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. 



Perkis-Size Me

October 21st, 2012 at 1:25 AM ^

I think we're going to see a big boost in terms of overall QB play maybe not next year, but the year after and following. Borges will have the type of QB he was brought in to coach. I love Denard, and the man makes plays, but in terms of this offense, he is a square peg in a round hole.

Borges is doing what he can until Morris comes into the picture. Ideally, though, I don't want Morris touching the field next year. Unless he is our best option, hand him a clipboard and a headset, get him acclimated to the offense, and he can take the reins as a RS freshman in 2014.


October 21st, 2012 at 1:26 AM ^

90 yards last week and doesn't see the field today? I apologize if someone has already mentioned it, but how does he not at least get a few snaps where he can go north/south instead of running all these zone reads that Fitz can't break (yeah, he had a 38 yard run, but had 9 for 14 yards otherwise)


October 21st, 2012 at 9:45 AM ^

17 > 12 ... and they would have had several more opportunities for points with Hoke's defense forcing 3 & outs. No doubt in my mind Rich Rod's offense was much more effective for Denard. He had plays that went to the flats to open up the middle for Denard's runs. Denard was completing 60%+ of his passes, and the Roundtree play was genius. It put safeties in purgatory. To this day its the only pass play that I've felt Denard was comfortable with.


October 21st, 2012 at 1:59 AM ^

Happy for the win but.....

I swear our inability to get TDs when we have first and goals inside the 10 yard line are going to be the end of me. And it's 100% bad playcalling on 1st and 2nd downs putting us in bad situations in later downs. It costed us the Notre Dame game and it's infuriating watching us continue to bang our heads against the wall game after game with the same damn predictable plays even after they said they took a week to figure out what they did wrong.


Last year we were good in those situations because we kept defenses off balance but this year other teams can count on the exact same sequence of plays once we get down there.

snarling wolverine

October 21st, 2012 at 2:38 AM ^

And it's 100% bad playcalling on 1st and 2nd downs putting us in bad situations in later downs.

I don't agree. Here was our play sequence when we had first-and-goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter (the drive where we ended up kicking to go up 9-7):

First and goal, at the 10: zone handoff to Toussaint which picked up seven yards.

Second and goal, at the 3: fade to Funchess that was broken up by the MSU linebacker.

Third and goal, at the 3: pass to a wide-open Gallon that is thrown behind him and dropped.

What was bad about that set of playcalls? First down worked very well, second down got Funchess isolated on a linebacker, and third down got Gallon all alone in the middle of the endzone. I guess you could argue that Fitz should have had another carry after first down, but the next two calls weren't bad by any means.


October 21st, 2012 at 2:16 AM ^

genius savant against a good, funadmentaly strong defense that stays home and tackles well.


Its called football.


Dana Holgerson is a genius right up to the point he started playing good defenses.


October 21st, 2012 at 2:23 AM ^

My biggest Borges gripe is calling a qb designed run up the gut after MSU has stuffed it all day after getting six on first down. There Was a drive in the fourth quarter we made it to their side of the field and we got 6 yards on first down for second and four and wound up in third7 because of a draw call. Fitz had some room and u know MSU is looking for Denard to run. Give to Fitz or ...gasp...try a bubble screen. The outside was there for the taking on multiple occasions, but we kept trying to pound the middle.


October 21st, 2012 at 3:06 AM ^

That's our record with this coaching staff.  How soon we forget and quick we are to criticize.  All that were expecting 20+ points against State's defense haven't paid attention.  Admit it, Sparty has a defense that is very good against Denard and has been all three games that he started.

We should be reveling in that fact that this is the last really good Defense that we will face.  All of you will be singing the praises of Gorgeous Boregeous as Denard becomes the all-time leading rushing QB.  However, it will largely be due to the same plays being called against poorer defenses.

Enjoy the win.  Nebraska's next. 


October 21st, 2012 at 3:08 AM ^

I do miss the play where Denard starts to run to one side, and the defense moves in thinking it's a run, then he stops and tosses the ball to a (usually) wide open WR.

RR ran it frequently, they ran it a few times last year, but I don't think I've seen it this year.



October 21st, 2012 at 4:38 AM ^

The offensive play calling was predictable.  Just happy our D kept us in the game.  If you'd have told me at the beginning of the season that it would be our D that was winning games for us, and NOT our O, I would have said you were crazy....especially after losing Martin and Van Bergen.


October 21st, 2012 at 5:24 AM ^

I can't really think of an OC who would not be happy to inherit DR, but I am certain there are many who would have rather inherited him at another position. There is no doubt he's the  most exciting offensive Michigan football player I've ever seen. What he is going to accomplish in three years is mind boggling, but he does present some problems, strictly from an OC's position. We know he has the arm strength to complete any pass, but we don't know when he'll step into a pass or revert to old habits and stand with feet at equi disant as shoulders and attempt an arm throw, like he did with Gallon completely open in the end zone tonight.

Just because he inherited the most exciting offensive player we've ever had, does not automatically equate to inheriting the greatest qb we've ever had. While it's true that no other UM player could have pulled out as many last second victories as Denard has, it's also true he has to be, perhaps, the most difficult to build a game plan around simply because you don't know what you will get.

He was poision the past two weeks vs. Purdue and IL, where he was only asked to throw 15 times and he let his feet do the walking. This makes it easy for an OC. But tonight, where he had a decent first half throwing, he definitely let it affect his second half release, and we had far too many completions by virtue of our receivers bending over, sometimes waiting to catch the ball. Borges had no choice but to accept this guy as our qb and take, good or bad, whatever came. However, just because of who Denard is, that can change in one series. Who the hell were you going to replace him with? Why would you want to replace him? Neither question requires an answer because we all are already aware.

But he is not an RGIII, who can repeatedly hit his man in stride on the long ball. If he was, he would have won the Heisman last season and been the front runner again this year, simply because of the the extra threat his legs pose. He has also never been complemented by that "can't miss" back who he could simply hand it off to, thereby making his job easier.

With Denard, you get what you get. It could be a well devised game plan vs. ND, but "wait a minute," I didn't know he was going to go Darius  on us and toss up six picks.  But when planning for the Purdue game, I thought we might need twenty passes from him, but the kid went nuts and ran for over 200, and followed it up the next week in a 150 yd homecoming performance where he didn't see the fourth quarter.

It is so easy to set back and, in retrospect, and in the course of a game, that is immediate, say what we should have done, but by saying "it was so obvious" does not guarantee that it would have worked either, because my guess is Borges thought his play calling had a realistically high percentage of possible success. That is why you call them.

We could easily end up as a two loss conference champ, or we might snub our toe another time or two. All any OC can do is devise a game plan that he thinks Denard, at his best, will be able to pull off and give us a good chance of winning. And even tonight, when he seemed to struggle to really get a grip on the game, when the chips were down, he managed to get us in the field position we needed for a last second victory, and possibly realizing that he had something going with Dileo, had him in there for that last pass. Who know? All I'm saying is Al, going forward, will be game planning around a far more orthodox, yes, hugely less exciting player, but possibly one that will make his job much easier.

As I watch Denard as an ex coach, I am amazed at how this kid plays football. He is extraordinary, but having him in a position where every play you call involves him to a degree, I know without a doubt that each play that is called is predicated on this kid having already proven he can do whatever it is he asked to do on that play. Now whether he does it or not is up in the air.   But rememember, especially tonight, he was going against a damn good offense and this is a young man that w/o a RS year, was thrown into the fire and is going to end up with a damn fine two year run.

Let's start second guessing Al next year. This year is still Denard's.






































October 21st, 2012 at 7:20 AM ^

Not defending too much because the predictability factor was there all game but on points 2. & 3.: Funchess had a TD pass fall from his hands. I would've loved to see more of him but Kiawikowski (sp) also got involved from a TE standpoint. And the throwback screen worked the first time, but the pass (again) was too high hurting the fluidity of the play and giving the defense time to adjust. On the second screen it was perfectly defended. Borges ran multiple similar playsets back to back to back with different calls - 3 wide, 2 back set on first: read option, same set on second: play action, same set on third: pass. Denard essentially made the read on the defense and called the play as per what he was given. Execution in the red zone was the biggest problem (that and the special teams blunder). This staff wanted this game much more than they led on.

Ball Hawk

October 21st, 2012 at 7:36 AM ^

Zone reads were too much. Need more Toussant plays. Backside screen makes me sweat a bit because Denard doesnt look before he throws to the screen man and if one person on that defense is around the area it can be an easy pick 6. Anymore, the plays that make him very dangerous is when its a pass play and he hangs in the pocket for a good 5 seconds or so to get the dbs back far enough off the LOS and then tuck and run. So many times I saw him hang in the pocket for a long time which was good but never took off when sees only 2 guys in the box with open lanes to run. Triple receivers on one side is always good safe pass because there is always one db playing deep off the rceiver to cover the backside pass. When that safety moves up to help cover the trips is the backside TE slant works awesome. You have to throw a little to take some preasure off of denard's running game.

Ball Hawk

October 21st, 2012 at 7:52 AM ^

Oh and 3rd and 15's and beyond are almost impossible to convert. The whole game we were faced with 3rd and a mile. Forget about the punt throws. Denard has the worst quarterback mechanics I have ever seen in my life. He Still has his feet and shoulders square with the LOS when he throws. He still throws off his back foot. A lot of his over the middle throws are batted down because he throws side arm. He is very inaccurate because of his mechanics. We need to stop throwing hail marys and only throw deep to a wide open receiver.


October 21st, 2012 at 8:51 AM ^

Remember a week or two ago when Borges said after games he goes through every play, and the ones that do not work out well he determines whether A) he made a bad play call, B) the offense failed to execute (e.g. someone missed a block, receiver ran wrong route, etc.), or C) the defense just made an exceptionally outstanding play?  

Now we can fault the OC for A) and sometimes for B) if the lack of execution is because the coaches haven't prepared the players properly, but most of the offensive difficulties were caused by failure to execute or exceptional defensive play.


October 21st, 2012 at 8:54 AM ^

It should be pointed out that, although we only managed 163 yards on the ground, this was good enough to exceed the average yield of rushing yards for the Spartan defense by about 45%, as it was 91 yards at the start of the game (it is now 100 yards, incidentally). From a numbers standpoint, what we did on the ground was effective overall against a defense that was designed to take this away for the most part. Actually, MSU runs a defense that is designed to take away some of the plays we are best at  on offense, so if the approach looked different, that would likely be why, I would say. 

It seems like the playcalling went conservative to mitigate mistakes, and it worked - Denard threw one interception literally as time expired in the 1st half, so it meant nothing towards the outcome ultimately. Denard still averaged 4.2 yards per carry, and 4.2 yards, as we can well note in games like this, can make all the difference in the world.

In the air, there actually were several great calls, I thought, considering the defense we were facing. Many of them sadly fell victim to slightly off-target throws or drops, but when you're only getting narrow windows in coverage designed to prevent big plays, we did still make a couple when we needed them (Drew Dileo, in particular). If we could throw darts and hit receivers deep all day in tight coverage, that would be awesome, but we don't necessarily have the personnel to do it right now - that being said, we still had four receivers with one 10+ yard receptions, which is significant enough against a good pass defense (for two of them, it was their only catch on the day, of course). 

We were able to exploit the Narduzzi defense just enough to win, and we made timely plays against it when we needed them. We did it with personnel still not exactly in the OC's wheelhouse too, which actually gives me a lot of hope that when we are fully staffed in this offense, if you will, we should be just fine. 


October 21st, 2012 at 9:07 AM ^


Fresh off a loss in a rivalry game where we watched Denard basically lose the game by throwing turnovers, we win a game by running a much more conservative game plan, in which Denard throws notma single meaningful pick (end of half interception, whatever). And people complain.

Where was the counter-punch? We completed 50% of our passes - maybe they're rolling around the turf as incomplete balls. Like the one to Funchess that Denard should have thrown higher. Or e pass to Gallon in the end zone where Denard threw the ball 4 feet behind him. Or he miscommunication between Denard and Roundtree. Or the ball Gardner dropped.

None of this is to blame the players - they're going to have execution errors, and they did. Whatever.

Furthermore - where was Funchess? In a game with a 50-50 run/pass split are you shocked that we didn't play our worst run-blocker more than half the snaps? There are other things that position is asked to do other than catch balls, and Kwiatowski does those things better than Funchess.

Ziff, youmare one concern-trolling motherfucker.


October 21st, 2012 at 10:14 AM ^

You Chitown are a drama queen.   Oh no you can't complain after a win. Think about the children!!   We were lucky to win.  If you say you weren't complaining during the game you are a liar.   You can try and spin it any way you want but we didn't score a td at home today.

As usual on the internet people make some points and you just bitch instead of addressing the points.  I didn't call for Borges to be fired, I didn't say he sucks, I asked why would you not go back to plays that work?   It's a valid question and Borges screwed up.    Denard did not play well, but we had a few plays that we're open and we never revisited them again.   

I'll give you credit you did address the Funchess point and it's a valid one, but if a guy can't block I got an idea flex him out and have him run a route... just as effective as a block.

Don't worry about the coaches feelings because I can assure you they were not happy with the game either.


Dear Special Teams Coaches,  don't worry about being played on a fake punt even though it almost cost us the game and you should have been ready for it because that's the coaches damn calling card.   Just take the week off and do the same shit, because you won the game.






Sten Carlson

October 21st, 2012 at 11:12 AM ^

We were lucky to win

I disagree 100% Ziff.

MSU's offense put the ball on the turf TWICE inside their own 20, both fumbles were maddeningly close to being recovered by Michigan's swarming defense, and yet ended up in the hands of the lone MSU player. If, as Brian et. al. claim, the recovery of fumbles are mostly luck, MSU got exceedingly lucky, not Michigan. If even one of those fumbles is recovered by Michigan's defense, the game wouldn't have been close.

Further, MSU dodged several bullets thanks to poor execution/reads by Denard -- namely the throw behind Gallon. As to the fake punt, I am not as concerned as you seem to be. IIRC, the punt was DEEP in MSU own territory, and not in traditional "fake punt" territory, that's why it worked so well. IMO, when you see a coach taking such dramatic and risk chances like faking a punt deep in his own zone, you see a coach who is desperate. I agree that you'd think that Michigan's coaching staff would suspect a fake from Dantonio as that has been his M.O. for a while, but it's not like it was 4th and 2 from Michigan's 45.

We didn't score a TD at home because State's defense is very good, and Denard didn't execute, simple as that.


October 21st, 2012 at 12:38 PM ^

Ziff, I wasn't upset, because I was too caught up in a fun game.

I am in awe at your consistent inability to enjoy wins. If you clutched your pearls any tighter than you constantly do after wins,
they'd be sand by now.

unlike you, I recognize the law of diminishing returns regarding the throwback. If you need a lesson, look no further than MSU's power play.

I also, unlike you, recognize that teams play and practice a certain identity and package of plays, they are not as malleable as players in video games.


October 21st, 2012 at 12:38 PM ^

Ziff, I wasn't upset, because I was too caught up in a fun game.

I am in awe at your consistent inability to enjoy wins. If you clutched your pearls any tighter than you constantly do after wins,
they'd be sand by now.

unlike you, I recognize the law of diminishing returns regarding the throwback. If you need a lesson, look no further than MSU's power play.

I also, unlike you, recognize that teams play and practice a certain identity and package of plays, they are not as malleable as players in video games.


October 21st, 2012 at 12:45 PM ^

Furthermore, who do you think your audience is? I'm not addressing the coaches, I'm addressing you. My willingness or unwillingness to "hold them accountable", or whatever it is you think you're doing, for the punt fake is immaterial. I'm not writing open letters to anyone, that's sort of my entire point.


October 21st, 2012 at 2:44 PM ^

I have no audience.    What do you think Brian's game review will look like?   I think he'll have some sad words for Borges.   He has an audience so I'm not on an island all by myself here.    I enjoy plenty of wins.   Being outsmarted and playing like shit but winning because the other team sucks does not make me jump around in delight and think we are awesome.  

We have the potential to be better than we are on offense and we are not.  Don't insult me with your lazy, bullshit "video game" crack.  I'm fully aware of practice limitations and gameplans, I'm not on here talking about triple reverses and 2 QB systems.  I'm asking why we don't run plays that have already worked when they play right into the weakness of the defense we are playing.   

Comparing MSU's power play is comical.   That is the base play of their entire offense.   They have run it 10+ times a game for 7 years.  We ran the throwback screen once and it got 20yds.  When you have a successful play you should have a variant on it.   Maybe run it again and have the other WR fake block and go deep.   The beauty of having a successful play is that you force the defense to adjust and that opens something else up.



October 21st, 2012 at 5:25 PM ^

Ziff, what's comical is your constant polyanna routine, and coming on the board, always, to find the touch if grey to every diver lining. That is the definition of concern trolling, which is what I accused you of.

If you want to compare your amateur (even compared to Brian) obversations to Brians career (where he passes admittedly amateur observations) behore he even makes them to defend yourself, have fun. You're creating a future reality that doesn't exist to defend your pearl clutching. Have fun working up your complaints for our next win.


October 21st, 2012 at 9:25 AM ^

This is a fine topic to discuss.  Denard struggled, but Borgess also called some weird plays.  For better or for worse, the running game isn't getting going without Denard running quite a bit.  Yet as the game progressed, it became clear that Borgess wanted to throw the ball to find the weaknesses in the Spartan defense, and basically abandoned the run with Denard.  Sure it worked somewhat, but it was an offense predicated on a sometimes-erratic QB making tough throws.  It was questionable, and comes on the heels of other games wherein the offense didn't same able to respond to changes made by the defense.

Beyond that, though, the team won, and that's huge.  It is a rivalry game, so expect to see new formations and wrinkles that can make even competent units look bad.  But for those acting "stop your bitching, this is a dumb topic", I ask you to look back at your posting history here and then start throwing your dumb rocks. 


October 21st, 2012 at 9:48 AM ^

Does anyone else keep waiting for trick plays or gadget plays that never happen? Or even a new formation or alignment or annnnything. I figured we were saving a few for STAEE, but nope.


October 21st, 2012 at 9:59 AM ^

I'm completely with you. Out of the 20 games he's called at Michigan 6 or 7 have been complete duds. He's fucking up one out of every three games so far. That just won't cut it. I'd honestly like to see him go, and I'm not the type of personal calls for someone's job