Al Borges: Will Adapt Offense to Denard

Submitted by mgoblue52 on January 14th, 2011 at 1:33 AM

Borges runs a pro-style offense, but he said it has gone through much tweaking over the years, and describes his philosophy as more of a hybrid pro-style.

He has run some aspects of the spread offense.

"To say we're a spread team, we're not that," Borges said. "But you can't say, we're going to blow up and start all over again, not when you have a talent like (Robinson).

From The Detroit News:


This sounds promising at least...



January 14th, 2011 at 4:33 AM ^

because you want to make money while waiting for the next BCS job to come about? He was forced out at Auburn under ridiculous circumstances, took a year off and then took the SDSU job. He's also a California guy, so I imagine the chance to go back home after ~8 years away was a big draw.

Ultimately, things don't work out quite as neatly as we'd like them to. Why did two NFL coordinators just accept the exact same jobs at SEC schools?


January 14th, 2011 at 10:04 AM ^

Ultimately, things don't work out quite as neatly as we'd like them to. Why did two NFL coordinators just accept the exact same jobs at SEC schools?

Your point is well-taken, but Weis voluntarily went to Florida because his son is a student there.  Things actually did work out pretty neatly for him.


January 14th, 2011 at 2:12 AM ^

I hope our offense resembles what Penn State used to do with Daryll Clark and Evan Royster in the backfield.  I think that scheme would utilize the best of everyone's talents.

kind of a big deal

January 14th, 2011 at 2:14 AM ^

We'll be a better offense and team with Denard's carries going down from a sheer attempts standpoint.  For lack of a better analogy I'll go with the quality over quantity meme.  I'd like to see Denard refine his passing skills so that when he does carry the ball it's not solely the QB draw/dive over tackle that gets him beat up.

I'm not saying we don't run the pure QB draw any more, just saying if he's more of a passing threat the more he can exploit defenses when they drop back in coverage and he scrambles for HUGE yards.

Part of Denard being able to cut down on carries is improvement from the running game via the RB's.  If Hoke's Offense can get a good down hill running game going the sky is the limit with Denard in the backfield.  His personal #'s could decrease, but over all productivity of the offense would see huge gains from more balance.


January 14th, 2011 at 2:22 AM ^

The Detroit news article quotes Borges:


"He can throw," Borges said. "This is the way I equate it … They said Michael Vick couldn't be a West Coast-style quarterback, and he's one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL. Why? Because they put him in situations to run and throw. Denard is 6-feet tall, like Michael Vick. He can run and he can throw and make things happen. If Michael Vick can do that with the Philadelphia Eagles, why can't Denard Robinson do that at Michigan?

"What we'll do is, we'll add a little bit to the offense, we'll exploit his running skills because he's used to running the ball — we'll exploit his running ability, but we'll make him a better passer. If he doesn't rush for a gazillion yards and we could make that up with a little more passing, we'd be a little better off."

From The Detroit News:


January 14th, 2011 at 2:39 AM ^

True. But Vick is an even better pocket passer now and Drew Brees is all of 5'11" and is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. Dealing with being short is fixable, it just takes time transitioning from what you're used to in high school. I think Denard's accuracy problems had more to do with not being accustomed to the speed of defenses more so than his height.


January 14th, 2011 at 8:37 AM ^

...I told you so, but I told you so (not you, JBE, but the collective MGoBlogerati you).

I can't tell you how pleased I am to see Borges talking about his desire to mold his offense around Denard's substantial skillset.

There is no reason to believe that Denard can't be as dangerous in a Great Lakes/Third Coast Offense as he was in the spread 'n' shred.


January 14th, 2011 at 8:42 AM ^

I completely agree with you. I think with the right coaching Denard could be a very good QB in any system. He has the arm, we have seen it multiple times this last year, and he has decent accuracy. If he can hone his accuracy and decision making skills and make better reads, Denard will be unstoppable. 


January 14th, 2011 at 2:23 AM ^

Borges has got to be thrilled about the prospect of working with a weapon like Denard; and what he said in that interview is probably pretty sounding pretty appealing to Denard as well.


January 14th, 2011 at 2:42 AM ^

Like the Vick comparison and I, like most here, feel that giving Denard 6-10 dedicated running plays a game combined with rolling him out of the pocket on a percentage of the pass attempts will make this offense just as hard to defend.

The West Coast relies on a lot of short passes. Borges and the QB Coach will have to work with Denard on his accuracy.

Biggest concern for me is finding a RB who can become the dual-threat runner/receiver out of the backfield the West Coast needs. Shaw seems like the best option with Hopkins as a Rathmann/Johnston/Schmidtt type FB and Smith/Fitz/Cox spelling Shaw when needed.


January 14th, 2011 at 2:54 AM ^

I fall in love more with this hire with each passing day. Sure the spread will be gone when Denard graduates, but by that point Hoke and Borges will have the guys tgey want anyways, and Devin is perfect fot a West Coast type offense.


January 14th, 2011 at 3:00 AM ^

Bring in the right QB coach ( I know many want loeffler ) and Denard could really take his passing to a whole new level. Add that to the obvious ability to outrun anything on the planet and we have a VERY high ceiling.


January 14th, 2011 at 4:46 AM ^

Lefty's actually perfect for the gig. His work with Tebow, while largely failing to correct his motion, was good enough to turn him into a first round pick. He's worked in a spread and in the NFL (although, if we're being honest, the 2008 Lions don't really qualify as an NFL team). 


January 14th, 2011 at 6:40 AM ^

Gotta agree with his priorities so far:

  1. Retain Denard by promising to design the O around him,
  2. Ensure a buy-in to this plan by Borges before confirming him as OC, and
  3. Everything else.


January 14th, 2011 at 6:47 AM ^ might not be such bad thing to focus on improving his passing. Also, even if his number of rushes per game goes down a bit (to maybe 8-10), his total rushing yards per game might not drop that much from what it was during the last half of last year, because defenses won't be looking for it every down. This could work. It's all about execution.


January 14th, 2011 at 6:52 AM ^

skills, he would be way more dangerous than he already is.  Although, he can throw a lot better than freshman year, he had way too many missed throws and missed reads.  Get him to read the D better and throw more consistent, then we are talking.  Watch out.

Don Keypunch

January 14th, 2011 at 7:48 AM ^

to see the progression of Denard's abilities over the course of another offseason. The leap he made from year 1 to last year was incredible, and here's hoping for more of the same. I have to imagine that he'll work hard all summer on the following things:

1. Passing Accuracy

2. Holding onto the football as to minimize turnovers

3. And having the best dreads on the team


January 14th, 2011 at 8:26 AM ^

when I saw the video of Hoke getting his first tour of all the facilities. BH is standing in the indoor building (forget the name) and Denard is showing off his passing skills to the coach. He wants to impress, and I think it was a tacit message (I can spin the ball too, coach).

I want to see toughness and physicality be the main focus with this team, this year. When we match up with OSU, Wisc, and Neb, we better be ready to smash some skulls. I am also really looking forward to the very first B1G championship in my home town (Indy). I will be there to watch our Wolves win the first title under this new system. Go Blue!


January 14th, 2011 at 8:33 AM ^

This may be the best possible scenario for Denard in the long run--not only does this shift in style seem to favor developing his passing game even more (which is crucial to any NFL success), but there will be fewer plays where he disappears into a pile of 300-pounders and comes up holding a limb (or head) in pain. I may be an eternal optimist when it comes to Michigan football, but this may just work out well...


January 14th, 2011 at 8:36 AM ^

There's still a chance that Michigan can be in the forefront of a movement toward hybrid offenses using principles from both the spread and the pro set.  The original hybrid is called the "two-minute offense."  The run and shoot was pretty cool; ask Barry Sanders.  And, of course, there's whatever New England calls their offense, which won them three Super Bowls. 

So, really, there are plenty of hybrid pro set/spread offenses already.  They just aren't popular yet because of the dichotomy between spread option and pro set.  I think that within five years, most offenses will have elements of both.  It would be pretty cool if Michigan was one of the pioneering teams in this trend. 


January 14th, 2011 at 9:08 AM ^

please let this be true

Borges and avant garde seem to be mutually exclusive, but if he's ever going to reboot it would be now: a school like Michigan, QB talent like Denard, with a team that already understands the spread offense elements.  He should be licking his chops


January 14th, 2011 at 9:14 AM ^

I hope this comes true as well. You see it more and more in the pros, although the Eagles are really the only ones doing it with a running QB. Titans had some success, but young has issues. Stanford actually ran the pro style with lots of variation this year with quit some success. We can only hope for the best at this point.


January 14th, 2011 at 8:50 AM ^

Judging by how much improvement DRob made from year 1 -2, the sky is the limit for this kid. I'm assuming that he will put in the same amount of work that he did last offseason.