Tuesday Presser Transcript 9-4-12: Al Borges Comment Count

Heiko September 4th, 2012 at 6:47 PM

Al Borges


MGoQuestion: If you had to play Alabama again, what parts of the game plan would you keep that worked well Saturday? What parts would you want to change?

“Very little would I change. Very little. Almost none. But that’s probably harder to grasp because of the way we executed. The game plan didn’t look very effective, but the whole thing was geared to if they loaded the box up, we were going to throw the ball. If they left the box light, we were going to run it. We ran the ball into a light box 12 times and had plus-four runs three times out of the 12. And we hit two out of 10 shots down the field. So the other alternative is to plus-one run with the quarterback. We did some of that, too, but they weren’t going to let you do that. As much as you wanted to give that a shot, that wasn’t going to happen. No one’s done that to them. Look at the numbers in the past. No one’s done that to them.”

(After the jump, Borges answers questions about Denard, Denard, Devin, Denard, and Air Force but does not answer a question about bubble screens.)

Is there any way counter a defense that doesn’t allow Denard to run?

“Efficiency is a counter. Efficiency is blocking, making plays with you have opportunities to make plays, making the right reads, making the catch when it’s there, and then making a couple of exceptional plays. That’s what they did. They made a couple of exceptional plays. Never in my life have I seen a corner knock a guy out of bounds, run back and intercept a fade. In 37 years of coaching, I’ve never seen that happen. But that one corner was a really good player. Did some nice things. But that being said, there was enough opportunity there to where you could get some first downs, move the ball, and keep the defense off the field. That was our goal. Beating Alabama and the way in the past that I’ve coached against them is you get into a fist fight. You play a close game -- they play great defense, so you have to hold onto the ball, not make mistakes, and hope you can punch it out and have one more point than they do at the end. That’s how you beat that team. Nobody lights the scoreboard up against them. You look at the numbers, that’s just not going to happen. That’s how you go about it. We were not efficient enough to do that. That’s pretty much it.”

Was it a preparation thing or was Alabama just that good?

“I don’t know. I don’t want to believe it’s a preparation thing. Our kids were ready to play the game, and we certainly worked our tails off to get them a plan that we thought was good. But their team, you have to understand, there’s very little margin of error with them. You can’t make mistakes and recover from them. They’re going to take advantage of your mistakes. They feed on your inefficiency. That’ll kill you.”

Was there a point during the game where you felt like you needed to rip the playbook up and just see what would work?

“No. No. Nope. No. Not at all. No. We stuck with the plan the whole game. We kept doing what we were doing. We tried some different things after a while because we weren’t running into the six-man box very well. We tried a few quarterback runs, but that wasn’t very effective. The whole plan was set up that we could exploit a loaded box or run into a soft box. We did neither. Maybe later in the season, if we’re a little more well oiled, we might play a little better, but we just weren’t in this game.”

How much will Devin learn from this game in terms of plays he almost made?

“Oh I think Devin’s going to really be a good player there. He’ll learn a ton. He’s still a work in progress at the position. Particularly in a game like that, where you’re facing a really really good press man team, where you know you need to get off the jam, you have to get down the field, you have to work your way open a lot of time, that’s baptism by fire playing them the first game when you’ve never played wide receiver before. But he’s going to be a really good player out there. I really believe that.”

How does Fitz’s availability change things for you this Saturday?

“We have another back, you know? We’ll see how it goes during the week, but it’s good to have him back. We’ll see how we want to plan that. But he has been working with us. It isn’t like he hasn’t. He’s been on top of the stuff pretty good.”

Do you anticipate him starting?

“We’re not going to make a decision on that yet.”

When did you make the decision to start Elliott Mealer at center?

“... And he plays pretty good. Him and Taylor Lewan played pretty good. Elliott was doing the best job of snapping the ball back. Ricky, who’s really good at -- the profile of center is perfect for Ricky, but we were struggling with some of the snaps, and Elliott was getting them back there, so we figured, what the heck, let’s get the guy that can snap and let’s give Ricky the position he’s played before and is comfortable with -- that part worked out well. One bad snap, which, you know, not good, but that’s why we did it.”

When was that decision made?

“Last week. Yeah. Middle of -- not this past week, but middle of the week before that.”

What did you see out of Rawls against Alabama?

“There wasn’t a lot of room to run a lot of times. He’s still learning the position. Rawls is a lot like Fitz was when we first started coaching Fitz [last] spring. He’s still learning. He runs tough, he runs hard. He’s strong, but he still needs more seasoning at the position, but I think he’s going to be a good back.”

Do you think if you hit one of the big plays early they might have backed off more?

“Yeah. Yeah definitely. You’re not going to hit them all, but if you can hit, you know, half your shots, it makes a big difference in the run game. People just can’t force as fast. You completely change the mindset of the defense when you’re plucking away at them in the passing game. So yeah, I do think that makes a difference. Always has.”

You mentioned that it’s not a given that Toussaint won’t start. Is there an open competition for the job or is this an extension of his punishment?

“No. We’re still going to see how they do. We’re not going to want to put him in and say he’s the starter. I don’t think that’s fair to the other guys. So we’ll go this week and see how everything works out and make a decision -- I’m not sure when, but whenever. ”

Hoke said you had a great practice last night. Do you still sense that there’s confidence going forward?

“Oh yeah. Yeah, I mean, first game, tough opponent -- our kids are resilient. We’ve got some good leaders on this team. It’s a tough way to start for all of us. For the coaches, the players. But, 11 games. If I’m not mistaken, Oregon played LSU last year. Was it the same game?”


“What was the score that game?”

MGoOo!Iknow!: 40-24. (Ed: Actually it was 40-27. My photographic memory got instagrammed on that one.)

“Yeah, it wasn’t even close. How did Oregon do?”

MGoUh…I mean…: Not good?

“How did they do after the game.”


“I think they won 11 games. So it’s not, you know, you don’t chuck it all. You have to be resilient, you have to get back to the basics. I’m never going to say get back to the drawing board, because if you have to get back to the drawing board, you didn’t do a very good job to start with. But get back to what you do best, and onward and upward.”

How do you think Denard will improve from this game?

“Well I think Denard -- the thing about Denard is he has to learn that he doesn’t have to carry the whole thing himself. I think he feels that onus sometimes and as a coach I have to make that clear to him, too. When Denard plays within his game -- run the football well, make good decisions in the passing game, he’s really a great player. Not a good player, but a great player because he has things that other quarterbacks don’t have. But sometimes when you’re losing, and particularly when you’re losing bad -- which hasn’t happened to us too much, we’ve been lucky that way -- you start feeling like you have to get it back in one fell swoop. You know, you put too much pressure on yourself. That’s natural thing for a competitive person. But as long as Denard can understand that he doesn’t have to carry the whole load, I think you’ll see steady improvement.”

Does he need more opportunities to run the ball?

“Well, we’ll play that game by game, but I would not have run Denard Robinson any more than we ran him Saturday. Absolutely not. No. I know a lot of people think that, but no way. That wasn’t going to happen. But in certain games you’re going to run the ball. It’s just like last year. You’ll see certain games he’ll carry it 25 times. You’ll see other games he’ll carry it 10 to 15 times. You can run him 20 times every game, but there’ll be nothing left of him by the end of the season, particularly when you’re playing opponents like that. That’s already been proven.”

Why not run him? Is it the injury factor?

“Well that, and in the Alabama game they weren’t going to let you run him. Look at their numbers, guys. They’re never going to let the quarterback run the football. They play a defense that forces the quarterback to throw the ball. You can run here and there, but if you think you’re going [to run] for 150 yards, it’s not going to happen all the time. But in other games -- in certain games you’ll see him run a lot more.”

How would you assess Denard’s reads? Both he and Hoke were pretty critical about that after the game.

“He did a great job on a couple. We missed a few throws that were really good reads, and we missed two crucial reads that really hurt us. But like anything else, it’s a work in progress. He understands our offense so much better than he did, although I don’t know that it showed as much in this game, but he does. I think you’ll see steady improvement there.”

Was that with the option hand-off to Vincent Smith?

“I don’t think he had a time when he should have pulled the ball when he didn’t … They weren’t going to let him run, period. When we leave the edge free and he’s reading the edge, the guy’s standing there waiting for him every time. So in that regard, I don’t think he missed one of those. ”

When did you notice that Denard was trying to do too much?

“This is more after the fact probably than before. Just in retrospect. You’re trying to troubleshoot some of the problems, you know. I told him the other day, I said, ‘I don’t want you to think you lost the game, although there’ll be people who want to make you believe that.’ We didn’t run the ball. We had a chance to run the ball, and if you want to take the pressure off your quarterback, that’s how you take pressure off your quarterback. In games he’s played real well, we’ve been able to run the ball, but we didn’t. And now it becomes solely based on his ability to throw the ball, and sometimes in not very advantageous positions, like third down and long, which happened several times, too. So we just asked too much of him in terms of how we executed.”

You said you need to get back to the basics of what you do well. What is that?

“Well, running the football. That’s number one. Running the football, being able to play-pass. Being an efficient throwing team. We don’t have to be a great throwing team, but we have to be an efficient throwing team so it’ll complement our run game. That’s when we were good a year ago, and that’s when we’ll be good this year is when we do these things.”

How do you think Roy played?

“Roy didn’t do a bad job, but again, opportunities. We ran 56 plays. So opporutnities for guys to catch a lot of passes when you only run 56 plays, no one’s getting any numbers. I think as you see more and more as the year goes on, you’ll see Roy manifest himself more and more. You’re not going to do it running 56 plays.”

A lot has been made of Denard’s improved mechanics. Did you see that during this game?

“Oh yeah. Other than a couple of -- in terms of getting your feet in the ground. He threw one ball falling back to Jerald Robinson. He did that because the middle of the pocket was pushed so bad that he couldn’t get his feet set. But did you see any balls where he’s throwing the ball up falling backwards? He didn’t really do that in this game. He got his feet set pretty good. His fundamentals are significantly better. Now we just have to shore up every other part of his game.”

When you look at playing an option team from the offensive side of the ball, is it easier to get your team focused because they like to shorten the game in terms of possessions?

“Yeah well what we have to do in a game like this is like we have to do in probably any other game, but more so -- we have to control the ball, try to keep the defense off the field so the clock just doesn’t wind down. I know how option football can be. So we have to be efficient. We need to be more efficient on third down. That was something a year ago that I was -- we dropped off a little at the end, but for the most part we were a good third down team. If you’re a good third down team, you keep the chains moving, you keep the defense off the field, so we have to get better that way. So running the football, converting on third down, those two things are the best thing to beat an option team, because you’ll keep the ball.”

MGoObligatory: So you threw a bubble screen. Two of them.

“I have nothing to say about that.”



September 4th, 2012 at 11:50 PM ^

Yes, loved how Borges compared us to Oregon's score vs. LSU. We have 11 games left.


The rest of the B1G will shut up once we roll through our schedue. They won't be laughing once they know they lost to the team that got beat by Alabama.


September 4th, 2012 at 7:00 PM ^

...I still don't get why the plays that ended up as Vincent Smith running to the outside couldn't have ended up as Denard running to the outside. Let the boy water your plants! (Let the guy who's good at running do the most running.)


September 4th, 2012 at 7:03 PM ^

Coach clarifies that we met Alabama head on and did not have a unique game plan for them. Our guys are being grounded in the fundamentals so as to lay foundation for the future. The result for the Alabama game was predictable. Upside, wins over our B1G opponents will be similarly quantifiable and predictable. That's the Michigan way, same as it always was.

snarling wolverine

September 4th, 2012 at 7:14 PM ^

One thing I've noticed about Denard is that sometimes he seems too amped up at the start of the game and can be very inaccurate, before he settles down.  This seems particularly true for night games, for whatever reason.  

-In the UTL game against ND, he started out something like 2-12, before finishing the game 11-24 for 300+ yards. 

-Against Northwestern, I don't have the breakdown but he was pretty inaccurate in the first half before playing much better in the second (and again, finishing with 300+ through the air).  

-In the Sugar Bowl, too, he was really off-target early on, although he never really got into a rhythm.  

-On Saturday, he started out 5-17, then went 6-9 the rest of the game.  

Maybe in our next night game, we should call more high-percentage throws early on, to help him settle down.  I'd be curious to hear what Borges would have to say about this.


September 4th, 2012 at 7:14 PM ^

Heiko that was hilarious

Also, I'm glad that Borges is still confident in his plan even though it got bombed a bit. Makes me feel a little better about us being fine and Alabama just being that good


September 4th, 2012 at 7:28 PM ^

I've been pretty angry at Borges all weekend, then I sat down to read some of The Essential Smart Football and this passage pretty much spoke to me:

(but be wary of constraint plays against very talented teams - they may be stuffing your core offense not because they are cheating, but instead because they are better than you; the constraint plays then play into their hands.)

Essentially, Bama was better than us at least at stopping our strengths, so we tried to do things that may or may not open up our bread and butter by throwing down the field and things like that. Instead, we were playing into their strengths. 

I'm less mad now. I stll think we needed to see more Denard running plays. Oh well, we played a really good team. They shut us down.


September 4th, 2012 at 8:23 PM ^

He's obviously a good guy, cares about the players and is very patient and open with the questions he receives from the media, unlike many coaches. I disagree (sometimes, including last game) that the way he plans and calls plays with our personnel is the only right way, but that's irrelevant. He seems like the kind of guy, along with all of our coaches, that you'd like your son to play for.


September 4th, 2012 at 7:35 PM ^

 "Never in my life have I seen a corner knock a guy out of bounds, run back and intercept a fade. In 37 years of coaching, I’ve never seen that happen."

In my 27 years of living, I have never seen that either Al.


September 4th, 2012 at 7:37 PM ^

I understand that there's a gameplan, but shouldn't there be adjustments as well? We always hear about how well Saban and his coaching staff make adjustments during the game. Watching that game, I felt like they just gave up at half time.

Red is Blue

September 5th, 2012 at 11:53 AM ^

On Denard running more:


You can run him 20 times every game, but there’ll be nothing left of him by the end of the season, particularly when you’re playing opponents like that.



I really think part of the game plan was to protect Denard and keep him fresh for the rest of the year.  If they could've keep it close w/o Denard running early, I suspect you might have seen more of him running late.  But down 21 after one quarter against a very good team dictates protecting your best player as the odds of coming back were very small.


September 4th, 2012 at 7:40 PM ^

I think Al aquitted himself well. His game plan was to loosen up the run game by throwing. The screens and slants were generally effective. The longer throws didn't work out, but they had to try. A lot of those were necessitated by the down and distance, and even though we were only two of ten, that was the only real success we found. I think Brian's picture pages today kinda confirmed this, but Alabama was forcing the give to Smith as opposed to Denard keeping on the runs. If fitz was playing, it might have been a tougher choice, but if I were Alabama, I would force the ball away from Denard and make Smith beat you all day long too. I think it was really a case of bringing a knife to a gunfight, we just didn't have the weapons to exploit their defense.


September 4th, 2012 at 8:31 PM ^

That's true to an extent, but the short stuff was working ok and even a few throws that weren't were the result of the Alabama guys absolutely blanketing our receivers. There were some bad throws definitely, but in general I don't think Borges was really asking Robinson to do anything he's not capable of.


September 5th, 2012 at 12:58 AM ^

Some of the slants that Denard threw early I thought were really good throws, but the Bama db's just made really good plays.  It probably doesn't help that the receivers are like 5'10".  If that's a wr who's 6'2" 210lbs he might be able to shield the defender and make the catch.

Another throw that I thought was pretty good was to an early throw to Gardner down the sideline.  Unfortunately, Gardner kind of faded to the inside and it was incomplete.


September 4th, 2012 at 8:41 PM ^

You have to trust your QB to throw some, because if you don't, find a new QB.  Also, if Denard was throwing well in practices and scrimmages, and then choked during the game, is that on Borges too?

Alabama has an incredible run D.  If Borges kept running Denard over and over for 2 yards a pop, people would be bitching that we didn't throw it more.  Our coaches obviously watched a lot of film on the opponent, and know the strengths of their players well.  They made a game plan based on those two things.  It didn't work, but that doesn't make it a bad plan.  

Had Denard hit 2 or 3 more of those passes, or had Milliner gone out with an ACL instead of Countess, that game might have been a lot different.  We might not have won, but it would have looked a lot different.


September 4th, 2012 at 7:50 PM ^

Reading that was a bit...odd.  I think strategically, Borges had the right idea against Alabama.  Throw to loosen up the run makes sense in theory against a defense that is very difficult to run against.  However, Denard is not the type of QB that can make that happen.  I know Borges thinks Denard can be that QB, but it seems fairly proven at this point that he can't.  I'm not mad at Borges, just frustrated at the stubbornness and lack of adjustments, like a poster said above.  After getting beaten handily, would Borges really not change anything about the gameplan?

Sten Carlson

September 4th, 2012 at 8:30 PM ^

You're missing the point about execution and efficiency.  The plan was sound, and Denard came out hitting the WR's with crisp and well timed passes, they just didn't execute.  Now you behind the chains, and the defense knows your going to pass, and that is never good.  What adjustments could he have made?  He knew going in that no Michigan player was going to run effectively on Bama's defense because NOBODY runs on their defense.  They make you one dimensional.  The only hope, if you read his comments, is to plunk away at them iwith short passes and force them to soften their defense of the box and then try to get your dynamic runner free.  We didn't execute, so they didn't adjust.  If they don't adjust, he couldn't adjust.  Denard, IMO, did his best and showed marked improvement, especially with his deep passes.

Mark my words, we're going to Denard come out throwing effectively against most other teams.  Michigan's offense will go as far as the WR's allow them to go this year.  Fitz will get off at times, as will Denard on the ground, but only after the pass has been established.

Michael Scarn

September 4th, 2012 at 8:18 PM ^

So you got embarassed in a football game, but you don't think you'd do much differently?  What's that whole thing about the definition of insanity?

I'm trying to cut him some slack this year, what with running a system that is not his, but his stubborness worries me.  I think he might believe in his game plan a little TOO much.  (MSU, Iowa, etc.) I also worry that the defense he practices against don't give him an appropriate look for how to defend Denard because:

1.  We don't have the defensive personnel to effectively defend Denard the way very athletic defenses do.

2.   Even if the scout (or starting) defense schemes like an opponent would, the players have been burned by Denard enough in practice that they're just a half step more hesitant from their practice PTDenardSS.  Sometimes I think Borges assumes that every defense is incredibly scared of Denard.  While they gameplan for him, if you never get him going and break off a big run or two, they're going to come at him aggressively all day until you burn them for it.  I also think Borges sometimes looks at X's and O's and sees the playcall as one way while ignoring that with Denard, sometimes a playcall that puts the ball in his hands even though it shouldn't is going to 

We've seen the blueprint for stopping Denard - load the box, press with the corners.  If Al doesn't make some adjustments and get creative with how to attack that, MSU, OSU, etc. might be ugly.  WOTS is that Kirby Smart took a trip to East Lansing this summer to pick the brains of Dantonio's staff on stopping him.  

You're gorgeous, Al, but when teams line up to stop Denard in the ways that have worked, it's time to maybe rework and rethink your game plan.  

Sten Carlson

September 4th, 2012 at 8:42 PM ^

With all due respect Michael, did you watch the game?  Alabama didn't "come at him aggressively all game" they simply gave him the give read and took their chances with the RB.  Heck, they only had one sack.  Saban knew that blitzing him and allowing him to break containment was dangerous.  Better to keep him in front of you, give him the give read, and play tight pass defense behind.  You cannot "burn them for it" when they won't let you do it.  Yes, the blue print for stopping Denard is loading the box and making him throw -- such is the blue print for stopping any potent rushing attack.  But, Michigan situation is a bit unique as the runner and the passer is the same guy.  As Borges said, the counter to that defensive scheme is efficiency.  Make the short passes, they soften the defense of the box, and then you can try to run a bit.  If Smart went to MSU to talk to Narduzzi, he didn't do anything that Narduzzi did -- MSU came after Denard on nearly every play.

Denard has made the jump he needs to make to punish defenses for schemeing to stop him from running at all costs.  Michigan just didn't execute well enough, and caught so bad breaks, against Bama.

Michael Scarn

September 4th, 2012 at 8:59 PM ^

I was at the game and have rewatched the broadcast since. My point about "com[ing] at him aggressively" didn't refer to simply playcalling.  The point is that if you let a defense get somewhat comfortable by NEVER running him, you never put defenders in the stressful situations that lead to mistakes.  You'll notice that on Denard's few runs, he created something where there was little or nothing, that's what he does.  To say you're not really going to even TRY to let him get loose ignores the special ability that he's shown in the past.  Let him make one guy miss, then suddenly a disciplined defense starts getting out of their assignments.  

And, as far as Denard making strides, I've been a strong proponent of this theory all offseason.  I listened last year when Borges talked about this and have belief that Denard will grow in the system.  But in game, when receivers can't get off jams, catch the ball, or Denard can't make the right reads, eventually practice progress and the reality in game don't match up and you need to adjust.  

You're really comfortable with the fact that the O coordinator who just got completely shut down said he would do almost virtually nothing different if he played that team again?  

Sten Carlson

September 4th, 2012 at 9:13 PM ^

You're really comfortable with the fact that the O coordinator who just got completely shut down said he would do almost virtually nothing different if he played that team again?

I am comfortable with that because the plan was correct, and it was the only plan that was going to give Michigan any chance of success. The OC cannot help the fact that the WR's weren't catching the ball, or that Bama was straight up shoving our guys out of bounds. Execution is the key to success, especially when playing a defense like the one Bama fields. They don't have a weakness to exploit, and they are always going to take away your ability to run the ball, ALWAYS, against EVERYONE! Borges is being honest. He's saying, no doing something different wouldn't have helped, the only thing that would have helped is better execution...FLAWLESS execution. It's armchair OC's that think that there's always another wrinkle that he's got up his sleeve. It's a chess match. We execute, they adjust, we adjust. If you never execute your first stage, which is designed to set up your second stage, going to your second plan isn't going to work. Once Borges set the plan to pass in motion, he had to stick with it because running into that defense was not going to work.

Michael Scarn

September 4th, 2012 at 9:29 PM ^

So, I have a plan.  The plan isn't working, but hey it was my plan so keep running head first into a brick wall?  

At some point, you have to gameplan for your team's strengths as much as the opponent's weaknesses.  Remember how badly the defense got burned by Mattison's NFL zone blitzes early in the year?  He learned from that and made adjustments to things his personnel could do.  Just like you can't expect a safety who isn't Ed Reed to cover all the way across the field like on ND's last TD last year, you can't expect a QB who isn't Peyton Manning to do what Borges wanted.  If you can't execute your gameplan, it's time to find a new gameplan that you can.

Sorry but late in the first half when Michigan lines up in the I and several fans are correctly predicting "play action, sideline route to Gardner," Bama's D is doing the same.  Borges outsmarted himself.  


September 4th, 2012 at 9:58 PM ^

On the flip side, you can't just flick stuff at the wall and see what sticks. We have the benefit of hindsight, but during the game, the decision to abandon the game plan isn't one to take lightly or made easily. At what point do you give up on what's strategically sound just because the execution sucks? Keep in mind, they probably spent all week practicing the plays in the gameplan. If it seems he was a bit to slow to react, I give him the benefit of the doubt and would prefer that over trying things for the sake of trying things in a panic.


September 4th, 2012 at 11:14 PM ^

What does this even mean?  The loss wasn't about game plan it was about talent.  I mean come on, if you're Alabama you see a team that has basically one offensive threat.  Borges did the right thing trying to establish some other threats, had he not, not only would have Denard probably been carried off the field the first half, they would have still lost.

Sten Carlson

September 4th, 2012 at 11:19 PM ^

At some point, you have to gameplan for your team's strengths as much as the opponent's weaknesses.

But what if your opponent doesn't have any "weaknesses" that you can exploit? Further, what if NOBODY has been able to run on your opponent's defense, and running is your strength? Bama's defensive M.O. is to take away what you want to do and make you do what you don't want to do. A precise passing game hasn't been what Michigan has been best at, no doubt about that.

Michigan's only chance was to come out passing, as Borges said. There are only really two choices, you either run or pass. What do you propose Borges should have done. You comments imply that you think there was something he was holding back. Please enlighten us as to what you think Borges should have done that would have changed the game.

Michael Scarn

September 5th, 2012 at 12:13 AM ^

1.  Take the tight end out of the game - you have no good options, your starter got hurt and why allow them to account for someone with another guy in the box?

2.  Get the hell out from under center.

3.  Go 5 wide if need be.  Gardner, Rountree, Jerald Robinson, Gallon, Vincent Smith/Dileo/Whoever.

3.  Move the pocket and give Denard a run/pass option.  Make someone make a decision or a mistake.

4.  Plus-one runs with the quarterback.

5.  Norfleet is clearly dynamic in the space, get him there.  

6.  More misdirection.

7.  He loves him the "deuce" formation or whatever, get creative like he liked too, claimed it averaged over 6 yards/play.

Regardless, I don't think you just go, "screw it, let's make Denard sit in the pocket and hope for a miracle."

And just to be clear, do I think Michigan wins if Borges does this, not really.  But the idea that a coach gets completely shut down like that and doesn't think he would change a thing is scary to me.  He's shown his stubborness before, and one of the things I think that is most important for a coordinator to be successful is the ability to make adjustments.  Maybe they wouldn't have worked, but shit, it's worth a try.  

Gulo Gulo Luscus

September 5th, 2012 at 12:57 AM ^

I've been steering clear of posting anything since Saturday because the threads are so repetitive, but this gives me the opportunity for what I'm sure will be my only post on the entire topic that is the Cowboys Classic.

Admittedly I couldn't possibly have read each of the tens of thousands of comments on the game this week, but I appreciate that you're the first poster I've seen make specific suggestions on what Borges could have done differently rather than just bitch or repeat "Denard run" ad nauseum.  I'm not sure these (or anything else) would have worked, but I also would have liked to see a few wrinkles.  The 5 wide idea in particular strikes me as interesting and could have been incorporated into a short, efficient passing attack that allowed some space for Denard to move.

That said, I support Al and the toughest argument to overcome is that he's making $750k to do the job and has been pretty successful doing it this way.  Doesn't necessarily prove that the knows better than the armchair coaches, but it's a pretty good sign.  I get what you're saying about not doing it differently despite being a disaster on its face.  However, I also respect that he's willing to stand behind the gameplan.  I also think there is some merit to the argument that our offensive performance wasn't that bad relative to other opponents Alabama has faced.  Al's reluctance to do things differently comes off as founded in experience and confidence rather than stubbornness or lack of appropriate hindsight.


September 5th, 2012 at 10:36 AM ^

Maybe some of that would have worked, but you have to keep in mind they aren't a pro team with endless practice time. They probably repped the plays they were going to run in the context of the game plan and didn't have time for a whole lot else. The last thing you want to do against a team like Alabama is trot out something you aren't completely polished at.

Drowning Man

September 5th, 2012 at 9:15 AM ^

was what allowed Gus Malzahn to beat Alabama. 

Dudes matter. We don't have enough dynamic playmakers to beat Alabama straight up, and not every game can be won by scheming. 

I don't think Borges covered himself in glory on Saturday, but he needed Denard to play a great game and for 'Bama to make mistakes. Neither happened.


September 4th, 2012 at 8:24 PM ^

Adjustments?! It was 31-0.  Oh, they/Michigan did score 14 points in the second half, maybe a few "adjustments" were made.  Only so much to adjust against the Jacksonville Jaguars defense.