The Al Borges File

Submitted by Brian on January 12th, 2011 at 12:43 PM

One of Michigan's open assistant slots is already filled, as Brady Hoke will bring offensive coordinator Al Borges along with him. Borges has been a college offensive coordinator for just under a billion years and in that time he's coached everywhere from Portland State to Auburn and UCLA, with varying levels of success. He's now 55 and looks like the dad from Arrested Development:

al-borges Arrested-Jeffrey-tambor4

So that will be terribly exciting for the subset of the population that will not shut up about Arrested Development no matter how many times you ask them to.


His last decade by the numbers follows. Lines in italics are stats from the season before Borges arrived.

Year Team Rush YPC Pass Pass Eff YPA Total Scoring FEI
2000 Cal 80th 3.4 76th 95th 6 93rd 80th
2001 Cal 87th 3.4 53rd 96th 5.9 77th 104th
2001 Indiana 4th 5.5 95th 72nd 6.9 19th 51st
2002 Indiana 93rd 3.2 33rd 84tth 6.8 69th 95th
2003 Indiana 59th 3.4 101st 105th 6.1 98th 114th
2003 Auburn 29th 4.4 83rd 43rd 7.8 61st 66th
2004 Auburn 29th 4.3 40th 2nd 10 25th 18th
2005 Auburn 25th 4.8 70th 37th 7.6 37th 30th
2006 Auburn 47th 4.1 88th 37th 8.0 76th 56th
2007 Auburn 53rd 3.8 103rd 90th 6.5 97th 84th 24th(!!!)
2008 SDSU 117th 3.1 42nd 95th 5.9 99th 104th 104th
2009 SDSU 116th 2.9 30th 73rd 7.1 86th 85th 93rd
2010 SDSU 48th 4.8 12th 20th 9.0 16th 19th 26th

For the record, Borges's 2000 season with UCLA saw the Bruins finish 100th in rushing offense at a miserable 2.5 YPC, 23rd in passing offense and 19th in efficiency. Borges's tailback was a junior DeShaun Foster; his quarterbacks anonymous journeymen.

Notes on the numbers:

  • Antwaan Randle-El was a senior in 2001 and in the NFL in 2002, explaining the Indiana collapse. Borges split the offense between two horrible pocket passers; it's unclear if he had anyone else. The Indiana offense got even worse in year two and then Borges somehow got the Auburn OC job.
  • At Auburn he was installed once the Tigers fell to a moribund 8-5—the numbers that year are propped up by monster games against ULM (73 points), WKU(48), Vandy(45), and Mississippi State(45). Auburn didn't put up 30 on any real opponent and failed to score ten four separate times. This was with a junior Jason Campbell and both Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams. Whoever Auburn's OC was in 2003 was an idiot.
  • So Borges took this and went vertical wih great success for the only single-digit performance of his aughts.
  • The popular conception of what went down with Tommy Tuberville is he let his neanderthal offensive assistants undermine his offensive coordinator whenever he threatened to deviate from extreme MANBALL, and I believe it. Until the bottom fell out in 2007 Auburn was a pretty efficient passing team that ran all the time despite not really getting anywhere.
  • The FEI rank for Borges's last year is so wacky and out of sync with how the world perceived it—Borges was shoved out the door and Auburn was desperate enough to import spread guru Tony Franklin—that is probably exposes a flaw in the methodology more than anything else, no offense to Mr. Fremeau.
  • As far as running quarterbacks go, current SDSU starter Ryan Lindley had –162 yards in two years under Borges, and his other guys were Brandon Cox, Kyle Boller, Horrible Indiana QB Du Jour, and Jason Campbell. None of these guys would win a foot race with John Navarre save Campbell, and he would only tie. Campbell had 30 yards rushing as a senior.

The NCAA's online stats don't go back far enough to capture the most successful period of Borges's career, the five year run at UCLA during which he convinced the NFL that Cade McNown was a viable quarterback and was twice a finalist for the Broyles award.


As you can probably surmise from he numbers above, Borges is a traditional pro-style guy. Rodriguez has DVDs about the spread offense; Borges's is titled "Coaching the West Coast Quarterback." Smart Football on what Michigan should expect:

The rumor is he’s bringing Al Borges with him to be offensive coordinator; I’m already getting lots of questions about his so-called “Gulf Coast Offense.” I don’t know where that name came from, but as far as I can tell he’s a pro-style guy: nothing too exotic. But he’s been an offensive coordinator for a long time (close to two decades), in two major conferences (the Pac-10 at UCLA and Oregon and the SEC at Auburn), and when he’s had first-round NFL talent (Cade McNown at UCLA and Jason Campbell, Ronnie Brown, and Cadillac Williams at Auburn in 2004) he’s had elite offenses.

I think that sounds about right. Michigan’s coaching search was explicitly about someone who wanted to build the program, not hiring the next offensive genius. And I can’t really argue with that — the Rodriguez thing ended badly. That puts on the onus on Hoke, however, as he must recruit and build the program from the ground up; there won’t be any reliance on a decided schematic advantage to win. But is that a bad thing?

He also links three minutes of a hypothetical scrimmage between Borges and the Michigan secondary:

Generic pro-style against a bad defense.

As for the "Gulf Coast" thing, it appears to be some jibber-jabber from when he was freshly hired at Auburn and people were like "lol Auburn's not on he west coast." Apparently it consists of

  • west coast principles (short passes, backs, YAC)
  • post-snap route reads by the receivers
  • lots of formations
  • run-pass balance
  • tight ends

…ie, it's a generic pro-style offense that has a more advanced concept of routes than either Rodriguez's or Carr's offense did. It does appear that Borges leans towards throwing over passing when given the option but most of his rush offenses were mediocre. It's hard to tell what would happen if he actually had a good running game.


Michigan's new offensive coordinator has no experience working with a running quarterback and has pretty mediocre results over the past decade. The "elite" offense cited by Smart Football was 25th in total offense, though I'm sure FEI would look kindly on it because of SOS. The rest of it is bleah aside from the encouraging two-year development by SDSU. In Borges's defense he's been saddled with horrible quarterbacks for most of a decade and made good use of the one competent guy he did have. (Note: Kyle Boller may have been a first round pick but even the year after Borges was broomed with the rest of the staff he did not put up efficiency numbers any better than above.)

Borges looks like just a guy by the numbers, and he's just a guy who seems like the worst possible fit with Denard. Jason Campbell ran more when he got to the NFL. Hopefully there's some more flexibility in this offense than it appears at first glance, otherwise it's a fourth straight year with a new, underclass starting quarterback.



January 12th, 2011 at 1:00 PM ^

Hmm...underwhelming. I was hoping that we were going to pony up for someone with either more of a proven record or at least solid results with a variety of offensive styles.

Feat of Clay

January 12th, 2011 at 2:23 PM ^

That's kind of a UM question isn't it?
<br>Anyway, here's more of a blonde question--what's the significance if favoring throwing over passing? My football knowledge is pretty rudimentary so talk slow.


January 12th, 2011 at 3:33 PM ^

"Michigan's new offensive coordinator has no experience working with a running quarterback"

I'm pretty sure Antwaan Randle-El was a running quarterback - 7,469 passing yards, 3,895 rushing yards for his college career.


January 12th, 2011 at 4:49 PM ^

the question did not come up from DB in the Brady Hoke interview asking BH if he will do everything in his power to keep Denard.  His first decision has gotten off on the wrong foot with retaining Denard.  Someone wake me up when this nightmare is over or when Denard says he is not going anywhere else ever!!


January 12th, 2011 at 6:15 PM ^

Who has been more negative in their feeling that Denard is leaving than Brian?

I've said it before and I'll say it again. If anyone thinks Denard can only be good in one style of offense, they don't actually think he's that good to begin with.


January 12th, 2011 at 6:51 PM ^

Dearest Brian,

I know you're upset. Brady Hoke certainly wasn't in my top 5 choice for our beloved program. That being said, since the beginning of Coaching Carousel 2011 (an ingenious name, BTW), I've noticed you've been sad. Well, sad and angry.

I wish you were less angry. Don't get me wrong, I'm angry too. But it makes it hard to read this site (which usually makes my day better) when coming over here means I'll get my daily dose of "The End is Nigh" when its comes to Michigan football. 

I know you're struggling, but please pull out of this funk, because otherwise we're going to turn into a big angry pile of  ex-Michigan fans who live underground worshipping golden statues of JH, waiting for the second-coming.


WolverineHusker, a big fan of yours

P.S.: I suppose if the underground gathering had some kegs of Fat Tire, I might be down to participate. Who am I kidding? I'd go even if there was Busch Light.


January 12th, 2011 at 10:44 PM ^

absolut crap storm on this website right now.


I feel like that commericial that has the drill sargent as a psychiatrist, and I wanna throw the kleenex box at all the negativity.  The 3-9 season is past us. We move on. That's what grown ups do, they deal and go with the flow. Just support the damn coach, people. Who cares what his stats were, or whatever you're selling me right now. He's our coach, and he's the only coach we got. Go Blue! Go BH!!!


January 12th, 2011 at 11:38 PM ^

make me that comfortable with Borges. Outside of this year and 2004 with Auburn those numbers look pretty ugly. Too many 80-100 finishes in catagories, for my liking.


January 13th, 2011 at 7:39 AM ^

So that will be terribly exciting for the subset of the population that will not shut up about Arrested Development no matter how many times you ask them to.

THANK YOU.  That show fucking sucked.  I've tried to watch reruns, and .... I'm sorry, it's just not funny.  Douchie?  Yes.  Funny?  No.

Oh and yeah it's great to hear that our offense is gonna suck for a while.