Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems than current Auburn HC Gene Chizik and Current Michigan OC Al Borges were on the Auburn coaching staff together in 2004. Does anybody on here have any insight as to what type of working/personal relationship the two had with each other? My thought/ hope/ question at this point would be whether or not Gus Malzahn would be willing to meet with Al Borges and his staff this off-season (based upon the Chizik and Borges relationship). I think that would obviously be a fantastic way for the current staff to learn how to properly use Denard Robinson in a way similar to Cam Newton. Please forgive if this has been discussed in depth, but I do think the idea is a great one for the coaches to pursue. Any thoughts or insight?
Does anyone have insight on the Al Borges-Gene Chizik connection from their Auburn days?
Robinson couldn't play in a Gus Malzahn system? I'm not sure I do. I don't think they are super similar in size or even running style, but they are both elite runners that happen to play QB. My stance is that Denard would be fantastic in Malzahn's system. Newton is way superior to Denard if we are just looking at size, but I truly believe Denard is going to end up being a better college QB in maybe every other regard if he is used properly. His combo passing and running ability (speed and burst etc.) is outstanding for a true sophomore and will get better. I think Malzahn might be a great connection for us to have.
Malzahn's offense is very unique and quirky with both motion and formation and none of it is really designed with a running QB in mind specifically (they just had Newton run a lot because he's good at it).
Borges is a very good offensive coordinator (I'm actually much more excited about his hire than Mattison's) who will put Denard in a ton of situations to succeed. If you want to see what our offense will probably look like, try to watch some highlights of the UCLA offenses in 97-98. They moved McNown around a lot to take advantage of his scrambling/mobility and to make up for his lack of height. I think our offense will look a lot like that but with Denard having the option to take off and run (and doing it with unstoppable awesomeness) a lot more often than McNown did.
You bring up some good points about the design of Malzahn's offense as it has been very pass heavy at other places...but I also think this is a case of form vs. function. The formations aren't as key as the proven function of using an elite running QB such as Newton that Malzahn has shown the capability of doing, and the hands on ability to do. I'm not sure when Borges has proven that he can do this. I am NOT saying Borges can't do it, I'm saying it certainly wouldn't hurt and would actually in all probability be beneficial to meet with Malzahn should such an opportunity arise. As far as McNown, his college career rushing stats point to him not being the runner that Robinson is (even by a longshot). Here are his career stats http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/cade-mcnown-1.html
As far as McNown goes, I know he didn't run the ball like Denard or Newton (more to do with his own athletic ability than the design of the offense), but the principles used (moving him outside the pocket and getting on the edge) to open up the passing would also open up loads of running opportunities for a guy like Denard. I think the structure of the offenses will look a lot alike, but Denard will pull the ball down more often and there will probably be 5-10 designed runs put in every game for him.
I just don't see Malzahn as a guy with any particular insight into using a dual threat quarterback (though he's obviously a very talented coordinator). He just happened to have a very good one at his disposal. For the same reason, I wouldn't expect Borges to call up Mack Brown just because Vince Young had so much success as a runner and passer at Texas. Same with Beamer and Vick.
Also, I think Hoke/Borges/Brandon are looking to get away from the spread label that Rodriguez had. I doubt they will be looking to install elements of an offense that is even more "gimmicky" in appearance than the one we've been running, no matter how successful it might potentially be.
I'll take function over form. The fact that Malzahn has had to adapt his playbook and playcalling to such a gifted young man means that perhaps he would have some hands-on experience and useful advice he could lend to Borges. I'm not necessarilty suggesting running a spread or a wildcat as our base offense the way Malzahn does, or using Malzahn's playbook as our entire offense but that we could learn how to more effectively use Denard by meeting with Malzahn. I think at this point we all realize there is going to be I formation and a multiple sets. I just think it could be helpful to exchange ideas with Malzahn, and also was curious if anyone had heard any news on this front.
Borges is a very good offensive coordinator (I'm actually much more excited about his hire than Mattison's ...
I can't figure out why this is the case -- any particular reason? Track record, recruiting and pretty much everything else make me more excited about Mattison.
Borges, when given quality talent to work with, has had great, well-balanced offenses at Auburn and UCLA. Both were top-10 programs with him calling the plays. He's also had successful seasons at Oregon and SDSU after putting up gawdy numbers at lower levels of college football. His style is versatile and keeps defenses off balance. He's been recognized as the best coordinator/assistant in the country at multiple stops.
As for Mattison, where is the hype coming from? He was second in command to Charlie Strong at Florida so I don't really view their success as his doing, coordinated the defense for some average/bad Notre Dame teams, and basically didn't screw up the Ravens D (after being the default hire after Rex Ryan left). He seems solid and has a good rep as a recruiter apparently, but the resume over the last 15 years doesn't really make me lose my mind with excitement.
I don't know if I would call his offenses "great." Twice in the last decade he has had offenses finish higher than 30th nationally in scoring or yardage -- Auburn in 2004 and San Diego State last year. Seven times in that span, his teams have finished 80th or worse in scoring. Granted, he didn't have a lot of talent at Cal and Indiana, but he doesn't excite me. I think he's average, maybe slightly above average.
As for Mattison, even if you want to disregard his time at Florida (debatable) and say he just "continued' the strong defense in Baltimore, his Notre Dame defenses got significantly better every year (finishing 14th/22nd in scoring and total D in 2001), and he was pretty good here, too, giving up 12.1 and 15.3 points in 1995 and 1996 and setting up our awesome '97 defense.
Basically what I see on the respective resumes are: For Mattison, a whole lot of very good years (all at major college or NFL programs) with a few below-averages ones sprinkled in. And for Borges: A couple very good seasons (when conditions are perfect) along with a whole lot of mediocre/bad ones.
And by all accounts, Mattison is a far better recruiter.
I don't mean this to be a slam at Borges -- like I said, I think he's OK, and I don't know that we could have found a pro-style coordinator with much more experience or comfort with Hoke -- but I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree about the coordinator hires.
"His style is versatile and keeps defenses off balance."
"He's been recognized as the best coordinator/assistant in the country at multiple stops."
What? By who?
I think he did win the Broyles Award as top assistant in the country the year Auburn went undefeated (2004). That was probably his best year statistically -- but it was also a year when he had Jason Campbell, Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams, not to mention Marcus McNeill on the offensive line.
I'm glad he has had pretty good offenses when he's had pretty good talent, but to me, that doesn't scream "awesomeness."
The next year they led the SEC in scoring and total offense with Brandon Cox at QB and Kenny Irons (who led the conference in rushing) at RB with an offense that had a near perfect balance between run and pass yards.
Every coach needs some talent to have a successful offense/defense. The point is that when Borges gets it he turns guys like Campbell and McNown into first round draft picks (when we now know that neither one is that good).
Those are pretty good counterpoints. I'm also fairly hopeful and confident that we'll consistently be (in terms of offensive talent) closer to that 2004 Auburn team than his early-2000s Cal and Indiana teams.
Denard and Co. should provide more than enough talent/experience for this offense to keep humming with Borges.
As for Mattison, I think my view is completely tainted by the memory of watching those ND teams getting run over by MSU (seemingly every year), losing to Air Force, torched by Ochocinco and Co. in the Fiesta Bowl, and having no clue how to stop Drew Brees from throwing the bubble screen every single play, then having the camera pan over to catch Mattison shaking his head with the playcard stuffed down the front of his pants. Recalling the image does not instill confidence. I still think it is a solid hire, I'm just not aglow about it as some others seem to be.
He was a finalist for the Broyles Award (thought he had won once, my mistake) at UCLA in 1997 (beaten out by Jim Herrmann, LOL) and 1998. Rivals and some other publications named him the "offensive coordinator of the year" in 2004.
As for your informative analysis of his coaching style, I have no retort.
nice video and i'm starting to salivate at thinking of this type of offence with denard
I was at that game and very much enjoyed it.
I also enjoyed going to football games in November while wearing shorts. The sweatshirt was to sit on and in case it, "got cold" (back in A2 now now and longing for spring.)