Mainly accuracy and decision making. Borges basically needed to simplify the passing game enough to make sure that Denard could make some reads and not throw 5 picks against an NFL caliber defense, which made the passing game predictable and ineffective. Borges also couldnt realistically run Denard into the teeth of that defense - He would have been seriously injured.
I dont understand how people can say that we would have had more success running Denard - What holes did you see in that defense? They knew he couldnt pass well enough to be a threat and had 11 guys waiting to take his head off if he ever crossed the line of scrimmage.
All in all, Michigan played with heart and was just physically outmatched. We need more talent on the roster - Specifically the upper classmen. The good news is that talent is coming in spades starting with the current Freshmen class and continuing on!
and get Denard hit more often?
You run Denard as many times as necessary in the last game versus Ohio.
You run Denard 20 times in mid season showdowns versus MSU & Nebraska.
You don't get him hurt in an OOC game that you have little chance of winning. We were dominated on the line. Denard didn't see much space on the few carries that Borges called.
To those who are complaining that Borges didn't run Denard enough: did you see any lanes that Denard didn't exploit? Do you think that running Denard into that wall of a front seven would have accomplished anything other than getting Denard killed?
The bottom line is that we played the deepest, most talented team in the country, and we lost because we're not anywhere near their level talent-wise. Anyone who blames Borges for that is just looking for a scapegoat.
the general consensus was that Alabama was the better team, and that for Michigan to be successful it would have to take advantage of the relative inexperience of the Alabama defense.
I was officiating a wedding in the middle of nowhere so i didn't get to watch the game, but i gather that what inexperience Alabama showed was in the secondary. Therefore, Michigan's best chance was to take advantage of that for either yardage and/or to force Alabama out of stacking the box. It also appears that Borges attempted that but the execution wasn't good enough to make Alabama adjust, opening up other facets of the game.
If there's only one chink in the dragon's armor, you've only got one shot to slay it. Miss and you get roasted. Next week is another game.
but remember this was the guy that was raving about Thomas Rawls from day 1 of camp this August and we saw six rushes from him. I've noticed from last season that Borges seems to get frustrated with a gameplan if there isn't immediate results.
Michigan could not have won the game with any gameplan but Borges failed. Denard Robinsons skill set was not utilized properly and in fact his weaknesses were highlighted in this gameplan. Robinson needs to have a short and quick passing game which targets the outside of the defense rather than sitting in the pocket and trying to throw downfield repeatedly. Its simply not his skill set. Borges just reverts back to what he prefers offensively rather than what has been successful. Hopefully this will be the last time he needs a reminder. If there is one thing im frustrated with is 160 pound V. Smith running the ball up the middle! I remember RR did the same thing.