Heiko vs. Borges and the mystery of the missing bubble screen solved (maybe)

Submitted by Thorin on November 3rd, 2011 at 9:19 AM

In yesterday's Mailbag, Brian offered two explanations for why Borges wouldn't answer the question:

1. He is vaguely aware of the fan zeitgeist about this and is sick of these laymen bothering him about a stupid play.
2. He is going to bust it out as part of Michigan's ever-evolving baseless offense.

WRONG (Borges smug?) and KIND OF WRONG.

The bubble screen is the base offense. Everything they've shown on film so far is a trap for Ohio State. On November 26, Borges will break out 5-wide ninjas, all bubble, all the time, left bubble, right bubble, all the way down the field bubble, 500 yards and 48 points of bubble. They'll go for 2 and make it 50 with a bubble screen.



Darker Blue

November 3rd, 2011 at 9:30 AM ^

Good Job, you know Luke Fickell has spies patroling MGoBlog for any bit of information they can find. Now he knows, and you know what pal? Knowing is half the battle. 


November 3rd, 2011 at 9:44 AM ^

It'd be hilarious if Heiko asked the bubble screen question every week until Borges finally called it.  Unfortunately this would probably lead to Heiko being Bacon'd.


November 3rd, 2011 at 9:54 AM ^

I don't have a problem with Borges stashing plays/formations UNLESS they could have turned an L into a W.  If bubble screens would have made a difference in the MSU game then they should have been called then.


November 3rd, 2011 at 10:02 AM ^

I'm going with 'Maybe'....

Actually something that hasn't been written is perhaps Coach Borges resents not being able to coach the way he wants to. Right now he's Coach Rod 2.0, doing things that the previous regime did and unable to do the things that have made him a successful coordinator. When it works he hears 'we should do more spread!' and when it doesn't, well it's just his fault. It's a lose/lose situation and he's being grumbly.

So when somebody comes up with 'bubble screen', it rubs him the wrong way, makes him feel more like Coach Rod 2.0, unloved, and underappreciated.



November 3rd, 2011 at 10:25 AM ^

I think you nailed it.  No "new boss" likes hearing "that's not the way we used to do things" from anybody and when I heard Borges's response that's exactly how it seemed to me he took it. 

He's probably thinking to himself  "Look...I'm already running more of that stupid spread offensive than I want to thanks to the personnal I've got and now you expect me to add that bubble thing in too?  Give me a break......"


November 3rd, 2011 at 11:10 AM ^

Borges was brought into a really tough situation, and it's not getting any better for him next year either, IMO. Hoke is a manager following someone who was castigated for not managing, Greg followed Gerg, but Borges has to be able to build on RR's offense while not being able to do much of what he's used to.

In the corporate world, think about a retail company like Abercrombie and Fitch or Victoria's Secret. Sure, they might be losing money (maybe they aren't, that's not really important), but do you really want to be the new CMO in a regime change? Especially when your experience is marketing Saks Fifth Avenue?


November 3rd, 2011 at 1:25 PM ^

Borges doesn't strike me as a guy who would reject something if he thought it would work, even if it might annoy him or not be his way of doing things normally. So far, he's been nothing if not flexible. I have two theories of my own, one is the same as the OP's: He's holding back for Ohio/NE. The other is that there's some reason it won't work consistently or would be counter-productive, and he doesn't want to say what it is (lack of execution for some reason? would cause the defense to adjust in a way that he doesn't want it to--e.g., closing down slants with tighter coverage?).


November 3rd, 2011 at 10:11 AM ^

Has he ever used it in the past? If so, hes probably saving it. If not, he probably doesnt like it. Mystery pretty much solved.

Theres a chance he just thinks the tunnel screen and bubble screen are similar, and uses our prctice time between the two on tunnels exclusively because he thinks theyre better.


November 3rd, 2011 at 12:22 PM ^

I think that misses the point of the bubble screen. The play works when there is a slot receiver uncovered/covered by a cheating LB. When Denard is split out wide, teams always have a defender on him because they know it will be some kind of play that will probably use Denard.

The bubble would be best used when Gallon is in the slot with no one around him because the defense is stacking the box to stop Denard and the RBs from running. 


November 3rd, 2011 at 10:53 AM ^

     I kinda wondered myself if he was saving some of this stuff for OSU.  I also kinda wonder if all the free scouting this site does might provide a bit of a "crib notes" scouting advantage to the opposing team.  I cannot help but think that providing specific schematic knowledge(like responsibilities in defending the option), while interesting and informative for us, might not be in the best interest of the team and coaching staff.


November 3rd, 2011 at 11:32 AM ^

My bet would be that a Big Ten coach has more faith in his film watching skills than he does in Brian's, Magnus' or anyone else posting on MGoBlog. They're knowledgable, but I can't help thinking that it's like asking Bill Gates whether he reads Microsoft blogs for sales projections. I'm sure he trusts his people way more than someone he doesn't know posting on the internet.


November 3rd, 2011 at 11:04 AM ^

Bacon?  Hmmm...Bacon!

Maybe if we stop asking any questions, everything will be a surprise and no opponent will have a clue and we'll score 100 on everyone.  Is that Houston does?  Oh, that's right, they don't play anyone with a pulse.

I am hesitantly optimistic about Saturday.  We seem to be the better team with better athletes at most poisition, but........it's at Iowa, and those pink walls.  I guess we will all have to wait until Saturday and find out what happens.


November 3rd, 2011 at 11:12 AM ^

His secret contract with Dave Brandon says that he has to forego $50 of salary anytime he calls a former RR play........The Pimp Hand will not let him disclose this to the public, thus his frustration.....Remember, we have no base offense, just plays we run that work!


November 3rd, 2011 at 11:52 AM ^

Its a strategy of glaring omission.

In short, inexplicably remove an obvious play from the playbook, thereby forcing  opponent defenses to devote time preparing for a play that the Mich offense isn't even working on.

Promote RichRod

November 3rd, 2011 at 1:59 PM ^

  1. The bubble screen is NOT restricted to spread offenses.  Just about every offense runs this play.  MSU runs them.  Are they a spread team?  Just about every week on MNF Gruden complains about how there are too many bubble screens in the NFL.  The play is widely used, everywhere.
  2. The bubble is not a play you save and surprise a team with.  This is not a valid answer whatsoever.  It is a constraint play that you want opposing DCs to have to account for and worry about on every single play.  It forces them to defend you differently and makes life easier on the WRs.  It's not a trick play that will likely net a TD when pulled out at just the right time.  It's a quick strike that can net 5-7 yards almost automatically when the defense gives it to you.  Once the defense knows it's there, the corners have to play closer to the line or they will die by a thousand cuts.  The adjustment is simple but forcing it opens things up everywhere.  Borges is doing his offense a disservice by ignoring this play, period.


November 3rd, 2011 at 2:21 PM ^

Man, with that kind of confidence in your opinion, you must really have some insider info on the team.  Can you tell us what's going on with R Taylor, Lewan, Barnum, Kovacs?  Id love to hear how they are looking in practices.  And film study - is that going better now than the way Bacon described it?  Inquiring minds want to know!


November 3rd, 2011 at 5:40 PM ^

Co-sign 100 percent. The bubble isn't a trick play that you pull out for one huge gain at an opportune time. Borges isn't saving it -- if he's not running it, I assume there's a valid reason, but it does seem odd to consistently ignore defensive alignments that are giving you 5-10 yards if you want it, especially with receivers who are both excellent blockers and pretty good at getting YAC.