Who is Al Borges? (Part II - THE MISTAKE)

Submitted by Ron Utah on June 16th, 2013 at 9:38 AM

[Ed-S: This series has now reached the Bump Stage. Part I is here.]

"I have never considered leaving Oregon a mistake," [Borges] says. "I consider going to Cal a mistake."

That is a quote from a November 2004 Seattle Times article about former Bellotti assistants. The article is largely about Borges, and is a pretty good read.

Al Borges left UCLA for a $50,000 raise, a two-year contract, and the opportunity to be the OC for the first D1-A program that gave him a shot as an assistant (1982 season).  Born in Salinas, CA, Cal is pretty close to home for Al and must have had a special place in his heart.  That special place led him down a deep, dark tunnel.

Whatever his reasons, Borges headed back to Cal...but it didn't last long.  Tom Holmoe had been the HC at Cal since 1997.  He had been a pro football player, and had coached under Bill Walsh and George Seifert, winning a superbowl as the DB coach for the 49ers in 1994.  In 1996, he became the DC for Cal under HC Steve Mariucci.  Quite a coaching tree, that.

When Mariucci left for the 49ers in 1997, Holmoe got the HC job.  It appeared to be a perfect match.  But the Bears were bad news, and went 3-8, 5-6, 4-7*, and 3-8 the next four years, and won a total of nine Pac-10 games during that span.  And oh, the asterisk.  It turns out that in 1999 a teacher retroactively added football players to a class to keep them eligible, and the athletic department knew it.  Cal forfeited all four of their wins from the '99 season, got hit with five years probation, and lost nine scholarships over four years.

This was the mess Borges walked into.  This is where you have to wonder if $50,000 is enough.

The schedule was brutal--ranked 4th in SOS--and the team was bad.  Holmoe, a defensive coach, allowed a brutal 39.2 pts/gm (6th worst) and resigned after eight games--all losses.  The offense wasn't much better under Borges:

  Plays % Yards % of Yds Yds/Play
Run 387 47% 1345 35% 3.48
Pass 434 53% 2514 65% 5.79
Total 821   3859   4.70

Those numbers equated to 18.3 pts/gm (#90 nationally) and exactly one win in eleven attempts.  It is notable that the QB that season was third-year starter Kyle Boller, who posted a 110.3 rating and a 49.1% completion rate.  Tedford would turn Boller into a winner in 2002, but Borges was fired with the rest of the Cal staff.

Jobless, Borges was also obviously desperate, since he accepted an offer from Gerry DiNardo to be Indiana's OC in 2002.  Bellotti interviewed Borges for the Oregon OC job, but Borges took the offer from DiNardo, and left the west coast for the first time in his D1-A coaching career.

This is a long way from UCLA

After a stint at Vanderbilt, Gerry Dinardo turned around LSU.  Before DiNardo's hire in 1995, the Tigers had suffered six straight losing seasons and had not been ranked in the AP Poll since 1989.  DiNardo had immediate success, going to a bowl game in his first season where he beat  Michigan State--coached by Nick Saban.  '96 was even better--LSU finished the season ranked #12--and 1997 was magical, beating #1 Florida and thumping Notre Dame (after losing to them during the season) in the Independence Bowl.  But then he sucked ('98-99), and Saban took over.  We know how that ended.

After a year in the XFL as the HC of the Birmingham Thunderbolts, DiNardo took the HC job at Indiana in 2002, and he snapped-up Al Borges.  DiNardo was an offensive-minded coach, having been a QB, and an OC at Colorado (including when they won the National Championship in 1990).  He had been in college football coaching since 1975 when he got his start at the University of Maine.  But, Indiana.

The Hoosiers were bad, and Borges could do nothing about it.  In his first season as OC under DiNardo, Borges led the offense to 21.5 pts/gm (95th nationally) despite a pretty easy schedule (#52 SOS).  Here's the breakdown:

  Plays % Yards % of Yds Yds/Play
Run 427 49% 1413 32% 3.31
Pass 446 51% 3020 68% 6.77
Total 873   4433   5.08

Actually, one could make a good argument that Indiana's passing offense was better than it should have been.  The O-line was bad, and QB Gibran Hamdan--who had the unenviable task of replacing Antwaan Randle-El--spent a good chunk of the season on the turf.  Despite that, the Hoosiers managed over 3,000 passing yards and had two WRs with over 50 catches.  Courtney Roby had 59 recs and 1039 yards.

2003 brought in a new QB.  Matt LoVecchio had transferred from Notre Dame, and had to sit out in 2002.  As it turns out, there's a reason he left ND: he wasn't very good (he had actually transferred after a disastrous performance against Oregon State in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl).  LoVecchio threw 3 TDs and 9 INTs.  No, I did not get that backwards.  The Hoosiers would sink to 14.8 pts/gm and manage only two wins.  Here is the evidence, and it is damning:

  Plays % Yards % of Yds Yds/Play
Run 550 63% 1868 48% 3.40
Pass 328 37% 1998 52% 6.09
Total 878   3866   4.40

I'll go into more statistical analysis in Part III, but this was Borges' most run-heavy offense to date both in terms of percentage of plays and percetage of yards.  I guess that's what you do when your QB throws more INTs than TDs by a 3:1 ratio.  Courtney Roby's amazing-ness wasn't even enough to get the passing offense going, and he did not have a single TD catch (there were only four by anyone).  BenJarvus Green-Ellis was the starting RB, but split carries with two other guys, all of whom averaged over 4 yards/carry.  DiNardo would last one more season at Indiana.  Borges wouldn't stick around for it.

Tuberville, I'm going to mind-trick you into hiring me from Indiana

How that performance gets you a job at Auburn, I'm really not sure.  But that's what happened.  In 2004, Tommy Tuberville had to replace Hugh Nall.  After nearly being replaeced by Bobby Petrino in a secret coup (no joke, this is the SEC, after all), Tuberville had to make some changes, and Borges won the job.  Auburn was coming off a disappointing 8-5 season, and Tuberville was definitely in a win-or-go-home situation.

Well, 2004 was a magical season for the Tigers.  Scoring 32.1 pts/gm (#18 nationally, #1 SEC) in the SEC is a good accomplishment.  Coaching a QB to a 172.9 rating the year after he posted a 132.6?  WOW.  Jason Campbell was a talented player, and Borges seemed to get the best out of him.  Averaging an absurd 10.0 yds/att with a 69.6% completion rate and 20/7 TD/INT, Jason Campbell earned himself a first-round trip to the NFL.  Numbers:

  Plays % Yards % of Yds Yds/Play
Run 541 64% 2435 44% 4.50
Pass 306 36% 3086 56% 10.08
Total 847   5521   6.52

The Tigers went undefeated and beat VaTech in the Sugar Bowl, but that wasn't the National Championship game.  Unbeatens USC and Oklahoma played a boring game in which the Trojans dimantled the Sooners, and Auburn fans will forever bitch (I don't blame them).

Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown split carries and produced a combined 2,078 yards on the ground, and also pulled-in 55 catches for another 465 yards through the air.  The leading WR--Courtney Taylor--had just 43 catches for 737 yards.  It was Borges' most run-heavy offense (beating his 2003 total) by percetage of plays (not yards) and with good reason: he had two of the best RBs in the game.

The famed "Gulf Coast Offense" had the country buzzing about Borges, and his name was being thrown around for head coaching positions, including at San Diege State.  Yes, 2004 truly was a magical season for Auburn and Al.  The magic would never be repeated.

The 2005 Tigers had lost their QB and two starting RBs.  Their 2002 recruiting class had been strong (one 5* and nine 4*), but their fortune had been steadily declining since then, and the '04 class brought just four 4* players and 15 players with 2* or less.  There was still talent at Auburn, but Tuberville wasn't recruiting as well, and the talent was trending downward.

Starting QB Brandon Cox was a four-star recruit and had some skills.  Kenny Irons had transferred from South Carolina after growing frustrated with his role in Lou Holtz's offense, taking his four-star talent to Auburn.  Five-star Ben Obomanu was in his senior season.  And, while the offense took a step back, it wasn't bad at all--32.2 pts/gm actually bested the previous season's average (though the rank dropped to #30, still #1 SEC) and the Tigers went 9-3, with a shocking opening season loss to Georgia Tech, a 3-point squeaker to LSU, and a tough loss to Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl.  Here are the numbers:

  Plays % Yards % of Yds Yds/Play
Run 478 59% 2338 47% 4.89
Pass 338 41% 2589 53% 7.66
Total 816   4927   6.04

This was an extremely successful running game.  In fact, it was a half-yard better per carry than the 2004 version, and Kenny Irons did most of the work, racking-up 1,293 yards and 13 TDs on 256 carries.  Brandon Cox finished with a 132.6 rating, and no receiver had more than 33 catches or 494 yards.  This was a good, balanced offense, but it didn't have Campbell, Williams, and Brown.  It was, for the second consecutive year, the #1 scoring offense in the SEC.  And for his good work without the departed stars, Borges was named the Rivals 2005 OC of the Year.

For whatever reason, things started to head south in 2006.  Certainly, recruiting was part of the problem, as Auburn's 2004 class was pretty thin (but the 2006 class would be very, very good).  Also, the strength of schedule jumped to #22 from #55.  There is no doubt that the O-line play suffered, but that alone doesn't explain a drop to 24.8 pts/gm (#56) when you are returning your starting QB and RB.  Here are the numbers:

  Plays % Yards % of Yds Yds/Play
Run 467 62% 1936 46% 4.15
Pass 281 38% 2245 54% 7.99
Total 748   4181   5.59

Brandon Cox did see his rating rise a bit to 138.7, and passing game improved in yards/att.  But the running game was not as strong, and three RBs got at least 50 carries, including freshman Ben Tate.  Courtney Taylor reprised his role as leading receiver with 54 catches for 704 yards and 2 TDs.

2007 would be Al's last at Auburn.  His fall from grace would include bad QB play (Cox's rating dropped to 116.0, mostly due to a 9/13 TD/INT).  With Kenny Irons gone to the NFL, Ben Tate took over as the lead RB.  Courtney Taylor had also been drafted.  The schedule got even tougher, moving up to #13.  It's worth noting that SOS probably underrates SEC teams, since they beat each other up so badly.  That said, a loss to USF in week two followed by a stunner against unranked Mississippi State were unforgiveable, even though the Tigers upset #4 Florida and beat hated rival Alabama.  Borges would resign before the Chick-Fil-A Bowl victory over Clemson.

  Plays % Yards % of Yds Yds/Play
Run 537 60% 2055 47% 3.83
Pass 356 40% 2317 53% 6.51
Total 893   4372   4.90

The problem for Borges wasn't just the drop in efficiency--the offense scored 24.2 pts/gm (#85)--but also the great defense.  Auburn allowed just 16.9 pts/gm, good for #6 in the country, and their defense kept them in every game save a 25 point loss to Georgia.  The offense had almost 900 plays and sputtered along at just 4.90 yds/play.  That is not good. The ground game had four rushers with over 200 yards, but limped along in yards/carry.  Rodgeriqus Smith led the receivers with 52 catches for 705 yards and 5 TDs, but there was no Robin to his Batman.

In short: Borges probably deserved to be fired.  He wouldn't be hired again until a guy named Brady Hoke called from San Diego State.

Comments

Decatur Jack

June 14th, 2013 at 5:22 PM ^

Borges took the offer from DiNardo, and left California for the first time in his D1-A coaching career.

Didn't Borges previously coach at Boise State and Oregon? Wouldn't that constitute as leaving California?

I guess you could argue that Boise State wasn't yet Div 1-A, but Oregon definitely was.

FreddieMercuryHayes

June 15th, 2013 at 9:05 AM ^

So what I see is an OC that can find no consistency even when he has some talent (Boller, Green-Ellis) and needs Bama like talent to make his O work. Well that doesn't bode well for Borges scheming the team to victory when bad stuff happens. Which is the opposite of Mattison completely.

RadioMuse

June 15th, 2013 at 1:38 PM ^

It seems like Al has real trouble scheming around poor offensive line play.  He seems to be able to coach skill players up and adjust his offense to them reasonably well, but if the battle is being lost in the trenches history shows he has trouble adjusting.  Which cooreponds rather well with what we've seen in his two years here.

Since Michigan has been recruiting among the best offensive line classes in the country for a the last few years, and will probably continue to in terms of quality (if not the quantity we've seen) there's not soo much to worry about.  Every system works better with talent; that's pretty much a given.  At the D1 power-conference level every system other than spread-option (read-based) offenses require traditionally-talented (aka big, strong) football players.

The spread replaces some of the size and strength in favor of speed and agility and replaces some blocking with reads.  It's clever in that it opens up the playing field to smaller, faster players who traditionally had only niche rolls (if you were an OL prospect that would top out at 270ish, but could run a solid 40 and had good agility drills where the hell did you end up in a 'traditional' system - probably a move to defense?). And it's not like the spread-option doesn't work better with better players; see Oregon, 2010 Auburn, or Northwestern's year-on-year improvement as they bring in 4-stars lately...  Spread-option (read option) based offesnses just shift the definition of what is optimal for players.

I suppose you could make the arguement that some coordinators / coaching staggs do a better job of developing players:  see Boise State for quite a run there...  But I would argue that's a complete coaching staff thing, rather than just the OC.  If Borges hasn't had much consistancy in his assistance coaching staffs, that probably explains some of the location-to-location, or even year-to-year variance as well.

But I don't think this diary was meant to summarize Al Borges's career as a success or failure or even to examine his strengths and weaknesses.  So far as I can tell it was about looking at his playcalling and personal adjustments with various teams in various states of "build" to get a sense of what we might be seeing going forward.  With Michigan's recruiting classes, the ceiling looks like a balanced offense that is effecient converting 3rd downs and is among the best in-conference, and perhaps nationally, in scoring.  I'm not complaining.

Ron Utah

June 15th, 2013 at 3:38 PM ^

This diary is not a judgment of Borges, it's just a look at what's he done, where he's been, and some of the influences on his style.

In Part III, I'll try to connect some of the dots that relate to Borges' patterns, successes, and failures, but I'm really just trying to let readers draw their own conclusions when they see the data.

Bill in Birmingham

June 16th, 2013 at 3:09 PM ^

Did you consider the impact Tuberville had on some of the deterioration in the offense? I met Tuberville a couple of times and like him personally. I also think he was a damned good defensive coach. But more than one knowledgeable Auburn fan I know felt that as the talent level on the offensive side deteriorated, he put the cuffs on Borges and played to not lose on offense and win with defense and kicking. As I said, I like Tubs, but think that argument has merit. I know when Borges came to Auburn, they had really underachieved on offense. When he arrived, they got better immediately. The talent curve was exactly the opposite of what he is dealing with now. There he started with great talent which got significantly worse. Here he inherited moderate talent which is getting much better. Personally I am withholding judgment until this season is over.

Decatur Jack

June 16th, 2013 at 11:38 PM ^

I heard this story about Tuberville too. Basically after about three years Tuberville decided "Let's not change what has worked", and when deficiencies started showing up, the general mode of thought was that they would eventually be shaken out, which hand-cuffed Borges from adjusting.

Borges always seemed to work best at previous stops where he arrived and evaluated what worked. This could perhaps explain his early success at Auburn.

Ideally, the offense under Borges could be successful every year if 1) deficiences are kept to a minimum, 2) there's a consistent level of elite talent coming in, or 3) he has a head coach willing to let him tinker and see what works.

I think he has all three at Michigan going forward. We'll know for sure in a few years.

Blue in Seattle

June 15th, 2013 at 10:54 PM ^

who doesn't have a problem scheming around this?  How different would 2009 have been if Molk had played the entire season?

No one can adjust to a defense if your entire offensive team cannot execute enough plays to punish a cheating defense.  As well as Gardner had performed as a QB last year, he still did not have the range of plays perfected as much as Denard had.  A big point in the MGoBlog interview with Borges was his point that three and out doesn't give you any chance to show off even a narror range.  And if the defense has figure out how to shutdown the successful part of a narrow range, there really isn't much you can call with success.

I'm excited for this coming season to see what Borge's system can do, because until next season, he's been playing with other people's resources.  I think it will also be a season of more pass plays than run plays, because the interior offensive line is young.

 

Jon06

June 15th, 2013 at 2:40 PM ^

It's worth noting that SOS probably underrates SEC teams, since they beat each other up so badly.

ESPN is bad for your brain, man.

Ron Utah

June 15th, 2013 at 3:35 PM ^

I'm not going to bow to the SEC god, but it is undeniable that they are currently the best football conference.  Who is better?  A higher level of competition makes it harder to be successful, which I do believe skews the SOS a bit.  I'm not saying all the SEC teams have the toughest schedules in the country, but they do, in general, have the toughest conference schedules.

If I'm wrong, please tell me which conference is tougher.

Jon06

June 16th, 2013 at 1:28 PM ^

They are probably the best football conference. They certainly have 1 or 2 teams per year that deserve to be in the top 5. But the middle and bottom of the conference is not exactly a gauntlet of horror. It's not obvious to me that Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota is an easier run than Tennessee, Arkansas, and Kentucky. Auburn, Ole Miss, and Missouri aren't obviously tougher than Iowa, Purdue, and Northwestern either. Our 8-4 (6-2 B1G) team played a higher-ranked 10-2 (6-2 SEC) team pretty damn evenly in January. I mean, 6 SEC teams had conference records of 6-2 or better last year, while only 4 B1G teams did. So I don't really see the connection between playing in the SEC and having an SOS difficulty that's not reflected by the existing measures. If they played round robins, maybe you could make the case, but they don't.

FL_Steve

June 15th, 2013 at 7:06 PM ^

Well, having read this I'm much less confident in Borges. I thought last year's offensive decline was due mainly to the transition to more pro-style. Didn't realize his stats from previous positions. Hopefully he will prove me wrong this year, but I have to think he may be on the hot seat if this year isn't better, especially running the ball.

UMgradMSUdad

June 16th, 2013 at 12:17 AM ^

Context is everything, and kudos to Ron for providing it.  I'm not sure we can really take away much from his few years at each Cal and Indiana; as Ron pointed out, one was a tire fire at the time and the other a perennial doormat. I don't really glean anything either positive or negative about Borges's coaching abilities from those seasons. Auburn is a bit different, and there the results are a mixed bag, from very good, to very mediocre. But I really don't get the sense that Borges is or will any time soon be on a hot seat, unless that is defined soley by disgruntled fans on radio call-in shows and message boards.  

UMgradMSUdad

June 16th, 2013 at 12:17 AM ^

Context is everything, and kudos to Ron for providing it.  I'm not sure we can really take away much from his few years at each Cal and Indiana; as Ron pointed out, one was a tire fire at the time and the other a perennial doormat. I don't really glean anything either positive or negative about Borges's coaching abilities from those seasons. Auburn is a bit different, and there the results are a mixed bag, from very good, to very mediocre. But I really don't get the sense that Borges is or will any time soon be on a hot seat, unless that is defined soley by disgruntled fans on radio call-in shows and message boards.  

Ron Utah

June 16th, 2013 at 1:19 AM ^

He had two amazing seasons at Auburn.  He had two amazing seasons at UCLA.  He had some good, average, and bad seasons too.  He's not a guy who can make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t, but not many can.

And he's coached some downright unstoppable running attacks...I'm just not sure which stats you're referring to.

Borges isn't a world-beater, IMO.  But when he's had the right tools, he's had some amazing success.

TwoFiveAD

June 17th, 2013 at 12:13 PM ^

"Predictable and Denard"

At least you got some of your post correct. 

Borges was the OC on a team that won a BCS game with one of the least talented offenses Michigan has ever had pre RR. (and save me the stats on yards and pts per game he inherited.  Yards don't mean anything between the 20's, which is where we gained most of them against the meat of our schedule)

Borges was handicapped because of Denard.  It was not the other way around.  If you want to get mad at someone, get mad at Hoke for making the decision to keep Denard at QB as long as he did. 

What he did with Devin in 4 weeks time says it all.  We are in good hands.

InterM

June 17th, 2013 at 1:02 PM ^

Yes, it was terrible that we had to suffer through 2011 with Denard at QB, with an 11-2 record, win over Notre Dame, first win over OSU in nearly a decade, and a BCS bowl victory.  Thank God we don't have to suffer through that anymore.  And, as pleasant a surprise as Devin was after making the transition back from receiver -- a move made by Borges, of course -- we're talking about a 3-2 record, with losses to OSU and in the bowl game, plus an overtime squeaker over Northwestern at home.  All in all, I'd say the jury's still out, and anyone who thinks Denard "handicapped" an offensive coordinator is in no position to critique someone else's post.

InterM

June 17th, 2013 at 1:57 PM ^

OK, so by stubbornly keeping Denard at QB -- again, a decision made by Borges -- we lost out on Denard as the "greatest RB in Michigan history."  Instead, Denard ended up . . . all the way down at number two on the list of Michigan's all-time rushing leaders.  And, as if that wasn't bad enough, we were saddled with a QB who ended up with the fourth most passing yardage for a Michigan QB, compiled over basically two and a half seasons.  What a blunder to keep him at QB . . . .

Ron Utah

June 17th, 2013 at 3:26 PM ^

If you're going to call him an idiot for his second-half playcalling, don't you have to call him a genius for his first-half playcalling?

And doesn't it seem highly unlikely that the guy went from genius to idiot at halftime?

Could it be that player execution was part of the problem?

TwoFiveAD

June 17th, 2013 at 1:15 PM ^

He is a scrub as an offensive coordinator.   The rest of college football has caught up to his offense.  He is no where near as innovative as Kelly was at Oregon. 

Borges is ten times the Offensive Mind RR is.  

If this were 8 years ago, I'd agree with you.  RR brought something new to the game, unfortunately  RR can't adapt or change.  He is too stubborn for his own good.  

You do realize, he only had 20ish plays... Some games he only called 8 of them.  If that isn't the definition of a scrub, I don't know what is.

Wee-Bey Brice

June 16th, 2013 at 4:18 PM ^

I don't know how to feel about this information. It didn't make me proud to have him as our OC, thats for sure. Who was Boise States OC all those years? No way they had the best offensive lines or running backs but they made it work. There is a such thing as "coaching them up" and id personally prefer a coach who could do that. Not saying any coach can make cake without cake mix, but some have come damn close... All we can do is cross our fingers and HOPE for the best each season, thats not a good thing

Ron Utah

June 17th, 2013 at 3:35 PM ^

BSU has a 72.4% all-time winning percentage and is a historically strong football program.  They've never had terrible talent.

They also don't play in the B1G.  Chris Peterson is 84-8 as their HC but lost to MSU last year. They're successful relative to their competition.  I think they would be middle-of-the-pack in the B1G.

All that said, I agree that Borges is not the type of coach who can take sub-par talent to success.  He's a methodical, traditional coach and doesn't rely as much on scheme or trickery to defeat opponents, favoring fundamentals and execution.

Of course, he's also kicked butt at lower levels of football, including at Boise State.

UMgradMSUdad

June 17th, 2013 at 4:35 PM ^

"Who was Boise States OC all those years?"  For several years, Bryan Harsin was OC and QB coach at Boise State.  Then he was lured away to Texas.  In his single season there, Texas was perfect against a weak out of conference schedule, but just 4-5 in conference.  In a league not known for its stout defenses, and where teams regularly score at the 35-50+ point level, there were a few nice outings against some of the weaker teams where they scored 52 and 43 points, but against the stouter defenses, they scored 5 and 13 points.

Obviously one season is too little time to make a determination, but what looks brilliant and works against the kind of competion Boise State regularly faces, doesn't always translate when the competition is better, and at Texas, Harsin was anything but brilliant.

Don

June 16th, 2013 at 5:43 PM ^

Maybe I'm missing something here, but if you're averaging 4.9 per play, you're going to have an awful lot of third-and-less-than-a-foot situations. I don't think too many coaches would complain about that. Bo certainly wouldn't have.

Michigan4Life

June 16th, 2013 at 10:15 PM ^

That is not a good statistics to have. For passing plays, the average that team would need to have a decent passing attack is 8 yards per attempts. As for running plays, it's 4-5 yards per carry. With the spread offense, you basically need to average both 9-10 yards per attempts on passing plays and 6 yards per carry on running plays.

The top offensive team in terms of yards per play is surprisingly Georgia with about 7.09 yards per play. 4.9 yards per play would rank Borges offense in the 90s out of 124 teams in the country. That is a terrible stats to have. Last year, Michigan offense is pretty solid at #29 in yards per play. Two years ago, it's #21.

Borges can work with talented skill players like Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown, Denard(to some extent), etc. however when Borges doesn't have much talent to work with, he struggles. I would say he is a solid OC but not great. A great OC would scheme the offense to make it successful regardless of the talent level he has on his team.

MGoStrength

June 16th, 2013 at 8:46 PM ^

Why did Hoke hire him again?  That sounds a lot worse than I intend it to.  I can understand why he would hire him at SDSU, but at UM?  Did he just have a comfort level with him at that point and felt it was inappropriate to go after someone new?  It seems that at UM we could do better.  He certainly doesn't seem to compare favorably to Mattison's resume for example.

Decatur Jack

June 16th, 2013 at 11:26 PM ^

Borges is a good offensive coordinator. We saw in part 1 that Borges can be a great offensive coordinator when he has talent to work with.

I imagine part of the reason why Hoke hired Borges at SDSU and brought him to Michigan as well was because they share the same philosophy, and Borges is wicked smart. I don't doubt that Michigan's offense will be elite with the talent coming in.

The lesson that we can learn from Borges's history is that he will maximize the talent he has (see Michigan 2011), but he needs some talent to where he can feel comfortable. Obviously the injury Denard suffered and lack of running game in 2012 made the offense take a step back.

I'm not ready to throw in the towel on Borges just yet and say we need a new OC.

Also comparing Mattison to Borges isn't exactly fair. Look at where Borges coached:

Oregon (pre-Chip Kelly)
Auburn (Tuberville)
Indiana (Gerry Dinardo version)
SDSU

Now look at where Mattison has coached:

Michigan (Lloyd Carr)
Notre Dame (Bob Davie)
Florida (Urban Meyer)
Baltimore Ravens (John Harbaugh)

Mattison coached at programs that were in championship discussion (well, 3 of 4 anyway). Borges was on a lower tier (at the time). Saying that Hoke shouldn't have hired Borges because his resume doesn't compare to Mattison's is like saying Hoke is a worse coach than Rich Rodriguez.

FrankMurphy

June 17th, 2013 at 3:02 AM ^

The bottom line is that anyone who can engineer offenses that put up 40+ in the Pac-10 and 30+ in the SEC while turning Cade McNown and Jason Campbell into first round draft picks must know a thing or two about offense. If the biggest criticism against Borges is that he only does well when he has elite talent, that's not much of a criticism at all. And it's not likely to be much of an issue, given the way Hoke & Co. are recruiting. I can't think of any pro-style offensive coordinator who can put together an elite offense with non-elite talent and regularly defeat elite defenses (I can think of a couple of offensive coordinators named Terry Malone and Mike DeBord who were quite good at putting together mediocre offenses with elite talent). Our offense is in good hands.

hfhmilkman

June 17th, 2013 at 1:15 PM ^

One of my big concerns is that Borges has had his best success with other people's players.  Borges supporters have always talked about his X & O IQ.  Yet the sample space is small of players being recruited on his watch and actually doing well.  Is this because he has never stayed around long enough(another concern) or because he cannot or unwilling?  I would think that a Ocoordintator would have a very strong say on the players he wants with the exception of the head coach.  This is a question directed towards Ron and anyone else who would like to comment.   Can we make any statement on Borges regarding his ability to identify good players?  Inconclusive is a satisfactory answer.  This might be hard as it is hard to determine if bad play is due to bad players or bad coaching sometimes if we were to look at offensive play after Borges left a program.