Borges Uses Bye Week to Evaluate Every Play Call From Road Games

Submitted by Michael Scarn on October 2nd, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Good article from Meinke about what Borges did with the bye week: looked for flaws in his gameplanning and playcalling.  I, like many on this blog, have been tough on him, so it's good to see him acknowledging problems and looking to address them.  My biggest beef has generally been his stuborness, so this is encouraging.  


"I took every single play we ran and evaluated it," Borges said.

Borges didn't reveal his findings, but did walk through his process.

He said there are three types of playcalls: No. 1 is a play that favors the offense, No. 2 is one that could go either way and No. 3 is one that favors the defense.

"As a playcaller, believe me, as hard as the fans are on me, I'm about eight times harder on myself," Borges said. "If it's even close, I'll call it a No. 3 play.

"We meet with the players, we'll go over even the plays I didn't call well. You got to understand in football, if you're honest with yourself and your honest with your team, the players don't just lose the game. Everybody loses the game -- or wins the game. So you got to show them, 'This is where I put you in a bad situation,' so they trust you, and (know you're not) blaming them for the mistakes."

I assume this is all gleaned from his presser today, so I'm anxious to read that transcript.  


Sten Carlson

October 2nd, 2012 at 4:26 PM ^

I  think the whole, "Borges is stubborn" meme is pretty weak.  I think that anyone proposing as such is making forgetting that they have the benefit of hindsight, and is neglecting to factor into the equation what jg2112 mentioned -- that the opposing DC's are working just as hard at countering what Michigan does.

What I like, as others have said, is the fact that Borges is willing to be open and honest with the players about the failures.  As he said, if he put them in a bad spot by not recognizing something, he's going to tell them.  I'd assume that in conjuction with that, he expects the players to come out and be honest when they were in a good position, but they failed to execute.  To me, that is positive management, and will pay huge dividends going forward. 

I don't like when people say, "Denard lost this game..." or "Borges lost this game..."  The team wins as a team, and loses as a team.

Sten Carlson

October 3rd, 2012 at 10:12 AM ^

I think you've been living in Columbus too long, you're turning into one of them. The first sign is a near uncontrollable urge to pick your nose and eat it. Following that, despite your best efforts, you won't be able to keep yourself from coming onto the internet and posting comments, on your own team's board, that make you seem like a whiney bitch by disparaging the OC. Lastly, you'll forget how to spell, you'll think that calling Michigan "scUM" is clever, and that it's ok to cheat, as long as you win. Then, unfortunately my friend, your transition into a Buckeye will be complete. I suggest some bitter apple on your fingers, and taking a hiatus -- remember, that means a break -- from posting anything in here. If you do this, you might make it back. If not, just paint yourself scarlet and gray, wear a bunch of nuts around your neck, and accept your fate. 


Monocle Smile

October 2nd, 2012 at 4:43 PM ^

I will bring this up, because it seems that this is a point passed over too often.

Al Borges is not just the offensive coordinator. He is the QUARTERBACKS COACH. So for all the criticism of Denard and absolution of Borges (not really in this thread except by jg2112, but in many, many others), does Borges not deserve part of the blame for Denard's issues for being his position coach?

Sorry if this is slightly off-topic, but it's something that's irritated me for a while.


October 2nd, 2012 at 4:53 PM ^

To quote my man Howard Jones, no one is to blame. At the base of it all, Borges and Denard both screwed up, right, along with every other person on the offense (23 missed assignments according to Lewan).

There's no need to assign blame - that's not our job and we don't have the knowledge base to perform such assignments. Our job is to watch the games, drink our Hopslams, eat our Dorito's, and munch on leftover pizza.


October 2nd, 2012 at 4:54 PM ^

Good that he is looking at every play.  Hopefully he and the rest of the offense will be more productive going forward.  And because I like to stick my junk in hornets' nests, he probably should give some real effort to determine why his play calling has struggled at times this year, because despite what some want to say it isn't just about poor execution.


October 2nd, 2012 at 5:00 PM ^

That he has a 1000 yard rusher back there and try and mix it up a bit instead of Denard Left and Denard right. Our first 4 games look like RR all over again, kinda disappointing as this will probably keep us from getting Treadwell and Green and more then likely make 1-2 other recruits change there mind. Very sad IMO, the games have been hard to watch this season.


October 2nd, 2012 at 5:59 PM ^

If Borges is being "stubborn" for not running Denard more or throwing to the outside more (as if it were just that easy), then Denard is being "stubborn" for not turning into Tom Brady. Those of you who constantly complain about how Borges supposedly isn't utilizing Denard's skillset properly seem to just wish that Rich Rod was our offensive coordinator. 


October 2nd, 2012 at 6:33 PM ^

How hard is it to call a designed run play for Denard?  And how hard is it to adapt some of the plays RR got the most out of?  We seem to have adapted certain parts but not others, for reasons that aren't especially clear.  Guessing that that reason might be Borges' desire to stick with what he knows and calling that "stubbornness" doesn't seem out of bounds.

In the ND game, Denard passed for a sack adjusted 4.33 yards per pass and we ran for 5.1 yards per carry.  That alone suggests more running plays should be called.  If you adjust further for interceptions, it's pretty clear that significantly more runs (and/or run-like plays like quick outside screens/3-step passes) would have been optimal.


October 2nd, 2012 at 6:36 PM ^

I feel he runs Denard too little in big games and runs him too often when the opponent is outmatched. That and he's stubborn. No more under-center stuff outside of the 20, please. It's just damned pointless outside of those short yardage situations.

Sten Carlson

October 2nd, 2012 at 7:36 PM ^


I feel [Borges] runs Denard too little in big games and runs him too often when the opponent is outmatched.


This is another one of those comments that seems reasonable at first blush, but then upon deep analysis, turns out to be suspect at best. These "big games" of which you speak, are played against the best teams on Michigan's schedule -- teams like Bama, ND, MSU, Neb., and OSU. As the best/better teams on the schedule, they also have the best defenses, and they're going to do the best job of stopping Denard from ripping them apart with simple QB runs. If Borges doesn't run Denard enough, it's because he doesn't think that the Michigan OL is going to give him much to work with against an 8 man front. Against weaker teams, where Borges feels like the OL can open holes, even in the face of a stacked box, he calls more QB runs. Every team Michigan plays is expecting Denard to run. As such, Borges has to develop a counter punch, as has been discussed at length in here. That counter punch to the "stop Denard from running" scheme is to pass, no way around that. If Borges were to send Denard into an 8-9 man front all game long, this board would be full of people howling about how he's got no imagination, and how's going to kill Denard. Under RR we saw that it didn't take long for better teams to learn how to stop Denard from killing them. Passing is the only way.


October 2nd, 2012 at 6:43 PM ^

Al, please, less plays in the pocket and more quick reads & run plays, designed roll-outs, throw back / screen passes! That's all I want for Christmas :) Hail, Hail ...


October 2nd, 2012 at 7:58 PM ^

Roll outs seem to be getting unblocked corners blitzing into Denard's face half the time; which would be fine if the wideout they vacaded took a hot route to help him out ASAP and he was able to recognize that...  I just don't feel comfortable with those sorta things.

Personally I don't think we should be in the I-form, or indeed under center at all outside of short (not more than 2.5 yards) yardage.  Once there I'd be okay with seeing more 3 step drops or called bootlegs.  Sure Denard could throw on a bootleg but if it's called as a run I imagine that he's less likely to force anything.  The throwback screen still works fine off the threat of a bootleg or speed option going the other way.

Anyway, that's all an aside.  I think the blame for our struggles was widespread against ND.  Lots of missed blocking assignments on less-than-optimal play calls and Denard tried to force it.  Aside from "ARG, Y U NOT PUNISH SOFT OUTSIDE COVERAGE!?!?!?!?!?!" I think the playcalling was mostly fine.  A twisted part of me likes the halfback pass even.  It's Les Miles level crazy.  Just window-licking mad.  The only thing I don't like about it is that we ran an "alternative passer" play to start the drive...  Seems like tipping our hand a bit...

Buck Killer

October 2nd, 2012 at 9:57 PM ^

Please let it go. It has nothing to do with his feet, because he can't throw a spiral. A football can't be accurate when it is wobbling. He is not a good passer, maybe that is why? I lower my back elbow when I bat, and that is why I hit .150 like Inge. Wait, I suck at hitting, so I have moved on. For three fucking years we have been saying he needs to set his feet. He can't on any throw over five yards and never will. He is a terrible passer and a magnificent runner against terrible teams.


October 2nd, 2012 at 9:26 PM ^

I think we have to install the quick WR pass that we used to run in the Carr era. If the CBs are playing 5+ yards off just go with the quick throw. I don't see why denard can't check to it if it is there.