Borges has received way too much grief on this site for a pair of poor offensive performances in 2 years (MSU 2011, OSU 2012).
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Borges has received way too much grief on this site for a pair of poor offensive performances in 2 years (MSU 2011, OSU 2012).
I still think it mostly comes down to having the personnel to execute what you are trying to do. That being said, Kliff Kingsbury called a brilliant game against Alabama last year, and pretty much won the Heisman for Manziel.
I am still the same way as I have been about Borges all along. He can't be fully judged until he has the personnel to execute his offense. It is starting to look like he does now.
Part of the vitriol for the 2011 losses is that a) the offense was pretty clearly culpable and b) winning either one puts us in the B1G championship.
From there it's a quick leap to "Borges cost us a Rose Bowl".
Yeah, I thought Iowa 2011 was really got that bandwagon going. I think MSU was reasonably understandable, but when we landed up in I-formation with Vincent Smith all game against Iowa and lost, I think some people about lost it (myself included)
And agree that it was by far his worst game plan (it was the game plan, after all, that dictated the play calling, so I blame mostly the pre-game and lack of adjustment). Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that came after a bye week. It was clear that the coaching staff thought the team was more ready and capable of mixing in a lot of Borges's style offense than they actually were. That was a complete misread by the staff.
I think the 2011 bye week came just before we faced Purdue, which became the Fitz show.
Winning against Iowa in 2011 wouldn't have put us in the championship. It would have put us at 7-1 in league play, the same as MSU, with MSU holding the tiebreaker. The only thing the Iowa loss did that season was lowered our ranking, thus making MSU fans more mad when we were selected to play in a BCS bowl game over KState and Boise State.
Just a bid to the inaugeral B1G championship game. There is absolutely no way wae beat Russel Wilson and that Wisconson team and even if we some how did, we'd be smacked by Oregon in the Rose Bowl. I'm as much a fan as the next guy but I don't think we beat those teams
You have to at least include Iowa '11.
Michigan's offensive gameplan for that game was terrible, but Denard jump balls, receivers catching said jump balls, and awful ND turnovers swung the game in our favor.
This is getting into "spoiled fan" territory. We scored 35 that night and won against a more-talented opponent (Weis left behind a lot for Kelly to work with), and you complain about the gameplan?
I love Denard as much as the next guy, but I think we have to acknowledge that he had his limitations, which manifested themselves especially against good rush defenses. When we could run the ball on teams, it opened up the pass for him. When we couldn't, and found ourselves in a lot of 3rd and longs, we were in trouble. That wasn't just true under Borges, it was true under RichRod as well (against Ohio and Miss St in particular).
Well, he's the offensive coordinator. They take grief when the offense does poorly. It's called accountability, I think. (And Al did a phenomenal job Saturday night!)
that was my problem with Borges. I think it was painfully obvious to everybody, that Denard was not going to be throwing the football vs. OSU. When he was in the game, 100% chance of run, so OSU adjusted to that.
That's my interpretation of play calling being horrible. Even if M lost the game to ND and didn't play O as well, I thought Borges called a great game. There were a variety of looks (pistol, power, read option, standard shotgun...). That kept ND on their toes.
On the contrary I think execution is more on the OC than you are leading on. If Borges is asking guys to execute things outside their skill set than that is squarely on him. It is on any OC to put his guys into the best possible scenario for success.
Personally I think there have been games where Borges has done very well at this (read: Notre Dame) yet other times where it looks as if he isn't giving the offensive guys a chance to execute within their abilities, and therefore has taken the majority of the blame. I guess what I am saying is "you can't ask someone to do something in which they are least likely to be sucessful", and expect 'execution' to carry them.
poor execution is just as much on the coaches as it is on the players, and that by saying "execution was the main problem", I wasn't claiming Borges's gets a free ride.
The poster you are responding to is saying that the play calling set up the players to fail as it was apparent that they could not execute and the playcalling failed to adjust. I think this was true in the three games mentioned above and is fair to say about Borges. I believe with the personel he has here now, we won't see that nearly as much, and hopefully not again.
Believe that Borges is a terrific OC. With Denard at the helm, it was no secret that Borges' playbook was quite limited, but now he's able to open it up more, so I am expecting some good things this year and years to come!
You really wanted them to move Denard last year? I guess I understand, but I don't see how Hoke and Borges could have done that. Denard was loyal to Michigan, when he could have transferred out after RR was let go. He didn't do the Mallett thing, but stayed at Michigan. It strikes me that Hoke is loyal to a fault, and that part of the cost of Denard staying was that they were going to reward Denard with starting the last two years. I can understand your point of view. However, I was pleased to have Denard start last year, even knowing that this meant we would lose another game or two. If that was the price to pay, it was worth it to me.
People see Gardner this year, and what he ended up being last year, but forget that it looked very shaky to start the Minnesota game. Gardner wasn't necessarily going to be a great fit for this system either. It is possible that the coaching staff actually believed Denard at QB gave them the best chance at winning, and that they could at least effectively mesh the two offenses to form a team capable of winning.
The only thing that Devin still does now that he did back then that gets me yelling at the TV is when he scrambles behind the LoS he constantly turns his back to down field. It's what cause the yackety sacks and also the INT against ND in the end zone. If you're going to scramble keep your eyes downfield please.
And actually it's a fairly good one (one that I'll be writing about later for a blog post). It's one that I wanted Denard to learn desperately but he never did. The problem is that it's Devin's go to escape move and he doesn't utilize others along with it. That's why it leads to big negatives.
still not forgiven for the Halfback pass last year against ND.
I never gave Borges a free ride before. He was just as much to blame for games that the theory behind his play calling was fine (because execution is ultimately on him and the players equally).
On the flip side, the fact that Michigan did well against ND is just as much because of the players than the play calling and what Borges did. Yes, the play calling looked good, but it was because of the execution of the players.
I'm not trying to debate the OSU game again, that's happened and then happened and then happened again. I'm not trying to say "Look, I told all of you that you were wrong!" I'm trying to say that responsibility lies on everyone. The team is accountable, not just the OC, not just the players. I'm leveling everything out, not praising or putting down anyone. The point is to say that people shouldn't just say "Borges called an awful game during the _____ game" and now say "Wow, Borges called a hell of a game against ND!" It doesn't work that way. It's much more complex than that. I was correcting myself to a degree, coming full circle, and talking about how the entire staff and players are accountable for on-field success.
I forgot that Borges ran Denard out there in the OSU game to run the Leach spread to pass offense. I forgot the spread concepts he incorporated.
You're taking everything I'm saying and taking it to the extreme. I've admitted that Borges switched to a more pro-style philosophy in the first half of the '11 ND game, the '11 Iowa game, and the '12 ND game. I never said his play calling was perfect in any game. I'm not going over this whole argument again when you are taking everything I said out of context and to the extreme. The fact that you've completely whiffed on the point of my post is fine, maybe I worded it poorly; or maybe I worded it poorly and you comprehended it poorly and it's both our fault; or maybe you're just reading into it what you want to read into it and then making it out like I'm ploying for outrageous extremes.
Why not actually try to understand his point rather than just being a sarcastic asshole?
Ok, I must be a moron
Score 5: Insightful
I don't get this sh*t. Why the attitude? We're talking about football here and you act like a complete asshole. Why? Are you this way off the keyboard? I hope not because the sh*t we hear on an everyday basis in society (at least for me) that I/we don't agree with or find obtuse for whatever reason would equate to you being batsh*t crazy by your "reaction" to SC's simple blog post.
I think part of the comprehension issues come from your thread title and somewhat defensive first paragraph. I'm fine with it.
I don't think players and coaches share equal blame in every loss. There are games where the play calls get guys Worst Waldo open and the ball doesn't get there, but there are also games where some stuff is working and the coaches just plain stop doing them for whatever reason.
But honestly couldn't think of a better one, as that pretty much sums up the point of the post (though I understand how it can lead people to certain conclusions before even reading the post). However, I didn't think the first paragraph was overly defensive. I was simply trying to state that in the past I have done something and in then in the second paragraph trying to show that the contrary is also true. But I defer judgment on how others perceive what I wrote, as I'm obviously biased in that regard. I honestly didn't know a better way to present the thought though (without completely ignoring the stance I had previously taken, which I think would be more misleading).
I think the issue in the title is "Borges Bashers". While delightfully alliterative, it is inflammatory.
Generally when someone calls their opposition an over-the-top name, (basher, denier, apologist vs. critic, skeptic, supporter) they're engaging in an ad hominem to imply they have no reasonable basis for their position. While your actual position seems to be the much gentler, "Borges' critics have a point but are missing the whole story".
It just sounds so boring and weak. But really, I see your point and that phrase is why I saw a possible issue with the title. Still don't personally see it within the actual post, maybe I'll just change the title to "Execution, Play Calling, and Coming Full-Circle with Borges"
I think a few things have given rise to the overwhelmingly popular criticism of OCs. It's not just here on MGoBlog that the OC takes a ton of heat. ND fans have been bashing Kelly for his play-calling and even saying he's a bad coach (which, I mean, do they remember last year? Or what ND was like for a decade before Kelly?)
OCs generally take a lot more heat than DCs do. For example, if Borges' offense had performed like Mattison's defense did against ND, the board would be calling for his head. Yet I've seen barely a word of criticism for the defensive play-calling (which I thought was good, but certainly not great).
I believe a few factors contribute to this:
At this point, our team is just as talented on the defensive side of the ball as it is on offense. Yet we had almost zero pass rush against ND, and kept stunting even though it never worked. Our blitzes didn't work, and seemed to be an advantage for ND. I don't think we ever rushed only three--a tactic that has worked against Rees in the past.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think Mattison called a bad game, but giviing up 23 points to an offense that barely squeaked out 13 against us last year is not exactly a confidence-inspiring performance. And yet I don't see any "FIRE MATTISON!!!" posts.
And it gets a little tiring of fans seeing it as so black and white. Either it was awful or great and it's all on the OC. The OC is the biggest scapegoat in football.
The execution isn't on the coaches anymore? Who's responsible for preparing the team then?
Maybe read what I wrote again. I said it was on the coaches.
I did not articulate what I wanted to get at in my first post. When I read your post, I think that's the point of view that a coach should have when reviewing the team's progress as far as grading players on their performance and execution and the coaches on their decisions. What I want to get to is that I think as fans we don't really have a place to judge players on their level of execution. I think the players making the correct decisions is completely on the coaches once gameday comes around, and making the adjustments to have their scheme executed accordingly is on the coaches. Not to take away from fantastic individual plays made by players, but I like the view that coaches are responsible for getting their players in good position.
Not the most profound point, but I think fans should only be giving coaches heat for the execution of the scheme. Since I believe that, it's only fair that credit goes the other way.
Of course, "Al Borges is subpar at designing a gameplan for Denard Robinson" and "Al Borges is great at designing a gameplan for Devin Gardner" are hardly mutually exclusive. Proving B does not disprove A.
Anyway I think you overstate the main thrust of Borges criticism, which is not "Borges is just turrible and the players are perfect" - I don't think anyone holds Denard blameless for some very poor decision making, they just question why he was put in that position when he demonstrated higher competence at other things.
Rather, the criticism is "Borges too frequently asked players to do certain things long after he should have known that they were bad at those things", with a sprinkling of "Borges can't figure out how to scheme a counter to any of his plays". There's validity to those critiques in 2011, somewhat less in 2012, and seemingly little or none now (but we still need to figure out how to run a counter).
Anyway, Borges is looking pretty good 2 games in. We'll see how he does when teams start to adjust to the new look of the offense. My biggest concern coaching wise now is actually Funk - to me it's disturbing that 3 years into the MANBALL era, we still can't pull to run power effectively, and our block targeting in general is mediocre.
I just think people lean on "Borges put them in situation they weren't good at executing" too often. Executing a down block, for example, is something you should expect your team to do. Expecting your spread QB to run purely I-form and running purely power is not. It's why I don't have as much of a problem saying that '11 Iowa was a bad game plan. But I think as far as the '12 OSU and parts of the '12 ND game are brought up as prime examples of Borges blowing it, I think it's way too simplified. Borges did some things that are questionable, but he also did a lot right that he should have expected his team to succeed it.
There are kind of three categories
1. Asking Denard to pick apart defenses over the middle of the field on short/intermediate routes - on Borges's playcall.
2. Asking V. Smith to throw a HB pass in the '12 ND game. On Borges and Co + the players for both not getting the reps to understand how to run the play correctly and then not running the blocking assignments correctly. The play itself was a great call.
3. Asking your team to execute a double at the point of attack to pick up a single yard on 3rd and 1, probably on execution regardless of how you slice it (especially when they had already utilized the boot earlier in the game so that play wouldn't be as effective).
My beef is that people want to lump all three of those into Borges did bad. It's not so black and white but much more grey. Borges is far from perfect, I'll be the first to admit that, and I'll be the first to admit that the players even bailed him out this past Saturday on occassion. I just don't want to sit here and claim it's one way or the other.
When it comes to Borges and I stand by what I believe, I want to see that kind of game called on the road.
My only gripe is that in the last 2 yrs Borges has never adjusted on the road and has been utterly predictable.
Our first tough road game will be PSU and I look forward to seeing what Borges comes up with for that game.
that people forgot - is these coaches get to see what happens in practice. If players and teams are executing plays well in practice, they're going to call those plays in the games. Conversely, if players and teams aren't executing plays well during practice, the odds of those plays getting called during a game are pretty slim.
By no means is this an all encompassing pass for Borges, but we only get to see what happens on Saturday.
In summary, this is why there's so much emphasis on teamwork.
Football is a complex machine with a lot of moving parts. They have to work in concert or the machine does not perform as well as it could. Players and coaches are part of it.
While the spread is the offense du jour, running a spread certainly doesn't guarantee success.
Agree. There are some who think the spread is, by itself, unstoppable. That's simply not true.
To add to that, there are some who thought that Hoke's return to a "power" football scheme implied two tight ends in an I-formation, with off-tackle and three yards and a cloud of dust. I think the ND game shows that "power" does not have to mean "1970's football."
I'm more concerned with playcalling this season than rehashing past seasons. Big Al was on fire Saturday. ND forced us to beat them with the pass and we did.
Al switched up to DG running the ball instead of trying to force feed Fritz.
End around and double reserve early in the game to give them something new. I hate double reverses, but I think it was a statement by Al.
With so much ND blitzing I don't recall much in the way of draws or screens??? We used Devon's legs.
I think they ran a QB draw once and pretty sure they ran one screen to Funchess.
Devin. Not Devon. He's been here three and a half years now, lets spell his name correctly.
After a lifetime in coaching Borges didn't suddenly learn how to coach in the offseason or forget how to coach the week before osu. The most likely explanation for why it seems that way to casual fans is that there are other factors that casual fans don't understand
Kick. The OP is correct here. You need Borges AND execution. Also a reminder we have been pretty high on Borges at times.