Amateur Overanalysis: 5 critical plays not on Borges

Submitted by Bodogblog on November 25th, 2012 at 1:27 PM

1 in the first half, 4 in the second.  All descriptions are approximate because I only had the reply on BTN and can't rewind (I didn't DVR).  Admittedly some of these are asking for good/great plays.

Play, the first.  Michigan is in field goal range in Ohio's end in the first quarter.  Gardner drops back and is sacked by A. Washington.  The true freshman went right around Taylor Lewan for a sack/fumble.  Result: 3 potential points lost.

Play, the second.  Michigan near mid-field on the first drive of the second half.  This is the The Play of The Game.  4th and 3.  Gardner leaves the field and Denard comes in.  It's described as "Borges ran it straight up the middle into a stacked front!".  I don't think that's true, but even if it is, this play is there.  All blocks are made except one - our best OL Taylor Lewan whifs on a simple downblock on and undersized Sabino, and he makes the tackle.  If he even occupies him, Denard has the first easily, and likely a lot more. Result: field position and momentum lost.

Play, the third.  Gallon deep ball / post.  Either Borges calls a play that occupies the safety, or he's horribly out of position, but Gallon is by him as he continues through the catch.  The cornerback he'd already beaten lunges for a shoestring tackle and makes it.  Pick up your feet or run through those arms/hands and it's six points.  Denard will fumble on the next play.  Result: loss of 6 points. 

Play, the fourth.  Last drive.  Gardner does an outstanding job of avoiding another strong rush, runs for 8/9 yards on first down.  Play is called back for holding.  Result: 1st and 20 instead of 2nd and 1/2 near midfield.

Play, the fifth.  Gardner again with an outstanding scramble, rolls to his left, and throws to a covered Funchess.  Given man coverage on that side of the field, he could have kept and picked up at least 10 yards.  Maybe significantly more.  Result: 2nd and 20 instead of 2nd and 10, potential big play/momentum lost.

This was a close game.  Watch again tonight on BTN if you can stomach it.  Not excusing Borges because I believe he failed in several ways, but there were plays to be made in the second half.



November 25th, 2012 at 6:28 PM ^

I like your points.  I think it makes a good point on how a lot of things may have not actually been Borges's fault, but if you are looking at execution mistakes, you could make the very same arguments for Ohio.  We were simply outexecuted this time, but hopefully we can continue to improve in the future.


November 25th, 2012 at 6:44 PM ^

I don't disagree with your point that players have to execute or schemes to work and for us to win games. Also, player mistakes can make play-calling look bad where if one or two guys had executed the play would have worked. However, I am fine being more critical of Borges than the players because Borges-and Hoke-are being paid well to coach and the players are not and are wry young men. Moreso, as some people above have mentioned, I don't think you have really mitigated Borges mistakes and poor play-calling by merely pointing out player mistakes throughout the game. Borges knows his players are going to make mistakes and not execute his play calls right everytime. He has to put his players in the best position to make plays which was hight questionable in the second half of that game. Calling multiple runs with Rawls and even Vincent smith up the middle on 3rd and 2 or 3 is not putting his players in a position to succeed. Everyone knows our interior line is te weakness of our offense and ohios interior DL is their strength. So why run right at it on critical 3rd down conversions? Only your second play call can really be deemed a potentially good play call that seems bad due to failed player execution. All of your other plays were generally or seemingly good play calls but didn't end up working or working completely because of failed player execution. So your basic point then can be characterized as Borges may have screwed up big time in key moments, however, if our players executed flawlessly or at least successfully executed their duties on other plays then those bad calls would have been irrelevant. Yes, having a bunch of all Americans or at least all big ten players would make Borges play calling more successful, but that is a ridiculous point because the very pointed sports is that it is a competition and we cannot always be an team full with elite nfl talent making everything looking easy out there. You characterize gallons post catch as his failing to execute because of a shoestring tackle, but do you realize how difficult it is run full speed, cut to throw off the defender, make the catch, and then try to keep your balance after a defender who you cannot see is tripping up your legs? Maybe it's easier for me to recognize how easy it is for someone to trip another person merely by disrupting their running motion because I played soccer, but frankly I don't think you understand that if gallon were able to keep his balance after having his legs cut out from under him-or a shoestring tackle-that would have been an all America type of play. If you think that play was a failure on gallons part you have a ridiculous conception of the physical limitations of a human being. That play was a success and didn't go for a td because ohios defender made a great play to trip gallon before gallon could pull away. Although I agree that not all of this was Borges fault, you really haven't mitigated his failure to play to his teams strengths or rather even play to ohios weaknesses.


November 25th, 2012 at 7:19 PM ^

UFR will have Lewan graded out to his worst game of the season. I seem to remember him looking sheepish on several plays. Very out of the ordinary for him, IMHO.


November 26th, 2012 at 12:13 AM ^

Borges is doing what he has been told to do.  So is Brady Hoke.  David Brandon wants manball, David Brandon hires and fires, David Brandon gets manball.  

This could be a long decade of dominance by Ohio and ND, but I am not jumping on the "it's all Borges' fault" bandwagon until he has had a couple more years to get his own personnel in.  When Shane Morris is a junior and Ohio and Nebraska are home games, with no ND on the schedule, then I will bitch about Borges if Michigan doesn't do well.  

One of two things will happen by then.  Either Michigan will take advantage of great recruiting and great coaching to have a 12-14 win season, or what has passed as "Michigan Football" for the last 20 years will truly be back, and Michigan will continue to average 3-4 losses per season.

For the transition, I will direct any ire I feel about the team toward David Brandon.  He has made himself the face of the Michigan Wolverines.  He had no problem taking credit for last year, so I have no problem assigning him the blame for this year and every subsequent year until Michigan is competing for championships again.