Do you really want Borges replaced?

Submitted by Mr. Rager on October 16th, 2013 at 10:56 AM

I am bringing this up because the more I think about it, I really don't know what the right answer is.  It probably comes down to how well he coaches for the remainder of the season and the potential candidates that are out there in December/January.  

I am willing to overlook the Manball Massacre if he calls near perfect games to defeat MSU and OSU.  Hell, beat IU this weekend and get those two wins - he could fling his own poo at other staff members in the box for the other three games for all I care.

Bet let's say the remaining games are more Akron/UConn/PSU than ND, and everyone's calling for his head at the end of the season.  Would there be any viable replacement?  

For former UofM staff, the options are limited.  Cam Cameron has Michigan ties, but is in Year 1 at LSU (and is probably happy to be working with MIles) and has a $1M buyout.  Debord is a non-starter.  No one from the RR era is ever coming back.  

Presumably the OCs at the top offensive powerhouses (Baylor, Oregon, TAMU, FSU) have zero chance of coming here.  

There aren't many 'lower level' programs with offenses in the top 25 so far this year: Fresno State, Wyoming, Northern Illinois, Troy, Boise St.  




October 16th, 2013 at 11:21 AM ^

The guy is not changing and does not want to hear about other ways of doing it. A combination for the worst type of employee or leader. We will be waiting for him to do well once every 8-9 years when every single variable matches up for him to be successful since he is unwilling to match the circumstance. The guy has got to go.



October 16th, 2013 at 12:47 PM ^

Very good post. Borges has shown time and time again that despite giving it the ol' college try at times, when push comes to shove, he reverts back to what he knows. You can say this for every OC out there, but Al takes it maybe to a new degree. With our current personel, this has created very bad results on a number of occasions, but it's a problem that, recruiting and position coaching permitting, is temporary.

The counterpoint is GERG. He was talked/forced into a system he wasn't familiar with and it was even more of a disaster. You'd hope a guy like Al that claims to be a student of the game would understand other systems well enough to run them, but the truth of the matter is OCs at this level are as good as they are because they are very specialized in one particular system. There's simply no way to be as good at running multiple systems as dedicating all your time to knowing one inside and out.

That's not to say he's doing a good job even within his system of calling plays that counter defensive tendencies, but at the same time there's only so much you can ask of a coordinator to be someone he's not.


October 16th, 2013 at 1:12 PM ^

this is true, but him being the QB coach, and Devin not getting any better is more frustrating to me..  Especially after he trained all off season with that QB coach.  Maybe devin just sucks, even though he was the top Dual threat QB in the nation out of hs..


I can't even imagine how many more points we would be averaging if we had an kind of a running game

Blue in Yarmouth

October 16th, 2013 at 3:24 PM ^

Do you really think it doesn't matter how those games transpired, just that we won? You need to take your head out of the sand. One game like that would have been chalked up to a fluke, team wasn't focused, any number of things. But three games like that in 5 weeks (we had a bye in there too) suggests a trend and not the fluke we all hoped.

If you are too short sighted to see what barely winning games against teams like Akron, UCONN and losing to Penn state means than fine, that's o.k. But don't bash other people for being able to recognize when something is wrong and ponder how it could be fixed. 


October 16th, 2013 at 11:26 PM ^

The same was said about UMass and Indiana in 2010. The issue isn't so much a win or a lose; obviously people are frustrating and voicing their concerns over a loss (but it goes to the point made in this week's obsession about the criticism feeling more justified since we lost rather than if we won). The concern is how our team matches up against seemingly inferior opponents (their cumulative ranking is 12-19) compared to the more talented teams awaiting us down the road. Road games at Michigan State and Iowa aren't going to be easier than Penn State. Ohio, NW, and Nebraska all have offenses that have exploited our defense in the past. The point is a we might have been able to squeak out wins against Akron and UConn but the quality of product, much like 2010, at 5-1 appears better than it is because of the weaker level of competition. You can fall back on your old adage of a win is a win, but everyone knows that isn't true when analyzed across the length of a season.


October 16th, 2013 at 11:11 PM ^

You seem to be implying that others criticizing his argument are not. However, the people disagreeing with him are making just as rational arguments and citing facts. Additionally, he is criticizing the Borges v. Gerg comparison but then makes a faulty comparison himself by comparing Michigan's offensive ranking after playing a cupcake schedule versus Gerg's defensive rankings after playing the full season. Although I do agree his level-headness is good, his argument and reasoning isn't more impressive than those disagreeing with him.


October 16th, 2013 at 11:04 PM ^

We are also one field goal and about one to two yards away from being 3-3. With UConn and Akron being two of the losses. Additionally, you are complaining about the Gerg comparison but you are equally wrong about equating our current offensive ranking to Gerg's end season ranking. Gerg's defensive rankings were based on playing the tougher parts of the schedule. We have yet to see the tougher parts of our schedule. Our offensive rank could resemble that after playing MSU, Ohio, NW, or Iowa. I think people are justified in being concerned (ignoring the fact that we are concerned about kids playing a college sport).


October 16th, 2013 at 2:43 PM ^

That press conference made me finally see it and not think time or age would help. HE has to go. Has to and I've never said that until now. As for OP answer, yes and I know HS coaches that are most offensively sophisticated than what he claims is his general ability (based on that last interview and body of work).


October 16th, 2013 at 1:49 PM ^

Fire Borges.  Take Funk with him.  Never been more positive about the need for a coaching change in my life.  Been following UM 35 years.  Hoke and Mattison?  Stay.  Borges and Funk?  Go.  At end of year after the upcoming losses to MSU NW and Ohio.


October 16th, 2013 at 11:01 AM ^

After reading his reply to Heiko's question?  Hell F'n yes. 

Nobody expects him to throw the bubble 27 times a game.  But apparently running into a stacked box 27 times is a better solution than Heiko's question.

Monocle Smile

October 16th, 2013 at 11:01 AM ^

I've said this before, but there are multiple reports that he has a sour personality and clashes with other staff members wherever he goes. That's the last thing we need.

If we pay a prospect OC like we pay Mattison, I think most of the dudes at the top powerhouses would jump instantly. But you listed four non-MANBALL teams, so fat chance getting them here.

If Paul Chryst weren't a head coach already, he'd be a decent option if we really want MANBALL.


October 16th, 2013 at 4:26 PM ^

"If we pay a prospect OC like we pay Mattison, I think most of the dudes at the top powerhouses would jump instantly."


We DO pay our CURRENT OC like we pay Mattison.


Mattison salary - $750,000

Borges salary - $660,000




October 16th, 2013 at 11:05 AM ^

Yes.  He not only doesnt understand the problem he is dismissive and mocks the solutions. He have zero chance of sustained success as long as he's in control.  His defense and arrogant press conference did me in completely.

The last time I felt this hopeless on one side of the ball was in the last days of Gerg.  We are fucked no less this time.

Fire Borges now.


October 16th, 2013 at 8:15 PM ^

i've read a lot of your posts and agree with your general sentiment.  i'm as frustrated with borges as most people.  i have been since day 1 that he showed up.  however, i don't think it's a good idea to fire borges now.  who takes over?  fred jackson?  if hoke was an offensive guy, i could possibly see it, but he's not.  that said, i hope borges is gone at season's end for reasons stated countless times on this thread and other threads.


October 16th, 2013 at 11:05 AM ^

Despite the issues with play calling and having a few bad games, I still can't help but feel that a lot of this talk is extremely reactionary and as direct result of a heartbreaking 4OT loss that we let slip away.

Regardless, I'm uncomfortable firing our OC half way through a still perfectly salvageable season. If the offense doesn't improve and we continue to struggle, even with wins, we can think about firing Borges in the off-season.

He deserves to be on the hot seat, along with Funk, but firing them at this juncture is a mistake, and Hoke isn't going to do it, so it's a moot point.


October 16th, 2013 at 11:19 AM ^

I've seen the presser. It's actually one of the least concerning things ever, because coaches never say anything in pressers.

Borges always says nothing (same with pretty much all of our coaches) and his demeanor is "general disdain" even when things are going well, so why would you expect him to be anything but curt after a loss?


October 16th, 2013 at 11:30 AM ^

Most coaches don't mock reporters? What planet are you living on?

Also, coaches talk about execution or lack thereof almost constantly, it doesn't necessarily mean they're throwing players under the bus.

Borges never answers Heiko's questions, and is always dismissive of him.

You guys are seriously becoming cable news "body language experts" on this shit, and are way over thinking it.

Does no one remeber how cantanerous and combative Lloyd was after a loss? No? Apparently not? OK.


October 16th, 2013 at 11:43 AM ^

But Al mocked the correct answer.  Most times coaches mock reporters its when the reporter has asked a really stupid question or drawn an equally stupid conclusion.  Heiko did neither. It's like Al kept saying "2 + 2 = 7" the entire game and Heiko said "have your considered 4 instead of 7" and Al laughs at him.

" THAT your answer???????"

I mean seriously - is there ANYTHING he could do (or not do) that would make you feel differently about him?  I was a staunch RR apologist so I know what it's like to be on the wrong side of history.


October 16th, 2013 at 12:09 PM ^

But there isn't one correct answer, and running the occasional bubble screen isn't going to fix anything. They should run more quick passes or screen passes, I agree, but they are not a panacea. I'm also not a football expert, nor do I have extensive knowledge of the players and their limitations. Maybe they've tried it in practice andd are terrible at executing it? Maybe Devin's throws have been consistently off or late, allowing defenders to get a jump on the play? I don't know. No one does except for the coaches and players.

It also doesn't solve the problem of us being totally incapable of running between the tackles. Maybe you pull one defender out of the box for a play or two, but this line hasn't been able to block consistently in almost any situation.

Also, Brian simply stating that a because a defender is playing 10 yards off means an automatic 5-10 yards on a bubble screen is just a fallacious statement. It's not a given regardless, but with the way Devin has thrown the ball it's most definitely not a given. That doesn't mean they shouldn't run it on occasion if the inside stuff isn't working, but who knows? Apparently some random guys on the board have all the answers and could step right in and solve all of our play calling issues.

The one thing that all of those horrible runs did do was open up the play action passing game, which I think has been coming along for us. That was the one silver lining ffrom that otherwise awfulness.

Why do you keep insisting I love Al Borges? Stop. It's embarrassing for you and not even remotely true. 

Are you totally incapable of grasping nuance?

Do you not realize that there are massive chasms between "I FUCKING LOVE ME SOME BORGES, BEST COORDINATOR EVER! IS IT TOO LATE TO APOLOGIZE (FOR BORGES)?" and my stance, which I don't feel I need to repeat yet again specifically for you. If you can't grasp it by now, as well as that chasm, then I can't help you. 


October 16th, 2013 at 12:20 PM ^

They aren't a risk if the CBs are ten yards off of the receivers.  DG can hit an uncovered man, no question.  Denard - whom I love - could do it, and he was far more limited as a passer than DG.  Worst case scenario is an incompletion.  A very likely scenario is that, say, Gallon gets four or five yards and maybe more.

You are right that using these routes wouldn't fix everything - not even close.  However, spacing is important, and even manball-y teams like Alabama and Stanford stretch the field horizontally.   There is no reason not to do it.


October 16th, 2013 at 12:56 PM ^

I feel like you think this PSU debacle is all people are referring to when they talk about getting rid of Al. You remember last year, when the same points were brought up after losses that we could have possibly eon? You remember when bubble screens were talked about last year as a solution to teams stacking the box? Guess what... it hasn't gotten better. I'm not quite sure why you think it will.


October 16th, 2013 at 1:12 PM ^

He knew perfectly well what Heiko was asking and deflected the question at Heiko's expense.

They've circled the wagons at Ft. Schembechler. The loss was implicitly the fault of Gardner, specific O-lineman and Gibbons - not the plays called. Expect more of the same for the remainder of the season.

So now I am torn - how do I support the team in the face of Borges' press responses? Do we boo (like we used to with Bo) when we constantly go up the middle on 1st and 2nd down?

It is going to be a long season ....


October 16th, 2013 at 2:08 PM ^

Maybe the reporter shouldn't be asking the OC why he doesn't run a specific play named "bubble screen", especially when he's already been given short answers about that in the past? Maybe there's a better way to word the question so that it doesn't come off so...combative.

EDIT: Not actually calling Heiko an ass, please don't read it as that. I think Heiko is one of teh few not afraid to ask more nuanced questions...but in this instance, I do think he could have worded his question better.