very simply, the offense he is being asked to run. Denard is a runner who can throw...not a thrower who can run, and Borges needs to get comfortable with that concept....and frankly, so does Denard.
to play football, not to play trumpet
very simply, the offense he is being asked to run. Denard is a runner who can throw...not a thrower who can run, and Borges needs to get comfortable with that concept....and frankly, so does Denard.
It's the offense. Under Rich Rod, the offense utilized a lot of swing, screens and curl routes that were never deeper than ten yards. basically the receivers would spread the defense out creating a wide open window to throw.
It's also hard to draw conclusions from stats that are 50% against alabama and notre dame
What, you mean against good teams? You're right, let's just count his stats from Umass, Air Force, Western, Eastern, Uconn, and so on.
The good teams are when stats count the most.
Well, the OP is comparing entire 2011 season stats (including games against SDSU, Western, Eastern, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois) with 2012 stats (of which 50% of the stats are 2 road games against the best d in the country and probably the 2nd-3rd strongest D we'll play all year).
It's skewed statistics.
and then saying that 2012 so far has been no better, if not worse, than 2011. Which is true.
But not every part of his passing game got worse from 2010 to 2011. In 2011 he threw 2 more TD than in 2010 (20 compared to 18) despite throwing 32 fewer passes. And his yards per attempt barely went down (8.8 to 8.4). So the only thing that really got worse from 2010 to 2011 were interceptions.
2010 Denard was in his second year of a college offense, and 2011 he learned a new one. A handful of those picks could be attributed to that.
I think any conclusion you draw from this season is premature. We've played two tough games on the road against very good defenses, and one game were Denard didn't play most of the second half due to being up big. Wait until we are 4 more games into the season before you start making claims like that.
My contention is that so far, not in absolute terms, Denard is doing at minumum the same as 2010, arguably worse, which a couple stats confirm. It's too early to make finished claims, it's not too early to make a claim like that with a caveat that we've only completed a quarter of the season so far. To your point though, and this is arguable of course, IMO coming from where Denard came from HS wise, his first year in a college offense (2010) is MORE challenging than dealing with a new OC in 2011, especially given that Borges tried mightily to keep him within some are of comfort. I certainly hope I'm wrong about all of that.
Honestly, I think #1 might be the biggest one. The 2010 MSU game seemed to provide a blueprint for how to defend him. Ohio and Mississippi State followed that plan later that season and also held him in check. It's continued against better defenses (with 2011 Ohio being an exception, fortunately).
The big thing, I think, is that defenses figured out that Denard doesn't scramble on designed pass plays. That meant that they could play man coverage in the secondary, instead of zone, which is pretty standard against a mobile QB (because you want your DBs to be always facing a running QB). When teams started playing man, our WRs had a harder time getting open and suddenly Denard was having to thread the needle. The way for him to counteract this is to either step up his accuracy (which he did against Nebraska and Ohio) or start scrambling more often, to punish teams for playing man.
#1 is absolutely it. If you take away the first 5 games from 2010, Denard's stats for the rest of that season are pretty similar to what he's done under Hoke.
The offense. The offense.
One fits Denard's abilities well and the other probably does not. That is not to say Denard does not deserve much of the blame. He played horribly against ND.
It's simple and has been covered extensively by Brian and others. Borges isn't RR. Borges really doesn't know how to use what Denard has to generate easy things. Well, maybe he does but he hasn't been doing it. Denard was built for constraint. You use the threat of him running to suck people in and you take the easy throw for a TD. Borges has tried to make him into something different. Sure, he still uses his legs but he doesn't use his legs to create constraint.
So it has absolutely nothing to do with his teammates? It's all on Denard? Nothing to do with Stonum, Koger, Hemingway, Odoms, Roundtree in the slot?
Uh, what? Is your reading comprehension struggling? Denard isn't in a system where he can succeed at the same level one would expect after his first year. I don't care who the recievers are. You can't sit Denard back in the pocket and expect him to make NFL throw in NFL windows, at times, with mediocre receivers. That's not his game and by doing so, you have taken is greatest asset (fear) and thrown it out the window. Would you be worried about Denard scrambling? I wouldn't because he never does it and it's obvious at this point he hasn't been coached to do it. If it is not a called run he doesn't take off very often. I didn't say this is all on Denard. He has to run the plays that are called. I would put more of it on Borges because I feel that he has been stubborn. Either that or he really has no idea how to use him which I find hard to believe because he is an intelligent person. I'm completely fine with that as long as it pays off in the long run. If in 5 years our offense is mediocre and I have to look back and see that two years of Denard was hurt for no later gain, that will be disappointing.
I agree with all of what you said sans for the Borges being stubborn. I think he has tried to incorporate some spread concepts - he just doesn't know that type of offense. RichRod was stubborn in 2008 - trying to make two of the slowest QB's become running threats. He made no attempt to change his offense to fit the personnel.
I've posted these stats a number of times, but the argument that RichRod "made no attempt to change his offense to fit the personnel" is hogwash.
From 2008 to 2010, M ran the ball on almost exactly 60% of their offensive plays each year. HOWEVA:
% of total plays that were qb runs
% of rushing plays that were qb runs
So when he had Tate and especially Denard, RichRod called 85% more QB runs as a percentage of all plays, and 80% more QB runs as a percentage of rushing plays.
This is the very definition of changing your offense to fit the personnel.
...RRod was running a zone-read spread offense in 2008 with two QB's that were not only unable to grasp it, they were not "dual threat" athletes/QB's and had no experience in that type of offense.
Sure, fewer QB designed runs, but you still have a pocket-passer trying to run a zone read scheme. When your QB is immobile in a zone read offense, where's the threat?
Borges has been far more accomodating to Denard's talent than RRod was to Sheridan/Threet's talent. I don't see how you could disagree with this statement.
I don't know why people keep thinking that Threet, as a redshirt freshman, would have been better in a pro style offense when he wasn't much better 2 years later, in a pro style offense, as a drop back passer. He was in year 4 of his college football career and threw nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns. He wouldn't have magically become a better passer as a redshirt freshman if he takes all his snaps under center. It is much easier for Borges to adapt to Denard's talent because he has a lot of it there and he is a junior/senior. I'm guessing Borges would have run an offense that looked just as shitty as RichRod's version if he was working with Threet/Sheridan as freshmen.
You could have run more a pro style that focused on pounding the ball and completing quick short passes and PA. The whole point is RichRods offense relies so much on a dynamic QB and in the pro he could have been asked to be a game manager type. He still would have been bad I agree but maybe 6 wins bad and not 3 wins bad.
"... Sheridan/Threet's talent ..."
No offense to those guys, but if you buy the idea you probably also believe that:
* GERG was close to turning the corner with his strategy and crew of assistant coaches
* RichRod's "people" skills are superior to those of Hoke
* we lost to ND on Saturday because Hoke "doesn't understand the rivalry"
* UMich will win if it just gets back to playing "hardnosed football"
But in your original post you didn't say
1. "Borges has been far more accomodating to Denard's talent than RRod was to Sheridan/Threet's talent."
2. "[RichRod] made no attempt to change his offense to fit the personnel."
I marginally agree with statement #1, with the caveat that once Mallett left the QB position was a smoking crater anyway, so why not get everyone else used to the offense?
But I was reacting to statement #2, with which I emphatically do not agree.
Never in the 2 years under Hoke and Borges have the coaches ever said they are coaching Denard not to run.
In fact, Hoke and Borges have said over and over again that they would like it if he would give up on the play sooner and use his legs. Rich Rod had the same problem when he was coaching Denard. For whatever reason, Denard just does not give up on the play.
He actually got better at using his legs as a 3rd read last year (the Nebraska game comes to mind) than what he had done under RR in 2010. this year, it seems as though he has regressed in that aspect of his game. I have no idea how you come to the conclusion that Denard hasn't been coached to scramble, because everything we have heard from two coaching staffs has indicated that they would like him to take off quicker when things break down rather than waiting for someone to come open and forcing a throw.
Well sooner or later you have to acknowledge that they are not coaching that aspect effectively enough.
Given that two staffs haven't succeeded in getting him to give up on his routes and scramble, maybe the problem's on his end.
This I think, is an apt analysis. I know we all love Denard, but the truth is that he just doesn't seem to have a great QB mind. It's that intangible ability to make the right decision when faced with a defense that made guys like Manning and Luck so great, and Denard flat out doesn't have that.
Great point, jg. Another thing people fail to mention (or simply don't want to accept) is that Denard feasted on bad defenses in 2010. Michigan has already played 2 defenses this year (Alabama and Notre Dame) that were better than any he saw in 2010, maybe with the exception of OSU. I would be willing to bet that Denard's numbers vastly improve from now until the end of the season. MSU is the only team left on the schedule that has a defense anywhere close to that of Alabama and Notre Dame.
But Notre Dame's defense isn't even that good. We marched up and down the field. We punted what, once? Bamas defense is going but ND has just played really bad offensive teams or teams that turn it over 6 times, all of which were unforced.
You can't claim any benefit from only punting once when your team turned the ball over 6 times.
And I only have 4 kids....That I know of....
My point was that Michigan was only stopped by themselves. On the vast majority of those turnovers there were poor decisions and most of those poor decisions were breathtakingly poor. It wasn't like Denard was pressured and threw into tight coverage. Denard threw into places that gave us no chance. Denard played an awful game. He knows it. I think the offense will be fine for the year and I still expect a B1G Championship because, well the B1G sucks. You put us in the SEC or B12, and we are middle of the pack at best. We'll get better and I know all of my posts make me seem to be a huge downer/pessimist but i just don't think we can hide from the fact that the Denard/West Coast passing scheme does not work and will not work against good competition. I find it hard to believe that someone of Borges' intellect and experience cannot watch some tape of Pat White/Denard and figure out how average passers were used effectively. Denard brings fear when he threatens to run. We use that too little, IMHO. I am having trouble ragging Borges for this too because I defended RR for being stubborn and installing his scheme. The difference is Borges has the most dangerous running QB in the nation to use and RR had nothing for a QB no matter what system he installed. It will pay off in the future. Borges is a good OC who will get the right players for what he wants to do and we will score points. DOn't take my comments as anything other than as they apply to Denard.
ND's front seven is pretty damn solid and they were able to get pressure for most of the game which influenced a lot of throws made by Denard. I agree that we tried to throw a litte too much in the first half, but even in the second half Denard put the ball on the ground while running. Let's just face the fact that Denard played a poor game and hope that we see a similar improvement as the season goes on with his play like we did last year.
i thought they were good, but i also thought the O Line played relatively well, especially in the 2nd half. ND made plays... i mean think of it this way, how many almost ints has denard thrown this year? Nothing new was learned... one of the picks didn't even matter, it was virtually a *punt. Was this his worst game? Absolutely, but we only lost by a TD. The shocker to me was the fumble.
I said it before, and i'll say it again: as long as Denard isn''t rattled by this (mentally) we should be okay. Is he turnover prone? Yes, but we knew this. This bye week is perfectly placed.
Has anyone heard anything about DG? I suppose we'll find out later today or tomorrow?
"ND's front seven is pretty damn solid .."
No one will argue this, but a solid front 7 does not a defense make. (See also: Detroit Lions, professional football club out of SE Michigan)
JR to the mother fucking Hemmi?
In sure it has nothing to do with defenses he's faced.
were overall better in 2010 than in 2011. 3 teams Michigan played that year went 11-1. Though perhaps 2012 would look substantially better had we not played Alabama...
One explanation that immediately comes to mind, and it's a tired one around here that people don't like to talk about, is that Rich Rod's offense just better suits Denard's skill set. Our offense still used to turn the ball over a lot in his spread in 2010 if I remember correctly, but the design and the threat of his running opened up easier reads and throws for Denard to make. That led to better QB efficiency.
Disclaimer before everyone bashes this: This is not a referendum on Rich Rod!
I'd say the sample size from 2012 is too small to do this comparison right now. We're 4 games in, one was Alabama and one was what everyone is hoping was a wild abberation (ND). This year's samples thusfar are ripe for confirmation bias that Denard is regressing.
Denard is on pace for more INTs, but that'll happen when you throw four in one game in the early part of the season.
Denard would fake the run and suck the safeties up into the box and throw it over the top to a wide open receiver, best example was the first play of the 2010 Illinois game to Roundtree for a touchdown
He also did that in 2011 and 2012.
Denard is asked to do more as a decision-maker in this offense than he was under RR. He also lost Junior Hemingway, Odoms, and Koger. That's about it.
Robinson's skill set is just better suited to Rodriguez's offensive philosohpy. Rodriguez's passing plays were almost always short, quick hitters all based on timing, plus he rarely had Robinson throw downfield which Borges does frequently. That will really boost the completion percentage.
is very simple. Many do not know this, but one of Rich Rod's best moves as head coach of Michigan, he had Denard stay at a Holiday Inn Express for all of the 2010 season. Hoke decided to place Denard back in conventional housing and there has been marked decline.
Look at the throws he was asked to make in 2010. Look at the throws he has been asked to make in 2012.
Two completely different offenses. I remember the criticism towards Denard in 2010 being "well, he's got such a high passer rating/completion rate because he throws short passes". Not only was that true, but it played to his strength(s).
I'm not sure if the data is even available, but I would love to see someone on the board chart out passes from 2010, 2011 and 2012 based on yardage. Sure, it's not going to solve anything, but it will show the differences in coaching philosophy.
Perhaps the old UFR's could be a resource. There has to be a stat guru willing to take on this task!
I think there is something to be said for the offensive scheme. Borges is running a passing scheme that has a lot of decisional components (as in a NFL passing tree) which might need a lot of time to master. Maybe if Denard were in year 4 of this scheme he'd better understand it.
Compare it with Rich Rod's scheme. I think Smart Football has discussed the "elementary" nature of the passing schemes dreamed up by Rodriguez, Magee and Dews. Further, we know for a fact Rodriguez essentially told both Robinson and Forcier where to pass the ball after Magee could see the defensive alignments, and "Three and Out" confirmed those two guys would seriously criticize those guys for not doing EXACTLY what they wanted the QB to do.
because I forgot to put Chris Bown's point you mentioned in my OP. So question for you, if you believe that passing scheme, as I suggest, is the main explanation (perhaps along with others at a lesser level) do you fault Borges for not recognizing this? Or do you believe that he runs the offense he runs, is doing the best he can to accomodate Denard, and has to run what he knows?
The defensive players (Kovacs, etc.) have constantly been given the benefit of the doubt for having to learn new systems, etc., yet Denard is rarely extended that same courtesy. It's a shame because QB is arguably the most difficult position to withstand transition from.
Denard has had two coordinators, each for two seasons.
The defense (through 2011) had Ron English in 2007, Scott Shafer in 2008, Greg Robinson's 4-3 in 2009, Greg Robinson's 3-3-5 in 2010, and Greg Mattison in 2011.
Denard's transition is a little bit different than what the defense went through.
It's different, but that doesn't mean it doesn't apply.
Your post below illustrates his shortcomings pretty well, but I think part of the transition that's been going on under Borges was to expand the playbook for him this season and it hasn't worked.
It's also clear no matter how you cut it...he doesn't play as well on the road. At all.
It's not about that anymore. He's not confused. He's not lost. He is making bad decisions and they are the same ones, over and over. I will say his accuracy is better, but his decisions are bad. I don't know if he puts himself under that much pressure or what, but what we are doing in the passing game hasn't suited him. Like I said, I don't think it's all on him. Everyone had an idea of what he did best when they got here and for some reason, they don't want to admit that there are better ways to use him. It's really not Denard's fault.
And if you only look at gpa I was a better student in high school than college...I'm sure that's the best way to compare.
do you have another set of stats or observations that show Denard hasn't regressed a bit since 2010?
QB oh noes, need we say more?
That is an oversimplification. And a dumb one.
Rich Rod recruited a thoroughbred to run his race.
Borges doesn't race. He plows fields.
We have a throroughbred plowing for our fields.
That could not have been put better.
Livin in Kentucky. I get it.
War Horse is a great movie and proves it can be done.
I think he's more interested in Steeplechase. A lot of variety, and mixing it up, but not just plowing slowly.
In a car example Denard is a drag car, straight ahead speed like no other, but you don't want the car to be doing too much. And Borges is a Formula One driver, used to the twists and turns of a non-straight away course.
The lack of "laser" screen is the culprit.
He completed passes to open receivers based on the threat of the run. He is now a quasi Pro Style QB, being asked to make different reads. Oh, and Alabama and ND are decent teams. Suprised a thread is needed to figure this out unless you just started watching games this year and are only looking at stats from the previous 2 seasons.
Go back and watch film from 2010. Denard rolled out and threw hitches. He threw bubble screens and slants from the pocket. And he threw bombs. The first three routes are very high percentage plays; the last one not so much, but that's okay because it was rare.
Now look at what he's doing in 2011/2012. Posts, screens, slants, hitches, curls, outs, play action from under center, drags, flies, etc.
Good defenses stopped those simple plays in 2010 because they were simple. Now good defenses are stopping the more complicated plays in 2012 because Denard isn't very good at them. Either way, good defenses can figure out how to stop Denard from having success in the passing game. Why? Because he's not very good at it.
I think Denard is not good at making decisions in the passing game but not good as a passer in a somewhat unique way that confuses people at times. Specifcally, he's better at throwing a football than most poor passers who can run the ball. You didn't, for example, see Pat White (IIRC) throw balls like Denard's touchdown to Odoms against Nebraska last year or his deep pass to Gallon against Alabama. His footwork is inconsistent, obviously, which (again obviously) makes his accuracy inconsistent, but he teases us with really nice throws at times...What Denard is just really not good at is making reads and deciding when to tuck and run or throw the ball away. His high school offense was really, really simple; RR didn't ask him to do what Borges does; and he's likely just never going to be adept at it. Some people just don't do certain things well, and that's not a comment on their character or overall intelligence. It just is.
Totally agree, but I also know I would rather be punting in the old offense than throwing another interception in the Borges system. It would have been enough to beat ND.
Magnus hit the nail on the head.
Denard didn't have as much to do in 2010, and was completely ineffective against good defenses. I don't know why the myth of Denard being a good passer in 2010 persists; it's simply false. The only times he was effective as a passer were against inferior competition.
If you look at his 2010 completion rate, you can see that he had a better passing year that year than in 2011 and to this point in 2012.
What it doesn't take into consideration is that those completions were short yardage/screen passes. He can be effective in those short, quick passes. Keep him in the pocket for too long and the threat of an INT goes through the roof.
So, I wouldn't call it a myth... he's just not an all-around good passer.
"Denard didn't have as much to do in 2010..."
Nah, Denard did more in 2010 than just about any other QB in history. A better way to put that is that he is being utilized differently. A criticism of RR's use of Sheridan and Threet should include Borges' use of Denard.
"...and was completely ineffective against good defenses."
Is this Boodini? Denard is one player. Those good defenses played aginst not just Denard, but an underwhelming offensive line and WRs that are not the NFL littering.
Denard has his faults, but the faults of any player can be magnified in the wrong setting.
Further, I'd argue that we still have yet to see what Denard could do with a good line, good RBs, good WRs and that "overly simple" offense from 2010, against a good defense. You can't simply throw everything on Denard when they play a good defense.
I think a lot of it had to do with the constraint-drive nature of RR's offense. Plays were often packaged where Denard could give, keep, or throw the bubble based on reads; these packaged plays don't seem to be in Borges' offense.
When you don't keep the defense honest by having constraints on plays, they can more easily "build a fence" because they don't have to worry about being "wrong" by the design of the play. This is why Brian has been harping on the bubble screen. We're using it now, but it doesn't appear to be a read that we're making on a down-by-down basis, which allows the defense to build a fence.
So basically this is an argument about offensive philosophy. RR's offense is designed to make the defense wrong on every play by packaged plays and constraints; Borges's offense doesn't do this. This is basically a "try to score every play" offense versus a "let's just do things that work and let us hang on to the ball." Both can be effective, but we don't have the personnel to run the philosophy this staff prefers, so it seems like we're stuck with an uncomfortable reality for the rest of this year and likely into 2014.
As others pointed out, the offense they are trying to run now is more WC than spread option. Denard was better passing when opposing Ds had to respect his threat to run. That is why plays like this worked so well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fT8KVMkjoco&t=8m40s
The games that Denard struggles in now are the same games that Denard struggled in then. When we face a quality opponent with the ability to close the inner running lanes, Denard, or any other spread quarterback for that matter, must be able to throw and make decisions.
When playing the spread option, defenses are taking a serious gamble when they decide to take away the run option because they are committing extra defenders- that is the beauty of the spread. The offense, I don't care which kind, must be able to take advantage of the numbers with the forward pass, which, in turn, opens the running lanes back up. Opposing defensive coordinators know what many posters are struggling with: Denard does not make good decisions and he does not throw well. To restate, the games that Denard struggles with in Al Borges' system are the same games that Denard struggled with under RR.
Offensive Scheme. Denard is not very good at making football decisions - doesn't matter if they are in the run game or the passing game. (Note that even RR couldn't really make the pure run-option game work with Denard). The spread made Denard's decisions simple; the WCO puts much more of a burden on the QB, which Denard can't handle.
hesistate quite a bit in the run game too at times. I'm thinking of the play from Saturday where he lost his footing and fell on his back. Easy to armchair QB that would but he seemed very indecisive. I don't see many plays in the NFL where RB's have their hands on their blockers back - seems odd.
The reason is because Denard fits RRod's offense better. Al Borges is trying to fit a square-Denard into a round-NFLpassingoffense. Borges needs to adapt to Denard. Denard needs to adapt to Borges. He lost good targets. He gained worse targets. Denard wasn't built for this offense.
how is this different from what nearly everyone has said?
It's time for everyone to accept that he just is what he is. He makes deer in the headlight throws, especially under pressure. I also feel at times he's trying so hard to prove he's a qb, that he sits in the pocket way longer than he should. The line was blocking well. He just made some awful decisions. 8 picks through 4 games is not what a senior qb should be doing playing at this level regardless of whatever transition he's going through. Purdue's d-line has looked good so we'll see what happens then.
I can accept that he is not a very accurate passer and he doesn't read defenses very well, but a senior qb with 3 years of starting experience should know to throw the ball away or eat a sack when there is pressure in his face and no one is open. This is not 2010 when the defense couldn't stop anyone and the offense had to score on every drive, punting is not the worst thing in the world.
Is there an offensive system out there that cures those things?
Needs to simplify the offense. It would seem that it is easier change the offense than to change the quarterback to fit the offense. He has no choice. Gardner is not an option as he is a slower, taller version of Denard and Bellamy is a red shirt freshman who is not ready. Next year with Shane in the fold, Borges can move more towards his pro style offense he is comfortable with.
One more year Al, please adapt, or this will be a 7-5 season.
Sorry, but I don't think Shane is going to be much help as a true freshman. He's loaded with talent, but he's hardly a refined QB that will come in ready to play. I was hoping he'd be an early entry, but that ship has sailed. Bellomy is likely our guy next year....or Gardner if we want to keep running the West Coast Spread hybrid or whatever this offense is.
Playign true freshman is NOT the answer to any of what plagues the Michigan Wolverines. If anything it is the problem.
Next year is Gardner or Bellamy or we're in worse shape than any of us realize. That is why somene on the roster should have been playing more of the "garbage time" in every game so far this season.
Hoke and company will get us there, but lets be patient. If it was easy the previous coach would still be here.
Sometimes I think the BCS win was a bad thing because it warped everyne's expectations.
Certainly Borges deserves a share of the blame for his struggles but also Denard is just trying to do too much out there. At some point a senior QB should know when to throw the ball away and when and when not to take a sack if nobody's open. I wonder if the pressure of being Denard is making him try to make a spectacular play on every down rather than managing the game as a senior 3 year starter at QB should. The way our defense was playing a few punts wouldn't have been a disaster.
The offensive line gave him pretty much all day to throw the ball. If nothing is open, throw it away, avoid the sack and punt the ball. We really played well on Saturday.
Borges asks him to throw the ball more than sideways or 10 yards down the field and I'd like to say part of it is that Juniors gone but I'm fairly certain Gardner and Funchess can at least go jump for it like he did. Somehow his decision making has gotten. I really don't get it.
"Were our receivers better then? Odoms and Hemingway, are not here, but Roundtree and Gallon still are. Perhaps we can argue that this year the group is not as good, but you can't argue that for last year, when Denard's stats regressed. " - from the OP
Again, the switch to WCO-type schemes created a shift in who the preferred receivers on given plays were. As an example, look at Roundtree's numbers - when we were relying a lot of QB iso type plays, Roundtree would find himself open a lot, but part of the west coast implementation has been the shift to the precise passing routes that require the QB and receivers to be sycnhronized far more, which also means that you find yourself throwing into traffic (whether it is a short or long pass really) more often than not.
It's a difficult shift at each skill position, and you can see it in in Roy's numbers - Hemingway last year seemed to be the clear favorite on deep routes. In the second year of this scheme, it seems as if Gallon and Gardner seem to have emerged as the intermediate and deep threat respectively, with Roundtree getting a lot of the shorter routes at the moment (his longest reception this year is 18 yards, averaging 9 yards per reception). They are all being asked to relearn their positions essentially too. WCO plays, as I understand them, unfold quicker, so timing really is key.
To tie that into the Denard question, as others have mentioned, the offense now asks Denard to throw deeper balls if that is the open route (typically to Gardner this year) and make well-timed passes into narrower windows, which wasn't necessarily a thing in the spread and is definitely not a strength for Denard. That being said, Denard's mechanics are overall much improved, and Al Borges has done about as good a job as anyone could merging the skillset of Denard Robinson with his preferred style of offense to the point where he's used spread elements and at the same time turned Denard into a very good passer under center (classic WCO stuff here). It obviously is not perfect (re: Saturday), but it has been made to work as well as it can - you have an OC and a QB with different wheelhouses.
It is obvious to everyone in the country Hoke and Borges have no idea how to use the most dynamic player in college football and a once a decade talent. I watched the game with a couple ND fans and they were stunned at how Denard was being utilized. It's really unfortunate. With all the talent we have, It's ridiculous the offense has had this much trouble. There should be no excuses by the coaching staff once Morris gets on campus.
So when Denard puts up 400 + yards against Air Force and UMAss thats not Hoke and Borges and when he struggles against Bama and ND thats Hoke and Borges? Go back and look at 2010 it was the same thing. Robinson put up huge #'s against bad teams and struggled against good teams.
It's unprecedented that an offensive player sees a drop in statistical production when playing excellent defenses compared to when he plays against lousy defenses. Stunning. I'm sure this trend is unique to Denard Robinson as I've never heard of it before.
I am not saying this is unique to Denard. There are plenty of QB's who don't play well against good teams... And we call them..... bad QB's.
But with Denard it always the stubborn Borges who is evil and gets joy out of not using Denard the way he was meant to be used (as a RB).
The thing is, Denard put up such insanely large #'s against poor defenses and was voted Big Ten offensive player of the year in 2010 without every showing up in a big game. Those #'s are so insane that people cannot get over the fact that he's just not that good at QB.
Because we don't want to say that particular quarterbacks can't think or throw. That's why there's even a discussion. If this was John Navarre, there would be group consensus.
Wisconsin 2010 was a pretty big game as they were Big 10 champs. He had 360 yards of total offense and 4 touchdowns. Against Notre Dame, he had 500 total yards and 3 touchdowns. Against Penn State, he had close to 400 yards and 4 touchdowns. Granted, those weren't Ohio State or our bowl game, but those were pretty big games that he "showed up for" and our defense lost us the game. If your point is that he played worse against better defenses, I guess great point. Extremely obvious, but great point. Denard got offensive player of the year because he played great football that year.
Extremely obvious? The quarterback at Michigan is obviously supposed to play bad against good competition? Did you begin watching Michigan in 2008? If so I understand your confusion.
The point isn’t that there is a statistical drop against good defensive teams, its that’s there is almost a complete lack of production, to the point where his play is actually hurting the team. No one expects Denard to put 400+ yards against Alabama. But they should expect good decisions and enough positive plays to keep Michigan in the game.
The other point is that his numbers are so skewed because of some ridiculously crazy statistical games against terrible teams. Overall people just have this false expectation that Robinson is the greatest CFB player ever and can do no wrong because of what he did in those games. And then they are continuously let down and point the finger and the coaching.
Are you actually still arguing that good quarterbacks don't play worse against good defenses? Chad Henne had an awful game against Ohio State his senior year. That was a good defense. Yes, he was injured....but so was Denard for half the year. Every team racks up yards against shitty teams. Most offenses struggle against elite defenses. In 2010, he played really poorly against MSU and OSU. It just so happens that both defenses were ranked in the top 10 in the nation. For the majority of the year, he played very well. Is it really a surprise that a player that plays well against 3/4 of the teams he plays and breaks NCAA records for running quarterbacks as a sophomore to win an offensive player of the year award and be looked at as a great quarterback/athlete?
Against ranked teams over the last 2 1/2 seasons here is the average stat line he has given us:
Passing: 11 of 24 (46%) 162 yards 1 TD 2 INT
Rushing: 18 carries 67 yards (3.7 ypc) 0 TD
Looks like most have just conceded to the fact that Denard and Michigan are going to shit their pants offensively against a good team. Why even line up? Their better so Denard isn't going to play well, its extremely obvious right? Line up some more UConns, UMass, and Bowling Green squads so we can all pat eachother on the back.
I mean I find it sad the average response on MGBLOG is "duh, he's going to play bad against good teams.... but he's awesome still"
THIS IS MICHIGAN FEGODSAKES!
Why are you only looking at ranked opponents? Why not look at all B10 games, since that is the majority of our games every year. In 2010, here are his B10 averages:
198 yards passing
119 yards rushing
2.5 touchdowns per game
Yes, he averaged over 300 yards of total offense and more than 2 touchdowns per game. He played poorly against MSU and OSU. He played great against Wisconsin, Penn State, and Illinois. I don't see how you can come to the conclusion he didn't show up against good teams.
Also, your "ranked teams" he has played against include numerous top 10 nationally ranked defenses. I would like you to show me 1 single player that has amazing averages against the Alabama's and MSU's and OSU's of the world. I'll give you a hint, you won't find many with numbers better than 220 yards of total offense and a touchdown.
Every team puts up insane numbers against cupcakes. But even against ranked opponents, the offense put up good numbers as a poster below noted. The only team to truly shut Denard down that year was State. In the other games he was servicable until he was out-of-service (Injured)
In 2010, our issues weren't people keying in on Denard, it was our Defense collapsing and Denard getting injured.
At the end of the day, Denard has still won us more games than he has cost us.
Denard ran a Denard offense in 2010. In 2011/12, Al wants Denard to run a Tom Brady offense. Hoke needs to drop the pocket passer shit and let Denard be Denard. After the first four weeks, it seems like Denard is thinking way too much about the pass. He is obvioulsy coached to hold on to the ball longer and let the play develope. How many times has Denard remained in the pocket looking to pass with wide open running lanes?
It's been most unfortunate and I've noticed that as well. A few of the plays where he threw picks at on Saturday I feel pretty comfortable he could have gotten a first down by running. Also, I really don't understand why he never throws the ball away.
Ugh. Not all pro-style offenses are the same.
Al Borges has shown an unheard-of willingness to adapt his offense to Denard's skills than most offensive coordinators would. This offense is more complicated for the QB than Rodriguez's was, but it's not an extremely complicated offense, either.
Borges is trying to adapt his system, but a) Denard isn't very good at throwing the ball and b) the running game isn't where it should be because of a lack of depth/talent on the offensive line. Borges really doesn't have a ton of choices.
Everyone is saying Borges is so stubborn and unwilling to adapt. If that was the case, they would be under the center 100% running more power plays. Borges has done a lot to adapt but hasn't gone completely spread which he shouldn't because of a) he doesnt have the spread background and b) there are 100 other players on the team that are being groomed to play in his offense.
Being stubborn or unwilling to adapt was 2008 RichRod.
People keep saying Borges is asking Denard to do stuff he isn't capable of doing. If you are unable to set your feet, make reads, etc.. then what do you want him to do? He asking Denard to be a QB and Denard is incapable of doing it on a consistant basis. This is isn't 2010 and they aren't playing these teams for the first time. Running Denard 30 times and throwing "QB Oh No's" isnt going to get this team any further than 2010 when they got bashed by every good defense they played.
Agree. Why aren't we also talking about Toussaint? Where is our 1000 yd rusher?
the running game isn't where it should be because of a lack of depth/talent on the offensive line.
Teams don't have to stack the box as much as last year to stop the run. This allows more pass coverage. Denard and Toussaint aren't running because there is nowhere to run.
"Al Borges has shown an unheard-of willingness to adapt his offense to Denard's skills than most offensive coordinators would."
So you're saying, most OCs would use Denard like Borges is using him?
Letting "Denard be Denard" is racking it up against bad teams and struggling against good teams. Thats the same whether its 2010 in the spread of 2011/2012 in the pro.
Anyone know the condition of his arm/shoulder after the game?
I'm sure a certain percent of INTs are on the receivers, and ours are unpolished this year. He also forces a lot of throws.
I sometimes wonder whether the bad throws aren't part of his attempt to maintain discipline, staying in the pocket, making the play rather than cutting loose.
I think we beat Purdue soundly in two weeks, FWIW. And I think this team is on the rise.
I wrote this scouting report on Denard back on September 23, 2010, after he had started 3 games at Michigan. I just glanced back at it today to see how accurate it is and/or whether things have changed since then.
I'll let you decide for yourself (if you want):
it looks like he has over-corrected is scrambling too early. I swear Michigan's best play could be the pass-not-there-tuck-it-and-run play if Robinson would react quicker when something is not there.
I think that's one fundamental/mechanical thing that he has learned from Borges - keep your eyes up and go through your reads. Unfortunately, his reads aren't always accurate. And he rarely looks off a safety or uses his eyes to move defensive players. If he starts off looking to the right, that's probably where he's going.
The team, the team, the team.
Denard was better a passer 9/23/2012 than he was 9/22/2012
In 2010, Denard got off to an otherworldly start through the first five games, and then came down to Earth after that.
Through five games in 2010, Denard had completed 69.8% of his passes for 201.6 yards per game, 7 TDs and only one interception. He averaged an absurd 10.5 yards per attempt and had a passer rating of 179.7.
Over the final eight games of 2010, Denard completed 59.0% of his passes for 195.3 YPG, 11 TDs and 10 INT. His YPA dropped to 8.0 and passer rating to 134.6. Those numbers aren't all that different from what he's done under Borges. Because of that incredible 5-game start, his 2010 season stats look terrific, but things changed quite a bit from the MSU game onward.
Opposing DCs have caught on to a lot of Denard's tendencies. They know that he doesn't throw that well on the run, has trouble handling pressure up the middle, and tries too hard to keep plays going when there's nothing there. In the last two games of the 2011 regular season he looked like he was dropping those bad habits and taking a big step forward as a passer, but since then he's reverted back to them.
Remember when you said this last year, didn't respond to everyone's criticism, then deleted your topic in shame after his three game stretch against Illinois, Nebraska and OSU?
This still doesn't hold water because you don't take into account any of the other factors involved with football other than your silly little theory about opposing DCs watching more video, which is only one part of the whole pie.
I don't know, or even care, about your past internet pissing matches. For the record, I'm not a moderator and can't delete posts.
As for your second paragraph, I'm not saying that 100% of the issue is due to better opponent scouting of him, but you can't really dispute that the MSU game in 2010 game opponents a good gameplan to draw from.
You edited all the information to a blank, which is pretty much deleting it.
Perhaps, but you fail to account for ANYTHING else in your assessment, making it a rather stupid one. Personnel, the logical conclusion that good defenses tend to perform better against everyone, the other units involved with the team, different coordinators, etc.
But hey, you're a part of that select little group with an obvious agenda that cares more about being right about a certain three years than being logical.
I'm a bit of a rookie at this kind of stuff, but this is just a thought process I've been having lately. I really wonder if Borges has Denard taking more snaps under center to get the rest of the offense used to what is to come after Denard graduates. Once Denard is gone, this hybrid style Borges has drawn up is dead. No more QB draws, zone reads, etc. I wonder if Borges is slowly trying to wean the offense off of this style and push more towards what he is building towards for the future.
This is just merely speculation on my part, and even I agree part of it doesn't make sense, as it means you're taking away Denard's playmaking abilities and hurting the team now. Maybe Borges is just trying to prepare the offense long-term so they're not necessarily starting from scratch next year. Yeah it sounds kind of stupid, but I can't think of another reason why Borges wouldn't be consistently running Denard out of the shotgun. He of all people should know by now the areas in which Denard thrives, and the areas that he doesn't. Denard is not a pocket passer. Both he and Borges should stop trying to believe he can be one. He makes plays and wins games when he can get outside the pocket, extend plays, and if he needs to, run like hell.
The passing offense he ran in 2010 is radically different than the one he runs now, so those numbers really are not comparable. And while he makes bad throws at times, most college QBs do the same thing. I mean, everyone talks up Henne as a robot, but he had his moments and guys crutches.
Denard will never be a great passer, but he is still one of the best QBs this team has had, just because of his legs. I am as high as anyone on the future of this team, but let's see what people say when Bellomy our Morris throw 3 picks in a game and have taken 2 sacks as well.
Hes forcing throws, not running enough, and doesnt have the recieving group that we would like to have.. Hemmingway made a huge difference last yr and it shows..His numbers will increase as season goes on so i am not that worried...Also, what the hell happened to Fitz?? A good RB helps a QB also.
Don't forget, for all those screaming that Denard is being used wrong, Denard himself has vehemently argued that he can/will play as a quarterback in the NFL. This is a pro-style offense....
The Notre Dame game was just a terrible game. It happens to every quarterback in the world. Tom Brady throws a 4 interception game every other year.
Yeah, Denard doesn't look as good against great defenses. That's pretty standard. He still usually manages to rack up 100 yards on the ground against good defenses fairly regularly. That's not standard.
2010's offense, obviously, was fit for Denard. He was also playing without a defense and no real running threat, which is another part of why he didn't "perform well against good teams".
2012 is exactly what happens when you have 3 head coaches in 6 years. Everyone just needs to suck it up and realize that it will be another 2 seasons before the Brady Hoke era begins without any asterisks.
Despite all this, we're still a favorite to win the Big Ten. For a rebuilding season, that's not a bad place to be.
Also, what happened Saturday night will never happen again this season and we all know it. That was a fluke of a game.
Borges is NOT using Denard wrong. Borges has, in fact, developed Denard into a "WCO Pocket Passer." He throws very well, has acceptable accuracy, and when he not pressured, he makes good decisions. I know a lot of you will disagree with me, but I think you're letting the negatives overshadow the positives.
The issue is quite simple: Denard's ability to recognize, evade, and deal with a blitzer in his face. IIRC, the vast majority of Denard's many INT's come when he has pressure in his face. It is then that his mechanics and decision making go to hell, and he throws INT's.
There is absolutely NO WAY that Borges isn't hammering Denard continually about how to handle the blitz, but Denard just isn't listening. In my mind, this was the reason behind his post game comment about accountability to his team. He's being coached properly, and in practice he's doing the right things, making the right reads, and good decisions. In a big game, however, he gets too amped, and wants too badly to make a big play on every play.
Think about the difference in our discussion of Borges and Denard if the only INT that he threw was the one at the end of the half -- basically a hail mary, and of little consequence. If he had evaded, tucked and run -- even for a short gain -- or thrown the ball out of bounds, i.e., lived to play another down. We'd all be marveling at his development, and praising Borges as a great coach, and more importantly, Michigan likely would have scored a lot, and won the game. But, Denard didn't do those things. He reverted to his old bad habits, made poor decisions, and cost his team the game.
When it comes to dealing with a blitz, he's still in the "conscious incompetence" phase of learning. He knows what he's supposed to do, but it's not yet instinctive -- he thinking about it too much. This game will be a HUGE step forward for Denard's development. Unfortunately, the clock is ticking on his career. Unfortunately, he didn't RS his freshman year because he's very close. I know that sounds silly of a QB that threw 4 picks, but he is, and he'll get there.
Aren't we running a little low on time?
Yep, we are, unfortunately. That's why I lament the fact that RR didn't redshirt him in 2009. There is nothing anyone can do about that now. All we can do is hope that Borges and Denard keep working hard to make improvements in his blitz pick up.
Uh, let's look at comparable stats:
After 4 games in 2011, DRob had a 8.33% interception rate (ints/pass attempt) and improved dramatically over the last 9 games with a 4.72 int%.
After 4 games this year, DRob has a 8.0% int%. Actually better than last year.
" He throws very well, has acceptable accuracy, and when he not pressured, he makes good decisions. I know a lot of you will disagree with me, but I think you're letting the negatives overshadow the positives."
But when he plays against a rough tough defense like ND, Ala, MSU he freaks out. I don't know how else to say it. He just doesn't play well against good teams. It would help if the line blocked a little better and gave him some more time. To many mental lapses by the looks of it because they are capable of blocking.
Denard is not playing those tough defenses alone is he?
Denard looked very good, IMO, when not blitzed. As I said, his issue is his reaction to a center blitz.
Denard wants his University of Michigan degree. He has sacrificed personal glory for it. He is better than any other option at QB, but he is a spread QB stuck in the WCO.
It makes no sense for Al Borges to delay putting his own system in; it would just delay the growth curve of the program. I am guessing that Borges will make a few adjustments after the ND game, which is now going to be seen as an instruction manual for defending Denard Robinson, but they will have to be within his system.
As for the comparison, the sample is too small. ND is a legit top ten team now, and Bama is an NFL development franchise. Michigan played two excellent defenses with great athletes out of four games. I'm not bailing out on Denard or Borges; there's a lot of season left.
2010 Michigan Offense: points per game: 32.77
2011 Michigan Offense: points per game: 33.31
I think Borges has at least some idea of what he's doing, and he's doing it predominantly with spread guys to boot. Denard might have been a better passer in 2010. But we were not a better offense.
We cannot gameplan poor decision making. The only thing you can do is what Brian Kelly showed; by pulling the player making those poor decisions. That can not, should not, and will not ever happen with Denard. He's just too great a talent and gives us the best chance to win.
We just need to face the fact that while Denard can make throws, he sometimes gets greedy. I think he translates his otherwordliness in running to his arm, when in his mind they need to be completely separate entitites. The man makes plays, and sometimes you get burned in the effort.
I agree 100%. As I said in my post above, Denard needs to learn how to "make a play" when he's being blitzed without risking turning the ball over. Obviously, that means "tucking-and-running" and other "smart QB" techniques. But you hit it right on the head, I think -- Denard is so confident, has made so many ridiculous plays with his legs, that he thinks he can do the same with his arm. Problem is, as Bo and Woody used to say, when you throw the ball three things can happen, and two of them are bad.
It is ironic that a guy with Denard's amazing running ability is so reluctant to simply run away from a blitzer. Borges has said it reapeatedly, Denard often feels like he HAS to make a play, every play. Hopefully he'll learn that he doesn't have to, that he has to be patient, and use his gifts when he's threatened, and not try to force the play where it isn't there.
I don't thnk Borges is horrible or anything, but the schedule last year was significantly easier than 2010.
Because Rodriguez knew it was mind blowingly stupid to have Denard under center running play action which is constraint when your running game under center actually scares teams just like Mattison and co. know it is stupid to run the 3-3-5 or whatever defense Michigan was running. A perfect world would see a spread coordinator with Mattison but that isn't happening since it is obviously stupid to run an up tempo offense when you play your best defense on offense.....
Said this before. If I was Borges I would make Denard practice with 20lb wieghts tied around his legs. If you want him to learn new skills you have to take away(in practice)his security blanket, which we all know is his blazing speed. His happy feet, which most often result in errant throws to the other team, are a result of years of playing football the best way he knew how.
am an OSU fan from TX, and enjoyed talking football with a lot of great UM fans a few weeks ago for the Labor Day kick off game.
I am really stunned at how weak OSU's defense has become - and am equally stunned at the production decline from UM.
Look, no one is going to beat Alabama; however, the performance of our two teams and the B1G overall is really hard to analyze. OSU is struggling with weak teams and cannot stop anyone. Their D was solid for a decade and I don't get Fickell and Vrabell and their scheme.
UM is in transition to the style of offense I think OSU should stick with (Bo: FB, TE in a 3-pt stance ...) and I get that; however, Denard is Denard, and he is not being put in positions to make him as multi-dimensional as he should be.
Both OSU and UM have good recruiting classes and the future should - should - be bright. But right now, Hoke and Meyer as solid as they are, I don't see the B1G competing with the SEC. Shane Morris is going to be solid, and UM is going to be good. OSU will be good. I just don't see the two schools or the B1G winning the NC until Saban retires.
I think UM and OSU will be competitive for the next decade in the B1G. Don't see a NC unless something drastic happens like changes to oversigning. The economy is not coming back in a big way ever again to the MidWest, and the recruiting bases will have to compete in the South and the West and those 5* players will stay home and we can plan on developing 4* talent and playing our asses off. It is a different decade ...
Which brings me back to my opening line - having grown up in the NE/ MW/ B1G country and having lived in TX since the 90's, there is a solid population shift, and the base for our two schools is shifting and that will make it tough to win the NC. Being competitive is one thing - playing for a legitimate NC title is something else...
Eager to hear from UM fans...
Go Army - Beat Navy!