Hmm, looks like one question was MGoOmitted.
Denard did a short interview with an AP sports writer. I'd suggest clicking on the link at the bottom to read through the article as a whole. It has quotes from both Borges and Denard. For those who don't want to leave MGoBlog, here are a few of the quotes from the article:
Denard on his position in the NFL:
“I’m planning on being a quarterback,” Robinson said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “We’ll see what happens.”
Al Borges on Denard's future:
“It’s a big spring and it’ll be a big season for Denard in that regard,” offensive coordinator Al Borges said. “If he can take the next step as a passer, there will be a team that will tailor an offense to his skill level, just like the Denver Broncos did with Tim Tebow. But Denard’s got to improve in the passing game and he knows that.”
Denard on what he wants to improve:
“I’ve got to be a better leader,” he said. “I have to do things on and off the field that help us accomplish our goal of winning the Big Ten championship.”
Denard on attending Michigan basketball games:
“That showed me that it was a great decision that me and coach Hoke made,” Robinson said. “I’m enjoying college life. I’m having fun with it.”
Borges on Denard's second season in the offense
“We should see it with the timing of his throws and him having a better grasp of route structures, audibles and protection checks,” Borges said. “He’ll also improve with decision-making, knowing when to throw it away and when not to run. And if he can get better with his footwork issues in the pocket, it should reduce interception and increase his completion percentage.”
Well, I ended up taking all the quotes from the article, but still read through the full article for some coherency and some fluff.
An interesting tidbit in an article on coachingserach.com about the recent Borges radio interview:
Unofficially, Saban and Kirby Smart have asked new defensive grad assistant Jules Montinar to breakdown every game Al Borges has called plays in since 1986.
While the Bama Coaches Noon-time Basketball Association continues its season, Montinar is reviewing old film from Portland State, Boise State, Oregon, UCLA, Cal, Indiana, Auburn, San Diego State, and last season's Michigan team.
Now, Saban might just be messing with the new guy or getting him prepared for the many film breakdowns that will come during the season. But, that seems like an awful lot of game film. I was kind of hoping Saban might be resting on his laurels heading into the game. Oh well, there is only so much planning you can do for Denard.
'Intelligence is important, but a great work ethic can overcome much of what some players lack in natural "smarts."''He [the QB] should know exactly how his coach thinks and be able to regurgitate it verbally at the drop of hat.'
"Keep in mind that the quarterback does not look over 6' 4" and 6' 5" linemen. He is seeing and throwing through windows in the pass rush."
*programming note, got busy during the holidays, sorry if anyone was looking for scouting reports. Things have slowed down now, so expect a Nebraska game wrap next week, or the week after, depending on if I feel like writing anything about the SEC non-championship exhibition game.
Winners find a way to win.
It started as a joke, but now no one can deny the awesome power that is Brady Hoke's magical golden poop. Everything he touches turns into roses. When he walks through a forest, flowers bloom in his wake. Youtube is sadly lacking in good golden poop videos, so a unicorn farting rainbows of destruction was the best I could find. I hope it's not too disturbing.
Our ND friends gave us the wonderfully self-fulfilling cliche' "Winners find a way to win, losers find a way to lose." But we'll just focus on the first half of that, and they can focus on the 2nd half, thank you very much.
Was Brady Hoke lucky that Tressel was caught lying? Maybe. Maybe he pulled a Peter Wiggin and dropped a few well placed emails. Was it luck when we fumbled on the 1 yard line against ND and Denard scooped and scored a walk in? Maybe. Maybe Hoke used his secret telekinesis.
I don't know, I don't care. At this point I'm just happy to be along for the ride.
But how else can you explain what happened?
How does a sure INT on a fake FG where no receivers went into pass patterns end up in the arms of the long snapper for a first down? How does what looks like a TD to 80% of the twitterverse get reversed in OT? How have all the great things that have happened this year happen to one team, in one year? It boggles the mind.
They say you make your own luck. They say that "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." But whether it's luck, or karmic retribution, or a secret plot by an undercover invisible agency from the future, it can't be sustained at this high of a level. So let's just enjoy it while we can.
On to the pics.
Al. Al? ALLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!
This week's love-hate relationship status with Al Borges is .... .... Love? That's odd, because during the game there were times when the needle was strongly tilted towards hate. But after a second look at the game film, the final analysis, just like the outcome of the game, is slightly positive.
Much like the Iowa game, the lack of production on offense wasn't really his fault so much as it was a combination of a lack of execution, personnel limitations, and a darn good defense.
Oh sure, there's plenty of things he could have done better and a few stinkers that make you want to pull out your hair... hmmm....nevermind. And I'll get to those in a moment, but overall, we did what we've done all year. And many of the plays should have worked.
I mean, Molk getting injured and having this
happen on two consecutive plays to kill the first drive can't really be blamed on Al. Maybe it would have been better to go under center with the backup playing, but after we've been crying all year for more shotgun, you can understand why he didn't. Luckily Molk came back in, but wasn't at 100% which probably put a dent in our selection of play calls.
And give VT credit. They played a lot of Man-Free forcing Denard to make tough passes to the outside, which frankly, we all know is not his comfort zone.
Yes, the manball mentality is frustrating especially when VT is putting 9 men in the box.
(It's 8 because Denard going backwards is not a threat to run.) But it's there to setup big plays.
With both safeties up like this, the thing you have to do is make them pay for it.
But with two defenders beating their blockers, Denard has pressure right up in his face resulting in this jump pass.
It's not Al's fault that Denard threw to the wrong guy. Roundtree had a step on his man and Jr. was getting interfered with. Despite the interception, you can't argue that it wasn't the right play call.
[ED: More after the jump.]
So far no presser video from mgoblue.
I would just like to aknowledge several things that have really helped me put things in perspective about this team, this season, and this coaching staff.
(1) I've been vocally hard on Denard this year, as more people have tended to be. He's got some serious fundamental flaws that are being exposed in a system that awkwardly hybridizes (word? word, now.) things that he does well with things that he doesn't do well. This naturally has made for frustrating moments where you want to string up borges, denard, rich rod, anyone tangentially related to this transition, etc.
Given (1), (2) Denard has accounted for 29 TDs through 10 (11) games, which is 3 short of his scoring production in 13 games-ish last year. That's actually pretty nuts, given his apparent struggles. The point is this: we can handle the reduction in yardage/ per play average if he's getting us into the endzone with that kind of regularity.
(3) Acknowledging that Denard's turnover rate is still unacceptable, and given (1) and (2), if this is a down year for D-Rob, I'm OK with it. I'm more than ready to give Al Borges the benefit of the doubt and see if his Year 2 progression theory holds up. I've been pleased with the job he's done overall, and I'm more than happy to sacrifice the bubble screen for the package deal of hiring Borges and Mattison. The development of Fitz Toussaint has been amazing to watch.
(4) Speaking of Mattison and his defensive staff, holy hell. I'd trade flashy QB heisman-ish stats for this defensive turnaround 3 times over.
(5) I'm ready for 8 years of frustration to be taken out on OSU next weekend. 41-17 M with the coronation of Fitzmonga Biakabatoussaint. 200+. Go Blue. Good times ahead!