Al Borges Appreciation?

Submitted by Decatur Jack on October 19th, 2013 at 8:00 PM

248 yards rushing

503 yards passing

751 yards of total offense

Devin Gardner breaks record for passing yards in one game (also, throws No INTs)

Jeremy Gallon breaks record for receiving yards in one game (yes, that was Braylon's record previously)

Fitz Toussaint had four rushing touchdowns

63 points



Louie C

October 19th, 2013 at 10:00 PM ^

This is where my frustration lies with him. It's not that he cannot call good games; There have been some games where I think to myself "I really like this guy," but then games like PSU happen. It's a lot like a having a student that you know is gifted and has shown flashes of brillianace, but they grossly underperform for some reason.


October 19th, 2013 at 9:09 PM ^

Not impressed at all.  Only 751 yards and 63 points against a crappy D.  Should have been at least 800 yards and 70 points.  Fire Borges; it's obvious he sucks.


October 19th, 2013 at 9:16 PM ^

IU's defense is GOD AWFUL. Not that ours is much better, but man that's one of the worst defenses I've ever seen. 

I'm not going to say he didn't do a pretty good job, because he did, but not like you're going to be able to tell against a team like IU. At least there weren't many under center runs (and when they were called, they didn't work...shocker). 

turd ferguson

October 19th, 2013 at 10:33 PM ^

Some of you guys act like such children on here.  
No, you're not "supposed" to put up 750 yards of offense against Indiana and bail out your team for a horrific defensive performance.  And no, you're not "supposed" to look like that every game.  Coaches and players have a natural up and down to their performances.
I've posted this a couple of times already, but let's recap the 2.5 years we've had Borges.  In Year 1, the offense exceeded all reasonable expectations after the coaching change and ranked 9th in Football Outsiders' opponent-adjusted offensive efficiency, if that's a statistic you like.  In Year 2, we were up at times (Iowa, South Carolina) and down at times (most maddeningly, OSU), and our year long offensive efficiency was 25th IIRC.  I wouldn't call it a great year offensively but it definitely wasn't terrible.  This year we've seen four games that have been pretty brilliant offensively (CMU, ND, Minny, Indiana) and three that have been pretty awful offensively (Akron, UConn, Penn State).
To me, the rational position to have on Borges is wait and see.  Last week's combination of "fire him immediately," "fire him later - it's obvious," and "burn that piece of shit - I hate him" reflected an absurd amount of selective memory, pettiness, nastiness, and lack of reason among our fans.  We're getting a lot more information each week.  Is it really so hard to show a little restraint and take in that information without losing your shit online after each game?  And to those pointing to the montages of bad plays/calls as reason to still hate him, believe me, I could create one of those to make any coach look terrible.  Hell, Mattison has probably provided far more material for those than Borges since they got here.


October 19th, 2013 at 11:49 PM ^

What planet are you on?

I waited and saw how well Borges had Bellomy prepared for the second half of Nebraska.

I waited and saw how much better the offense got with Gardner at QB and not as a receiver when Al thought we needed him far more at receiver.

I waited and saw the second half of Ohio where the universe put the blame not on the players, but on Al's play calls.

I waited and saw how he got his tight ends prepared to block this year.

I waited and saw how he got his offensive line ready to block this year.

I waited to see how he'd groom Gardner into an efficient QB that didn't turn the ball over.

I waited to see him develop an RB heavy ground game as Hoke wants.

I waited and saw his offense struggle vs mighty Akron and UCONN.

I waited to see Al's stellar play calls vs a half scholarship PSU team getting 27 yards on 27 RB carries.

Can't wait to see all the greatness Al has in store at MSU and vs Ohio this year, and can't wait even more until next year when we lose Lewan and Schofield.

Simply put, one impressive outting vs the worst defense in the Big Ten doesn't negate the fact that Al is about 12+ more on the failure's side of the ledger vs successes.

We're all waiting and seeing, but foregive us for actually forming an opinion about him for the timebeing based upon the above.


October 20th, 2013 at 1:09 AM ^

Credit or UTL one and two, won with lots of points.

Scoring 42 and 38 to beat Northwestern.

Drooping 45 on the first conference meeting with Nebraska.

Beating Ohio State for te only time in ages when the defense didn't show up.

Playing well enough to win against an excellent South Carolina defense and missing out on te upset when the D let's them down.

Taking Gardner from a guy who made bloggers horrified every Spring Game into a dangerous talent.

Seeing Fitz develop into a good running back.

Having a sophomore TE/WR be a big weapon.

Turning Gallon from a journeyman to the leading game receiver in Big Ten history.

You see what you want to see.


October 20th, 2013 at 9:52 AM ^

"You see what you want to see."


It appears you both do.


He focuses on the huge mass of negatives, and you focus on the huge mass of positives - and both seem to want to ignore the obvious on the other side.


Al Borges can call a good game. Al Borges can call a bad game. Problem is - his game calls seem to follow a bimodal distribution instead of a normal one, and have HUGE standard deviation.




October 20th, 2013 at 6:49 PM ^

He's just picking out random dats and acting like it's the preponderance of the evidence rather than examples that are equally offset. And all the games that are in-between are the ones that are just "fine." So the majority are satisfactory. So it's silly to deal in absolutes at this point.


October 20th, 2013 at 12:13 PM ^

Yet none of the items listed above evidences Al successfully implementing a single facet of his pro-style attack.  Of course you can point to some positives man, but that's like saying someone who gets a D+ in a class did well because they got 68%, so let's focus on that 68.  This is Michigan, where a D+ doesn't cut it.  The development of 2 or 3 players like Funchess and FItz while the rest of players you're in charge of developing flounder, like the line and the QB, doesn't get you a pass under the "you see what you want to see" card. 

WIth Michigan's laughable schedule these first 7 games, AL's offense has the most turn overs in D1, an abysmal O line, and set an all time low in rush average vs a half scholarship team last week.  Yet people are giving him a pass for putting up big numbers against the tirefire that is Indiana's defense, which also gave up 40+ to woeful Sparty attack.

Not to mention one can crater many of your items above.  UTL 1? Really?  AL's offense was shut down for 3 quarters and going into the fourth it took miracles, mostly thanks to Reese's goalline fumble derp and Denard's escapability to win that game.  Watch that game again and tell me AL called a great game...

Having three or four well called games out of 35 games doesn't put AL on the plus side of the ledger with so many blemishes on the other side.



October 19th, 2013 at 10:30 PM ^

but whos to say there won't be another brain-shit later this year?

I want him fired less after this game, but lets see what happens when we go through the meat of our schedule. 

I think his track record thus far justifies a change, but the season isn't over yet... roll the dice


October 19th, 2013 at 10:38 PM ^

think of anything to complain about from a play calling standpoint tonight.  Obviously some exuction and turnover stuff needs to improve before we get into November, but Borges called a very good game tonight.  Great way to respond after that whole thing last week.


October 19th, 2013 at 10:46 PM ^

Oline looked much better. Don t like all of the gardner sxrambles. Green should be getting most of those carries.

Fitz was on though. But green will hurt people. All and all. GO BLUE


October 19th, 2013 at 11:14 PM ^

I give Al all the credit in the world against this horrendous defense this game. It's also a huge positive that we pretty much abandoned what didn't work against PSU (tackle over, I form runs). We still ran stretch without much success but hey, 63 points and 700+ yards of offense. Frustrations still linger because as a highly touted offensive coordinator, these adjustments should have been applied to his play calling real-time against PSU instead of lighting the first downs we had on fire with the little success we had. So props to Al for this gameplan, just wish it was sooner to keep us undefeated.

I think the key disclaimer is that we of course should not be expecting this level of success in our next game against MSU, but this game showed what will give us the best chance of success and keep the excellent MSU defense on their heels: allowing the pass to open up the run and having a good balance to keep Narduzzi and co. honest. Protect Gardner, build his confidence on the road slowly and prevent horrendous mistakes against a good secondary. 



October 19th, 2013 at 11:43 PM ^

All Al has proven is his offense can work against the worst defense in the BIG.  If we can put up over 30 vs MSU then an Al Appreciation thread might be merited, not vs freaking Indiana's lowly D.


October 19th, 2013 at 11:56 PM ^

If anything, the offensive performance today makes me MORE pissed about having to endure that chickenshit, bash-head-into-wall playcalling last week. Hoke and Borges (and, yeah, it's both of them) decide to play timid, conservative football on the road, time and time again. Pass to set up the run at home, success. Run into walls of defenders on the road, failure. Who'd have thought that would happen?

Not to mention, Borges is still trotting out the stupid tackle-over formation that doesn't work, and he's still running the zone stretch play that Michigan's OL can't block for. Pass to set up the run, and run from the shotgun/pistol and Michigan sets records.

Yes, yes, I know Indiana has a horrible defense. But Penn State's wasn't all-world; this gameplan may well have led to a comfortable win. But hey, why should Borges try? On the road, it might lead to turnovers, and we may lose.....wait....crap, well, then that's definitely on execution.

Bullshit. When you allow players to do things they have a prayer of doing, results are generally better.

Borges appreciation? When he comes out with a gameplan like this on the road, consistently, I'll appreciate him. When he stops being bi-polar depending on the location of the game, I'll appreciate him. Hell, dump the stretch play, it'll be a start....


October 20th, 2013 at 1:14 AM ^

I have been one of Al's biggest critics. My main reason for being upset was the obvious discrepancy between success under the center vs in the gun. Our personnel, like it or not is still a spread team. My biggest gripe with Al was his blatant refusal to be aggressive on early downs and regardless of result kept going to power, and stretch.

Today Al completely changed the game plan to a hybrid attack. Read options, veer options, tunnel screen, some concept patterns from 2x2. Sprinkling in the run from under center enough to allow the play action to take hold.

No matter how tight the game got nor how late, Al continued to keep his foot on the gas and finished the game off the way you're supposed to.

Going forward I obviously hope he continues to employ the hybrid attack. Obviously Indiana's secondary isn't the greatest ever but Devin can chuck it and I think this game could of given him the confidence he needs going forward to lead this team to some more wins.

Very well called game Al. Best offensive in our history.

Although I would argue the game plan and execution of the game plan in mike Debord's last game was still the best I've seen. To score that many points on an sec team coming of a natty and having a heisman winner while turning it over that many times in the red zone will always be remembered.


October 20th, 2013 at 5:15 AM ^

as evidenced by hitting Funchess for the clinching first down instead of trying to run Fitz into the tacklers that would have been assembled to stop him. But the mere mention of Debord's plan vs. Fl makes me question everything about that season. Yes, we were humiliated at home twice before the conference slate ever began and then, after our annual loss to OSU he opens up a can of "whupp ass" that ORE and Appy diagrammed for us in our occ and saves it for his last game? WTF?  Why did we not see that against OSU and the other teams on our schedule that year?  Yes, FL came off a natty, but damn they had sent so many people to the pros, they were as young as we are now. I totally agree with you in the respect it was his best game plan. But the thing that really pisses me off is we could have done it all year and no one could have stopped us. It was not surprising that we won when we fully utilized all our weapons. I just can't help wondering how the season might have been had we done so the entire year. I guess there might be some redemption for LC and MD to saving their best for last, but watching us tear apart that FL defense just made me wonder, and I bet you  did too.


October 20th, 2013 at 8:50 AM ^

We had what could accurately be called an "injury-riddled" season in 2007.

Mike Hart was out quite a bit and poor Chad Henne had his shoulder attached with a piece of gristle!

I hated DeBored with fire of a thousand suns, he never had much of a chance to utilize his offensive weapons during the season, and probably wouldn't have anyway. But one everyone got healthy & Carr was half out the door . . .


October 20th, 2013 at 1:48 AM ^

 it took more than one game to get Borges into the mess he is in, it will take more than one to get him out of it. That being said the O line played a lot better today..... Like i told my friend yea it was against Indiana but did you see how they played vs. Akron and uconn. The offense needed today in a big way so i'm happy for them and hope they build off this for November 2nd


October 20th, 2013 at 9:08 AM ^

Borges isn't "in a mess," except in the imaginations of childish mogobabies.  Hoke has given a vote of confidence to him, repeatedly.  Borges isn't on a "hot seat."  There are just a bunch of spoiled, unrealistic mogbabies who act like they never played football or watched football before video games.

Borges's offenses are better than RRs.  RR put up big numbers against patsies.  Against real defenses, he got shut down.


October 20th, 2013 at 2:09 AM ^

and skip this manball meme, keep the spread and score lots of points! If Al has changed,  I think we can win half our next 6 games and have a decent season at 9-3.  Face it there is no great team in the B1G. Michigan can beat any team or lose to just about any team.

Now, I'm worried about our defense!


October 20th, 2013 at 2:47 AM ^

Indiana's defense is awful. AWFUL. They have a decent offense. We litterally had to break records to win this game. It's a good thing we got those picks late---especially the first one when Indiana had a chance to take the lead, which probably would've happened the way this game went.

Not sure what to take from this game:

I guess the gameplan worked---offensively. Do you even need a gameplan to score on IU?? I have no idea what to expect out of this team, as they surprise me every week... good and bad. There's a lot of "ifs" out there and that's more concerning to me than what I'd like it to be.

I can't wait to see what happens next game. It'll be VERY interesting.


Blue in Yarmouth

October 20th, 2013 at 7:38 AM ^

I'm not going to respond to any one comment because I'm pretty sick of all the fighting that went on last week and we just won, so let's enjoy this. 

What I will say for my part is that this game didn't do much Al Borges in my eyes and I'll briefly explain why. I never said (and I don't believe many others did either) that Al Borges didn't know how to call plays, the anger was from the plays he did call during the game and an unwillingness to adapt to what was gong on in front of him.

This game actually bothers me even more because it shows that Al obviously has the potential to call great games, but for some reason he only puts all together once or twice a year. 

Again, I'm pretty happy with what went on offensively last night but all I keep hearing in the back of my head is "remember, this was Indiana". What will go much further toward me being happy with AB as the long-term solution for this offense is if he can keep this up down the stretch against better defenses or if he reverts (as he has in the past after calling good games) to what we all know doesn't work.



October 20th, 2013 at 9:08 AM ^

When the offense executes the Borges critics say awe shucks lets save the praise till he beats MSU. When the offense seems incapable of executing the very same plays it's fire Borges. The funniest thing about the awe shucks mentality is that if that offense had executed this week like it had last week that would have been the final straw for Al I am sure. The awe shucks people would have been acting like he sang a Josh Groben song. Now before anyone says yeah but the Indiana defense sucks well they didn't suck against PSU. Indiana spanked Penn State good and proper.


October 20th, 2013 at 9:29 AM ^

I don't think that's quite right.  The "aw shucks" crowd (which I would be in BTW) are extremely pleased with the game he called yesterday and if you read the comments, virtually everyone says basically props to Al for the game.  I don't see anyone, in this thread or any other posted yesterday after the game, that doesnt give Al credit for an increadible performance.

The difference IMO between the Pro-Al crowd (formally known as the "Apologists" and the Anti-Al crowd (now known as the "Aw Shucks") is that we arent willing to forgive and forget the past gameplan clunkers just quite yet.  We still remember vididly 27 carries for 27 yards a week ago and the other well documented offensive gameplan failures over the past few years.  ESPECIALLY against good defenses and ESPECIALLY on the road.

Now - Al has a bye week coming up and the chance to radically change at least one poster's opinion of him (me) coming up.  We're playing a huge game....on the road...against the B1G best defense.  I'm not looking for a performance like yesterday's (although that would be nice) but if we can put up over 350 yards of offense and score in the mid 20's I think we win.  

And that would do a lot more to impress the "Aw Shucks" than all the record-setting performances against Indiana ever will.