Mailbag: We Should Have Been Screwed, Funk Position Paper

Submitted by Brian on November 19th, 2013 at 11:28 AM


"I hope we're all up on the latest changes to the NCAA rule book." [Fuller]

Wait, substitution. Wait. Wait, what?

Yo Brian,

So when the bearded lady rushed into the center ring to launch the football out of the cannon through the flaming uprights at the end of the Evanston Circus, Michigan obviously made a substitution.  Northwestern did not make a substitution, but they, according to the Rules, could have.  If they did, it seems like that would have taken more time before the official gave the ready for play, and potentially wasted enough time to run the clock out.  In this parallel universe game which is crazier than the actual circus which unfolded, does Michigan get to attempt the field goal? How are the rules applied in that situation (which thankfully did not happen)?


UPDATE: NEVERMIND the below, as I missed this section in the rulebook:

Late in the first half Team A is out of timeouts. A pass play on third down ends inbounds at the B-25 short of the line to gain with the game clock showing 0:10. Facing fourth down and three, Team A immediately hurries its field goal team onto the field. RULING: Team B should reasonably expect that Team A will attempt a field goal in this situationand should have its field-goal defense unit ready. The umpire will not stand over the ball, as there should be no issue of the defense being uncertain about the next play.

Thanks to Maize and Blue Wahoo. I will self-immolate now like a Northwestern fan observing his team playing football.


We should have been screwed. The NCAA rulebook has a specific mention of this very scenario:

Late in the first half Team A is out of timeouts. A pass play on third down ends inbounds at the B-25 short of the line to gain with the game clock showing 0:30. Facing fourth down and three, Team A gives no indication as to its next play until the game clock reads 0:10. They then rush their field goal unit onto the field, and Team B then hurries to respond.

RULING: The umpire moves to the ball to prevent the snap until Team B has had a reasonable opportunity to get its field-goal defense unit onto the field. The umpire will step away when he judges that the defense has had enough time. If the game clock reads 0:00 before the ball is snapped after the umpire steps away, the half is over.

That is in blue along with various other new rules (like "minimum time for spiking the ball") this year, so it must have just been added. If Fitz tried to substitute, the rulebook says that the refs have to let him and the clock would then run out.

This is of course terrible since it prevents the sort of exciting thing that happened against Northwestern and replaces it with the clock running out because the defense can't get aligned in time and should be immediately stricken in the name of fun… except maybe it doesn't exist?

Game ref Bill LeMonnier:

“When a team is coming out and it’s the last play of the game and they substitute with their field-goal team, the defense is not given the opportunity,” referee Bill LeMonnier said. “Usually there’s match-up time on substitutions. When it’s the field-goal attempt like that on the last play of the half, then there’s no match-up given.”

This is in direct contradiction of the rulebook. So… yeah. I don't know. The only thing that may reconcile these two points of view is the rulebook stating that the team getting the FG unit out there spent 20 seconds doing nothing, whereas Michigan was clearly going GO GO GO as soon as Gallon was tackled.

Spiritually, if you can't get your FG block team on the field in that situation and the other team can get the play off, screw your field goal block team. Fire drills forever.

[After THE JUMP: talking Funk, safety rotation, and the latest bizarre email.]


GIS throws this at you when you google for Darrell Funk, so congrats Firstbase

Funk position paper.


I'm surprised that I can't recall hearing you say anything negative about Darrell Funk. I keep getting the feeling the Al Borges calls the game that he thinks Funk should be able to deliver based on the talent they have and the competition they're facing. I keep thinking, "Oh, Al's pissed at Darrell again, and wants us all to know it." Not being able to pick the best five in fall camp, or even in the first half of the season, is on Funk, isn't it?

Firing Borges would make us look like we're totally lost, but firing Funk might make us look like we figured out the problem and we're fixing it. In terms of recruiting, I mean. Another way of looking at it is, How will Funk be able to continue recruiting good linemen in the future given his past results?


I know this year is ugly for the offensive line coach, and follows on an ugly one last year. But I want to see what happens when he has the same guys year-over-year before I get on the soapbox about pulling the trigger, because while I can see things I don't like about the offense as a whole, like turning Gardner around on second and goal from the nine so he can get instantly pressured by a defensive end who has eyes only for him, my offensive line knowledge is primitive at best.

Last year he had a couple good tackles, Patrick Omameh, and two seniors who'd never played much. He had no other options. This year his options after the three guys they started the year with were:

  • perpetually injured Chris Bryant,
  • a walk-on who immediately tore his ACL,
  • a 285 pound redshirt freshman tackle, and
  • a true freshman.

One of the guys they started with was also a walk-on. They revamped the line twice midseason and ran a bunch of stretch plays they hadn't in the previous two years. His offensive coordinator spent three weeks futzing with tackle over gimmicks and running six OL out there on standard downs. That 285 pound redshirt freshman has played LT, RG, and RT. Nebraska was basically in Michigan's huddle. And the blocking issues are exacerbated by the fact that the tight ends and tailbacks are really bad themselves.

This is no environment in which to declare Final Judgment. Given all of the above is it reasonable to think that the OL coach is just screwed? Yes. As to why I'm plenty willing to declare the same on Borges, it's a lot easier to see team after team eat up playcalls that they seem to know are coming than assign blame for crappiness in the arcane world of OL play between players, coaches, and scheme. And while I'd heave the OC overboard if I was in charge, hey look Greg Robinson. It's not as bad as it seems at this instant.

I want to see the interior OL get much better next year as the tackles cope, and if that doesn't happen I'll be cocking my eyebrow in the general direction of Funk.



As of right now, November 18, what are the odds Al Borges returns next year as OC?



Is safety rotation a thing?


free Thomas Gordon [Fuller]

Hi MGoBlog Team!

My question is on the recent safety rotation. I was at the Northwestern game and it looked like on a couple of drives (esp ones that started with a long field) Avery and Furman were out there, while on others, T Gordon and Wilson were the safeties. I couldn't tell if this corresponded to a switch of NU's quarterbacks or not, but I doubt it given that the M defense was out on the field before the offense on several occasions. Is switching safeties situationally something good teams do? Why would the coaches do this? Does football make any sense at all?

Stephen Bowie

Northwestern was flipping their quarterbacks from play to play and most of the time had Colter out there as a wide receiver when Siemian was at QB, so flipping the safeties based on that was difficult if not impossible. Michigan was not doing that.

So… they were just rotating guys. I can't say that's something I've ever seen a great defense do. Everyone rotates defensive linemen and will rotate through some at linebacker; usually the secondary is just the secondary save the addition or subtraction of a nickelback depending on the situation.

The secondary is a place where you have ridiculously in-shape dudes poised on the knife edge of an eight yard touchdown constantly. Coaches clutch guys who execute their assignments without fail to their chest. They put them in their marsupial pouch and call them pet names. They do not say "oh BINKLORD 3000, who I cherish and adore and bestow many fine gifts upon within NCAA regulations (which is to say nuts, fruit and bagels), while I esteem thee above all other safeties I request that you take this drive off. Please spend this drive luxuriating in my marsupial pouch. Yea." See: Jordan Kovacs, man who took 100% of Michigan's defensive snaps last year.

For whatever reason, then, the coaches think that Wilson and Gordon are not reliable enough to shower in nuts, fruit, and bagels and are giving others an opportunity to compete at the position. This is a total mystery to me. To the fuzzy long passing play safety judging metrics:

  • Plays of 10+ yards allowed: 97 (T-98th nationally)
  • Plays of 20+ yards allowed: 33 (T-68th)
  • Plays of 30+ yards allowed: 10 (T-10th)

This does not look like a defense with safety issues, especially since you are searching your memory for those 30+ yard plays and mostly coming up with fly routes on the sideline against cornerbacks on which the safeties are not really at fault. It looks like one with issues in short zones and with getting to the QB.

Meanwhile, on the ground:

  • Plays of 10+ yards allowed: 37 (T-15th nationally)
  • Plays of 20+ yards allowed: 3 (T-2nd)
  • Plays of 30+ yards allowed: 2 (T-8th)

Michigan is a bend but don't break sort of team, and they're bending, but not breaking. Obvious safety mistakes this year have been limited to that time Thomas Gordon managed to get juked by Mike Trumpy on Saturday and a couple other instances where they were one step from making a play.

We get less information on the safeties than any other position. That said, I think Thomas Gordon is quite good, and Jarrod Wilson becoming quite good, and the safety shakeup makes no sense to me.

This man desperately needs to make it back to the portal before he can never return to the universe he came from.


In a recent mailbag column, you predicted that Michigan is going to have another horrible season next year and won't be back to respectability in 2015 either as the team breaks in a new quarterback. My question concerns the Big Ten as a whole. It seems that the coaching in the conference is on the upswing. MSU is probably losing Narduzzi soon, but Dantonio himself is defensive minded so they'll likely keep chugging along (shudder). Despite Jerry Kill's health issues, Minnesota is on the rise. O'Brien is doing a remarkable job considering the situation he walked into. And Meyer is just as win at all costs as Tressel ever was. I remember when I was in college and the Big Ten was the top conference in the country. Do you see that becoming the case anytime soon? If it does happen, will the media even notice or is the SEC their eternal king now?


Did I predict another horrible season? I think I predicted a very stout defense opposite a frustrating but probably improved offense. That is not this year. And in 2015 the QB that's being broken in is likely a junior, so… yeah. I'm not expecting to go undefeated either year; I am expecting to contend for a swell bowl game in 2014, on pain of me being really mad at the coaching staff and saying snarky things if I am not satisfied.

The Big Ten will be given respect again when they win some nonconference/bowl games. I'm midlly bullish on the conference in the medium term, as it seems like most of the power programs have found stable coaching situations that are improvements on their recent situations: MSU is better than they've been in forever, OSU skipped the whole Tressel senescence and lucked into Meyer, Bill O'Brien seems very good, Gary Andersen is an upgrade as a person and probably just as good of a coach as Bielema. And for all Michigan's problems they're about to have a lot of talent and roster stability under Hoke. Once PSU gets out from under sanctions, which will happen much faster now, the Big Ten may once again become respectable.

HOWEVA, I have no idea when this period of time that the Big Ten was the best conference in the country may have transpired and it's never happening again. Can I talk to you about some basketball, perhaps?

This is probably going to happen.




I'm having this recurring dream that this nightmare of a season on offense is all an elaborate plot by Al Borges (who probably realized the offense wasn't all that talented somewhere between halftime of Akron and third quarter of UConn) to pull the ultimate DeBord and goes all "2008 Capital One Bowl" by unleashing a floodgate of trick plays and new looks against Ohio. 

I swear to god, in this dream we hang 50+ on Urban, it happens at least twice a week and as a result, I fully believe with my entire soul that we will beat Ohio and that's the only thing fueling my hope in this football team. 

So having said that, my question is:

Are the chances that this lucid pattern of sleep is either the result of:

A.  I'm onto something and a Borges vs. Ohio offense looks something like a Sparty-we-overprepared-the-shit-for-this game and are some-fucking-how going to win in Ann Arbor on November 30th.

B.  Heavy binge drinking after each game on Saturday that lasts into early Sunday morning that disrupts my sleep patterns (and therefore my subconscious) for the remainder of the week.

C.  Accidentally coinciding my decision to quit smoking with the start of Michigan football season, often resulting in me forgetting to take my Nicotine patches off before I sleep.  (Anyone who's done this before knows that dreams on Nicotine patches resembles something Inception mixed with a Dali painting while on acid, listening to Dark Side of the Moon on repeat).

Please tell me I'm onto something.  Tell me that my hope is at least somewhat probable and is not an insane theory fueled by individual withdrawals of so many addicting chemicals and there's a 95.82% chance that I'll be watching next year's home opener in a room padded with mattresses on every wall. 

Go Blue and help me,

-- Chris in Houston. 

It's totally A! I'm rushing out to bet on Michigan straight up, with all of the moneys! You should probably not see a therapist at all! We're totally going to win you guys! The next time you're sad just end a bunch of sentences in a row with exclamation points! It'll momentarily convince you that you're really alert!



November 19th, 2013 at 11:39 AM ^

Brian, the scenario in the rulebook directly above the one you quoted governs this situation precisely.

Late in the first half Team A is out of timeouts. A pass play on third down ends inbounds at the B-25 short of the line to gain with the game clock showing 0:10. Facing fourth down and three, Team A immediately hurries its field goal team onto the field. RULING: Team B should reasonably expect that Team A will attempt a field goal in this situation and should have its field-goal defense unit ready. The umpire will not stand over the ball, as there should be no issue of the defense being uncertain about the next play. 

QED.  The refs nailed it. 


November 19th, 2013 at 12:33 PM ^

Post title still stands. 

We caught the ball in bounds with no time outs and short of the 1st down marker. It was 4th down, so no spike. DG wouldn't have been able to stand in the pocket long enough for a hail mary attempt, and we needed to swap out the offense for the field goal unit. 

That game was over. We were screwed. Then #DileoPowerSlide happened. God remembered we were playing Northwestern. And we went from "screwed" to "should have been screwed."


November 19th, 2013 at 1:00 PM ^

Obviously the title refers to the rules he incorrectly cited, not the game events.  Given those were incorrect, it should be changed.  But carry on with the lashing and lamentations.


November 19th, 2013 at 1:58 PM ^

I'd normally give you the benefit of the doubt.  But this year, it seems it's just one day after another of piling on for piling on purposes.  Maybe we should all do a little research and reflection before jumping to short-sighted and haphazardly drawn conclusions about things we know very little or nothing about.

Go Blue!


November 19th, 2013 at 2:10 PM ^

Come on man.  Brian built this place from the ground up and puts out the best Michigan content on the internet FOR FREE.  Criticize all you want, but don't give him that condescending tone.  He's calling it like he sees it.  He made a mistake, and fixed it.


November 19th, 2013 at 2:23 PM ^

It is not lost on many of us veterans how negative things have become around here.  I'm not suggesting it was intentional.  I am suggesting it was, again, an instance where Brian Almighty doesn't do his homework before running an uninformed or wrongly informed "opinion".

This board, and Brian Almighty, have torn apart (rightfully so) lesser folk for lesser offenses.  See Drew Sharp, Rob Parker and others here. 


Monocle Smile

November 19th, 2013 at 2:27 PM ^

You're really going to compare a blogger who admits to errors when pointed out and runs corrections with arrogant dickheads who NEVER EVER admit they're wrong about anything and deliberately troll people with heinous factual errors?

And then to top it all off, you're going to take a jab at Brian as if he's some sort of iron-fisted dictator?

Whatever, dude. Just fuck off and make this place better.


November 19th, 2013 at 2:44 PM ^

You're a "veteran" with all 637 of your points?  I have about the same number, and have been following this blog since 2005, and I don't pretend to be doing anything more than enjoying the free content that Brian spends countless hours producing.

In what other instances did Brian "not do his homework"?  Was it when he reviewed every snap of every damn Michigan game so he could do his best to give you some insight on the quality of our team?  Again, I don't have a problem with you saying you think he's wrong, or even that he should research more carefully.  It's the tone you take, as if you suggest he somehow failed you, when he doesn't owe you a single thing.


November 19th, 2013 at 2:55 PM ^

He's a smart guy, and a big boy. And as long as one is not getting assininely personal, he doesn't really care what his critics say, or what his "followers" say to defend him. If he even bothers to read it and really doesn't like what someone says, he can and has just banned them. If it's a well thought out point and one is not a dick about it, he may even respond with an explanation or a disagreement. But the Knights of the "Free" Table I never get. He's not your buddy. You're his customer. You may not be paying, but he's making money off of you. If he stopped providing good content, you'd stop being his buddy, and if you leave and don't read he's not still your friend. 

Agree or disagree with his points, but the ass-kissing vs. personal attacks really is a waste of time. He really doesn't care about you either way.


November 19th, 2013 at 12:50 PM ^

I'm not sure what outcry you're referring to, but in the case of up-tempo offenses, they usually don't substitute in the middle of a drive, so that rules doesn't come into play.  The intent of the rule is to prevent the offense from being able to use its ability to dictate the pace to unfairly use substitution shenanigans.  The rulemakers decided in this case (and wisely so) that there's no time for foolish tricks and if you can't figure out what the other team is doing with that substitution then that's your problem.

I must say I'm glad Devin decided to go to the right with that play because if they'd had to set up on the other hash they'd never have made it in time.  That more than anything else is why Northwestern couldn't sub.


November 19th, 2013 at 3:40 PM ^

Ah, that case, those folks are wrong, if what they're doing is complaining that IU didn't let us sub.  As long as IU didn't sub, no leg to stand on.  I wouldn't call it a special exemption for the FG because the rule is based on giving the defense a level playing field with the offense.  When there's six seconds left, that's your leveler - I'm sure what Pat Fitzgerald wanted to do was leisurely roll his guys out there and let them get all nicely tucked in to their positions, but oh well.


November 19th, 2013 at 12:54 PM ^

The reason that the umpire stands on the ball in a normal substitution situation has the same logic as the "12 men in the huddle" rule:  so the offense can't trick the defense by waiting until the last second to show its personnel package.

Because this situation is a blindingly obvious field goal situation, the deception argument doesn't apply--the defense knows what is coming, so they don't need to react to the offense's personnel package--so both teams are expected to make their substitutions in real time.



November 19th, 2013 at 11:38 AM ^

Borges is going to run a play where he throws a bubble screen to Gallon who then reverses field with another bubble screen pass to funchess who will then take it for a TD and then he will flash a sign from the box that has a picture of Heiko on it.


November 19th, 2013 at 11:43 AM ^

Is it a coincidence that while in the middle of a season filled with nothing besides mayhem and wtf moments, Michigan flawlessly pulls off the clusterfuckiest mayhem play of the season for any team in college football?

Maybe they just thrive in that kind of environment.


November 19th, 2013 at 12:18 PM ^

With the zone stretch and tackle over gimmicks stuff, why do you think that it was a Borges decision and not a joint Funk/Borges decision? I know blame ultimately goes to the top, but I have a hard time seeing how you can blame Borges and then exonerate Funk for that same stuff.  Maybe Funk was the one who suggested it? In my mind their failures this year have gone hand-in-hand, and it's often impossible to separate them.

Of course, it's all moot, since Borges is likely not going to be fired anyway. 

But I do find it interesting how much you like Funk. Maybe it's enough to convince me that he deserves at least one more year as well to grow these abnormally young offensive linemen (not to mention all those redshirts waiting to play)

For similar reasons, I want to see how Borges grows as a schemer/playcaller next year when presumably he has more experience overall in his offense and won't have to scheme around a seemingly historically young and bad interior offensive line.

Although I see what you're saying about Borges as the ultimate in predictability in playcalling. But even much of the blame goes to Borges? I mean, surely he has had to waaaay oversimplify the playbook, and gone to max protect to paper over the OL weaknesses (that also failed). Again, if you exonerate Funk for the youth of the OL, then I feel like Borges even with his mindbogglingly  (at times) predictable playcalling should be given a similar pass. I guess I worry that getting rid of Borges will condemn the team to perpetual mediocrity, and I don't know any name out there that instantly jumps out to me as an upgrade.


Ron Utah

November 19th, 2013 at 1:05 PM ^

I, too, am frustrated by our often predictable play-calling and running into stacked fronts.

But replacing the OC is a tricky proposition...there aren't many proven commodities out there that fit Hoke's philosophy and would come to Michigan.  And even then, there's still no assurance things will be better.

IMO, if you're going to make a change this year at OC, you need to bring in a guy who runs a similar system, is a proven winner, and will be at Michigan for a long, long time.  I don't think that guy exists.

Also, Borges has a mixed history of success and failure and has never been in one place long enough to prove/disprove himself.  If he is a guy that can be highly successful with elite talent then we're on our way to highly successful because we will be loaded with experienced talent by 2015.

To change now would mean putting our players, university, and fans through another transitional period which could lead to more mediocrity and more transition in three more years.  I agree with Brian that you only upset the apple cart if you're reasonably certain that the results will be apple pie instead bruised, rotten apples.


November 19th, 2013 at 2:09 PM ^

This is mostly true, and I doubt Hoke will make a change.  But at the same time, if you give it another year and nothing changes (at best), then you've wasted another year and you'll still have to go through the transition.  Unless UM doesn't score another TD against Iowa and OSU, I suspect Borges is safe for another season, but considering Brandon doesn't seem like a sentimental type, I could definitely see him pressuring Hoke to make some changes if this team flounders offensively.

And for the record, I've always been driven crazy by the argument that the OC works best with elite talent because it doesn't really tell me anything about the OC.  By the time you get to this level of competition, you can reasonably expect to be successful doing the thing you do if you have a talent advantage against the competition.  But maybe it's me, but when recruiting does 90% of your work for you then you better be REALLY good at the other 10%, and even a great Borges isn't a face-melting offensive powerhouse.  And while the talent level coming in is great, you are going to miss out at times and the overall talent will ebb and flow; we've seen thus far that Borges tends to struggle in those circumstances.  I'm not inclined to keep a guy around who fields a really good offense 1/2th the time at best, or at least not at his price.  


November 19th, 2013 at 2:47 PM ^

Most OC's should succeed with a talented and experienced roster.

But by that same token, I get frustrated with those that think Borges should be doing a lotbetter with less, when such a thing out of an OC is more rare than people think and I'm not exactly sure how much better someone else could do with this roster. There aren't many Chip Kelly's in the world. Shoot, ND has an offensive head coach and they haven't exactly been lighting everyone up since he's been there.


November 20th, 2013 at 7:51 AM ^

"Also, Borges has a mixed history of success and failure and has never been in one place long enough to prove/disprove himself."


I disagree. Borges has definitely been in a number of places long enough to prove himself mediocre.


Is he is a guy that can be highly successful with elite talent? Sure, and so are about 85% of the OC in the NCAA. That just isn't a very impressive metric.


Now - I don't necessarily think we should fire him because of transition costs, but there is little question in my mind that Borges is a massively overpaid, and mediocre, offensive coordinator.  Not bad, not good - just meh.



November 19th, 2013 at 2:02 PM ^

In the terms of the oline personnel and the formations they use, I'd have to think Funk signs off on those.  I doubt Funk says he doesn't like an idea but Borges/Hoke override Funks concerns and go with it anyway.

Generally, offensive staffs work together to try and find what is going to give them the best chance of success (and for that matter defense too). 


November 19th, 2013 at 12:20 PM ^

HOWEVA, I have no idea when this period of time that the Big Ten was the best conference in the country may have transpired and it's never happening again. Can I talk to you about some basketball, perhaps?

The Big Ten was pretty good in 1999, finishing with three top-10 teams, seven ranked teams (out of 11), and winning two BCS bowls. And this was with a not-that-bad OSU team going 6-6 and missing a bowl (8 of their games were against teams that finished the year ranked, they only won two). It even had Michigan and Michigan St. beating SEC champ and runner-up Alabama and Florida in the bowls while Big Ten champ Wisconsin won the Rose Bowl. I was in college when this happened, so it couldn't have been that long ago, right?


November 19th, 2013 at 12:49 PM ^

B1G went 10-2 in bowls, including a 5-0 bowl sweep in 1999.  That was back when Drew effin' HoF Brees was playing for the fourth best team in the conference.  Michigan had some guy named Bom Trady and that was only good enough for 3rd in conference.

This is how absurd it got:  Illinois at 8-4 (4-4 in conference, good for 6th) finished the season ranked (albeit at #25) after crushing their bowl game by six touchdowns.  No one, NO ONE wanted to play a B1G team those years.

FWIW, and I have to point this out because nausea loves company, the B1G swept the SEC in bowl matchups those years. . . and yes, SEC fans were still claiming they were the best conference in the country.

But yeah, that was a long time ago.  Traditionally the B1G is more known for being top-heavy.


November 19th, 2013 at 2:05 PM ^

 For a few years in the 90ies we where the best conference in football. Penn state, Ohio state, Michigan, Purdue and Wisconsin all had great  teams, While MSU and illinois had some good teams as well. Indiana and Minnesotta where bad but prolly not as bad as Illinois and Purdue are this year. We might not have had the "best" team but from top to bottom we could come out on top of any other conference with ease.


November 19th, 2013 at 12:28 PM ^

What if that is why we suck at football this year? Brady Hoke has been practicing against tOSU all year long. So we aren't prepared for some schools, but we will be super prepared for tOSU. 

Laying in the weeds.


November 19th, 2013 at 12:39 PM ^

I can't be the only one wondering (unless this has been addressed before and I've missed it): Brian, why are you so confident Borges will be back next year?

With the way the offense has played for most of the year, I'm having a really hard time believing there won't be changes on the offensive side of the ball. And based on the general sentiment from the fan base and even the Hoke-loving media (specifically guys like Desmond and Wojo), the overall opinion seems to be that Borges needs to go ... so perhaps you can elaborate on why you seem to think it's so incredibly unlikely that this actually happens.


November 19th, 2013 at 1:29 PM ^

That the sentiment from the fan base matters that much.  Or that the ones complaining are that unversal (to the point where they're not going to buy tickets). And neither Desmond or Wojo said Borges needs to go. Just that they're at a crossroads and should be expected to fix things.

Doesn't mean that the chance might not be better than 95%. But Brian's right, it's probably not as high as you want it to be.


November 19th, 2013 at 2:41 PM ^

You're right about the fan/media perception probably meaning little to nothing around Schembechler Hall. That probably wasn't the best argument.

I guess what I meant is that when everyone who writes/talks about/analyzes Michigan football (even the coaching-type posters) echoes the glaringly obvious conclusion that the offense is a disaster, the guy who's running that offense would seem to be in a precarious spot, but 95% seems pretty damn safe.

By observation, I'd think Borges is likely gone (less than 50% chance of returning), because (a) another season like this one would be bad in a lot of ways and (b) the offense has not only had some real stinkers all three years under Borges but definitely seems to be regressing.

So even if Brian thinks the sub-50% number is exaggerated, claiming a 95% level of security leads me to think he has some information that most of us don't.


November 19th, 2013 at 2:44 PM ^

Brian? There are certainly things that could lead one to quantify it as a "disaster" but I don't think outside of the echo chamber MGoBlog is you're getting a lot of that, at least to that level of unrepentable.  Wojo and Desmond didn't say that.  They don't talk about it like that on WTKA, which talks the most Michigan football. Maybe some other bloggers, and some posting boards.  I mean, the level you're talking about is even greater than what Brian has said. So it's not just people following him. It's almost just a lazy meme that's taken over the posters.

Like I said, Borges return may be <95%, but I bet Brian is closer than you are with 50%.  Because Brian is saying what he thinks will happen, and too many posters are saying what they want to happen.


November 19th, 2013 at 3:14 PM ^

"Disaster" might be a little strong, but after the last three weeks, it might not be. I don't really care to rehash the stats to determine exactly what level of blah the Michigan offense has achieved.

But both Desmond and Wojo have called out Borges pretty transparently -- Desmond saying "he needs to start figuring it out, start outscheming his opponent to justify his check" comes across as saying that he isn't currently justifying his check, which is kind of a "you're on notice." And I've heard several national guys and even the game commentators (see Glen Mason) directly criticize Michigan's offense in a way that seems to point the blame at Borges. So I don't think it's JUST an echo-chamber thing, although I'm not local so don't listen to WTKA and don't read the Detroit papers (probably wouldn't anyway).

Really, your last point is the one I've been getting at: With a lot of observable evidence that Borges isn't doing a good job (at the very least) and a lot of public criticism of the offense (which might not have any effect but might have a little, especially if Brandon hears the grumbling), what is it that makes Brian THINK Borges is very likely to be retained?

To be clear, I'm not criticizing his 95% remark, just wondering what leads him to that sort of certainty.


November 19th, 2013 at 12:45 PM ^

Brian - 

While I agree that the ability of a casual though educated fan to judge OL coaching is nearly impossible and that Funk may be hung out to dry by Borges or Hoke.....I still can't understand why he escapes more scrutiny from you.  Here are the facts that concern me:

  • 2012 - Changes centers immediately before the season.  Borges had nothing to do with this and the fact that we didn't know from Spring to Fall who should play center is concerning.  And it wasn't like we promoted the back-up, we swapped guys.
  • Omameh - I realize his skills reside with a diferent type of scheme, but he regressed badly through his two years with Funk.
  • 2013 - Miller and Kalis are demoted, Braden gets a ton of snaps and then vanishes, Bryant makes a cameo and is bad/hurt again, Burzinski is the first choice in an emergency, Mags is trying to learn/play multiple positions as a RS-Fr., and Glasgow still can't snap consistently.  Are the protection or blocking schemes his responsibility?  Maybe or maybe not - but as they have been terrible you can at best say that Funk isn't helping.
  • Schofield - Maybe this is unfair, but in my eyes he has regressed or at best plateaued under Funk.  He went from a possible 3rd round pick to a guy who doesn't know his NFL position and will be a late-round pick-up at best.  
  • Tight-Ends - Perhaps our biggest failure as an offense is that our TE's can't block and thus can't be trusted in critical situations.  I don't know who coaches the TE specifically, but you'd think your OL coach would be responsible for teaching blocking fundamentals and they clearly aren't improving.  
  • Miller/Bryant - Maybe expectations were low to begin with on these guys, but they have both only had Funk as an OL coach and neither is contributing at all.  If they were starting we couldn't hear the "youth" excuse as not a single player in their 1st or 2nd year would be playing on the line.  Yet these guys lost their jobs and look like career bench warmers now.  Maybe they would have never been good, but clearly Funk hasn't helped them.

You say that you want to see Funk perform with returning players.....but who?  Mags will have to move outside to tackle and it is entirely possible that Glasgow moves to guard or tackle as well.  So you're left with Bosch as the only guy likely to return in his current position.  

If Borges is 95% to stay, I think Jackson & Funk are the most likely fall guys this offseason if the next two games play out like Vegas thinks they will - whether fair or unfair.