Picture Pages: Predictability Comment Count

Brian October 23rd, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Denard-Robinson[1]jorge-luis-borges-has-a-posse[1]

oh good this again

The great unresolved question we batted around Monday on the podcast was the perpetual great unresolved question of the last year and a half: "quien es mas falto, Denard o Borges?"

I'm not done with things yet but am I leaning Borges, except since Michigan went into a shell against a good defense and won the game instead of throwing five interceptions and losing it, by "blame" I might actually mean "credit." Michigan won, and outgained the other offense by about 50 yards, and was only about 50 yards short of the output spread genius Urban Meyer managed against the MSU D. In terms of the OH MY GOD TOTAL DEBACLES that have speckled the Borges/Denard partnership, this ranks much lower than having under 200 yards of offense before you're forced to chuck the ball all over the field. See: Iowa, ND 2011, etc.

That said, a quarter into the game, Spartan safeties have made tackles at the line of scrimmage twice, Chris Norman is regularly meeting lead blockers two yards in the backfield, and the only significant gains Michigan has acquired are on a Gallon throwback screen on which it looks like Norman busts hard and the ten-yard Kwiatkowski out. Here's an example of the first two phenomena:

This is a super-aggressive quarters defense that Indiana exploited against both MSU and Ohio State—which is attempting to run the same scheme—with various cover-4 beaters. Michigan elected for the shell, and won.

Even so, man. Michigan has spent weeks setting things up as they played Bye, Virtual Bye One, and Virtual Bye Two; Michigan State is coming off three consecutive hard-fought games. I'm not sure if Spartan Overpreparation is a real thing or not—I hope so. Otherwise we're putting all our chips on the idea that Borges really doesn't have the faintest clue how to run a spread offense and that things will get better once a Real Quarterback™ is in place*.

*[If you've ever made this assertion I hate you.]

An Example

Okay. So here's Michigan's end-around version of the veer that they've been putting on the field for a few weeks now. It looks different; it's really just the same thing as the veer, though.

[Please forgive the crappier than normal image quality—the BTN was taking wide shots, which is generally good for this sort of thing, but this week's torrent is bleah for whatever reason.]

Anyway: Gallon in the slot, Michigan in a Borges-standard three-wide pack. The alignment of Gallon hints at the end around motion, BTW. MSU is in their standard 4-3 even. The guys at the top of the screen are going to be the relevant ones. Gholston is the DE, Denicos Allen the LB.

veer-defeat-1

As Gallon goes in motion, Allen—and only Allen—moves to the LOS outside of Gholston. Live this gave me a sense of disquiet. That's not sliding some linebackers over. That's an awfully specific thing to do.

veer-defeat-2

A  couple of moments later, the snap has been made and Denard is in a quasi-mesh point with Gallon. I say "quasi" because the action here is so fast that it's hard to believe there's any real read component.

Anyway. Four MSU players are relevant here.

veer-defeat-3

  1. The boundary corner blitzes. He is the contain guy if Gallon gets the ball.
  2. Allen is now the End Man On The Line Of Scrimmage—EMLOS(!). His goal is to get the two-for-one that allows Bullough to be the free hitter, or at least foul the hole and thus rob whoever gets to Bullough of his burst of impetus.
  3. Gholston is the main cutback defender. Once Allen is the primary hole he's got to prevent anything from cutting behind it.
  4. Bullough is the guy MSU would like to be the free hitter a la Demens. Bullough's ridiculously good at football and sheds blocks like whoah; having him as a free hitter is a luxury few teams have.

On the Michigan side of things, Lewan is adapting to the play as it develops and pulls out some of the old zone playbook. When Gholston dives inside of him he goes with it, using his momentum to take him past the point where he wants to go. Toussaint also reads the funny business going on and heads straight for Allen. Omameh is pulling; his eventual destination should be Bullough.

This is hard to see in the next still, so watch for it in the video: the legs you see poking out here like the Wicked Witch of the West with a house on her…

veer-defeat-4

…are in fact the remnants of a killer cut block on Allen by Toussaint. But Allen has still gotten his two for one:

veer-defeat-4

Omameh is literally hopping outside that block. A moment past this and the two players will be even, which means Denard can't follow him, which means he's not blocking anyone, which means two for one, which means Max Freaking Bullough is a free hitter.

Michigan's one saving grace on this play is the Lewan-Gholston matchup. Denard gets a cutback lane because Lewan has blasted Gholston to a point on the field even with the playside and backside DTs. Bullough is surprised by Denard's attack angle, as is Norman, and both have a tough time cutting back as fast as Denard can.

veer-defeat-5

They're unblocked, though, and there are many of them. Denard can only squeeze out four yards…

veer-defeat-6

…as Gholston lies pancaked underneath Lewan yards from the play.

veer-defeat-6

Video

On separate run-throughs check out:

  1. Toussaint chopping Allen
  2. Lewan dominating Gholston
  3. Denard picking through traffic
  4. Michigan getting four yards off of two great blocks.

Things And Stuff

UNLEASH THE EPIC RABBLING COMMENT THREAD. Guys, I'm totally sorry, but sheeeeeeeeeeeeit. This is happening all the damn time. The play above is MSU knowing what's coming as soon as Gallon goes in motion and having a plan to combat it. The plan works—pretty much, anyway—despite the playside defensive end ending up on his stomach eight yards away from the play.

Michigan's not getting anything of the sort in kind, and the first play on which Joe Reynolds makes an appearance features this defensive formation:

Reynolds-run-1

filed under "lol 100% run" in the MSU playbook

That wasn't a fakeout, man, those jakeryans came at the snap, leaving one corner anywhere near a simple curl/flat or smash combo with the twinned receivers.

Reynolds-run-2

This was a run. A –3 yard run. Yeah, sure, opposing defensive coordinators don't know about Michigan's substitution patterns. Probably just a coincidence.

That cannot happen. You cannot allow the opposing defense to align like that. Michigan allows it all the time.

Okay, okay, is going away from all run all the time a danger that makes Denard chuck interceptions? Possibly. I watched Denard make those curl/flat throws as a clueless sophomore, though, and you just can't let the above happen. I'm finding lots of wins for MSU based on their prep for this game, and few for Michigan. The throwback screen that worked was more Norman busting hard than anything schematic working.

I know they got some stuff later, so I'll probably be less peeved about this when the UFRs come out. I am pretty disappointed that M spent the first quarter running absolutely nothing new against Michigan State of all teams.

Lewan vs Gholston is no contest. It was no contest a year ago, it's no contest this year. He made a couple plays that didn't show up on the scoresheet when he was well-schooled on Michigan's sweep play and used his athleticism to shoot a gap—and Funchess took out Schofield in the process—but once he gets locked up, game over man. He did himself a disservice by not playing for a 3-4 team. He'd be a terror in ND's scheme. As a 4-3-even DE, he's the third-best player on his own defensive line.

Toussaint got a win here. This went a lot worse for him when he was trying to lead Denard into iso runs and Chris Norman was tearing ass at him. The lack of Rawls was pretty weird given the context.

Players don't really matter here except at the margins. Gholston got annihilated and Michigan got four yards. That was MSU's worst case scenario on this play.

Michigan's counterpunches to this sort of thing are not even really the Dileo completions. Dileo catches his first two balls on second and eleven and third and six; the last one was clearly not a play action situation, so all you've got to show for this is the single catch and run from the second quarter.

You should be able to punish the level of aggression shown by the MSU defense in some way. Michigan could not last year and could not this year—at least not in the structure of the offense. Last year, Roy Roundtree broke a tackle to turn a slant into a touchdown. This year, Denard juked and juked and juked to get his 44-yard run towards the end on a QB draw that had absolutely nothing to do with the base rushing offense.

The most alarming thing so far: Michigan's first pass on first down is three drives in. It has a play action mesh point of the sort MSU has been tearing after all game, and no MSU linebacker takes a step to the line of scrimmage. Why? The line sets up to pass block immediately, without anyone pulling. Michigan has not had a run play yet without a pulling lineman.

pa-no-sale

Denard doesn't have anyone open and ends up throwing his worst pass of the day, a near-INT that was so bad two MSU players had a better shot at it than any Michigan guys. Clearly he has not gotten through all his bad decision mojo, but I'm mystified that Michigan would not even try to draw those linebackers up by running plays that look like the ones they've already put on the field.

Comments

Ziff72

October 23rd, 2012 at 3:21 PM ^

The passes to Jackson were so bad I'm hoping Jackson was just running the wrong way.... they were off target length and width wise.

My question to that is how was Denard(raw and beat to piss from mulitple hits and repeated use) as a sophmore able to make those passes that he isn't now.   He hit Roundtree in stride on those plays all the time.      His regression over 3 years is remarkable.

 

Needs

October 24th, 2012 at 8:23 AM ^

Those passes to Roundtree traveled 15 yards through the air to a completely open receiver. The passes to Jackson traveled 40 to a player with a defender trailing closely behind.

You're focusing entirely too much on the negative. He hasn't regressed. He's facing tougher passes, and teams that know his weaknesses and scheme for them. There were a number of passes this game that he fit into tight windows:  the passes to Dileo, the wheel route to Funchess, the out to Roundtree. Of the questionable passes this game, he got hit on three (Roundtree in the endzone, the long pass that Gardner dropped, and the INT), his receiver potentially ran the wrong route on another (Gallon in the end zone), and he airmailed two long, downfield throws in much the way that Matt Stafford did last night. He's not a great passer, but he hasn't regressed. 

Magnus

October 24th, 2012 at 5:44 AM ^

I think your memory isn't serving you very well.  He didn't hit Roundtree on deep passes very often.  He OCCASIONALLY hit Hemingway on deep passes.  Roundtree's long receptions were short routes and then he got yards after the catch.

Asgardian

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:05 PM ^

Your offense is going to "leave points on the field" due to should've been executed errors 9 out of 10 weeks.  You can use that "should've been" 22-30 points, but you have to compare it to "should've been" point totals in other games too.  Also there were definitely a few Maxwell deep balls that "should've been" points if they were just on target.

JeepinBen

October 23rd, 2012 at 12:42 PM ^

and called enough to win. Heiko's transcript later will tell it all, but my twitter feed just told me (according to a few writers)

Borges: We played a very close to the vest game on Saturday. Very Conservative, not flashy.

There were also a bunch of points left on the field last night. I don't claim to know football that well, or blame players, etc. But Gallon should have had a TD (throw not dead on), Funchess almost did (throw took him out of bounds), Gardner had a drop that would have given us a first and goal...

Almost points don't win games, but we scored enough actual points to win too.

FreddieMercuryHayes

October 23rd, 2012 at 12:59 PM ^

That's all well and good as long as eventually the aggresiveness is pulled out when needed.  Perhaps the coaches felt that the D could hold the MSU offense enough that the O could go super conservative and still win.  But geez, when is that?  And honestly, the type of adjustments that needed, seem more of the "well we'll just run the other way" type of adjustments. 

jg2112

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:11 PM ^

When is that?

That is when the opposition scores 17 at home against Boise, 3 at home against Notre Dame, and 16 at home against Ohio (who gave up 49 to Indiana), and 16 at home in overtime against Iowa.

That is when the opposition's biggest receiving threat on the year is hobbling on one ankle, and the opposition's leading weapon is being stymied by your confident defense.

UMQuadz05

October 23rd, 2012 at 12:49 PM ^

until you ask him to make a decision on the fly.  I wouldn't trade his time here for anything, but it's the truth.  Every zone read, speed option and route progression is a potential disaster with him.  The best Denard plays are well-blocked QB isos, and (from the RR days) QB Oh-Noes.  I think Borges finally accepted this after the ND game, hence the "stubborn" and "predictable" calls.  I can't really blame him either, since we did, y'know. win this time.

However:  I would really like to see some playcalling in from the sidelines, but it's probably too late for that.  And my god it's depressing that "substitution tipoff" is still a tag in 2012. 

FrankMurphy

October 23rd, 2012 at 12:50 PM ^

Otherwise we're putting all our chips on the idea that Borges really doesn't have the faintest clue how to run a spread offense and that things will get better once a Real Quarterback™ is in place*.

*[If you've ever made this assertion I hate you.]

And what exactly is so ridiculous about that assertion? Has Borges ever run a spread offense? Is expecting Borges to become Chip Kelly not every bit as ridiculous as expecting Denard to become Tom Brady?

Magnus

October 23rd, 2012 at 12:51 PM ^

I can't help but watch that play and think that Denard should have busted it outside.  With Omameh and Gallon blocking for him, there's at least a decent chance that he can get outside the corner and gain a bunch of yards on the sideline.  That's one of the reads that the QB is allowed/supposed to make on that play...but unfortunately, he didn't make it.

mmp

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:36 PM ^

Magnus you probably would know, but it seemed that the blocking was set up to take the play outside from the begining with Gallon and Omameh heading that way and Denard cut it back into the wash.  If he breaks it outside and Omameh blocks Bullough, Denard is set up for a long run given that he had Rountree and Gallon leading the way.  

Magnus

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:49 PM ^

I've run similar plays in my coaching career, and the runner (in this case Denard) is supposed to read the guard's block.  If the guard kicks out the edge defender, Denard should run underneath.  If the guard logs the edge defender, Denard should run outside the block.  It looks to me like Omameh can seal his guy to the inside and Gallon has a pretty solid block on the corner, so that play should go outside.

The QB really has three options on that play:

1) Hand off to the jet sweep guy
2) Keep it up the middle
3) Keep it and follow the jet sweep guy outside

I think he should have picked #3.

CompleteLunacy

October 23rd, 2012 at 12:51 PM ^

But maybe that was part of the plan. Look, M's gotten torched in past MSU games BECAUSE of turnovers. Remember 2 years ago, Denard threw key interceptions in the red zone? Last year too, key turnovers cost M the chance to get back in the game.

I really think Borges had this in mind, and considered the fact that MSu was pretty bad on offense and he could trust the D to keep MSU's total down. I really think this was a calculated gameplan. Of course, it's not very encouraging...it seems like teh counterattacks Michigan could have used on O were simple. However, what we do know is Michigan had one turnover, which was meaningless because it was end-of-the-half throw-it-up-and-see-what-happens type of play. So, Borges I think was putting his offense in a position to manage the game. 

I definitely think Borges could have done better, and the execution was lacking. But I'm not about to believe Borges is an idiot, especially given his history as OC.

jg2112

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:13 PM ^

Remember.
 

It's not just Borges. He has a boss.

And he calls games in conjunction with what he expects from his team's defense. Look at the point spreads, and he knew 20 points would get it done. He called a game (SEC-style I would add) that should have gotten Michigan to 20.

CompleteLunacy

October 23rd, 2012 at 2:26 PM ^

And it really should have gotten to near-20's, but the offense made key errors at bad times. Part of that is MSU's defense, but really many of them were self-inflicted...missing a wide-open gallon in the end-zone, underthrowing a fade to your 6'7" TE who had almost a foot of height on the guy covering him, holding penalties that knock you out of field goal range...these are just a few execution-related issues that come to mind. Sure, they were utterly predictable, but let's not ignore execution. Borges called the game he needed to to get M the win, and at the end of the day (no matter how close/nail-biting it was), he did his job well enough, even if it was far from perfect and far from pretty.

mpbear14

October 23rd, 2012 at 12:54 PM ^

Brian,

You do know what you're doing with these "Blame Borges" articles right?

You are creating splinters in the fan base. You know, those same splinters (factions) you despised when RR was here?  Borges has now become the scape goat when we lose or don't put up video game numbers.

Unfortuantely, what these reptitive articles are going to do, is cause the Media to start questioning Borges at press conferences, and artcles will begin to pop up across the web and in the papers questioning Borges when we lose just because it will get page hits.  It's going to create an uncessary distraction.  It's also a flat out wrong analysis on why we struggle on offense against above average defenses.   It is not play calling.  It is the personel.  It is a run first QB who can't read a defense but is an amazing athlete.  He is not allowed to audible because he could not prove he was capable of it in practice.   It is the two offensive guards that weighed 250lbs when they were freshman why we have no push in the middle(Compare that to Kalis, Braden or Mag right now.)  It's a crop full of spread receivers trying to learn how to run real routes.  And we are still 16-4 over the last 2 years. 

Example.  While I was in line to take a leak down in Houston at the Michigan Alumni Bar over the weekend.  A recent Michigan Grad makes the comment.  "Al Borges is not using Denard right."  I then ask him, "What makes you say that." he then responds, "Don't you read Mgoblog?"   Brian, you have that kind of pull with our fan base and that's because of what an outstanding job you do with this site.   You are currently cultivating a Hate Borges faction that will spring up the moment we lose a game or have a 8-4 season.   I'm expecting Fire Al Borges websites soon...

Thank God, there were about 3 other former Michigan players in the bathroom when he said that, that broke down exactly what Al Borges is dealing with (I won't say it here because it's harsh, real harsh.)   I almost wish, you could have been there to hear it.

We now have a defense that can win us games as long as the offense doesn't lose them for us.  When we face above average Defenses, we will call a conservative game because one thing Denard has proven over the years is he is turnover prone.

Denard will light up Nebraska becasue they are pretty bad on defense and he can overwhelm them with his athletic ability.  Then people will start saying "Al Borges let Denard be Denard."    Though, in reality, we just played a porous defense.

Sorry for the rant, but it needed to be said. 

chitownblue2

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:00 PM ^

If you read the first paragraph, I don't think Brian is really "blaming Borges". He acknowledges that, given how Denard has fared against MSU in the past, calling a game-plan in which Denard committed 0 turnovers is probably to his credit.

Unfortunately, many people on this site, including you, take his criticism in this case as condemnation. I don't think that's the case.

mpbear14

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:05 PM ^

I read the article, at best that was a back handed compliment towards Borges.  The rest of the article is broken down as: "Why are we running this play when MSU is lining up like this"

Or in other words, blaming the guy calling the plays.

In my opinion, that was one of Denards better games of his career.  He did what he was asked to do. Manage the game and don't put the defense in a position to fail.

 

JeepinBen

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:12 PM ^

(minor quibble, the end of half INT, which I was happy he threw, might as well try to make a play)

I don't know that it's comdenation, so much as "not ideal". Brian really started breaking down offenses with RR which were awesome and which was based on the idea that "any play can score". Watching WVU's offense was awesome the first few weeks. Any play can go.

I think Borges does NOT try to score on every play. And guess what, his (slash the TEAM's) strategy is working, as he's 16-4 over a year and a half. And old coaching axiom is "every drive that ends with a kick is a good drive." That's either a punt, FG, or PAT. With this defense, you can live that way, and again, 16-4. When Brian says he thinks Al is happy with a 4 yard run when MSU sells out and we still get 4 yards, I see that as OK. It's Al's strategy, it worked. It's different, but it's not comdenation.

When RR ran the hurry up and the offense was on the field for 30 seconds and we got a 3 and out, people hated the hurry up. When it scored in 30 seconds, we loved it. Al goes about his business another way, and so far, so good. The 4 games we've lost so far are:

Turnover filled wind-mess at a rival who treats us like their superbowl

Gameplan mess at Iowa.

2 losses to top-5 teams.

So call it 1.5 games lost on Borges, both when he was still figuring out his personnel at a new school, in a new conference, etc. We were 11-2 last year with a BCS win, and we're in GREAT position to win the B1G. There really is no pleasing Michigan fans.

1989 UM GRAD

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:45 PM ^

Wish I had enough points to upvote this.  I may get negged for this, but I think our love for Denard has caused us to ignore his shortcomings.  Borges is calling plays designed to set us up for success and minimize mistakes/turnovers.  When you have a turnover-prone quarterback, the result is conservative playcalling.

I do agree, however, with those of you who have pointed out that the playcalling against Sparty wasn't that conservative.  Denard threw more times than he has in many games...and, yes, the Gallon/Funchess end-zone tosses and the dropped Gardner pass were missed opportunities.

Sopwith

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:55 PM ^

Brian is too powerful to express his actual opinions anymore?  Is that the gist of this?  Do you really think Borges is at Schembechler Hall right now going "If I've lost Brian Cook, I've lost the country"?  (he hasn't lost Brian, by the way, he's just causing nervous hand-wringing)

The gameplan was too conservative for some in that it didn't make a point of punishing Sparty's overagressive D.  For others, it was just right given that we scored enough to win and were in a good position to put a couple TDs on the board, though we didn't.  Difference of opinion on this issue: legitimate.

Not sure how you know what Denard is and is not doing in practice, but if you're such an insider,  use those insidery connections to voice support for Al.  We all had concerns when Heisman-contending spread QB Denard Robinson was married to non-spready coordinator Al Borges.  Result 1.5 years later?  Eh. Not ideal, but good enough in most circumstances.

For your friends at the Houston urinals, I'd just be curious to know what they felt was standing between Michigan football and total national obscurity/irrelevance through the past few years.  Twasn't the genius of Al Borges, though I'd like to wait til he has his pieces in place before getting too down on him.  RR knew how to conduct the Denard Symphony Orchestra and Borges doesn't, but that's OK, the Bellomy/Morris Symphony will be Borges' time to shine.

In the meantime, hope we improve on the constraint plays the rest of the year.  That's all.

mpbear14

October 23rd, 2012 at 2:09 PM ^

Borges does not give two craps what Brian does.  You missed the point my friend.  It's the fact that Mgoblog gets more hits than any other Michigan website.  The majority of the viewers don't know the first thing about football so they hang on to Brian's opinion like it's gospel.  It's creating a divide in the fan base, slowly, but surely.

You also realize that our defense has benefited from going away from the Denard Symphony Orchestra.  Much more time is devoted to the Defense than when RR was here during practice.  I'd say about 10 x's the time yet we still score close to the same amount of points as the "Denard Symphony Orchestra." 

I have been to practices.  I have family that attend practices.  Not since the season started, but last spring, this spring and Fall camp.  Denard is what he is. 

Borges is handcuffed with Denard, not the other way around. 

Brady Hoke, The Head Coach, wants to run a certain style of offense.  It is Borges's Job to get the entire offense, not just Denard, to that point. 

Shop Smart Sho…

October 24th, 2012 at 2:18 PM ^

It hates loading on Google Chrome on my tablet.  ASUS Transformer Prime, so I know it isn't a hardware issue on my end.  It is your site and the rare occassion I follow a link to huffington that I get the issue.  I generally like your content, but I've had to give up going unless I'm strangely sitting at my laptop and have time to kill.

schreibee

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:55 PM ^

I love the specificity of your rebuttal, but...
you CANNOT ask Brian not to publish criticism - especially extremely well-diagrammed, alternative-laden criticism - on the theory that it may splinter the fan-base!
I've been just so, so happy we finally put sparty down that I have set aside the nagging feeling that we could be doing more for the time being.
Howeva... c'mon, saying we should run OL sets that attempt to deceive the D at least a little bit isn't - can't really be - that harmful to the cohesiveness of fan-base can it?!

MGlobules

October 23rd, 2012 at 12:59 PM ^

What did we run against them? 

I'm increasingly won over by this analysis/critique of Borges' offense. I love the idea of standing toe-to-toe with MSU, punching it out with them. But the best punches are the least expected ones; Ali mixed it up with both genius and authority. This could have been a comfortable win. 

readyourguard

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:26 PM ^

Nebraska doesn't have Allen, Bullogh, and Norman at LB.  Nor do they have CBs and Safeties that fly up to the ball in run support like MSUs.  Watch that one video clip in this thread again.  3 DBs come flying into the picture at the very end.  You're not likely to find that kind of closing speed from any other D from here on out.

ken725

October 23rd, 2012 at 12:59 PM ^

I think spartan over preparation is a real thing. The players and coaches might say otherwise, but playing Michigan is like the Super Bowl to them.

johnvand

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:01 PM ^

 

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY AUDIBLE TO A GALLON QUICK PASS.

Holy shit, if you quick pass that to Gallon, he has one man to beat on his way to paydirt.  I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

 

johnvand

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:22 PM ^

Yeah, my reasoning:

  1. Gallon is fast and making one man miss is, like, gonna happen.
  2. That guy covering him is 6 yards off him.
  3. He beats that guy, and there's little chance anybody else gets there fast enough to do anything.

Ideally, it'd be a bubble to the slot and the outside WR would block the only guy out there while the slot goes lololololol all the way home.  But we're lining out best slot up on the outside, and our best piano playing WR in the slot on this play.

markusr2007

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:03 PM ^

with me. Remind me of our now infamous DeBordian era, where Michigan fielded teams with far superior offensive talent at the OL and skilled positions, and also fielded very strong defenses.  But we'd play it safe and defeat middling Iowa and Northwestern teams 20-6 and Northwestern 17-3 in Michigan Stadium.

As a fan, you just knew Michigan could have blown these teams out of the stadium decisively 38-7 or 42-3 had we not called quick hitch throws to the flat or shuffled the fullback playside pre-snap on a telegraphed 38 belly pass, but the OC is "playing it safe" and "a win is a win!". Then when Michigan matches up vs. an Ohio State, an Oregon or a USC in a bowl game, they pull our pants down to our ankles.  

Frustrating? Yes, but....ta da!

The fakes performed by quarterbacks and running backs are very important  The motion pre-snap is important too. There just have to be counters (pl.) off of these formations and plays (from fakes and motions) to commit the defense, reduce tendencies and create more scenarios to defend. Otherwise it's a pointless waste of effort.

Borges is not Debord, but 7-13 and 12-10 sure as hell reminds me of DeBord.

 

MosherJordan

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:08 PM ^

I love the absolve Denard at all costs crowd. All they could do after the Alabama and ND games was scream about how we should run the ball more, and how Denard, in particular, should be the one carrying the rock. Then when you get exactly what you want, and minus one busted play in 3 years of executing Denard contain aside, it didn't work. Yet, you somehow think it's the OC's fault for not disguising our intentions better, even though MSU owned Denard even when RR was running the offense. If you run 75% of the time, it's inevitable that it becomes a little predictable.

"I don't know, act casual, but just don't LOOK like your trying to act casual."

mpbear14

October 23rd, 2012 at 1:13 PM ^

I dont' know if it's absolve Denard Crowd or Al Borges is no Rich Rod crowd when it comes to calling plays.  Maybe a combination of both.

At least that's the vibe I get when reading comments on this site. 

If Al Borges is this predictable when Shane Morris is a Sophomore, I'll be all over the guy.  Believe me.  I just doubt he he will.