DG: "Before Nuss, I never had to identify a MIKE."

Submitted by stephenrjking on August 20th, 2014 at 5:54 PM
Per Nick Baumgartner, on a Sirius radio interview, DG says: "Before Nuss I never had to identify a Mike... Now I know where the pressure is coming from." In addition to the Borges rage, it would be nice to shed some light on specific implications here. Let's have at it, football nerds.



August 21st, 2014 at 4:09 PM ^

I'm saying he didn't do that until game 10, well after it had been established that there was a problem with the offensive line. At that point, was he really simplifying things or was he further tinkering? I haven't coached football, but I have coached three other sports. If I change the formation, I have to explain the change to my players and make sure they understand how their responsibilities have changed with the new look. Granted, the concept is the same, but now they have to get from point C to point B instead of point A. It's something that needs to be repped. The incredible amount of mistakes made by that offensive line last year suggests that they weren't getting enough reps with whatever scheme was being used that particular week.

Regarding the MSU game, if he simplified the scheme for State, maybe he shouldn't have. For me, the proof is in the pudding, and MSU anhilated whatever scheme that was that Borges tried.

Space Coyote

August 21st, 2014 at 4:20 PM ^

Trimming Run Game

He didn't run counter trey after ND

Didn't run Down G after the Non-Conf

Reimplemented Tackle Over (run during Bowl Game vs South Carolina) utilizing base blocking schemes (IZ, OZ, Power)

Mostly scrapped OZ after Nebraska.

For Northwestern on, it was pretty much IZ, Power O, and Draw, without any Tackle Over.


Pass Protection

Borges Nominally likes 6-man schemes with a HOT

After ND he similified some of the combo zone/man schemes, reduced 6 man schemes

After non-conf he was almost all 7-man schemes, with 6 man schemes being slide protections

And that's where he left it. There are about 20+ kinds of pass pro schemes. Borges was down to single digits, including screen schemes. He did simplifiy his blocking schemes early, and kept simplifying throughout the season. You can argue he should have immediately trimmed to where they ended up. You can argue he should have started where he ended up (which isn't his nominal offense, but young OL and all, you can make the argument). But he did, in fact, simplify throughout the season, 


August 20th, 2014 at 10:44 PM ^

I think you've hit the nail squarely on the head.  And one reason he probably didnt' have any run check options is because with us getting set at the LOS with under 5 seconds on the play clock in most cases he wouldnt have TIME to check out of the play even if he recognized in advance it was doomed.


August 20th, 2014 at 10:57 PM ^

By the same token, I am 99% sure I saw some run checks, and even some damn good ones. This quote just made me doubt that for a second.

I think the most likely scenario is this is a misquote, or I'm reading it wrong, or Devin just slipped with his usage. But I like to play Devil's Advocate.


August 21st, 2014 at 2:22 PM ^

The protection is built into the play call in almost all instances. The only thing left to do at the line is identify the Mike, thereby letting the line know its responsibility, the RB his, and the QB his. It only takes 1-2 seconds. They aren't drawing stuff up out there on the fly.

I'd like to see us up there earlier, but in regards to your question, there's no real reason to.

Haywood Jablomy

August 20th, 2014 at 6:13 PM ^

Rich Rod offense required an end read primarily. Throws were often out of the pocket and on the run. Borgess picked up where that left off then added a pro style and west coast plays to the point nobody could do anything correctly at game speed.


August 20th, 2014 at 6:14 PM ^

When watching the NFL, it seems like elite QBs like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning call out who the Mike is, or where the pressure might come from at the line of scrimmage.

If this is a problem that Gardner wasn't doing this, doesn't it ultimately reflect on Hoke for not forcing Borges to change it?


August 20th, 2014 at 6:17 PM ^

before we all start chiming in with the "F Borgess" stuff, lets get a real football mind to enlighten us on what this might have meant.  For all we know, Magnus or someone will come in and say "It's not that unusual in some schemes for a QB to not ID the MIKE when making his pre-snap reads and instead key on the Defensive End and the safety... blah blah blah"; or *sigh* it could of course be a sign of incompetence by the departed OC.  

Either way, I'd like some knowledge dropped on me from a "Smart Football" type before I knee jerk a "hur BORGESS SUX" response.


August 20th, 2014 at 10:55 PM ^

LOL. Well, count me in the category of people who think this is not that big of a deal. First of all, Al Borges has been around a long time. If he's not requiring his QB to identify the MIKE, then that's one reason I don't think it's necessary for success. I have my issues with Borges, but he runs a complicated offensive scheme; now it seems that some are complaining that he didn't heap more on Gardner's shoulders.

Additionally, there are a large number of college quarterbacks who do not have to identify the MIKE on every play. I think it's more commonplace in the NFL. But generally, the center is responsible for calling out protections and blocking schemes. This is why you often see centers come out from the huddle, scan the defense before gripping the ball, squatting down to scope out the defense, pointing at defenders, etc. Those centers are identifying the MIKE linebacker, calling out combination blocks, pointing out potential blitzers, etc.

I also think that Michigan's running backs were responsible for identifying their own blocking responsibilities. That might be why the whole Vincent Smith "finger gun" thing became such a big deal. He appeared to be identifying the MIKE linebacker and/or potential blitzers.

I have talked to college coaches who have said that the one thing they really want their QB to figure out pre-snap is whether there's one high safety, two high safeties, or zero safeties. Obviously, they have to get everyone lined up properly, check out certain alignments, etc., but there's no point in doing any of that if the QB hasn't identified the deep safety(ies).


August 20th, 2014 at 6:28 PM ^



August 20th, 2014 at 6:43 PM ^

When that quote about not having to identify a MIKE emerged, I spent a little time on Twitter talking about that with people. It seems that there was never any time to make what might have been vital formation reads last year, nor was there a lot of time for anyone to really get set on a few occasions. It's encouraging to hear that there is stress being put on reading the defense and adjusting to it, something I know we hoped was going to be part of this change. 


August 20th, 2014 at 7:23 PM ^

Devin and the offense were getting set with time running down on the play clock under Al. Defenses did not even have to disguise what they were doing. Nuss gets them up quick and it gives them time to read and audible. This will be a big benefit to the line play and allow DG to get settled.


August 20th, 2014 at 7:12 PM ^



I was impressed with McCarron's growth while at Alabama. How much that was McCarron and how much it was Nuss remains to be seen.

McCarron (wrongfully) went from being nicknamed McHandoff to a legit threat.

 Personally, I thought Nuss brought a lot to the vertical passing game.

Edit: after research, if Devin gets the Nuss bump he'd be sitting at close to 40 tds on the year (unrealistic, and I wasn't being serious but check out how Nuss has affected a qb's td total).

I really don't like linking to espn and I'm sure this has been posted, dissected and regurgitated but:  see link that jumps to the top apparently.

Edit2: after writing and rewriting that post I have no idea who it was aimed at but it wasn't Space Coyote.

So take that, whoever.


August 20th, 2014 at 6:43 PM ^

Now... given that, what would explain why Borgess would not have had DG making that read/call himself?  Was there something he did from a philosophy stand point or scheme stand point that would have had him telling our QB to key in on other things, or, as has been suggested, leave that strictly as a line call?  Seems like a a tough read for a bent over center to make; peeking to see if that safety is creeping down... 


August 20th, 2014 at 6:47 PM ^

I don't know about you guys, but Devin is the one person on this roster that actually says things that Coach Hoke probably doesn't want him saying in public. Everyone else seems to have the coachspeak and Fort thing down to a science; Devin, that guy, says how he really feels and what's really going on. As a fan, he's my type of guy. We appreciate you, Devin....remember that even when you get in trouble for sharing, lol. 


August 20th, 2014 at 7:10 PM ^

But then again, they way plays were run, it was pretty clear they were to line up and run the play Al had called. With little if any time to change the play call at the line, just let the line make their calls and go. Nuss doesn't want to run a play that will most likely fail, so he's giving Devin direction in how to identify pressure and adjust if necessary. Nuss played QB during his days, Al didn't. I always wondered how well he could teach the position given his lack of direct knowledge. As we found out, not very well.


August 20th, 2014 at 9:34 PM ^

Possibly, simplifying his role.  Gardner had limited experience last year.  It is entirely possible that even Borges would have added identifying the Mike to Gardner's responsibilities this year.  Just a guess, though.


August 21st, 2014 at 11:26 AM ^

But why did Borges choose to simplify Gardner's role and give more responsibility to an o-line whose center entering week 5 had zero experience as a starting center? Gardner was a 4th year junior last year, who played QB in high school. Glasgow did not have the same experience as Gardner, and that's why I think things actually got worse when Glasgow replaced Jack Miller at center. Yes, Miller was getting beat more often than Glasgow, so on an individual basis, Glasgow performed better, but how many of the blown assignments where Kalis et al were getting beat was due to poor line calls from the center?