Al Borges = Mike Martz

Submitted by randyfloyd on November 5th, 2011 at 7:10 PM

I am starting to believe that Borges thinks he is a genius (just like Mike Martz), when clearly he is not (also, like Mike Martz).  His inabilaty to not use the "fritz" package is driving me crazy.  This play has not worked since the Minnesota game, and even then it wasn't that great.  I can see him thinking "this play is working great, now I am going to try something completely different".  Touissant up the middle was working fine, and what is with all the "bombs away" shit, when a short passing game makes more sense.  Denard isn't a bad passer, but he isn't a pocket passer because he has the tendency to pass off of his back foot, when pressured. Every fucking time that we had a good gain on offense, Al brought in Gardner to throw a giant bucket of crap on our momentum.  I am not going to whine about the officiating, because if Al wouldn't have burried his head in his gigantic ass, we would have won easily.

I blame this guy, more than the officials ^^^



November 5th, 2011 at 8:00 PM ^

I am not going to start calling for the head of a first-year  OC who has contributed to a 7-2 record (last time I mention that tonight, I promise) despite trying to shift our offensive philosophy utilizing players he did not know previously and who were recruited by a guy with a vastly different take on offense (trying to be polite there). Once you see players who were, if you will, born and bred in his system and we're still flubbing it inexplicably once in a while via poor execution, then we can revisit this topic. Deal?


November 5th, 2011 at 8:14 PM ^

I understand the "has contributed to a 7-2 record" thought, I really do.  I don't dislike Al, I just think he is not calling a good game right now.  The coaches talk about "execution" a lot, when it comes to bad calls.  I am sure the "execution" was off, on our failed goal line attempt.  The 4th down play against MSU was "execution" as well, so our coaches have told us.  The problem I have is Denard is the most mobile QB in the history of the game (arguably), so lets make him a pocket passer and just go "bombs away".  It just doesn't make sense, and it is very frustrating.  Al was calling good playsearly in the year and getting lucky with his "bombs away" aproach, but it hasn't worked since the ND game (with a couple of minor exceptions).  


November 5th, 2011 at 9:02 PM ^

....I was wondering specifically what the issue was. There are a few things out there that I don't place at the foot of Al Borges, and there are a few things that I would place there. I  suppose the question really should be - did we expect 2011 to be a total 180 merely based on the coaching change, or did we expect it to be a step in the right direction?

The talent is obviously there at several positions, and we obviously can blow the scoreboard up when we're on all cylinders, but in my own opinion, at least some of what we're seeing is bad execution which has more to do with the change in offensive philosophy and the learning curve associated with that. I think Borges is doing a good job, for the most part, in dealing with some of the limitations that this creates. 

Admittedly, I was a little dismayed by the underutilization of Denard today, but I think they are struggling with the question of "How much is enough?" when it comes to using his ability to distort space and time with his legs. They even try TOO hard to take him out of it sometimes, or at least I think so. The QB position is just one example though. 



November 5th, 2011 at 9:12 PM ^

Our lack of QB depth may also be a factor in the playcalling.  Last year we could throw some caution into the wind because we had a starting-caliber QB (Forcier) backing up Denard.  This year there's a huge dropoff behind him.  I think the staff is trying to get Gardner experience where it can (hence the 2-QB formations), but he's just not a serviceable QB right now.  Accordingly, Denard has to be protected from injury as much as possible.



November 5th, 2011 at 8:01 PM ^


This game Denard was clearly told not to scamper or improvise beyond the line of scrimmage.  Because that's in his very nature and he didn't even attempt it.  Almost every play appeared scripted robotically.  No more scampers of anykind!  Which may make sense if you believe you can both win and teach fundamentals while eliminating the unforced errors of your lead QB who can't seem to get his feet in proper position before tossing the damn ball.  
Ultimately, this loss rests on the folks who tell Denard what he needs to do under threat of start from some other QB from Inkster and general deference.  The O side of this Iowa game got scripted wrongly, and there were too many changes on the D.  Special teams errors were the sort that just happen and ST showed bright flashes sometimes.
Iowa beat us on their home field, period.  Next week:  Illini there.  I sincerely pray we have a better plan for this upcoming game that will take advantage of the skills those players showing up then can accomplish.  We seem rather beaten up and understrength and still working on fundamentals with experienced players.


November 5th, 2011 at 9:54 PM ^

This game Denard was clearly told not to scamper or improvise beyond the line of scrimmage. Because that's in his very nature and he didn't even attempt it.

I don't know why people assume this. Denard has never been a scrambler. Under two different coaching staffs, he's always been hesitant to take off when it's been a designed pass play. 


November 5th, 2011 at 8:04 PM ^

what can i say, we have ups and downs. We are 7-2...and we really only played two good teams(MSU and IOWA), we can say we have beat nobody. I hate to bring up RR as comparison but i guess this is a rebuilding team so cannot expect a NC, BUT atleast beat OSU this please.


November 6th, 2011 at 1:36 AM ^

I don't know what happened in the Minnesota game but today Iowa certainly showed they can out tough anyone in the B1G. Im predicting Iowa will win against MSU and maybe rest of their schedule. And all I'm saying is that Hoke and Michgan cannot win against a legit team right now. The first day he got the job, he emphasised what it means to beat MSU&OSU and win Big Ten Championships, I'm just hoping he can deliver. I personal believe it doesn't matter if you're a first year coach or a ten years coach, MSU&OSU are can't lose games.


November 5th, 2011 at 8:04 PM ^

I think that Denard should have been chucking it downfield in the 1st quarter. Maybe he can get a rhythm down to hit a few later. We needed more room to operate before 15 minutes left in the game and the passes did that but they were ALL really off target. Hard to believe that you can throw that many bad passes. Somehow we need a WR that can separate. I guess if we had one on the field the passes would be missed, case in point Roundtree. Haven't seen any underclassmen yet to see if there is potential anywhere. We do miss Stonum more than originally realized.

The constant running against 8 or 9 just doesn't make sense with this line but we persist in trying. Mayber I am missing something. The safeties are 10 yds downfield and we try to throw quick slants into a crowd.

Was it me or was this a really slow track. The grass looked long and damp. I would certainly water down the field when facing DR. I think that impacted the inability to get wide. The OL was beating DR to the edge.

Keeping my fingers crossed that this was an abberation but the trend persists, especially on the road. We need to avoid 3 and out on the opening drive! Can't we have a coherant plan that avoids that. The opening 2 drives looked to be drawn in the dirt...very not turn the ball over.


November 5th, 2011 at 8:09 PM ^

It was inevitable that the fall was going to be a hard one. 8-4 is still looking like a good bet, but if our eighth victory isn't OSU, there's going to be a good amount of complaining around here about Hoke and his staff. Most of it won't be remotely justified, but regardless I'm sure some knucklehead is getting ready to start up


November 5th, 2011 at 8:19 PM ^

Al has had many moments that have made me happy this year.  However, he seemed to abandon the plays that work, for the ones that only kinda, maybe, sorta, could work if the execution is perfect.  I would just like him to let Denard roll out, throw bubble screens and encourage him to tuck and run, instead of "throw it as far as you can, when the pocket breaks down". 

I think Greg and Brady have done a very good job, and I am excited for the future.


November 5th, 2011 at 8:16 PM ^

who see poor execution. From Denard, from the blown routes, to the rest of things you all mention. UM"s two losses could have been wins with a fairly small number of plays well executed, a lack of turnovers at critical times, and so on. I like Borges, and I think we will be singing his praises in unison when the richer talent base is intact, and Denard is playing a position more suited to his skills, which is not a pocket passer. I agree that is Denard is going to continue to play quarterback, Borges should modify the game plan to unleash his blazing running skills more often. Otherwise, we will have several losses (3/4/5) this year, playing a QB that simply does not have the capacity to be consistent in the passing game over 10-15 yards. Yeah, I love Denard like everyone else. No, he will not deliver a Big Ten championship at quarterback IMO. 

Gorgeous Borges

November 5th, 2011 at 8:42 PM ^

This is just a bad situation. Denard can't execute the offense that Borges wants him to. Borges won't call the offense that Denard can execute. So frustrating, so needless. There was very little wrong with the offense last year in the first place. Now the moment we get a good defense and so-so special teams, our offense takes a few steps back. It's really frustrating.

Hoke will go exactly as far as his coordinators will take him, and his coordinator is not a good fit for these personnel. I hope by the time he gets his guys in place he will not have been fired like Rich Rod.


November 5th, 2011 at 8:49 PM ^

... this board continues to amaze me... and not in a good way.  Borges has never run an offense with the types of tools he has now.  He has shown far more flexibility than RR in adapting his style to suit his pieces.  Is he RR?  No.  I'd venture to guess offensively there are very few people who are as good as he was.  

But to place all the blame on him when we had multiple drive stopping drops, several poor referre decisions, absolutely horrible deep passes when at times the receivers were open (and I'm pretty sure Denard has permission to check down), your best running back banged up with a head injury, and still have 4 chances to tie it up in Iowa from the 3.  Yeah, it's time to bust out the fat jokes.

Stop your whining.  Bunch of ninnies on this board. 


November 5th, 2011 at 10:11 PM ^

You're talking about a situation where you are essentially trying to slowly  deprogram another guy's personnel and REprogram them in the manner of your choosing, at the same time installing new plays, new formations (at least for this group), and trying to erase certain habits. You're asking them to do things that they haven't necessarily done before. If you were the OC, how long do you think this process should take? These are not necessarily the personnel you would  have in your offense, but you're asking them to run at least bits and pieces of it. What are realistic expectations then? How fast do you think you can erase three years of a totally different approach to the game (two years, or one year, however long a given player  was in that coaching regime)? 

I think he is giving them plays that, in his opinion, he should be able to execute given what they've learned about Borgesland and its offense to date, as well as a hint of what they know. I would say that's a fairly realistic approach to the situation.

coastal blue

November 5th, 2011 at 11:04 PM ^

and it's because I've never coached football, so I don't know:

Given the personnel we had - I mean, no one else even recruited Denard to be a QB -  would it have been completely outrageous for Al Borges to try and learn the spread n' shred from January to August? Is that enough to time to get  I mean, he's already got all the tools in place on the field, he's got ample evidence in film from the year before to work with...and don't coaches talk? Couldn't he have gotten ahold of Rodriguez - who seems like the type who would want to help his former players, especially Denard - or any other spread experts for help? 

I agree it makes no sense to try and pull what Notre Dame did in 2007, but when you already have everything in place...I feel like this is a situation where the coach should have tried his best to adapt to the system. 


November 5th, 2011 at 11:34 PM ^

Many of you are romanticizing last year. Sure we ran up and down the field against the Illinois and Indiana's of the world ( we looked pretty good against minny and others this year), how bout msu, osu, miss St, psu (until we were down 3 tds).

coastal blue

November 5th, 2011 at 11:38 PM ^

when people judge the 2010 offense like it was a finished product and not an offense with a first year starter at QB, forced to carry the entire team because the defense and special teams were miserable and put them in position to fail. 



Bill in Birmingham

November 5th, 2011 at 9:08 PM ^

This is freaking ridiculous. Everyone screams for RR's head. They get it (over my objections FWIW).They bring in a new staff. The staff proves flexible and willing to adapt. Shoot me if you want, but Borges has put  the offense in positions to make many plays this year that they have not. It comes with changing programs. Anyone would have taken a 7-2 record at the beginning of the year. But we finally lose one against a team we should beat and Borges is being called Mike Freaking Martz. I am officially disgusted. Not with the team and not with the coaches. With morons in the fan base who make us sound like we're couch burners from West Virginia.


November 5th, 2011 at 9:16 PM ^

If you can't see the terrible play calling, than I am dissapointed in you.  If you want to whine about officials, that is fine as well.  I am not calling for anyones head, I just want him to use the talent we have.  We just went through this and I don't want to go through it again.  We have the talent to be one of the best offenses in the B1G, but we don't have a pocket passer, we don't have a guy that can chuck it accurately 40 yards.  It seemed that Al knew this, he was saying all the right things before the season.  However, he has forgotten and I just want him to do the right thing and use the talent we have.  I need to see short passes, rollouts, screens to Smith, bubble screens, and the QB Oh-No's...



November 5th, 2011 at 9:37 PM ^

a predictable i-formation as your primary offense, when you have only run  it with any real effectiveness in one game all year( Purdue) putting the players in their best position to succeed? Look, I have liked Borges playcalling in every game other game with the exception of the MSU game, and you know why because he is done a good job of emphasizing what this team does best (Shotgun), while still mixing in some new things as changeups here and there(i-formation) He got away from that mix today, and made the changeup the primary offense. Not only that, but  he used less formations than we have seen in other games.

Borges has shown flexible  this season, but that was't the case today. He tried to ram the offense he wants to run down the players throat's today. I don't see how somebody watching the game couldn't see that. I hope Borges learns from this and get's back to that mix from other games this season, otherwise the last three games could be pretty depressing.