Interesting article on Doug Nussmeier and how he'll "simplify and fortify" the offense. Really good take, imo, on Borges and gives some clues on the approach Nussmeier will bring. Includes some simple concepts and film of what Nuss used at Alabama, and looks like they might fit well here.
SBNation Article on Nussmeier and Borges
My favorite line: "The run game will remain committed to the same concept week to week." Yes, please.
Money quote for me on Borges:
"His system put major stress on the weakest parts of his team. His attempts to problem solve revealed further flaws in his napkin-domination approach to the game. Michigan switched between primary run schemes on a regular basis, moved young linemen to different positions, and integrated new formations and plays every week, rather than building an identity for the team to become comfortable with."
I think he neatly and far more eloquently summed up about 150 or so of my Borges-bitching posts in one paragraph.
You are a much more enjoyable poster with Borges gone.
The puzzle is why he insisted on continuing with his complex system? Borges was an experienced OC and could have switched to a simpler system when he saw that his more complex model was not working.
I wonder if Borges just wanted to leave. He had history of not sticking around for long.
No just wants to leave an $800K a year job.
He was often too smart for his own good. When he found something that worked, he would not stick with it for some reason, as if that would not be sporting 'Ole Chap.
In that sense he was like Charlie Weiss without the arrogance. You could always count on Charlie Weiss to do something stupid to show you how smart he was.
Like throwing against our five star corner back on third and long when if he had just run the ball, he would have left us with under a minute to drive the field with a freshman QB. Of course, it was incomplete and Tate had enough time to engineer a game winning drive. Miss you big guy XOXOXO.
If Borges just would have just kept a simple run spread then the offense would have fared better! Mixing up WC, with the "I" then partial spread formations probably confused the crap out of the OL. A lot of times they just looked lost!
Yup, and it is spot on. Borges offense felt a lot like GERG defense (which I know was not all GERG's fault). That thing we tried one time didn't work, let's change everything.
Or "What? We have a bye week? Well let's install something COMPLETELY different in 10 practices instead of getting better at what we already know."
Or "Forcast calls for 40MPH winds this weekend, and I have the best running QB in the history of ever... I better drop him back 30+ times."
Or "2 minute drill? So, lets see, that means we only have enough time to run 3 plays."
He would actually be a pretty good Pro OC where all the players are athletic and experienced. Hopefully he can find a home there.
but I was thinking the exact same thing.
Interesting and hopeful. We've heard this before and it is one of two great hopes for the O. The other is Nuss' QB-guruosification of DG. I'm sleeping under both blankets of hope until December.
HAS to be on eliminating the never-ending flood of negative plays. I've never seen a Michigan offense go backwards the way the Borges offense did. That just killed us.
My anecdotal recollection was that when Mike Debord went to a zone stretch scheme, the offense's exposure to negative plays jumped dramatically -- only to bailed out by Mike Hart's shitiness behind the LOS time and again.
I recall that at the time the big threat (and I saw this with the Minnesota Vikings as well when they went to a zone stretch) was that the Debord version of the scheme (and Bevell in Minnesota with Adrian Peterson) was suceptible to and did not exploit the hard play side slanting by the front 7.
Hart (and Peterson in Minnesota) were able to exploit this at times if they were able to break backside contain, but it was definitely a flaw in the system leading to many (and many more potential) negative plays.
I will let you borrow an "f"
Mike Hart was shifty. He was also pretty good behind the LOS.
How exactly do you focus on eliminating negative-yardage plays? That's a rather vague point of emphasis, like telling a basketball team to focus on not missing shots.
It starts with the basics on the OL.
Other than telling guys never to run away from the line of scrimmage or stop running sideways in a vain hope of turning the corner, negative plays are mostly a by-product of poor play selection/scheme, lack of fundamental skills, the other team being better, and poor execution - or a combination thereof.
was to say every time after a 1 or 2-yard run up the middle, "Positive yardage," or after a zero gain, "non-negative yardage". My kids and wife thought I was losing it, and they were probably right.
I think a more basic/simpler offensive scheme will help the offensive line out. I don't think it will necessarily make the offense more explosive but should help make it more consistent.
I think Borges at times called some nice plays but I don't think Michigan was ever going to have a "Power" offense under him. Like the article alluded to, I think he liked the long pass and complicated plays too much.
Even if they have to strip it down so much that they are telling guys to go find someone with an opposite colored helmet and block him, then so be it.
"Even if they have to strip it down so much that they are telling guys to go find someone with an opposite colored helmet and block him, then so be it."
You just described the Nuss base play inside zone run. It is literally, run forward, block other team's players in front of you. Can't get any simpler. Okay oversimplification but still.
And then tuck Mr. Green in behind those blockers and have him fall forward for at least 2 yards each time. Presto, no more negative plays.
This, IMO, leaps off the page:
"For example, the [Borges] offense involved six primary run schemes: power, iso, draw, horn (a tackle lead play), inside zone, and outside zone. It's worth noting here, just for comparison, that NFL run-game guru Alex Gibbs believes that a ground attack should be built almost entirely on just inside and outside zone."
Hoke, GMat, any of the other coaches, or star players (e.g. Lewan) tell Borges that his players are confused and they need to simplify the system? How does this even happen with all of the people involved daily in practice?
Was he told, just incapable of simplifying? How come Michigan has been the only team to not pick up his concepts?
EDIT: This article is also pretty helpful (and linked).
I'm interested to see how guys like K. Hill, Shallman, Kerridge, or others may be used in the TE/FB/H-Back hybrid role.
Khalid Hill has reportedly been practicing at the Y position (the same position as Williams, Butt, etc.).
This is what cost Borges his job:
Borges knew how to create matchup problems and stress points for a defense both with the passing game and the run game. He didn't know how to do it off of simplified concepts for young players to master quickly.
Michigan has too much talent to not get their O-line play right eventually. You really have to feel for our linemen. They come in with two strikes against them physically because of their age and then get hit with too many schemes to master. It would seem that Hoke and Borges should have figured this out and simplified the offense early on.
I also got a feeling, and others have stated too, that Borges may have not been the best teacher or motivator. Those are probably two of the most important qualities that coaches should have.
Borges is a smart guy that understands constraints and football theory. But it appears he is not as adept at being able to coach his players to execute his multiple schemes, especially when the players are younger.
His concepts have always been sound, and when his teams have been smart/skilled enough to execute, he's had great success. But when his teams can't master his sorcery, they fall flat on their faces.
I will give you that in his initial year, he utilized the talent-and it was pretty good- to maintain the spread that had been installed. It would have been unwise to do otherwise with Mr. Robinson still leading the offense. However, in his second season (and I did not forget that we lost Fitz and DR's contribution was mitigated tremendously by the arm injury). However, he screwed up badly, most notably in the OSU regular season finale by refusng to adhere to Coaching 101, i.e., "When having success, make the defense stop you." And I'm really not certain why Brady allowed this. In the second half, Devin threw for roughly 8 yards on every first down and despite OSU showing neither the ability or desire-their defense made no adjustments to take this away-, Al inexplicably called(and they knew it was coming) running plays througout the entire second half on virtually all second and third and short situations. He could have done a number of things, including stretching his first down routes past the chains, rolled out Devin on options, utilized zone reads, qb keepers in a number of ways but despite the defense giving up only 6 in the second half, he-and this is where I think Brady might have been guilty-decided to play Man Ball, and despite having a decent OL,it was still one that was definitely built for the spread. ^I don't know how he would have done here this season, but I do think Brady's recruiting, and hopefully, willingness to follow the example set by Bo will allow Nuss to enjoy a decent season. I totally believe Nuss wants to follow the example Bo set by minimizing OL assignments but practicing them to the point they are executed perfectly. It will be step by step and diversity will come with proven results and experience. They are green, but they are also talented. Hell, it's not any different than what Saban does yearly. We had a couple of young wrs show promise last season, and i believe along w/Funchess our receiving game will surprise. Remember RR inherited one offensive starter and that was a second year RT. In his final two seasons, he put up numbers we haven't seen here in years. And I think we can all agree this OL is far superior relative to talent. JMO, and I realize the worth of that, but I think we get to ten Ws this years, based on that talent and diversifying as they and the seasons progresses, rather than unrealistic expectations starting with game one.
"The repeated mantra by Nussmeier is removing the negative plays that plagued Michigan in 2013 by providing players with foundations. Once the line is competent in blocking plays like inside zone and power and the quarterbacks understand how to make reads in passing concepts like shallow cross and Y-sail, then the team will advance towards finding an identity."
There really was no base scheme last year, so there was nothing which would have served as a foundation to build from with any reliability. The ground-up approach should work much, much better and will definitely accelerate the learning curve for players, I think. I expect that, if things go well, we should see a better than expected performance from a lot of players on offense.
We had a base scheme last year: CHAOS
This is what we are counting on: Nussmeier providing a simpler scheme and consistency with our line that will enable them to succeed. Our whole season is basically riding on this. He should be able to do it.
this article nails down some of the player development issues. Asking your o-line to be good at several different schemes, sets them up for failure. My hope with the new offense is an identity, allowing the players to practice a specific scheme over and over, allowing them to learn it, and more importantly gain confidence in it. This confidence should look like player improvement over the course of a season and that is what I am hopeful for...
A great read, and I found this part very hopeful/exciting:
The Crimson Tide easily overwhelm the Aggies behind the tight end/H-back combo block, while they also flawlessly respond to the Aggies throwing a middle linebacker blitz at them. It's just inside zone for the line.
If we can easily stop a MLB blitz we will have a much better chance against Sparty.
I'm not familiar with the author of the article, but it was a really good read.
Would be a better pro OC?
Borges with a decent NFL QB could be scary good, but after numerous faceplants in his career I doubt anyone is going to give him that opportunity.
Hey OP, that is a solid run-on hyperlink you got there.
...and thanks for posting.
Go big or go home.
Do I feel that our offense is going to be leaps and bounds ahead of last year? That might not say much considering we were awful. I think Nussmeier will have them ready.
Is Boges out of coaching this year?
AFAIK, he has not been hired by another program.
He will be paid 800K the next two years. Probably going to take a break!
But what stuck out to me:
"That's to say nothing of all the pass protection schemes that Michigan's linemen were asked to master and failed to nail down. That's how Borges took a team with a mobile upperclassman at quarterback, a fantastic receiver in Jeremy Gallon, an uber-athletic 6'5 receiver in Devin Funchess, and two offensive tackles that the NFL will draft in a few months (including first-rounder Taylor Lewan) and built a team that gave up nearly three sacks a game."
On many run plays our tackles did their jobs, our center as well, and our guards laughably ran by someone or were overpowered. Blame scheme and youth. But on our pass protections, all of our guards/center and senior tackles let people run by them constantly, looking for another blitzer or rusher that never came. Watching Lewan let a DE get free run at DG was beyond frustrating. And inexcuseable, really.
His offense was super complex??? Why did it look to me like they were just running up the middle for no gain!!
Welp, I think most people would agree that change is good in this case. Until it doesn't work. Then change is bad.
Simply put, Borges required near flawless execution to succeed, like most other offenses. Problem is, the offense was wildly inconsistent from week to week. Against Ohio State and Notre Dame, Borges called flawless gameplans that left opposing DC's throwing their hands up. The guy is good at playcalling, but it seems a poor teacher / motivator.
I honestly mean no offense, but it probably looked like that to you because the vast majority of football fans don't understand the complexity of each play. There are 100 different plays you can run that look like "a run up the middle for negative yardage or no gain."
Is the old adage: "Jack of all trades, master of none." Way too many different run and pass schemes and not enough reps to get really good at any of them.
"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."- Bruce Lee
At a few places in the article the author references unbalanced four receiver sets, including an eligible TE, but then shows him covered up by the WR. Clearly the three options still present enough of a problem for the defense, but thought it was an odd mistake for someone who appears to have some quality football smarts. Overall a solid read though. Highlights ways to work in your base plays from various formations which should help the young line.
MGOBLOG- Hire this guy. Please.
That was the kind of article about Michigan football I have not read for a while. Informed, concise, and without needless drama.
Define "needless drama" plz
Who is this "Borges" person they are referring to? It's 2014 isn't it?
I feel like we have enough weapons spread around to be very good on offense. The key is will the oline be able to run/pass block. Simplifying things for a young group is a good start. We really have a young talented team.
The read was terrific and makes one feel a bit more optimistic about the future.
I'm glad we made the change obviously and the past is the past and it's encouraging that Hoke could make a change like this (get ready for the but).
buuut, WTF kind of monumental failure was this that Hoke allowed to under his program? I mean, at no point did he look at the schemes, practices schedules, game plans and suggest to Borges, "hey Al, I was thinking, uhhhh how about we K.I.S.S. so that our young OL can learn to do ONE thing well?" I've read a lot of stories about Bo and other coaches and even Hoke & Mattison have said this: go back to basics, don't be a scheme coach, have an identity for the young players to lean on.
Come on, man. maybe I'm getting too old and have seen too much incompetence in others affect my ability to do my job, but man this kind of incompetence from staff making 6-7 figures is infuriating.
While I agree that Hoke could have stepped-in and said something, it's not like Borges had a history of failure while working with Brady. Sure, 2012 was disappointing, but Denard got injured and, if we're being honest, the offense looked pretty damn good (other than 2nd half Ohio) for the rest of the season with DG at the helm.
Brady gave Borges a season to fully implement his scheme, and it failed. I don't think giving an OC one year to try to have his way is being too patient. Don't get me wrong--I'm glad Borges is gone and Nuss' is in--but I'm not sure Hoke could have foreseen how bad things would be last season. No one else did.
APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE on the SB Nation piece regarding Nuss and finding his "one thing"...i mentioned a month ago my incredulity when BigAl pulled out his 2 point masterpiece in the Bowl Game...something the tv commentators mentioned as being so creative that we would be seeing that copied by other teams. I remembered then thinking: how could we have spent soooo much time prepping that one psychadelic play when our entire running game was in shambles???? Jack Palance explained it best: the secret to life is "One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don't mean shit." Don't be no city slicker, Nuss!
should have read the board BEFORE posting this comment to Brian's monologue...damn internests
A simplified inside zone blocking scheme may help. But I think we are a year or two away from having a good OL.
I think Nuss will improve the OL over the course of the season but being so young, I don't expect the blocking to be good enough for a good running game. Gardner will be running for his life trying to make plays. I'm thinking this is a 4 loss season, may be 5 losses but I think Hoke and Nuss should be given through 2015 before the plug is pulled and a new coach is brought in. I know the pressure will be extreme to fire Hoke and his staff if they lose another 4 or more games in 2014, and even if Hoke survives, what will he need to do in 2015? Win the B1G, win 10 games?
I guess my dad was wrong about there not being any free lunches.