The point of play action is to take advantage of defenses stacking the box and running to the LOS at the snap. You run a few run plays effectively and once you start noticing the defense moving closer and closer you throw it over the top. Most defenses will adjust and you will be able to run the ball effectively again. The problem with this game is we weren't doing anything to make Penn State stack the box and crash the line of scrimmage (ie running for a few nice gains first few plays/drives). Because we are so predictable by formation Penn State just decided they were going stack the box/crash the LOS from the get. At that point why keep running into a brick wall, you've already gotten the alignment play action is looking to take advantage of.
Space Coyote: "Play calling put players in a position to succeed."
Thanks for being overly dismissive because that's the way to get a point across. I did read the post and believed the conclusions about the OT playcalling were mostly accurate. My point was that throughout the game, we repeatedly ran a play that hadn't worked multiple times before that thanks to Penn State's alignment.
What counters did Borges run to get Penn State to back off from stacked boxes? Considering they were running the same scheme throughout, at no point did the DC think "uh-oh, I better stop throwing 9 guys towards the LOS on every play". That screams of a predictable gameplan we failed to deviate from until it was absolutely necessary.
Or did you forget we were down 21-10 at half with 3 of those points thanks to a short field and the other 7 from a busted coverage? (we can debate whether that was the playcall that led to the bust or Penn State's inexperienced secondary all day).
When Michigan ran play action to death, his some passes on the outside, etc, as a direct counter to the stacked box, PSU was mostly in a 7 man front. They backed them off. They absolutely did counter them
Brian or it didn't happen.
Guys, we can't call a perfect play every time. We can't, no one can. Even Brian only blames Borges for 11 of the infamous 27. I'll bet almost every coordinator calls about that amount of bad plays in a game. We're the 21st ranked scoring offense in the country, at 39 points a game. And our tempo is pretty low.
Borges called some stinkers. All coaches do. There is a defense out there trying to stop you. They even have coaches.
Meh. They do to varying degrees. It sure doesn't seem like RR and Magee misapprehending nearly as many plays/drives/games in '09 and '10 as Borges has in the past 2 and 1/2 years.
I'm not arguing that I'd rather have RR & Co. than Hoke & Co. overall. My point is just that it's not sound to simply throw up your hands and say, "Everyone makes mistakes!" All hitters strike out in baseball, but some do it a lot less than others.
I agree, of course, because I have a brain and because I can control my emotions.
Care to engage my other comments? How about our scoring offense being ranked 21st? How about averaging 39 PPG with a slow pace? How about doing this with no line and a turnover-prone QB? These things lead me to believe the coordinator is not, in fact, incompetent.
I'd like to have fewer dead plays. The point is that everyone would, including all of the teams that are worse than ours (100 or so), and I'd guess the 20 that are better. I'm not saying we should ignore the bad ones or not blame Borges for them, I'm saying look around you. We live in a world where, tragically, bad plays exist. And they happen to the best offensive minds out there. What can we do in this imperfect world, with bad lines and turnover prone QBs, to score points and win games? SC and myself think we've called pretty good plays. That's all.
I don't think he's incompetent either, but that's not good enough at Michigan. I also don't think you can separate Borges from the problems with the line and especially the problems with DG.
As for stats, I just took at look at the total defense rankings for each of Michigan's opponents and the SOS (per Sagarin) that each of those defenses has faced - ideally the SOS would be replaced by the average total offensive ranking that each has faced, but I don't have time to calculate that.
First game: Michigan scored 52 offensive points against CMU's 89th-ranked defense, which has earned that 89th ranking by playing the 134th-best schedule in the country.
Second (and easily best) game: Michigan scored 41 points on ND's 7th-ranked defense, which has earned is ranking by playing the 33rd-best schedule in the country.
Third game: Michigan scored 28 points on Akron's 99th-ranked defense, which has earned its 99th ranking by playing the 144th-best schedule in the country.
Fourth game: Michigan scored 24 points on UConn's 9th ranked defense, which has earned its ranking by playing the 122nd-best schedule in the country.
Fifth game: Michigan scored 42 points on Minnesota's 33rd-ranked defense, which has earned that ranking by playing the 77th-best schedule in the country.
Sixth game: Michigan scored 27 offensive points in regulation against PSU's 29th-ranked defense, which has earned that ranking while playing the 42nd-best schedule in the country.
What the above says to me, however inexactly, is that Michigan has mostly done what you'd expect from a given team against the defenses that its faced. The Wolverines exceeded expectations against ND and tanked terribly against Akron. I think you can argue either way regarding the UConn game, as its highly ranked defense comes against an awful schedule.
The above also tells me what I already said I thought - that Borges is not incompetent. But I want a guy at Michigan who will get every yard that's available, generally speaking. It seems to me that RR and Magee did that. It seems to me that Urban Meyer does that now (I see a lot of OSU games). It seems to me that Borges does not, and I'd like to see him adjust...I hate to put it this way, but Michigan can't give anything away when it's trying to compete against Meyer. Like him or not, that guy hits on all cylinders on a regular basis.
If someone wanted to open that can of worms, the number of 3 and outs over each three year period. Because I seem to remember a lot.
Ha! I hope you aren't putting much merit in those offensive figures you are throwing out there! Let's provide some context:
- Right now, our SoS (per Sagarin) is 97
- We are currently 0-0 against top-30 teams!
- Our opponents have the following rankings: Central Michigan (134); Notre Dame (33); Akron (144); Connecticut (122); Minnesota (77); and, Penn State (42)
- Our opponents have the following Total Defense rankings: Central Michigan (89); Notre Dame (7); Akron (99); Connecticut (9); Minnesota (29); and, Penn State (33)
So...overall, we've played some terrible teams whose strength happens to be their defense. I'll give our young team a break for that fact; however, we are entering the hardest part of our schedule. Without some improvement - especially in basic fundamentals and play calling - we may be in for a rough haul.
I stand by the content of my post, but your assessment of my "dismissiveness" was correct, and I apologize.
They moved around. It's easy to take static pictures and say "look, this corner is 10 yards off". By far they played at 7 yard depth, the standard, for most of the game. They dropped late sometimes, but other times they started late and came up at the last second. It's not as simple as it seems like that. There is evidence that it isn't, DG has used the extended hand off a couple times this year. The last time he did, Reynold's got his head nearly taken off at the same time as he caught the football.
I like the check in the offense, but you don't make that check based off an alignment at a given freeze frame moment. You take it based on what the defense has done, and more often than not that extended handoff wasn't readily available. There were times it was, but the amount is very over-stated.
Thanks for pointing that out. I've said it. Others have said it. Using a photograph for something like that and then attempting to base an argument around it is dumb. There is just no other way to say it.
Jesus. Make it stop. Just stop SC. You're insufferable
What is insufferable about SC's comment? The DB's varied their coverage. We know from this game they were baiting Gardner on the short passes as the Gallon pick demonstrated. Borges, understandably is gunshy there.
If any of you are not following Space Cowboy on Twitter (@SpaceCowboyBDS) or reading all of his stuff in connection with Brian's stuff, you're doing everything wrong. SC is the yang to Brian's ying.
to slow a lynch mob overmuch. But over time a few people here will calm down. FWIW, Gardner is supposed to have been very careless with the ball in HS, too. I thought he played very under control Saturday, and still think he's a huge asset. I'm even somewhat happy that the team's fortunes this year tend to mean he'll be back.
Don't be surprised if we are very conservative on Saturday. . . and open things up a good deal against State.
I don't think it should be THAT hard to track responsibility for both the O-line woes AND the play-calling more closely. And I don't really understand why someone with insight here isn't attempting it, except that everyone likes to bellyache more than investigate.
But there are a few things, prima facie, that can be assumed here:
Ultimately the conservative play-calling is Hoke's desire, and he is the HC. If he wanted other approaches we would be getting them. To villify Borges just because you're sweet on Hoke is, therefore, stupid, to make fun of Borges because he's scratching a mosquito bite off-the-charts pathetic.
Hoke is not the sharpest thinker on his feet, and you want that at game time. I like him--in a personal regard--but time will tell whether a figurehead guy is the answer for Michigan.
A great many of the o-line's problems CAN be laid at the feet of youth. But if we are this bad next year fire somebody fergodsake.
There have to be a few people out there close enough to the program to give us the inside story on whether Funk communicates successfully with the kids. And the last two years should also supply something of a barometer.
I think this is not right, in the longer view. If Hoke wanted a conservative playcaller he wouldn't have hired Al Borges, twice.
Borges's approach to offense is the counterpart of Mattison's approach to defense. Mattison wants to keep everyone in front, not give up a big play, force the other team to dink and dunk their way down the field because sooner or later they'll screw up.
Borges wants the big play, the intermediate and deep passing game. His teams are usually at the top in YPC; his quarterback's completion percentage is usually on the low side because they aren't throwing so many high percentage passes.
He's not able to do that as much as he'd like, now, because of pass protection issues and a QB that's been interception prone. But it's what he did before Hoke, it's what he did with Hoke, and I think we can probably assume it's what Hoke hired him to do.
He's not their position coach, so he's not teaching them technique and fundamentals. But I do not believe he's putting his OL in a position to succeed. More 3 step drops, read option plays, bubble screens (read: quick plays) can take some pressure off the line.
Borges loves 5 step drops and the downfield passing game. So did Al Davis. And look at what happened to the Raiders as he became obsessed with it.
Once upon a time there was an NFL team with an offense that wasn't quite Borges's but had a common feature, a preference for downfield passes. That team was extremely successful for many years. Then their owner, who was largely responsible for that offensive approach, became senile and the franchise went downhill when he refused to step aside.
Therefore Borges's offense is badly designed.
That's a solid argument.
The thing that kills me about the overtime periods is that we were so damn predictable. Everybody and their mother knew we were going to run the ball 3 straight times in OT 1. Not throwing the football because you are afraid of an interception, is the definition of playing not to lose. Grow some balls and run a PA rollout on 1st or 2nd down, with a safe route in the flats, and the TE dragging across. Being content with a 40+ yard field goal attempt to win the game is just stupid.
On the 2nd drive of OT, of course we arent going to be conservative. We have to try and score because PSU gets the ball after us. Also we came out in the Pistol and of course ran the read option. Seemingly the only play we ever run out of that formation. I loved the PA Pass the next play out of the Pistol, definitely one of Al's best calls of the day, but then we go right backto the read option out of pistol. Again a pretty predictable play, given the formation. We now put ourselves in obvious passing situations for the rest of the OT.
3rd OT who would have guessed that we would run the ball on 1st down? Good play call on 2nd down. I understand the call on 3rd down, but I would have loved to see the PA Gardner run that we use on 3rd down so successfully, or run a PA pass that nobody is expecting and either get a wide open TD, or throw it away.
4th OT We finally run PA on 1st down. Decent call that probably would have worked great in the 1st or 3rd OT's. Now we are stuck in obvious passing situations.
Space Coyote mentioned that some of the plays Borges called made sense based on what PSU had been doing all game. Well PSU changed up what they had been doing and fooled us. Isn't that right there great coaching? Doing something the opponent didn't expect. That is PSU straight up outcoaching us in the OT periods. I would have loved to see us do something that PSU wasnt expecting, instead of doing what everyone knew we were going to do.
So how was that "so damn predictable". Did you know we were going to run pass? I love how you say we run every time out of pistol and then the next play is a pass out of pistol.
In the third OT on the third down we wasted that look because of Kalis false start on 4th down early in the game. You can't go to that well that often.
4th OT we do things that are different and that gets us stuck in obvious pass downs which are bad. So in that case, was the idea behind the first few drives bad?
You are going every which way with your logic based on a known outcome that was very unknown at the time.
Also, Borges did try at times to anticipate what PSU was going to do (the middle screen) and did other things to anticipate what how the defense would change, but those aren't going to be correct every time. He adjusted when he knew he had to though.
Yep... reactive and not proactive.
I would love to see a play type by formation chart, so we can see Borges's tendancies. But just going off my memory right now
Pistol Formation = High Tendancy of read option
Tackle Over = High tendancy of Power, or some other run play
Shotgun = High tendancy of pass or DG run (I dont remember a single RB run out of shotgun the whole game. I could be wrong though)
When a defense knows your tendancies, they can call plays or sell out based on those tendancies. They may get burned every once in a while (PA out of pisol in OT, although it was only for 10 yards) but overall its a huge advantage and allows you to gamble more.
"In the third OT on the third down we wasted that look because of Kalis false start on 4th down early in the game. You can't go to that well that often."
So we cant run a play that we showed earlier in the game once, and has been successfull all year? but we can go to the well one more time with a RB run up the middle, that hasn't been successfull all game? Not sure I follow the logic on that one.
Edit: This is a formation chart from the UConn game, that shows number of passes and runs by formation http://mgoblog.com/diaries/formation-chart
Here is a quick breakdown
Ace - 12 runs, 7 passes, 63% run
I Form - 8 run, 3 passes, 72% run
Pistol - 3 run, 1 pass, 75% run
Shotgun - 9 run, 22 pass, 71% pas
Those stats right there are evidence of Borges being predictable. You may not know 100% for sure if it is pass or run, but you have a pretty damn good idea.
Couldn't agree more.
We got outcoached in the OT periods, and even I could predict the play call, especially in the pistol and tackle over formations.
I'm so sick of Borges, and after his press conference, I'm ready for a change.
He's a stubborn sonofa bitch who thinks he is the smartest man in the room at all times
You know who I'm sick of? Gibbons. If that guy can make one of three field goals we win the game. Wait, I'm not sick of Gibbons, because he's a young man who made a mistake and surprise, we all have.
You're a big internet tough guy, we get it, everyone's impressed.
Not sure if you think he is going after Gibbons by his username, but if you take a closer look his account was created right after Gibbons kicked the winning field goal against MSU. He is probably a Gibbons supporter.
I am a Gibbons supporter too-at least in the context of the game. I like that Hoke had the faith in him, on multiple occasions to win, and then to redeem himself.
Here are some more stats from the Minnesota game that I just looked up
Ace - 2 runs, 4 passes, 67% pass
I Form - 5 runs, 2 passes, 71% run (didn't include I form out of tackle over)
Pistol - No Plays
Shotgun - 2 run (both by DG), 13 passes, 87% pass
Tackle Over - 21 run, 2 pass, 91% run
If I can look this up in 15 minutes, imagine what a division 1 DC can find out and gameplan for in a week.
Is where I just completely lose my shit. this is what we know when Borges makes the play call:
- On the 1st OT drive (where, like in this drive, a FG wins the game), Penn State came out with a stacked box
- A 40 yarder is NOT a given; beyond the usual "college kickers" caveat, they had a previous kick blocked.
- Michigan had averaged about 1 yard per carry.
- You have a freshman in his first extended game action playing right tackle
So, Borges calls a freeking weak side ISO, which is by all accounts doomed in the abstract. So, as they line up, this is what we know:
- Of course, an 8-man box (which, again, you would expect to see based on everything that had happened prior).
- Chesson has a corner 10 yards off of him outside the hashmarks. These are the only two football players outside the box to the entire field side. The deep safety is lined up almost at the boundary hash.
They run the iso regardless. And no one misses an assignment; Magnuson loses some ground, but everyone else gets to their man and does a solid job. And they STILL lose three yards, because they ran seven blockers into eight defenders who were all screaming towards the ball because they saw the first overtime.
You said that Borges "wants to run a quick hitting play that is the least likely to lose yards and pick up something." At this point in the game, how is that an iso behind Magnuson and Houma into a stacked box? Is it not Chesson or Gallon, one of whom in going to be sitting in ACRES of space if PSU plays to form? Are the odds of an INT any greater than the odds of a fumble caused by a free hitter screaming down the line from the back side?
Am I taking crazy pills? Talk me down from the ledge, someone.
A sack might put you out of FG range. And, as you pointed out, Mafnuson was in at tackle, not to mention Burzynski at guard. It can happen, and if it does, the coordinator should be fired.
As it happened, we had a chance at a FG that we usually feel confident about. This is why guys like SC and I don't get the "Fire Borges" thing.
They ended up in 2nd and 13. If they run that play 100 times, I think the over/under is 2nd and 11. I get that there are risks with a passing game (though largely ameliorated risks with a quick passing game), but if you try too hard to protect the 40 yarder you put yourself in a much more precarious situation; 2nd and 13 is an obvious passing situation, even in OT, which greatly increases your odds of a sack.
I know. I don't disagree with you, really. I can just understand where everyone is coming from. Me, you, the coaches. I don't think anyone is taking crazy pills is my point. You want to see a play that you think will work. The coaches want the same. The difference is that their asses are on the line, and one boneheaded play is all it takes to get them fired. And a pass, no matter how "safe" is riskier than the run. The run lost us 3 yards. A pick, sack, or fumble lose us the game, right away, full stop.
I'm as mad at the loss as anyone else, but I allow myself to try to see the reasons for he things that happened. I don't think one of them is that Borges is bad at his job. Its certainly not near the top of the list.
All you're doing is throwing to the WR as soon as you get the ball. This is not a quick slant or any type of pattern run by the WR. You're just firing the ball out there to the WR standing on the line of scrimmge with a DB 10 yards away. Worst case scenario there is the receiver is unable to get past the DB out there and you only gain a few yards. On the flip side, the receiver gets past the DB and scoots into the end zone or close to it because there's no one else out there besides maybe a safety in the center of the field. Either way, PSU would have to respond to a playcall like that by either playing press coverage on the outside or loosening up inside the box.
On a play like that, it's impossible to get sacked. And it's impossible to throw an INT.
There is a chance that it could turn into a backward pass fumble though. There is still some risk involved.
I am not saying they shouldn't have tried this because of that risk. I am just saying there a chance of something bad happening on a play like that as well.
The receiver just makes sure he's slightly in front of the QB. I don't mean to be cute when I say that junior high teams can run a hitch successfully without much risk.
I'm not going to argue.
Just pointing out that its not a zero risk play in OT. And Gardner is certainly capable of throwing a wild ball there.
Anyone that's watched enough football has seen this happen enough times to know is possible. I'd say a couple times a year I see this at the HS, college and pro level.
But we don't run that play.
If you want to complain about the lack of bubbles or extended handoffs, fine. You have a valid complaint. But you can't lodge a complaint about play calling (which this thread is about) without using plays that are actually in our playbook.
There's definitely not a bubble in the playbook but I seem to remember a couple of extended handoffs earlier in the season. The one that stands out was early in the Akron game--the corner that looked soft stepped up just before the snap and just about blew Reynolds up on the catch. I think we might have gained a yard but it wasn't exactly a free one.
though, why the hell is not in the playbook? It is a staple in most college football teams playbooks at this point ( pro and spread teams). It is the OC's job to have the most effective playcalls in the toolbox, you can't simply deflect criticism by saying it is not in the playbook. It is Al's fault that it isn't in the playbook in the first place.
He's also been criticized, and on this board, for having too much in the playbook.
You guys do realize that the quick passing game is Devin's biggest weakness, right? It's probably far and away his biggest weakness.
Not all of us necessarily want him fired. I just want to see the offense set up to take free yards when they're there.
EDIT: This is directed at Reader 71.
I do too, man. I do too.
But I realize that not happening, so I choose to comment on what might. We might call one of the short passes we do have in the playbook. And it might get us sacked.
agree with everyone who says you don't get sacked on a bubble screen. Unfortunately, that is a moot point, as we don't run those. What we do run is hitches, outs, slants, square ins, etc. Gardner threw a pick on a 7 yard stop route, right to a DE. He threw a pick on an out route to a nickelback. Bad things can happen, man. And when they do, and all you needed was to run it thrice and kick, your play caller is an idiot who should be fires. Ours, I'd argue, isn't
your response in wanting borges to take the free yards with easy passes
"I do too, man. I do too.
But I realize that not happening,"
Isn't this the definition of stupidity? If not, I don't know what is. Unless there is some miracle turnaround in this offense (much like I hoped for with Gerg), I want him gone at the end of the season.
I still want him fired. Revisionist history be damned.
A) 1/10 chance of a sack with a 9/10 chance of positive yardage
B) 9/10 chance of negative yardage with a 1/10 chance of no gain
Yeah... I'll take the increased volatility/variance for the much higher average gain.
Are these numbers just self-evident or did you pull them straight out of your ass?