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|14 hours 22 min ago||no. . . no. . .||
|16 hours 49 min ago||Dayum, that scarecrow is||
Dayum, that scarecrow is 5'10", 160-170? I'm 165 and I don't think I look that scrawny. Either I need to replace the funhouse mirrors in my bathroom with some flat ones, or we're just accustomed to seeing guys in pads with muscles that bend light with their gravity.
Not concerned about his speed though. Thirty years ago, workouts built up slow-twitch muscle so added mass = loss of speed, but these days we have DEs that can almost keep up with running backs.
As for this:
"He tends to dive for an ankle-tackle and shies away from major contact—there's a stark contrast between him and [2013 OSU commit Damon] Webb, who's both bigger and more willing to lay a hit."
Well, yeah. Doesn't worry me either. At his weight, if I was playing football I'd go for ankles as well. It has nothing to do with shying away from contact and everything to do with knowing that a bull rush isn't going to do much more than send you flying backwards. First priority is bringing the guy down; only stop him cold if you know you have the momentum.
|1 day 42 min ago||What I read from all this||
What I read from all this isn't that he over-thinks, especially when he gave OSU's defense such an easy read (Denard = run, Devin = pass). It's that he fears mistakes more than anything the defense does. If the defense plays well, you're stopped at 0-2 yards. If the offense makes a mistake, at best you lose five yards; at worst you give them a free TD. Makes sense, on a logical level.
Remember, Denard was week-to-week since Nebraska. Well, they said that, tho it's obvious they prepped Devin. However, they were probably really hoping Denard would be back for OSU. It was Denard's last regular season game and last crack at OSU, so as long as he could run around and hold a football (check and check) it was really hard to keep him off the field. While I was screaming for Borges to use Denard as the tailback and keep Devin in as the full-time QB, I'm thinking Borges prepped Denard as a QB, only to find out on game day that he wasn't ready to throw. Remember (from Part I), Borges finishes his gameplan on Monday. By Friday the team has absorbed it. He won't re-write all that on game day. This is both a strength and a weakness. It's good because it allows him to coach up the talent he's had to work with -- the base offense is better than it'd be if he didn't give them so much time to prepare. The downside, which is unfortunately much more visible, is that when he's forced to deal with a surprise, everyone can see it. He can't change. It's not ideal for coaches to make last-minute changes, but when they do that all the time, teams learn to adjust and it has distinct advantages. Borges' doesn't do that at all, so if he ever did call upon his team to scrap the gameplan, they haven't developed the ability to cope with it and Borges knows it. I would've gone with Denard as RB anyway -- I still think he was too stubborn -- but I'm doing my best to understand what he was thinking.
He's actually rather Japanese. He thinks and anticipates and prepares for all kinds of scenarios, then streamlines it all into an extremely efficient process that allows the players to absorb WAY more than they could otherwise. However, all that preparation and rigidity make him vulnerable to surprises and bad at improvising. This isn't to say one way is superior to another, but it's probably why the mistakes he makes are easier to notice than the stuff he does well. When Borges is on, he doesn't look smart so much as he makes the players look good because he's made it easy for them. When he's off, everyone can see he'd been outsmarted. The defense will show 8 in the box and he'll run right into it not because he thinks it's smart, but because the preparation it takes to squeeze 30ppg out of an offense so underpowered that a 5'10" slotback is The Threat (bless Dileo and his gecko hands but does anyone think he's NFL-caliber talent?) takes away the flexibility needed to call an audible. Borges would NEVER say this because I'm sure he thinks the world of Denard, but it's pretty clear he didn't trust him very much and doesn't like improv at all. Unfortunately, improv is pretty much what Denard did best as a QB.
|1 day 1 hour ago||I think that's his problem.||
I think that's his problem. It kills him that he didn't have a tailback on his entire roster that could thump even a mediocre CB. The "north-south" guys were getting stopped by DBs and the scramblers couldn't even juke a DE. Hell, the roster across the board more resembles a bunch of overcoached, lovable underdogs than ThisIsMichiganFergadsakes the last two years. Our best center was drafted in the seventh, our best receiver in the seventh, our QB wasn't even drafted as a QB and probably none of the tailbacks will be drafted at all. So it kills Al Borges that he can't run plays simply because he lacks the talent for it. It's classy that he chalks success up to playcalling and execution, but never once says his boys aren't good enough.
That said, there's a fine line between trust and stubbornness. If you know your tailback can't win that battle, OK, it made your job that much tougher, but don't you owe it to your team to swallow your pride and call that bubble screen?
|2 days 21 hours ago||What I get from all this is||
What I get from all this is that, personnel-wise, the nickelback is evolving from a third CB to something more closely resembling a third OLB. VERY roughly put, I break down personnel needs to zone coverage, man coverage, taking on blocks and tackling in space. The nickelback was originally intended to do #1, #2 and some #4, which left it a gaping hole in the defense for the TE or FB to block in spread offenses. Now, the nickleback needs to do #1, #3 and #4. Ideally they can cover man as well, but with the CB and safety help it's neither a requirement nor an expectation. That's why the 3-4 worked against Northwestern's spread-n'-shred -- the second ILB replaces a defensive lineman but that's not too bad when defending the run out of shotgun, and the OLB gets pushed out into the nickel position where it's not a mismatch against the run. It's not quite the dedicated anti-spread defense with a specialized nickelback, but as a tweak it meets the defense's needs to stop a spread attack.
But yeah, the 4-3-4 isn't dead, and in fact the NB is better thought of as another linebacker rather than calling the SLB-NB substitution a 4-2-5. You may want to still go with conventional "nickel" packages when the offense shows an empty backfield, but as far as I'm concerned no serious defense has a fixed starting 11 anymore.
P.S. the animated gifs are as educational as they are hilarious.
|3 days 12 hours ago||"Unless you know the plays||
"Unless you know the plays he's calling, and know exactly how well each of 11 players executed their assignment each time, there is now way you can make the statement "We all know that Al made some questionable decisions"."
Right, because I-form with Vincent Smith worked so well last season.
The dude's a cool cat, but nothing good ever came from unquestioning fealty. It's immature at best and dangerously delusional at worst. But what I find most annoying is the hypocrisy, because Borges' decisions have been REPEATEDLY questioned by MGoBlog's regular contributors, including Heiko himself. Here's one from Blue Seoul:
"Sometimes you just look at things like that and go "COME ON, AL!" And it doesn't have to even be a bubble screen. A zero yard hook probably gets a first down. Any kind of short combo route is wide open. The bubble probably goes for 20 yards, a Hook n' Ladder is a TD. But instead it's a slam into the LOS for no gain. "
Sure enough that diary was trollrated into existence like it should've been. Oh, no wait, it got 21 recs and 0 downvotes and while my memory's fuzzy I think it was even frontpaged. It sounds like someone questioned Al's decision and everyone was A-okay with it then. Well?
Frankly, questioning Borges is how Heiko earned Borges' respect in the first place. The "bubble screen" running gag didn't start out as a joke; it was MGoBlog challenging Borges. Where the hell did you come from to decide who gets to criticize our OC?? Pointing out that he's human isn't the same as armchair quarterbacking FFS; the FIRST person to say he's made questionable decisions is. . . Al Borges. He said it right there in the above interview!!
It never ceases to amaze me how the MGoBlog crew like Heiko, Brian, Seth, Ace et. al. can criticize Borges -- hell, even Al Borges can criticize Al Borges -- and while I think they deserve every ounce of credit they get, a random poster can make the exact same arguments and be trollrated into oblivion because. . . why? Because suddenly Borges is now without question, or is there some magic rule in society where criticism is only valid if it comes from certain people? I don't necessarily agree with the above post, but if you can't stand people saying Borges made questionable decisions, you're reading the wrong blog.
It's amazing how a blog so rich with insightful analysis is tyranically controlled at the grassroots level by a bunch of prudes. This post itself probably has about twenty seconds before it's dealt with, sixth-grader style.
|1 week 20 hours ago||"There's one where he decides||
"There's one where he decides to split the safeties and the safeties find out their angles have been calibrated so badly that neither gets within five yards of the kid."
So, he's this guy.
And by "this guy" I mean the video game version.
|1 week 21 hours ago||Guess what||
IT WILL NEVER WASH OFF
|1 week 2 days ago||Trollrate?||
OK, so apparently I'm the only guy on MGoBlog who's a fan of Jordan Kovacs. Or with a sense of humor.
|1 week 2 days ago||The problem with Gallon is||
The problem with Gallon is that he's Pint-sized.
|1 week 2 days ago||Maybe not Michigan. . .||
I didn't see a preferred walk-on offer from Toledo, and obviously this guy wasn't good enough for Hillsdale.
Total red flags, yo.
|1 week 3 days ago||Weight isn't the issue. His||
Weight isn't the issue. His shadow is purely a two-dimensional player and I don't see that ever changing.
|1 week 4 days ago||Fair enough||
You're obviously a better person than me, because I don't feel bad at all. I'm gonna confess some immaturity here, but I'm hungry. If that makes me spoiled, then guilty as charged. Beating them last year felt more overdue than satisfactory and they're still making excuses.
When they got their first couple of wins against Michigan as it was rebuilding from Carr's sunset years I was like, "Well, it wouldn't be a rivalry if they didn't get a few now and then." But as they gained confidence the MSU fandom hit a fever pitch of insufferable douchebaggery that triggered several seismographs in Tunisia.
I don't want to just beat these guys in recruiting. This is a fanbase that is thoroughly due for some badly deserved humiliation. I want them pounded into submission. I want four consecutive years of 20-point victories where their offense is kept below 10 points and I think Hoke's crew is up to the task. It's nothing against the players; I want their coach and fans to take such a series of beatings that they collectively curl into fetal position in a corner. And yes, I want the boys they recruited to show them why they chose Michigan instead.
Ditto with OSU. It seems they've learned nothing from Tressel's ouster and have yet to get that smirk wiped off their faces. They'll be tougher to bring down but I really want to see it happen.
|2 weeks 1 day ago||"I tried crossing the||
"I tried crossing the blocking power of Jake Long with the nasty hitting of Daydrion Taylor, and the looniness of Les Miles just to see what would happen."
Um. . . David Molk is a real person.
|2 weeks 1 day ago||Uh. . .||
You pancaked your daughter when she was 3? Should I be calling CPS or something?
|2 weeks 1 day ago||Simple feint to the left,||
Simple feint to the left, then juke to the right, with all the grace of a freshman high school running back. The execution here was mental, not physical. Urlacher probably figured Brady would surrender to the mismatch and slide to avoid contact. It's a perfectly logical assumption, and that's what Brady exploited. After all, if Brady tried that on every QB scramble he'd be forced into retirement ten years ago. The moral of the story is, some people are deadly at poker precisely because they'll bluff once a decade, when you least expect it, after you've unwittingly bet the farm.
Not that it'd happen anyway, but seeing this, I won't ever play poker with Tom Brady.
|2 weeks 2 days ago||His three-cone drill was the||
His three-cone drill was the fastest. Which doesn't surprise me, because of the shifty adjustments he makes at speed when he's got a human missile lock on a tailback.
His 40 time was middling. . . among safeties in this year's draft (something like 9th out of 21). That's decent, but throw ALL NFL safeties into the mix and he's got a lot of people ahead of him. Bear in mind he can't just beat out his fellow rookies; he's now competing with NFL veterans for a roster spot. Mediocre speed is not a show-stopper for a strong safety, though. If all else fails, instead of having him bracket deep routes high, you can instruct the corner to play the wideout soft and bring Kovacs underneath. SC's answer was to go four-vert, but that's risky against NFL CBs.
|2 weeks 2 days ago||That he wasn't drafted||
That he wasn't drafted doesn't mean Kovacs isn't liked. Almost every team in the NFL called him after the draft ended.
Signing Kovacs is a conservative decision, and the draft is NOT for conservative decisions. It's for high-ceiling prospects. In many ways, a 6th-round pick has just as much upside as a 1st-round pick; the main difference is risk -- the first-rounder is more likely to pan out. I don't necessarily agree with it, but here's the logic as far as I can tell: When you draft a freak athlete with a ton of question marks (doesn't know the game, needs to work on technique, etc.) and he does pan out, you've signed a Pro Bowl player for the price of a rookie. That makes good business sense. With a guy like Kovacs who projects to "productive", he's not going to break the bank even if he signs as a free agent, so why burn a draft pick on him? Consider that Will Campbell was drafted. In all fairness to Big Will, I think most people would agree that Kovacs is more likely to make an NFL owner happy. But Will's the bet with the bigger payout; hence he gets drafted. The matter of likelihood is off the table -- the only thing that matters as far as whether or not a player gets drafted is his ceiling. The draft is a speculator's game, is my point, and with Kovacs there isn't much to speculate.
It's kind of insulting that he wasn't drafted, but that's really just a public perception due to the media placing waaaay too much importance on draft order. There are enough NFL veterans who weren't drafted to almost fill a decent roster.
|2 weeks 2 days ago||Reading the article. . .||
I agree 100%, but the article painting him as some sort of Little Engine That Could kind of aggravated me. Yeah his heart and dedication are off the charts, but that's not what sets him apart in my mind. Those are admirable traits, but not too hard to find at the highest levels.
It's his intelligent work ethic that makes him special. He doesn't just work his tail off; he's the NFL's Greg Maddux. He doesn't just Rocky Montage his way to success. He lacks physical speed, but makes up for it by mastering the game like some white-beareded martial artist in a Hong Kong action movie.
I try to stress this among kids who have dreams. It's OK to dream, and you HAVE to work hard to get there, but also LEARN -- don't just throw your body against a brick wall until it breaks, because odds are you will first. The ones who succeed spend those countless hours finding a way around the wall. In Kovacs' case, he didn't just SPARTAAAA the ball carrier every time. He did it, countless times at that, with flawless technique. Standing high? I'll fly high and topple you like a tree. Near the sideline? I'm gonna throw my shoulder into your chest and knock you out. Fighting for every inch? I'm going to fly at you and p=mv your ass. Making a cut? I'm sweeping your pivot foot. Going in low? I'm going to barrel in, helmet to ball, and if you somehow hang onto the ball and stay upright I'm gonna cling like a pitbull until the cavalry arrives.
There are a number of NFL players who lack Kovacs' consistency. Even if he doesn't make the rotation, he'll get some rookies thinking twice when he shows them how the game's played.
|2 weeks 2 days ago||Here's the thing||
I honestly wonder if he can't make a career out of being a situational defender. He's not fast enough to be an every-down safety in the NFL, but he's a VERY solid tackler and an excellent last line of defense. I really wonder why some Miami fans are talking about him going on special teams. That's the worst way to use him! He's not great at blocking or getting off blocks and can't fly upfield. He's a sure tackler but he'll be the last person to get to the ball when it's a pure foot race.
Where he's worth his weight in gold is situational packages and red zone defense. There isn't enough room for the wideouts to use their speed against him and defenses have to respect the run anyway. A talented DC can move him around where Kovacs can use his brains to pick apart the play and keep the ball out of the end zone on his half of the field. He's worth keeping on any roster if he can force offenses into settling for field goals.
Keep in mind if the safety can't finish him off, there often isn't much between the ball carrier and end zone except nitrogen. Safeties with speed and nothing else come and go because the NFL needs last-line defenders that can tackle. They'll draft the speedsters in the hopes that they'll grow into reliable defenders, but the guys who can actually defend are the ones who stay on the roster.
|2 weeks 2 days ago||I kinda thought Jordan Kovacs||
I kinda thought Jordan Kovacs was already on the case. He's still working on the story.
|4 weeks 1 hour ago||Who said it was OK to say in||
Who said it was OK to say in my late twenties? Did you miss the "and I was very late to mature" part of the post, or does everyone around here always try to read posts the most antagonistic possible way?
Yeesh, I openly admit I was a goddamn man-child through my late twenties compared to this kid who's really just being a kid and someone here still gets upset. I think I'm going to stick to "Michigan rocks yay" posts from now on; that seems to keep everyone happy.
|4 weeks 19 hours ago||"Just show me, you know?"||
"Just show me, you know?" Edwards said. "Just show me that you're interested. Just show me like you've been showing me."
Ugh. . . sounds like something I said to someone in my twenties, and I was very late to mature. No, Michigan does not exist to put a silver spoon in your mouth; the entire culture to its very roots its that it's bigger than any one person.
It's a bit of a surprise to see this, because I'm used to seeing Michigan recruit athletes who speak as well as I did in my early thirties. Which says a lot about how spoiled I am as a Michigan fan -- this is pretty much how most high schoolers talk -- but there it is. As far as recruit maturity goes, this is an outlier.
|4 weeks 2 days ago||Word||
Did you watch the highlights? The wideout playing opposite Bunting is also a giant. Did Hoke experiment on genetics at this school?
|4 weeks 2 days ago||I think the defense will be||
I think the defense will be fine, but we HAVE to get over last year; it won't be fair to this year's unit. Gordon-Kovacs was the best safety tandem I'd seen at Michigan in at least a decade.
We were flat-out spoiled at safety last year. I know secondaries are judged as a unit and we were paper-thin at corner, but it says a lot that opposing offenses picked on J.T. Floyd. He was hardly bad; QBs just didn't have many other options (not to mention the B1G didn't have many elite receivers). I don't even recall that many attempts to go deep against our D (until SC's four-verts anyway) because in most cases slinging it was basically a wasted down.
I just hope that the first time the inexperience at safety forgives a long TD, MGoBlog doesn't lose it. Again, we'll be fine, but offenses will be looking to test our new FS.
|5 weeks 2 days ago||So long, Mealer's Beard||
Another Michigan legend becomes a matter of written word, to fade from memory. . .
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. . . oh no wait, we actually used camera & storage technology for posterity, unlike that twit in Blade Runner.
|5 weeks 2 days ago||I get that, but I'd call it a||
I get that, but I'd call it a good reason for being fair & honest. :D
I don't know what people say about me when I'm not around, but if it's critical I'd like to hear it, as long as the criticism isn't politically motivated (preening for a promotion, etc.). I've never seen anyone improve when surrounded by sycophants.
|5 weeks 2 days ago||Why?||
I hope I'm not misreading your post, but did you get a vicarious feeling of awkwardness or something?
One of the main reasons why I frequent MGoBlog is that the analysis is genuine. It's not "oh Chesson sucks" or "he needs to go back and cry to his mama" like some morning sports radio talkshow. Brian makes a legit point that as far as we all know Wellman has made Chesson well aware of, if not our cornerbacks. If he's also made aware that his biggest (current) weakness isn't escaping public scrutiny and Hoke recruits guys with skins as thick as I think they are. . . what's the problem? A lot of it was backhanded compliment and probably a lot milder than what he hears in practice.
|5 weeks 2 days ago||"Less than ideal" is||
"Less than ideal" is definitely a way to put it. I'm not TOO concerned, partially because they're up against a Greg Mattison defense and partially because O-line takes time to develop, but the lack of an elite RB was sort of a given (unless Derrick Green takes the position by storm). They'll struggle against the tougher defenses but one thing going for this team is that it has more weapons all around. A lot of it's raw but Darboh, Funchess and Gallon are all legitimate threats -- and don't forget Dileo. If Borges can get the defense to fear the passing game, the RB only needs to be decent. If not, well. . . watch Devin Gardner pass for 300-400 yards a game.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Lewan for staying another year. We're gonna need every ounce of pass protection we can get this season.
|5 weeks 2 days ago||He looked a LOT more||
He looked a LOT more comfortable today. Some of that could be lack of pressure in the spring, at least as far as Hoke treats this as an exhibition (as well he should). But I mean, he was very chatty in the video.
I've been as critical of Borges as any because I took his "use what works" philosophy to heart only to see him run a spread offense that was way more predictable than it should've been for all the variations it had, but in hindsight it seems to me like he was VERY uncomfortable working with the spread -- far more than he ever let on, which is understandable considering the poker game coaches play with each other. He's not gonna go out and say, "I've never done this so I'm really winging it right now," but I don't think I've ever seen him that comfortable yet excited at a presser. It's obvious this guy is a Walsh disciple through and through, I mean way more than he let on. Now that he's no longer cramming his brain into a jelly jar, hopefully we'll witness the firepower of his fully armed and operational pro-style offense.