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




October 20th, 2013 at 9:29 AM ^

The offense played well and they play calling was good against Indiana. I am still upset about the Penn State game. The PSU corners played 10 yards off our receivers and stacked the box. We ran at them repeatedly for no gain. Against Indiana, Al had Devin get the ball out to the receivers in space. This resulted in a pretty good day for our QB and for Gallon. My biggest beef with Al is that he does and exceeding poor job of making in game adjustments. He he called some quick throws to Gallon against PSU, we would be sitting at 7-0.


October 20th, 2013 at 10:36 AM ^

What's the deal with calling the "fire screen" to the WR against IU and not PSU?  Decisions like that are what prompts an "aw shucks" mentality, from me anyway.

Borges was able to "take what the defense was giving" against IU largely due to the fact that the IU defense was giving everything away. Against PSU, he showed zero ability to do so.

Eye of the Tiger

October 20th, 2013 at 11:10 AM ^

Every coach has a bad game here or there. So did Rich Rod--the person some people seem to be pining away for. Does no one remember being down 28-7 against Iowa in 2010? That would be the offense that failed to score a second time until the 4th quarter. Or how about only scoring 14 in the Gator Bowl--against a not exactly great MIssissippi State team?

I'm not knocking Rich Rod's ability to the offense by saying that--all offensive teams over the past decade have had some crappy games here and there--including some with, say, really good and experienced OLs (i.e. the key ingredient to offensive succes, which we lack). And all teams, at some point, lose games they should win. I mean--Pitt beating WVU in 2007 anyone?? 

Sure Borges' playcalling was frustrating against PSU. But it was brilliant against IU and now we're 6-1. What matters from this point is whether and to what degree we can build off of this offensive performance.

Durham Blue

October 20th, 2013 at 11:19 AM ^

I kept reminding myself how bad that IU defense was.  Borges does not get a pass from me for creating a track meet at home against easily the worst D in the B1G.  Receivers were so ridiculously wide open it would have been a travesty if we didn't score at least 40 points.  And there were many times where Fitz strolled untouched into the second level.  Let's see next week.


October 20th, 2013 at 11:43 AM ^

To the people lamenting Indianas poor defense

-Our offense couldn't perform against similarly terrible defenses (UConn, Akron)
-Lots of people play lots of games against bad defenses, but they don't usually break records for offense (school and conference) in doing it.
-IIRC, way better play calling... Passing on first downs much more often, passing more out of different formations which were previously de facto running only plays, etc.


October 20th, 2013 at 11:55 AM ^

I wish we knew how much of this was on Al.  This season Hoke appears to be setting an offensive gameplan or an overall aggressiveness based on opponent and our defense's ability to stop said opponent.  

For teams with meh offenses (Uconn, Akron and PSU), Hoke selects a less aggressive, less risky and lower deviation offensive gameplan.  For teams with more dynamic offenses(ND with Rees or IU), Hoke is willing to open up the playbook and take more risks.  I'm sure the decision isn't specific, i.e. for PSU we will use level X.  However, Hoke seems to guess at the flow of a game beforehand and base his gameplan on this.  I imagine many or all coaches use this philosophy, but Hoke seems to overdo it, particularly this season.  It reminds me of the latter years of the Carr era, 2006 OSU and 2008 Capital One bowl come to mind. 

Hoke seems to be more willing to risk underestimating an opponent or overestimating our defense than taking additional risks with the offense and gameplan.

I prefer he would keep the aggressiveness regardless of opponent, or at least be more willing to alter the aggressiveness or gameplan in instances where he has predicted the wrong flow.  However, he seems to predict a flow for the game prior to the game and stick with it regardless.  



October 20th, 2013 at 2:52 PM ^

Well said, Moxiechicago. I was thinking something similar and then read your post. I think it could be said that this goes to identity, somewhat. With Harbaugh, for instance, you know exactly the identity of his teams. They will be tough. They will be agressive. They will make generally quick and decisive adjustments. Or take Urban Meyer. You know that he is a master of analysis and on the fly adjustment. He can analyze what is happening real time and adjust better than the majority of coaches at this level.

   Which leads to my second point. I think the whole polar opposite argument is short-sighted. The guys who are getting uptight as if it is wrong to criticize Borges and then turn around and give him credit. It's as if they think you have to adhere to one end of the hate Borges or love Borges spectrum. My reality is that you have to have a point of reference for your expectations. That point of reference for me is the Ohio State Buckeyes. They have a coach that is very astute and who will kick your ass if you come into the game hell bent on your drawing board strategy and cannot adjust on the fly.

I suspect that a week of viewing film of Indiana got our identity challenged staff thinking offensively. Which pours directly into the 'plays to the level of competition' argument. I agree with previous posters that would like to see the aggressive approach full time. For me, the style of play displayed by the 1997 squad is the template. That defense came to hurt you. 

the Glove

October 20th, 2013 at 5:18 PM ^

All three years there's a lose because Al Borges is too damn stubborn. Need we forget the Iowa game the first year. Look at his unwillingness to use the bubble screen, even with it clearly wide open during the Penn State game in overtime he still refuses to use it. The closest we will ever get to see it used will be the bubble fake, which will only work for so long. He refuses to adapt to the players that he has and he will be a continuous cancer on the program. He is even too damn stubborn to get a quarterback coach. Think about this, how many quick slants have we even ran this year?