11/18: Coordinator Press Conference Questions

Submitted by Mr. Yost on November 18th, 2013 at 9:30 AM

This should be interesting after a win!


Here are mine...

Coach Borges: "Is there a particular reason Dileo hasn't been as involved in the offense as previous years?"


Coach Mattison: "How are the guys who are being redshirted looking in practice? Anyone standing out?"


I'd really be interested to know that if it weren't so late in the year, if we have guys who are ready to play...but won't because we're to the point where we're keeping their redshirt. That would be nice to know on the offensive and defensive sides.



November 18th, 2013 at 10:03 AM ^

Yep I made that comment to someone else - he had a key drop on 3rd/4th downs at the very end of both of the last 2 games.   Even Gallon had a drop on one of the best thrown balls of the day by Gardner which was really weird but Dileo of late is acting like a Lions WR circa 2004.


November 18th, 2013 at 9:49 AM ^

ppl need to cut this kid some slack. He has been getting hammered these past few weeks. Repeated hits and pressure is going to make anyone feel jumpy in the pocket and miss a few throws. That happens to both Manning brothers too.


Hopefully some of the quik passing continues and helps get Devin in a rhythm. Also, do people not realizr there was horizontal rain in the NU game. Not ideal conditions.


November 18th, 2013 at 9:52 AM ^

Yes I do think at this point he is in shell shock.  Despite the offensive hijinks I thought he played "ok" in the losses to MSU and Nebraska. It would be very difficult for anyone fair minded to say he had an ok game vs NW,; at least the first 59 minutes.   If that was UConn defense out there they would have had 4 INTs...at least.   Thankfully NW defense is secretly nicknamed hands of stone.  As the announcers said, ironically NW is among league leaders (if not the leader) in INTs.  So it was a very strange game in that Devin played worse than he has recently as his passing was way off, but NW also played worse in terms of making plays on defense (they give up a lot of yards but usually have some nice splash plays)


November 18th, 2013 at 10:04 AM ^

My question was not a knock on gardner. I think he is doing the best he can considering his situation. The question was directed at Borges' inability to develop QB's over the last 3 years. Borges continues to put gardner in difficult/impossible situations.  Devin was recruited to run a completely different offense. Instead of playing to his strengths, Borges wants to make Devin do things he isn't accustomed or suited to do. 


November 18th, 2013 at 10:11 AM ^

My broad fear is simple with Borges.

#1 Denard Robinsin was better in 2011 than 2012.  The more Borges exposure he got the worse he seemed to become.

#2 Devin Gardner was better in late 2012 than in 2013.  The more Borges exposure he got (gets) the worse he seems to become.  In fact he seemed to be a better QB when he was practicing WR.

#3 Al Borges appears to be the main driver of who we recruit at QB go forward.

As with the OL I am at the point I feel sorry for some of these players.  There is a disconnect somewhere and its either in technique, scheme, or both.  I refuse to believe players cannot be significantly better between late August and mid November, and for a large number of our players on the offensive side of the ball I do not see it.  I see it on other teams.  UM's November offense looks like MSU's early September offense.   Wisconsin has been steady on offense right out of the gate with a brand new staff. How sad.

Even Funchess who many think is showing improvement, and use as an excuse as player development, has not been taught how to block with now 2 years of coaching of this staff.   I think he knew how to "run" and "catch the ball" in HS.  So what has he been taught really?   The lack of fundamental improvement all around on the offense is just sad panda.   I don't even need a second hand of fingers to count the # of players who look better than either last year, or versus September on offense.   I struggle to find more than 2 in fact.


November 18th, 2013 at 10:58 AM ^

our running game in 2011 was awesome with molk leading the oline and fitz going over 1000 yards. last season we all saw that the run game out side denard was unexistent but the oline was solid in pass protection since it was seniors on the inside with our outsanding tackles outside. this season we have no protection and barely any hope to run the ball and now that everybody has discovered the interior cant block for shit they can blow up everything, as more stuff gets put on film defenses can prepare for it better and when you can barely block anything so the playbook is simplified they dont have as much stuff to look for. it all stacks up and there isnt some midseason miracle cure since we have tried almost all available oline combinations. 

its almost like when you can protect the qb or have a threat to run the ball its easier for a qb to find open recievers, go figure.


November 18th, 2013 at 10:59 AM ^

I will agree that both Denard and Devin regressed.

But, let's look a bit further into the team to see if we can get to the true root of the problem:

From 2011 to 2012, and again from 2012 to 2013, the full effect of RR's poor recruiting had a chance to work its way through the team, both on the OL and in the WR / TE groups.  While we managed to field upperclassmen at OL in 2012, the individuals playing - and no insult intended to them - were not amongst the greatest OL, and would probably not be more than depth chart back-ups on most good Michigan teams.  RR failed to recruit well in 2009 (only 3) or 2010 (1!!!!), and by 2012 and certainly 2013, players from those classes would be expected to contribute, if not start, on the OL.  Because we essentially took a few years off of recruiting the OL, the position is currently being filled by kids who never should be expected to play this year.

The WR situation is not much better.  Over the past few seasons, we have watched players like Junior hemmingway and Roy Roundtree graduate.  The replacements have been . . . freshman converted from TE Devin Funches (who has actually been awesome for a true freshman), raw as hell freshman Jehu Chesson and air.  Again, there were no big stud receivers in the 2009, 2010 or 2011 classes.

So, while I agree with you about the regression of our QBs, I think that this has more to do with the state of the roster - something that is undeniably improving through Hoke's successful recruiting - than the coaching. 

Monocle Smile

November 18th, 2013 at 11:07 AM ^

Hemingway was good at what he did, but I wouldn't classify him nor Roundtree as a "stud." Also, Rodriguez' offense doesn't require classic Braylon-type receivers. Don't forget, he was in on Sammy Watkins until he was fired.

The 2012 OL couldn't run block very well, but they were solid in pass pro. Denard still took steps back as a passer. I'm unconvinced by the "everything is Rich Rod's fault always" argument.


November 18th, 2013 at 11:24 AM ^

UCLA has 3 freshman starting on its OL and has a functioning offense with a running game >2000 yards already and a QB who stays upright enough to be considered a high NFL draft pick..  I know we have issues but is the OL tangibly better today than in early September?  Other teams have units that improve. We have units that improve i.e. the DL has improved.  You see guys like Henry or Wormley making plays, Black, etc.   Some of these OL guys have 1/2 to 3/4+ of a season under their belt and no one here is saying be a top end OL.  It is a fully dysfunctional line even with a first rounder and another free agent/late round NFL type on it.  Enough excuse making - these were valid excuses in September.  This line couldnt block UConn or Akron.  There are multiple MAC schools with better OLs - again that is fine Sep 12th I guess, but Nov 12th after 3 months of "coaching it up" and "executing great" in practice? No. 

the unsilent m…

November 18th, 2013 at 11:03 AM ^

What do I have to gain? Is it untrue? Al Borges et al. want to move to a pro-style offense. In the NFL they run, you guessed it, pro-style offenses. Obviously, Denard does not have the skill set to run a pro-style offense; not says me, says them!!! For better or for worse, this staff thinks that a pro-style offense is the way to go. It won't work until they have the right pieces in place. These are all growing pains that go along with the rebuilding process. By the way, check your understanding of a red herring argument, dildo brains.


November 18th, 2013 at 11:11 AM ^

Happy that you are adding to the discourse around here.  Are you 12?

As for Al "jamming" his offense down everyone's throat, not sure what you mean.  Hoke is the head coach, and he (and the athletic director) made a decision that the long term vision is for Michigan to run a more pro style offense that what Rich Rod ran when he was here.  The athletic director, the head coach and the offensive coordinator are in agreement on this, and the past two recruiting classes are made up of players who want to play in that type of offense.  We are building toward being a more pro style, power oriented team.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to transition from one style to another.  To their credit, Hoke and Borges recognized that when Denard was here, he did not have the skill set to run a pro style attack, and that he was a unique and special enough player that it made sense to put off the transition from spread to pro style.  So All did adapt his philosophy to his players when it made sense to do so.  But, at some point, if the goal is to go pro style, that transition has to happen, and unfortunately, any transition is going to be rough.  To coaches obviously believe that Devin has the arm and ability to run a pro style offense.  I think that your believe that he can only run the spread is selling him short.  Given the state of our OL and RB blitz pick-up, who is to say that he would be any more successful in the spread? 

Finally, let's not look at this purely as about Devin Gardner.  There are 44 players on the offensive and defensive depth chart.  Even if Devin is better suited for the spread, what about the rest of the roster?  Guys like Funchess and some of the newly-recruited OL are more pro style players. 

Last point - let's assume that Borges did what so many on this board want and ran the spread for this year.  And presumably next, as well, as we will still have DG as QB.  So now we have two more transition years, where each year features more and more kids playing in an offense that they are not being recruited for.  Think of the long terme effects.  If when Devin graduates, we switch to a pro style offense, now we have yet another transition year (2015) as the first year in any offense is usually tough.  And, think about the recruiting - if kids see us still running the spread, those that want to play in a pro style offense - like the 6'2"+ receivers that Borges and Hoke want - will not want to come here.  So, when we make the switch in 2015, we will again be filled with a roster of either lower talent kids or kids that are not adept at a pro style attack.  While it sucks, I think that Borges' plan of getting the pain of transition over with this year makes good sense. 

Monocle Smile

November 18th, 2013 at 11:23 AM ^

Firstly, this isn't a black-and-white thing. It's not like football offenses suffer from this painful dichotomy between "spread" and "pro-style" where crossing over some mythical line is always cringe-inducing. Also, you're tilting at windmills with recruiting...plenty of excellent tall receivers go to Okahoma State, etc. where they run passing spreads.

"Growing pains" is an excuse for mediocrity. It's not an excuse for "back-to-back negative rushing yards" and "three games without a touchdown in regulation, two of which against crappy defenses."

Furthermore, Borges' recent comments that somewhat denigrate Denard give me aneurysms because it's clear Denard in 2011 and half of 2012 bailed Borges' ass out almost entirely.

The double standard here is laughable between coaching staffs. It's unbelievable. Actually, with this fan base, it's entirely believable.

the unsilent m…

November 18th, 2013 at 11:28 AM ^

it's not so simple as running a "hybrid" offense, or "fit your scheme to your personnel."  Sure, we can do that, but opposing defenses don't have to oblige us when one facet of this split scheme just doesn't work.  In other words, defensive schemes are all but saying "either you will beat us with your arm or you won't beat us."  So, its not like we can simply switch back and forth; the offense, and Al Borges, are limited by the skill set of our quarterback (same as we were with Denard), thus we are one-dimensional.  Moreover, once Devin is gone, do we want to start the transition then??   


November 18th, 2013 at 7:09 PM ^

Sadly, I think this (weather) was the real reason we didn't see long (developing) pass plays. Not, uh, that fact that we suck at those plays. I'm expecting more long passes and sacks next game. Wah wah

Lucky Socks

November 18th, 2013 at 2:29 PM ^

He's been infected by the offensive line.  Psychology is a huge part of sports, especially QB.  

Having said that, I think our entire team played with more of a swagger after the FG miracle. I'm hoping it'll be the equivilent to Novak's "Aneurysm of Leadership" and help change the momentum or the season and program.  


November 18th, 2013 at 9:45 AM ^

For Borges:

You seemed to have a focus on spreading out NW with the horizontal passing game and then using the fake out-wide to open up the inside running game. Is this something you felt more comfortable running vs. NW then Nebraska and MSU? Or was it more about the weather conditions and/or UM personnel in this game?

What is the rationale behind the PA on 3rd and long late in the game?



Seems like teams have consistently picked on the space between the LBs and safetys over the middle. Is there anything scheme-wise that can m

inimize this vulnerability or is it just a lack of execution by some of the LBs in their drop backs. We have seen some success in this area (Morgan vs. UCONN) but also several blown plays.



November 18th, 2013 at 9:46 AM ^

If the fg team doesn't pull off that last second kick, do you think you would be sitting here right now, or would this game have been the final straw that got you canned?


November 18th, 2013 at 9:48 AM ^

Do you know that Devin Funchess is 6'-5" and that you didn't once go to him when you started on the NW 9 yard line?

What do you hope your golf handicap will be after all your free time next summer?


November 18th, 2013 at 9:51 AM ^


What is the thought process behind throwing the fade endzone route to Gallon vs. Funchess? Is there something there in terms of matchups that you prefer with Gallon over funchess?




November 18th, 2013 at 11:08 AM ^

Yeah, Gallon has never made a big catch like that.

Oh, wait, he's made a ton of TD catches like that.

I would have liked a target or two to Funchess in that series, but that play (even with the weak PA look) effectively isolated Gallon in the end zone in a place where he had room to make a catch if the ball was thrown well. And not hard-to-do NFL well, either--that's a throw that Gardner can and should complete.

Borges did not call a bad play there; he called a bad series overall, and more to the point he is a poor QB coach who has not been able to coach up the ample skills he has been provided in Gardner.


November 18th, 2013 at 11:42 AM ^

The play effectively isolated Gallon and it would have isolated Funchess too..who btw is a BIGGER TARGET. ie easier throw for Gardner. As we saw Gardner threw it too high and it was uncatchable for Gallon. Maybe Funchess makes that play...

Not saying throwing it to Gallon is bad. Just saying NOT throwing any fades to Funchess in the endzone IS bad.

maybe Funchess sucks at it in practice. If he does then its an easy question for Borges to answer. Just say Gallon is better at them. To me it would seem like Funchess makes the throw an easier one for Gardner.



November 18th, 2013 at 9:56 AM ^

Have you seen or read Desmond's comments he made on espn regarding your performance and play-calling? Having not scored an offensive TD during regulation in two of the last three games, would you characterize those comments as fair?


November 18th, 2013 at 10:04 AM ^

This is EXACTLY what I want him to answer for. Desmond made some good comments. Especially this one: “We know what’s wrong with Michigan — it’s obvious, they’re one of the youngest teams in the country, there’s no doubt about That, and they can not block up front in the middle from the guard to guard area,” Howard said. “But with that being said, at some point, you have to out-coach your opponent, you have to out-scheme your opponent.”

WTF Borges? 


November 18th, 2013 at 10:14 AM ^

Dear Al,

You were relieved of duties (before the bowl game) in year 4 after Auburn's offense sunk dramatically in years 3-4 versus years 1-2, after you inherited some nice talent from the previous administration.  Your excuse last week was this is the first year you are even installing your system and it's year 3 "growing pains".  Yet we saw the same regression at your other stop at a upper end BCS school at the exact same time frame.  A cynic would say the longer you are exposed to kids, the more they regress. 

What was the excuse at Auburn for the sharp dip across the board in nearly every offensive statistic as your system was implemented in year 1 there and you'd think year 3 would be the year to shine.... not regress dramatically?  

Compare and contrast the 2 situations sir.

Please note if the 2014 UM offense is similar to the 2013 version you will have repeated the exact same feat you accomplished at Auburn.  Ironic sir how history might be rhyming here.


November 18th, 2013 at 10:22 AM ^

That's a freaking AWESOME question.

And it will never get asked sadly.  Press conference questions are specifically designed to be easy and non-confrontational so the questioner gets invited back to the next presser.

Sample question:  "Al, talk a bit about your wide outs" or "Al, can you share with us what you saw on Saturday you liked and maybe talk a bit about areas you think you'll need to work on?"