Borges Gripes

Submitted by Ziff72 on October 20th, 2012 at 11:12 PM

I'm relieved we won but this game just angered the hell out of me.   Bitching about the OC is so cliche, but these seem so obvious.   Can anyone disagree with the following?


1.  2 years ago Roundtree made a living off a play born off the sheer terror of our qb's legs.   MSU had all 11 guys in the screen on several occasions.   Why can't we try a play that had guys open for 15 yards?   One time just try it please.   I. Lewis was begging to get burned today.  They were swarming Denard.  I didn't see any reverses, or counter action to take advantage of that fact.  

2. We have a throwback screen that works like a charm.   We ran it today for an easy 20 yards.   Are we saying they never gave us a similar defensive look that we couldn't try it again?   When a play is that open you have to try it again or put a wrinkle or variation and burn their adjustment,  to never come back to it when we are struggling is mind boggling.  Same for the screen play that the MSU guy made a great play on.   We had 3 blockers and a ton of space run it again.

3.  Get Funchess involved.  WTF?  We have a weapon and we just let him waste away on the sidelines.  He's a match up problem.  Get him involved.   

4.  Maybe this is on Denard but we have to get a quick screen audible installed asap.  Did you see that play at midfiled when they blitzed 2 db's off the edge and we just ran right into it? Just toss it to the edge.  Indiana made MSU pay with bubble screens all half before they adjusted.  We couldn't explore that at all as they A gapped blitzed all game?

This gameplan was very infuriating.  

Denard/Borges Cuisine was like a rice cake with no water today.    Pretty bland and hard to swallow. 




October 21st, 2012 at 12:20 AM ^

Well, on paper, our offense is as good as in 2011. Against ND and today, things looked good until we hit the red zone. To me, this sounds more like an X's and O's issue in the red zone againt stout D.

Again, I believe Borges is a competent coordinator. But he seems to have some wrinkles in his O to think about.

snarling wolverine

October 21st, 2012 at 2:30 AM ^

I've got to disagree about our offense being as good on paper as 2011's.  We lost David Molk, voted the best center in the country, Junior Hemingway, Denard's favorite downfield target by far, and Kevin Koger, a reliable TE.  I'd have to say we're weaker at all three spots this year, whereas I'm not sure we're stronger anywhere than we were last year.  



October 21st, 2012 at 3:14 AM ^


That's why I said "on paper". While Molk/Koger/Hemingway are all gone, the D's that we face is, IMO, not really as stingy as in 2011 (except Bama). We moved the ball much better againt ND and MSU this year compared to 2011. Our OL overall is doing better than I expeted, and Dileo/Funchess/others are stepping up. Yet, our RZ efficiency basically plummeted. Missing so many opportunity in the RZ is becoming a trend, which concerns me.

snarling wolverine

October 21st, 2012 at 12:00 PM ^

That still doesn't make sense.  Alabama and ND are better defensively than anyone we faced last year, save maybe MSU, and MSU is only a hair worse.  Our offensive problems have come against those three teams.  We've looked fine against everyone else.

You could argue that with Denard being in his second year in the system we should be better, and I wouldn't necessarily disagree, but in terms of offensive talent, I don't think we're better than we were last year.  Some of those who are very talented (Gardner, Funchess) are still very raw.  


October 21st, 2012 at 1:00 AM ^

as I mentioned in a different post there were a couple of plays that could have been TD's.  The lob to Funchess that was severely underthrown and Gallon crossing in the back of the endzone.  While the play calling in general can probably be questioned in the red zone, at the same time the players have to execute.

The Shredder

October 20th, 2012 at 11:44 PM ^

The only thing that chaps my ass is the 2:00 min offense. Its beyond terrible and we should be greatful that Coach Dan called a pass on the MSU 2nd down which saved a possible TO and time. I don't get why its so bad. They take forever to line up and hike the ball ect.

Simple Boy fro…

October 20th, 2012 at 11:45 PM ^

Have we learned anything from this year's Alabama and ND games?  Anything?  I give Borges  credit for caling a scheme that is within Denard's skill set.   Borges called a game plan that limited the potential for interceptions.  It was pretty obvious.  As ugly as the offensive play calling was, it was designed to limit turnovers.   There was a lot of luck that occurred in last years ND game.  You can't count on luck to win games on a consistant basis.   Give Borges his due.  


October 20th, 2012 at 11:54 PM ^

I missed the first half because, for some reason, I couldn't find a sports bar with this game (in Atlanta, GA) and I only found one in time for the second half.

When I saw the 6-0 score and the stat line of one interception, I thought, "thank god this isn't ND all over again."

Conservative, boring, ineffective, maybe. But I'll take all of those over 6 turnovers.

Westside Wolverine

October 21st, 2012 at 12:20 AM ^


I agree that MSU was focused on Denard and it was a good idea to call plays that limited Denard's opportunity to turn the ball over, but why not run Fitz more? He looked good when he got his touches. Also, more bubble screens! A great way to slow don't the pressure on Denard.


October 21st, 2012 at 1:04 AM ^

I could have sworn MSU was doing a good job of mixing up where their corners were playing.  A number of times they were no more than a couple yards off the line of scrimmage.  Considering that with Denard/Borges there is almost no audibles, if you call a bubble screen and the db's are on the los, it's either a recipe for disaster or a waste of a timeout to get a different play called.


October 21st, 2012 at 2:30 AM ^

Can't say I agree.  Just because there were no pix other than the hail mary does not mean Borges did anything particularly special to limit turn overs.  There were several balls batted at the LOS that could have been picked off.  Denard threw into several tight windows as well.  GIven Denard's history I'll chalk it more to luck than to Borges' anti-turnover scheme. 

Either way, we won.   Exhaaaaaale....

Sten Carlson

October 20th, 2012 at 11:48 PM ^

I realize that this is a forum through which a fanbase can discuss/vent about their team, the play calling, etc.  But, this is bordering on ridiculous.

As someone else said, when Borges came out throwing to try to beat a "Stop Denard at all costs" defensive scheme, it wasn't successful, and he was absolutely crucified for trying to make Denard into Tom Brady.  Then, when he decides to "let Denard be Denard" against a very good defense, people STILL bitch.  I don't have a problem with the play calling today in any way.  MSU's defense is SIGNIFICANTLY better than Michigan's offense across the board, except Denard.  For the most part, they gave Denard very little time to throw, and their LB play is outstanding, so that even when he was able to slip the ball out of pressure -- either throwing or running -- MSU LB's were there to quickly limit the gains.

You guys can belly ache and say things like "frustrating, nauseating, etc."  But, the bottom line is that with the defense holding Bell in check -- MSU only real weapon -- Borges SHOULD have gone concervative.  MSU got very lucky that this game was even close -- they put the ball on the ground TWICE and got them both back, and had to resort to a fake punt, ALL within their own 20.

Quit your bitching!


October 21st, 2012 at 1:12 AM ^

Was the "someone else" you, the other 4 times you've posted on this thread? I mean, I realize that this is a forum through which a fanbase can discuss/vent about the other fans on the forum, the discussion topics, the opinions, etc. But, this is bordering on ridiculous.

As someone else (namely, me, the last time I posted) said, you should stop trying to be the thread police and click on a different thread.

You can belly ache and say things like "ridiculous, frustrating, etc." But, the bottom line is that even with a Michigan victory -- something ungrammatical goes here -- sometimes people want to talk about what they weren't happy with.

Quit your bitching!

Sten Carlson

October 21st, 2012 at 11:35 AM ^

I am not "policing the thread" I am participating in the thread.  If I disagree with the comments that people make, I am going to say so.  If YOU don't want to participate, or are incapable of out-debating me or others, then go play with you ugly dog or something.  What the fuck are you talking about "ungammatical?"  If anyone is being such, it is your hack job of a post.  I understand that people what to talk about things they're unhappy with.  But, if what they're unhappy about is irrational, erroneous, or both, and they feel the need to air it in here, they're going to get a response.  It's ridiculous because Michigan fans are NEVER satisified.  MSU whipped our asses last year, and this year we were in a fist fight from the first play.  Michigan had its chances, and MSU tried to fumble the game away, but neither happened.  In the end, Michigan's senior, record-setting QB did what we ask him to do, he put Michigan in position to win the game.  If you don't want counter points, sit and tell your ugly dog what you think.


October 21st, 2012 at 2:33 AM ^

8 quarters, 0 TDs vs two main rivals with an electric, senior QB.  We had the luxury to get a split of these two games so far 100% because of the defense.  Borges does deserve some heat.  Thankfully for him, next year he finally gets Shane Morris and Borges can start incorporating his scheme.  But the jury is definitely still out.

Bill the Butcher

October 21st, 2012 at 9:20 AM ^

People keep bringing up this "electric senior qb" and "most exciting player on the planet EVARRRRRRRRRRR" argument.  It doesn't hold any water.  Whether it was CM and RR, or Hoke and Borges, Denard has always struggled against good defenses.  When you see an issue that spans two coaching staffs, especially when one staff ran the "perfect" offense for the QB, you have to stop and think that maybe just maybe it is the player that is the limiting factor and not the coaching.  Borges gameplan today was the exact opposite of what he did in the first half of ND.  A half he was crucified for, and yet we still are not happy.  After 3 years of watching Denard be shut down against great defenses, we just have to step back and acknowledge that while he is a great player, Denard has many flaws that hamstring the offense against good defenses.  He is our best option at QB and so we roll on with him taking both the bad and the good.  It is what it is at this point and its not on Borges or Denard.


October 20th, 2012 at 11:50 PM ^

Denard isn't exactly ever gonna be playing to his strength against a quarters defense. Whose diary was it that pointed that out? Whoever it was, it was a great read about crashing defensive backs and man defense. That defense is most susceptible to quick accurate passes, trying to set up big gains outside. In our case, we just do our best with that in the hopes it will allow your base veers to work. Today wasn't pretty, but we won, right?

Unfortunately, denard is only so reliable in the pocket, and Borges has only had so much time to get Funchess and Gardner coached up. While Dileo and Gallon will make their big plays, I'm not sure you can expect Borges to develop an offense to run through them, when the play book is intentionally abridged to denards strengths. A win is a win. Next.

Space Coyote

October 20th, 2012 at 11:53 PM ^

And a lot of this has to do with Denard's reads, but get Fitz more touches. He ran well today. I would have liked that have seen them have more designed runs with Fitz going downhill, kind of like what OSU did against MSU. MSU didn't really defend to shut down the run game, the defended to shut down Denard, and sometimes they kind of just ran into Fitz while getting there. Fitz played well today IMO, and I hate seeing Michigan's starting RB only get 10 carries.

That and the hurry up offense at the end was pretty brutal.


October 21st, 2012 at 12:44 AM ^

That was my main beef as well.  Toussaint was looking as good as he has all season and I thought we needed to commit more to him.   It was particularly frustrating on our next-to-last possession, when he picked up six yards on first down, but then we squandered it with a zone  read that was blown up on second down, followed by the back-to-back penalties.  I wanted to keep feeding it to him there.  We were already in FG range.

But Borges did have some nice playcalls that went unrewarded by sloppy execution.  Gardner needed to haul in that deep ball.  The swing pass to Toussaint would have been a big play if thrown properly, but he had to wait too long for the ball and make an awkward adjustment, and MSU had time to snuff it out.  The same was true for one of the screens to Smith.  And anytime you can get a receiver (Gallon) totally open in the middle of the endzone on a 3rd and goal, you've made a great call.  That should have been an easy pitch and catch, but Denard gunned it behind him.   

Fortunately, this is all nitpicking.  For the first time against Dantonio, we outgained and outrushed MSU.  


October 21st, 2012 at 1:08 AM ^

In a defensive struggle it's easy to overlook poor execution by the players and lump it in with a bad offensive game plan.  If Denard hits Gallon and makes a better throw to Funchess that's 17 points (figure they wouldn't have needed the last second FG), which is near the top end of points that Sparty has given up in a game this year.


October 20th, 2012 at 11:56 PM ^

1. I don't even know what you are complaining about here.  Give MSU some credit, they are a very good defense and weren't going to give us anything, much less a receiver open by 15 yards.

2.  We tried the throwback screen a second time and it was an utter disaster.  I think we lost yardage.  

3.  Funchess was invisible for most of the game.  We did try to get him the ball once in the endzone.  It was incomplete.  

4.  I honestly don't know if this is on Denard or Borges.  Borges says he allows the QB to audible but I don't think we've seen it all year.  

Against ND we threw too much (against a team with a great front seven but a questionable secondary).  Now against another great defense we are too vanilla.  

I do think we ran the Zone Read too much today, it was blown up nearly every time.  I would have liked to have seen plays that developed quicker.  We did manage 326 yards against a team allowing only 270 yards per game.  And We Won!

Generic MGoBlogger

October 21st, 2012 at 12:08 AM ^

The zone reads were absolutely atrocious today. They developed very slowly and by the time Denard took it himself, the secondary and linebackers were there to fill the gaps, and if Denard would go to Fitz, he would be caught running laterally towards the sidelines and end up losing five yards. IMO Borges should have made the adjustment and Denard needs to be faster with his reads. And there are my complaints... Great win and GO BLUE!!!


October 21st, 2012 at 1:27 AM ^

Denard has always been slow on the Zone Read, and he's not going to get better at it now. That's part of the reason why the Inverted Veer works so well for UM; it's a slowly developing play to begin with, which play's to Denard's strengths (in addition to some other excellent things in the blocking scheme). 


One of the things we've seen as defenses have adjusted to the spread option is a bit of a move away from the more lateral zone reads into ones that get vertical much more quickly. As an example, watch the tape from the OSU game today. They ran that same pistol zone read about forty times, right up the gut. That thing is basically a halfback dive for how often the QB keeps on it, but that's not surprising. The point of the ZR, for just about everyone but UM, is to get your running back to the hole with a numbers advantage. The QB keeper aspect is supposed to be a constraint, not the goal of the play (unless you've got a player like Denard keeping it). UM obviously plays it a bit differently, and Borges doesn't seem to have a great grasp on the concepts or what they're designed to do (he mostly seems to be aiming to get the ball on top of Denard's legs which is going to be incredibly effective against all but those top ten defenses this year). 


With the quality of the defense and O-Line this year, and the terrible quality of everyone else in the B1G, UM will probably roll for 300+ rushing yards on everyone except maybe Ohio, and probably them too. I would have liked to see more north and south running (with Denard's option being a lateral movement) like OSU runs with Carlos Hyde/Braxton Miller option, but I don't think Borges is quite that savvy, the team hasn't practiced it, and there's no point in doing so beyond this year.


October 20th, 2012 at 11:57 PM ^

Denard's decision making under pressure isn't great. There were a number of times that he attempted passes (most of them overthrown, broken up or dropped) when he probably should/could have run for a big gain. Other times, he decided to run when he had open receivers. So, Borges is working with what he has. 

Denard is an awesome athlete. There may never be another like him to strap on the Winged Helmet, and I'm going to savor every remaining minute of his Michigan career. But to say that the offensive scheme and its deficiencies are all on Borges overlooks the skill deficiencies of the player who actually executes that scheme. 


October 21st, 2012 at 9:18 AM ^

the players have skill just not for the system that borges is using. But lets look at a different sport like basketball. in basketball if you have pg that can break down the his man, u open the floor and let him make the decisions. if u have a big that can play inside and out, then u utilize it. michigan has talent and skill players. some are just not playing in the ideal spots. roundtree in the slot had 72 receptions, on the outside he has less than 25. great coaches alway but there players in the best position to succeed. mattison has done it on D with undersized players.


October 20th, 2012 at 11:59 PM ^

The plays were there. The only WTF I had on play calling was that screen for a loss on the last drive. Other than that, I blame execution.


October 21st, 2012 at 12:32 AM ^

I think Borges problem is that he can run the ZR offense decently well but isnt a genius at it like RR so he may lack the understanding of constraint, playcalling, etc that make it lethal. I think he's probably fairly happy that he's made it work so well thus far


October 21st, 2012 at 9:00 AM ^

What the [email protected] did you say? I'm thinkin you are being sarcastic... Where was the genius when we got beat by every team with at least a pulse? Never knowing which Michigan team was going to show up( with the exception of a few players) got old in "The Genius's" first season here. Good for him being in the PAC-12, it's a non defense league, it's in their charter. It's a given that we play defense here, should have studied Michigan football history. You know, like any genius would do, learn about what he's getting into.


October 21st, 2012 at 12:42 AM ^

I have lots of gripes about Borges but I'm also not in the mood to be pissed off, namely because I'm happy as hell! If, at the end of that game, you're not happy and just moaning about Borges, you're a terrible fan.


October 21st, 2012 at 12:43 AM ^

This is a good defense whether or not people want to admit it. Our wide outs are not good enough to beat their tight coverage on the outside as evidenced by Gardner falling over on one play and dropping a key pass on another. The bubble wasn't there because they put their corners 2 yards off the LOS. So they stack the box. Our whole offense this season has been based on the zone read and they were able to take it away for the most part. So what do you expect from Borges as a playcaller? Abandon everything? Air it out like ND? If we had executed better, and I don't mean just Denard, I mean Mealer on the screen to Toussaint on the second series, eliminating penalties, drops, this game would have been a reasonably comfortable victory.

People thought going into ND that we should air it out. Their secondary was vulnerable. Denard had maybe improved his accuracy. It didn't work. Now we go relatively conservative and people jump all over Borges. The man can't win.

All of that being said, I thought he was being a little overly stubborn in the 3rd quarter with the zone read, especially on first down. I think it was the second drive where, for example, he busted out the play action on 2nd down instead of 1st down and it got batted down. Regardless, I still have faith that the man knows what he's doing and I don't think people give him the credit he deserves from game to game adjustments. 


October 21st, 2012 at 12:50 AM ^

I'm not going to bag on Borges until I see what he can do with a pro-style QB that fits his offense.  That being said, I do feel like he doesn't adjust well when the other team is stuffing Michigan.  It seems like everyone in the stadium knew MSU was coming on those big blitzes, yet Michigan kept running slow-developing plays that got absolutely destroyed by them.


October 21st, 2012 at 12:59 AM ^

I'm confident Borges is just trying to hold down the fort until we get a pass-first QB. Which will be next year. And it's gonna be a true freshman QB. No way Borges and Hoke want to spend a year under either of our spread-type QB options. Both Henne and Barkley did well as freshmen.