Tuesday Presser Transcript 10-30-12: Al Borges

Submitted by Heiko on October 30th, 2012 at 4:37 PM



You had to be happy with how you were moving the ball in the first quarter until you got into the red zone …

“Yeah. We got in sync pretty good. We had three drives of ten plays or more. Mix of run and pass was pretty good. I felt like we were starting to really get into sync and it was unfortunate. We’re not doing a good job of finishing drives. That’s our main focus for this week, particularly in the red area. This is not the first time it’s happened.”

Seemed like some plays were there to be made in the red zone, though.

“Yeah. There were some opportunities. There’s some opportunities, but it’s -- we have to run the ball better in the red area, too. I have just found in my experience as a coordinator that the best red zone years we had are the years we were able to rush the football for a touchdown probably about 60% of the time or better. That’ll really improve. It gets increasingly more difficult to throw it down there, obviously, because of the condensed field.”

Did you feel like Russell Bellomy was adequately prepared to be in that situation?

“Oh sure. But you can’t totally simulate that situation. That’s a tough situation. He knows the game plan and you teach him all those things, but it’s baptism by fire to jump into the situation. You’re on the road. You’re behind. You have a lot of things going on there. But in terms of his mental and physical preparation, he was certainly adequately prepared.”

Was the whole playbook open, or did you have to dial back when he went in or when things weren’t working?

“Well, when I say the whole playbook’s open, the whole playbook is open, but our approach is a little different when he’s in there. He’s not a runner like Denard, so you have to take a little different approach with him in there, but it wasn’t a heck of a lot different in terms of our thinking.”

What do you do moving forward to help him?

“First of all, you correct the mistakes. That’s the number one, so he understands -- he had some tough breaks now. He had a freak interception. I still haven’t figured that play out, and I’ve watched it several times. Another time the interception was when he got hit on a double move. The guy was open. And the third one was a bad decision but those are tough breaks, okay. But we need to correct the mistakes. Make sure he understands that an incomplete pass isn’t a disaster, and once you get to that point -- because he’s a smart kid and he digests what you tell him quickly. And as he gains more experience you’ll see a better quarterback. That’s really the approach. You can’t freak out, although you have to make sure he understands the importance of every decision he makes.”

Bellomy’s footwork?

“I didn’t [see] a lot of footwork flaws on Russell. He had a couple errant throws, and I think that was based on a little bit of footwork where he overstrided a couple times and the ball sailed on him, but it wasn’t like he was getting fidgety. He got sacked a couple times where he had to move in the pocket a little left, a little right. He actually stayed in his profile pretty good, make a couple good throws. All that stuff is things you’ll see will iron itself out as he plays more and more. He’s a very coachable kid.”

Hoke said Gardner was not considered at all?

“Yeah. He hasn’t taken a rep at quarterback in a long time. That would not be a smart move.”

What do you do differently when Bellomy is in the game? The offense seems to be so geared towards Denard’s strengths …

“Yeah. You just don’t do as much of that, but you still do that. Russ can run. Russ is not a wood man back there. He can actually get out of the way. So we just don’t do quite as much of that.”

Is it fair to say Bellomy wasn’t recruited to play this system?

“Well. Yes and no. He was recruited by other schools to run this system. He is capable of running this system now. You know the direction we’re going. We’ve made that clear, but there are certain things within our system he’s very capable of doing still.”

MGoQuestion: What was the conversation like between you and coach Hecklinski after the game regarding the receivers and their route running and ability to catch the ball?

“Well we have to do a better job of catching the ball. That’s number one. We haven’t made as many plays as we’d like to make. That’s one issue. That helps, you know, because -- the two things I think if I were to put my finger on them, the most difficult thing for Russ was we weren’t running the ball well and number two we dropped a couple of balls. That’s not good. That puts you in some bad down and distances. You see what happens where that wasn’t happening near as much in the first half with Denard in there. So that’s one thing, but we have to make some of the routine plays and help him out. We have to still improve our route-running and all those things. We go over every single play of every single game. We go over every single play every single practice. Everything that is done is critiqued. Talked about. The message is sent to the player.”

MGoFollowup: Is there a discrepancy between how they perform in practice and how they perform during the game?

“Sometimes there is. Sometimes there isn’t. I mean, the picture in a game is sometimes a little different than the picture in practice, not to mention magnifying the pressure of having to perform in those circumstances. I mean, press corner is a press corner. You have certain adjustments against a press corner. You have to run your route accordingly. You got corners off, you play inside, you have a certain way of running your route whether it’s practice or whatever. You just have to respond when it comes to it.”

The long pass to Roy Roundtree early?

“It was just too hard for me to tell. I don’t know, you know. I was just getting ready to call the next play. I was getting fired up. They overturned it. That’s officiating. They give you some and they take some.”

What did you see on Vincent Smith’s play that ended in an interception?

“I’m telling you to this day I still don’t know what happened on that play. I don’t know what happened. I haven’t heard anybody explain it to make me understand it. I mean, I’ve been coaching a long time. I don’t even remember saying that on any play. I don’t know what happened.”

What was the last time Devin took a snap at quarterback?

“I don’t know. It’s been a while. I shouldn’t say that. That’s not true. We’ve put him in a couple times, but I can’t put my finger on exactly when -- it’s probably been a couple of weeks. It hasn’t been since two-a-days or since we switched him, he hasn’t played at quarterback. [Ed: This last part was said very quickly, so I may have made a mistake in the transcription, but I’m pretty sure that’s what he said.]”

What made you come to the decision that you wanted him to make the full time switch?

“Because we wanted him to play wide receiver.”

So now that he’s going back to quarterback, how much do you balance that now?

“Well, we have to look at the reps and see where we can fit him. We see how the health of our quarterbacks holds up. But he’s got to do it now, because we don’t know what’s going to happen. Denard’s going to be okay, but who knows what’s going to happen the next snap? You have to find a way to balance whether you like it or not. I would prefer to keep it the way it is, but we’re just not afforded that luxury right now.”

Do you feel like you were playing with fire a little bit not repping Devin at quarterback?

“No, because how can you? It can’t be done. I’d do it in a minute if I thought you could do it. You can’t rep three quarterbacks and prepare him to play wide receiver, too. That’s impossible. There’s not enough plays in practice. You have to make a decision for how he’s going to help your team the most and go from there.”

Do you renew any cautionary advice to Denard about sliding and running out of bounds? It looked like he could have just run out of bounds on the play where he got hurt.

“Yeah, that was a weird one, too, because I don’t think it was a contact deal. I don’t know if he could have gotten out of bounds or not. He was trying to get as many yards as he can. It was weird. It wasn’t a contact injury, so … no. There’s times I look back on the play and say, ‘Get out of bounds.’ But that wasn’t one where I’d say he could have avoided that. If they had hit him and it had been an injury, then I might have a better case to say that, but I don’t think they did. I don’t think the injury was a result of contact.”

Hoke says Fitz has been “running hard,” but the ground game hasn’t been as productive as you’d like it to be. Where do you think the issue is?

“That’s one of them. Without a doubt. And because we are a running team, when we don’t run well we don’t play well. That’s kind of been the theme since I’ve been here. We’ve got to find a way to improve that against good teams. Against Big Ten teams. Teams that are going to try and take that away from you. Because the problem is if you’re not running the football well, you’re putting too much pressure on your quarterback. That’s at every level. Every level. It’s not just our level. It’s every level, pro football. When the team can’t run the ball, as good the passers those guys have, they generally render themselves ineffective eventually. You may get away with it in a game. You may get away with it in another game. Eventually it shows up.”

Can some of your issues be attributed to lack of depth, particularly on the offensive line?

“A little bit. A little bit. It’s attributed to so many factors. And again, I know the media, everybody always wants to blame it on one thing -- the depth, the quarterback, the playcalling, whatever it is. I heard Bill Parcells say this years ago. It’s never one thing. It’s always a bunch of things. As you go through, if you critique the tape and a game and you look at the playcalling, you look at the blocking, it bears it out … It seldom is the same guy making the error time and time again. I won’t say it never happens, but it’s usually a combination of issues that prevents you from succeeding, just as it’s usually a combination of issues that helps you when you do succeed. Depth, one issue. Not the only issue.”

Would you say it’s more the line or the backs?

“Again, I’m going to say the same thing, I think it’s a combination of everything. If I said that, that would be talking out of both sides of my mouth. There’s times it’s the line, and there’s times it’s the back. There’s times it’s the quarterback, and there’s times it’s the wide receiver. If you critique the tape, you’ll see. What I do, I go through every tape and I look at the play-kill charts. Why did the play not succeed? Who is responsible for the lack of the play? That’s what a coordinator has to do. And I’m part of that, now. Bad calls. Dropped passes. Missed blocks. Errant throws. Blah blah blah blah blah. It tells me, when we don’t play well and you’re asking all these questions, every number shows up on that chart at one time or another. It’s usually not one guy, but ten of them. It’s usually a combination of poor play.”

Rawls didn’t play again. Is he not at the point where he can really contribute?

“Well, again, I say it every week and I’ll say it again. We’re always looking for opportunities to get him in the game. Again it was just another one where we didn’t see it yet. We’ll play that game without commitment because I commit to nothing.”

When you don’t have a dynamic runner at quarterback, does that take away from what your running back can do?

“It can limit the quarterback run, but it doesn’t necessarily limit the running back. As long as somebody’s rushing the football, I said this in the past, it’s fine. It doesn’t matter that the quarterback’s gaining 200 yards. If you’re rushing the ball -- and our quarterback is a big part of running game. Just like in the old days in the wishbone, the quarterback is a big part of the running game. But when you’re not rushing at all, and that’s what happened, particularly in the second half of the game, now you got problems. You have to find a way to get somebody some yards somewhere for all the reasons I mentioned earlier.”

Have you been able to get a sense of the freshman offensive linemen?

“I think we got some really good young players that I think are going to make significant contributions before it’s all said and done, but freshmen are freshmen. A lot of times they just need some time to mature and learn your system and such, but I really like the kids we recruited.”

In retrospect, do you wish you would have burned some of their redshirts to give you more depth?

“No. No. No way. We went about it the way we should have gone about it.”

How was Russell after the game?

“He was okay. He was disappointed just like a couple weeks ago Denard was disappointed. But Russ is a composed kid for the most part. I’ve talked to him on the phone. He can tell you what’s going on. I never got the impression that he was shaken, you know. He’s just a guy who has to understand his position. You have to work out the stuff. Certain things in playing quarterback are game-specific. You can coach him all you want on the practice field. Talk about all the reads. Talk about the footwork. Talk about the toughness. Talk about the pocket presence. Talk about all the things going on. But until you get into the game and you see the bullets fly and you get hit a few times -- because we don’t hit our quarterbacks in practice, and that’s one thing that doesn’t happen at any other position now … no other position is not hit during the week -- and all of a sudden now, you’re live. Things are happening that haven’t happened to you, and you have to learn from those experiences. You’ll never, as good as you think some of the greatest college quarterbacks coming out of college are, they get into the pros -- and some of them are going through it now -- they are learning that it is a different game, a different scenario. A different dynamic once the lights go on.”

Brady said that Devin would have gone in only if Russell had gotten injured. Is that how you approached it?

“Our hand would have been forced, yeah.”

Will you take the same approach for the upcoming game?

“Well, we’re kind of playing this game -- we’re going to see. Denard’s going to play, but again you don’t know because of the injury, so we kind of have to prepare for any eventuality and we’re going to kind of compete for the backup if you will and see how that goes and go from there.”



October 30th, 2012 at 4:44 PM ^

It's concerning to hear Borges say Bellomy was adequately prepared... And the rest of the offense once Denard went down for that matter.  I wish someone had asked Al how exactly it was that Bellomy or anyone was prepared for the MSU inspired, Nebraska blitz package.

Al, please set the "prepared" bar just a tad higher.  This is Michigan.


October 30th, 2012 at 4:52 PM ^

I guess if he says "no", then he has to answer why. If he just says he was, then he can spin it a bit about being on the road, etc. Either way, I at least expect some level of competency at the position. 


October 30th, 2012 at 4:53 PM ^

Yeah, just throw your Freshman QB under the bus to the media, that's the right response. He does set the bar higher, I guarantee that, but he's not going to say, "Bellomy stunk out there and wasn't ready for a game like this." To say what you seem to want him to say would be bad coaching, plain and simple.

Blue in Yarmouth

October 31st, 2012 at 8:43 AM ^

I don't think saying a player wasn't prepared throws him under the bus, I think it throws a coach under the bus and in this case that coach would be.....Al Borges himself. It's the coaches job to prepare a kid to play and the coach failed our backup QB miserably IMHE. The kid was not prepared, but it wasn't his fault, he just looked lost, and that is down to coaching.


October 30th, 2012 at 4:55 PM ^

He could have looked like Joe Montana in practice all season for all we know, but freshman thrown into that situation are inherently unpredictable.Unfortunately for us, he looked a bit like a deer in headlights. Hopefully now that he's got that under his belt, the next time he'll handle it better. Maybe not. I really doubt the coaches would switch the only other viable QB on the roster to WR if Bellomy didn't look solid in practice.


October 30th, 2012 at 4:57 PM ^

Would you have been happier if he said that Bellomy was as prepared as a redshirt freshman getting his first real test against an aggressive defense on the road in a hostile environment replacing one of the most dynamic players in college football history could be expected to be.


October 30th, 2012 at 5:43 PM ^

Borges makes the point that QBs are not hit in practice. They are the only position who are not hit in practice. So part of the adjustment that Bellomy had to make was to the intensity and getting hit. As Borges said Bellomy will get better as he plays more. Also it's pretty clear that Devin will be getting QB snaps this week, because the coaching staff has to view Denard as more fragile than  prior to Saturday's game.

IMHO people should consider that the team does not have endless depth and as a result the coaching staff is forced to gamble. Sometimes the gambles pay off, sometimes they bite you.

Losing to Nebraska was tough. Unless they lose we no longer control our destiny. But that is yesterday, the only question on the table is how to move foward. 


October 30th, 2012 at 7:02 PM ^

Nebraska didn't blitz at all when Denard was in. The announcers pointed out the safe defense they were playing time and time again. MSU blitzes Denard to disrupt him. After Denard went down, and Nebraska blitzed like crazy, because it was against a back-up freshman quarterback. Like they'd like to do with any QB that they're not worried about going 99 on them with his feet. The only similarity it had to what MSU has done is that it had the word "blitz" in it.


October 31st, 2012 at 7:38 AM ^

I think that's Borges' way of saying he did what he could.  He can't hit his backup QB in practice.  He can't simulate real-time game pressure.  He can't dictate what Nebraska's going to do, and he can't get Bellomy to grow Denard's legs.  All Bellomy can do is learn the playbook, attend the meetings and get some reps.

Michigan has one playbook because it's not all about the QB.  The receivers, the linemen, they can absorb only so much.  So Bellomy was going to run Denard's plays no matter what.  The problem (aside from the obvious drop in speed) is that his pace is slightly different, and I think that resulted in a number of drops.  QB-receiver timing is really hard to establish.  Some really good guys can just go out there and adjust, but I'm talking Tom Brady good (like how he took over Bledsoe's Patriots way back in '01).  I wouldn't expect Bellomy to make that sort of adjustment on the fly.

The starting QB going down is the worst-case scenario for ANY team.  As for Devin, Michigan's talent depth is so thin that as long as Denard was healthy it was madness to keep him on the bench.  As bad as he is, without him we don't have a deep threat at all, and the running game is pressured already.  I'd LIKE to keep a stable of gazelles on the bench "just in case", but Michigan so obviously does not have that luxury.


October 30th, 2012 at 5:22 PM ^

So have we at least put the "Gardner should have played" thing to bed?

I don't mean "Gardner should have been taking reps", I mean "Gardner, having not played QB in weeks, should have been put in at QB".


October 30th, 2012 at 6:24 PM ^

What are people like me supposed to do, who like to swoop in and go off half cocked with our mixed metaphors and mis-informed opinions? Don't put it to bed.  Drag it's sleepy ass out of bed, pour coffee down its throat, and parade it around in three or four different threads for all to see. Maybe even start a new thread about it! This is the internets, not some prissy  Victorian salon!


October 31st, 2012 at 9:09 AM ^

I support Bellomy, and the decision to put him in.  You have no choice there.  But after several ineffective drives, i don't see what's wrong with giving another look.  Even if it's just to put Devin in as a distraction for a couple of reps.  I'm not going to parade and complain about it, just don't necessarily agree.  There was a point during the game where you just realized, there is no chance we're moving the ball at all.


October 31st, 2012 at 9:53 AM ^

 Yea If your back up QB goes 0-9 with a pick and you're calling simple plays. Say what you want about Borges play calling but he was feeding Bellomy some easy passes he just missed badly on. Atleast Devin gives you the threat of taking off and breaking a big run. Russel was just in over his head. All I hope is that he is more prepared to step in and play after that game. Sometimes it takes getting Embarrassed on national television to make sure you're never put in that situation again


October 31st, 2012 at 11:10 AM ^

But here's the thing: Borges can't uncall those plays that got him 0/10 (of which we can acknowledge there were at least 3 drops, and 1 pick that was of the flukiest possible nature, right? Not saying he played well, by any means, but he wasn't alone). Those are done. Replacing him doesn't undo 0/10.

The question isn't "how can I change 0/10", its "who is best from here forward, past be damned?". You say Gardner couldn't do worse than 0/10 - odds were Bellomy couldn't replicate it either (and he didn't, he was 3-6 for 38 yards after that).

The coaches couldn't go back in time and erase 0/10. They felt that playing a guy who had prepared for the position and knew the gameplan was better than a guy that hadn't thrown a practice pass in a month. It's not an absurd stance. I think a better question than "Why not Gardner" is "Why not Jack Kennedy?". At least Kennedy still has some muscle memory of throwing a football.

Can we also acknowledge that Bellomy was not aided by the following externalities outside of his control:

-An offense designed around a QB with a talent profile dissimilar to his own

-An OL that could not keep him safe

-A running game incapable of keeping the defense off his ass

-A dropsy-plagued receiving corps


October 31st, 2012 at 1:17 PM ^

Three of your four "externalities" would have been less of a factor with Gardner at QB:

- Offense designed around QB with talent profile more similar to Denard

- OL deficiencies not as much of a problem with a more mobile QB who is harder to get to and tackle than Bellomy

- A running game that can continue to function more like it would with Denard in the game, with much of the playbook remaining intact

And no, I'm not buying that Gardner has forgotten how to throw a football.  Instead, it seems to be Borges who has forgotten how long it's been since he had Gardner try to throw a football in practice.  How convenient.


October 31st, 2012 at 1:51 PM ^

Where did I say that?  First of all, since Borges doesn't seem to know how much or how recently Gardner has practiced at QB, I'm not sure how you know that he hasn't been practicing at QB.  (One thing's for sure -- Borges went out of his way to correct his own misstatement that Gardner hadn't practiced at QB in "a while.")  Second, my actual point was that even a rusty Gardner at QB could well have been better than what we were getting from Bellomy -- partly because of the "externalities" stacked up against Bellomy, as you so ably identified them.

Finally, while it certainly would have been preferable if Gardner had gotten more, or more recent, practice reps at QB -- yes, amazingly, I do agree with you that practice reps are "important" -- his coach evidently decided not to give him those reps.  So, what we're actually talking about (I thought) is whether, despite Gardner's rustiness (due to coaching judgment/risk-taking/error, take your pick), he still would have given Michigan a better chance to win that game.  From watching the first couple of series with Bellomy, I concluded that Michigan had no shot to win the game.  If you want me to "prove" that things would have been different with a rusty Gardner -- sorry, I can't, but I believe they might have been.


October 31st, 2012 at 1:55 PM ^

I don't recall Borges ever saying Gardner had practiced every week. Hoke vaguely said that Gardner "had been practicing". I could be wrong.

Look, we fundamentally disagree on the viability of an unprepared Quarterback. I have Borges, Brian, the people at Rivals, and most sensible people on my side. I guess you have blinding rage?

We're clearly not bridging this chasm. Hoke has made it abundantly clear that if you don't practice, you don't play. Gardner didn't practice at QB, he wasn't going to play. It's that simple.


October 31st, 2012 at 2:24 PM ^

We simply don't know how "unprepared" Gardner was.  Yes, Borges didn't say Gardner had "practiced every week" at QB -- if you read this very post, he didn't seem to know how much or how recently Gardner had practiced at QB.  The information you believe is so crucial is simply not available, and all we're left with is Borges declaring Gardner wasn't an option -- a convenient after-the-fact assertion from someone who didn't use that option.

If I'm offering "blinding rage" (thanks for that nuanced critique), what are you offering?  Hoke's rule that "if you don't practice, you don't play"?  OK, then, whatever the coach says -- who am I to question.  If I had Borges on my side, I'm not sure I'd be bragging about it.


October 30th, 2012 at 5:43 PM ^

Me too...

But this hybrid offense is getting shown the door after this season.   There will be no "adapting" to Devin's skill sets next year.  He is not the type of QB this staff will be recruiting each year.

The training wheels have to come off at some point.  It's going to be a long season but thankfully the B1G is garbage so we'll still win 8-9 games because of our defense.

I also am not as down on Bellomy as most...


October 30th, 2012 at 5:50 PM ^

Are you completely insane? You realize that if they made the switch to WR permanent, the coaches would be commiting to carrying exactly one (!!!!!) scholarship QB through Spring practice.

They would be making the uninformed decision that not only is Russell Bellomy ready to start, but that untested, unpracticed, yet-to-arrice-on-campus, true-freshman Shane Morris was ready to be the #2 QB! That is insane!

There is absolutly no way DG is primarily a receiver next year. It  was risky when they did it this year, it would be downright stupid next year.


October 30th, 2012 at 6:02 PM ^

Devin's role next year will be the same as this year.  3rd string behind Bellomy and Morris.  If Bellomy goes down, then Devin will start taking 10% of the snaps in practice as the back up (like Bellomy does now) and Morris will be the starter.

Obviously, things could change, but as of now, that is the plan.  If I hear anything different, I'll be the first to come on here and call myself out for being wrong and let you know.   Would I be surprised if it was a true open competition?  No.  But I'm not counting on it.

Please remember, you saw Bellomy running Denard's offense on Saturday.  Because Michigan has 2 qb's with 2 different skill sets, they have two play books.   MIchigan spent all week gameplanning for Nebraska using Denard's play book assuming Denard would not miss 3/4ths the game. 

You did not see what Bellomy will look like with weeks of preparation taking 90% of the snaps in practice with a gameplan to his strengths.   To draw any conclusion on Bellomy now, just shows your ignorance on how a College Football Team prepares each weak, specifically this Michigan team with a QB Centric offense becuase of Denard's unique skill set. 

Viturally Borges had 2 choices against Nebraska.  Have the entire team switch gears and go away from what they practiced all week to fit Bellomy or have Bellomy try to execute the game plan the other 10 players practiced all week.

It is what it is.



October 30th, 2012 at 6:22 PM ^

My issue isn't with Bellomy winning the job, I think that's certainly possible. What shouldn't be possible is a coaching staff foregoing a senior backup QB in favor of a true freshman who will not practice with the team until fall camp.

Gardner has to be a QB through fall camp, even if he is the #2. If Morris plays well through camp, they might move him back, but there is just no way that they commit to him at WR before then.

Plus it would be a remarkably stupid idea to risk Morris's RS year to get one year of WR play out Gardner. Though this staff has played a little fast and lose with redshirts so I suppose it's possible.


October 30th, 2012 at 7:06 PM ^

I agree with you and I suspect Devin does play some QB in the spring, much like this year but unless he just flat out dominates Bellomy, he isn't getting the starting nod and if he isn't starting, you still need him on the field. 

Please also remember, towards the end of the year last year, in practice, Bellomy was getting as many reps as Devin if not more.   Realistically, I don't see Devin beating out Bellomy after taking a year off.  The hybrid plays in the spring will be scrapped.  It's sink or swim with the WCO...  That is not Devin's strong suit. 

Devin's best shot at the NFL is at WR.  


October 30th, 2012 at 8:13 PM ^

I agree, he'll split the reps with Bellomy in the spring, and get reps at WR too (of which he'll need far less since it's less complex, and he played it all fall).  If DG is much better than Bellomy, he'll head into fall camp at QB, but only then.  If they are at all comparable, my guess is DG goes right back to WR full time, unless Shane just can't figure anything out. 

Devin will want to see the field in his senior year, so unless he's the best QB we have, he'll play WR.  He'll also probably realize that if he's not a star QB by next fall, he won't be an NFL QB, and his best shot at pro football is catching footballs, not throwing them.


October 31st, 2012 at 12:53 AM ^

Let's also please not forget this: who would be catching DG's passes if he goes back to QB? Unless Darboh or Chesson suddenly takes a massive leap toward being legit threats at WR, I'm a much bigger fan of coaching DG up as a WR and giving Russ someone to throw it up to.

This is a touchy issue for this coaching staff, and as someone pointed out, it's largely a gamble. I think it's pretty clear that Borges et al are ready to scrap this hybrid spread thing and move on at the first opportunity to their desired WCO. Sure, Devin will get reps in the spring and a chance to compete, but there's no way they will build an offense around him like they have denard, thus delaying the transition. I know people will be sad to see the spread go away, but  it's what is happening, so prepare yourselves. 

Hopefully Morris is a fast learner and lives up to the hype, but we definitely can't count on that.  


October 30th, 2012 at 7:35 PM ^

He'll get his shot this spring but there will be no more "spread" in the offense.  He will have to  beat out Bellomy running the WCO.  He took a year off from playing QB and it wasn't like he was elite at QB before that.  Poor Mechanics, footwork, decision making.  He is fast...but that means little after this year...

I'll say this, if he does beat out Bellomy, that means Devin put some serious serious time at the position in the off-season.  Learning the play book and working on his mechanics. (hard to do when you can only work with a coach for a few weeks)  Things he did not do 2 sprigns ago. 

My money is on Bellomy (please see my above post on why I'm not as down on Bellomy as most)


October 31st, 2012 at 10:11 PM ^

Guaranteed conversation Brady, and Al are having this week... Coach " Hey Al, ah, the thing is, ah, uh, the thing we do here is, uhh, ah we don't get into, uh things like that with, uh, the people that uh, ask us about, um, ah things, and stuff." Al " Ok Brady, could you pass the potatoes?"


October 30th, 2012 at 5:25 PM ^


Hoke said Gardner was not considered at all?

“Yeah. He hasn’t taken a rep at quarterback in a long time. That would not be a smart move.”



Really? "Not a smart move?" I mean, at a certain point (mid way through the 3d quarter), the game was obviously lost. Wasn't it worth a shot? I'd have put one-handed-Denard back in the game. Or run the whole thing as a wildcat. Or anything to move the ball forward.


October 30th, 2012 at 5:33 PM ^

...knowing what we know now, Bellomy was as good as it was going to get.  You can't risk hurting Denard further. Michigan doesn't, to my knowledge, have a wildcat package. And DG wouldn't have known what to do.  There just wasn't a choice.


October 30th, 2012 at 5:55 PM ^

Do you have any idea how complicated and difficult it is to run an offense? Having fuzzy memories of what you're supposed to be doing is not enough. Not to mention the fact that he wouldn't have gameplanned to face a defense as a QB in weeks. He'd have walked out there, looked at the D, and had no idea what he was seeing.

Putting Gardner out there would have been stupid. It wouldn't have worked, and Bellomy almost certainly gave us the best chance to win. Seriously, we might as well be arguing that the coaches should have put Gallon in at QB.


October 30th, 2012 at 8:28 PM ^

During Braylonfest, down two touchdowns with six and a half minutes left, the coaching staff threw out the offensive game plan and did it old-school style: huddled in a circle, drawing the plays in the dirt.  Apparently the most popular call was "Right-Strong, Braylon Go Deep." 

This would be an example of pulling out all the stops when something else isn't working.  Obviously it has great potential to end disastrously, but I think more people are frustrated that Borges didn't at least try, instead of saying, "Nope, couldn't possibly work" and continuing to bang away at something that demonstrably did not, in fact, work.


October 31st, 2012 at 7:57 AM ^

I'm all for that when the situation calls for it, but a prerequisite is that you have a playmaker on the field, like. . . well, Braylon Edwards.  The dude's a top-five draft pick and a longtime starter in the NFL now.  That's the sort of guy you can rely on to make plays work with pure talent, sure.  Last game, the problem was that Michigan had lost its playmaker.  Its ONLY playmaker, in fact.  As much as I detest a lot of Borges' tendencies, I will agree that this team needs to rely on meticulous execution because it has exactly one playmaker, and he was out for most of last game.  Gardner and Funchess are very raw.  Dileo, Gallon and Roundtree -- I like 'em -- but they can't beat man coverage against even mediocre pass defenses.  Smith is a great blocking RB that can't run in traffic and Fitz is in a funk.  Rawls is a north-south back that doesn't run north-south.  The O-line gives great effort but it's paper-thin and the right side can't establish the run for this run-heavy offense.  We do not have NFL first-round draft picks at ANY skill position.  In fact (depending on how Funchess develops as a blocker) it's entirely possible that our entire two-deep crop of skill-position players will go undrafted.  I mean, we badly miss Junior Hemingway and he was a seventh-rounder FFS.

To reiterate, I like 'em.  I like the effort, and the accountability.  But this is not the sort of offense that can play backyard ball in a pinch.