MGoQuestions for Heiko

Submitted by cigol on November 24th, 2012 at 9:50 PM

Let's get a consensus on one to two thoughtful, yet respectful questions for Heiko to ask Borges this week.  I think we all have the same concept of a question, just some with less F bombs.  I'm assuming these will be asked already, but given a little extra push, we can be sure that we won't have to read another standard press conference.  I have stuck up for Borges this whole time, but I don't see how anyone can trust him anymore after that level of negligence.  While I thought being an Iowa fan would be the worst case scenario, this might be more frustrating since we have significantly more weapons that have proven to be successful.

1) After it was completely established that Denard could not throw, what did you see that made you believe that our 6 blockers, the interior of which has struggled all season, could create any sort of push on 8 guys in the box without any element of play action hesitation?

2) Why did you decide to move away from the Denard and Devin packages?  Denard seemed like a hell of a decoy even when not touching the ball.



Glen Masons Hot Wife

November 24th, 2012 at 9:58 PM ^

I was thinking about that.  It's going to be awkward for Heiko.

Is he going to ask the tough questions?

I guess it doesn't matter.  The media is not going to make Borges a better coordinator.

What matters is whether they fire him or not.


November 24th, 2012 at 10:09 PM ^

Quite simply, I would like Heiko to ask

Al, Do you feel like your play calling in the second half is responsible for the offensive failure and do you believe that your play calling lost the game for Michigan?




November 24th, 2012 at 11:54 PM ^

I think a lot of the problem has come from this team trying to mix a Denard-centric scheme with a Borges-centric scheme.  Oregon and Stanford do things very differently and both are successful, but I don't think you can take a little from column A and a little from column B and have sustained success.

While I think there are some oddities in the way we've gone about things even with Devin (Why do we throw so many bombs deep downfield?), next year's line is going to run the power play a zillion times in practice and they are probably never going to run the inverted veer. 

With the benefit of hindsight, we needed to either go all spread-option (as it stands Denard has never really gotten good at his reads and there is little variety to that portion of our offense) or more traditional (sort of what we've seen with Devin) but with Denard being told to scramble on a regular basis.  As it stands the things we do well we don't do enough of to keep defenses honest and there are a ton of things in the playbook that we aren't good at. 

If things suck next year, then getting pissed at Borges makes sense.  At this point it is just a sad missed opportunity. 


November 25th, 2012 at 2:24 AM ^

Good stuff right here.  This is a pretty level-headed outlook.  It really does suck ass though, as this team had/has the playmakers to do quite a few things well.  I think people are right to be mad at the OC, especially after this particular game, but your post is a pretty good summation of what's probably really gone on/why things have happened the way they did.  Again, it just sucks, regardless of the reasoning.

Autocracy Now

November 25th, 2012 at 9:46 AM ^

I agree with your assessment generally, but don't OC's have to contend with similar situtations all the time? Isn't it quite often that a new coaching staff walks into a situation where the team is a mismatch with the coaches' offensive philosophy? And don't a lot of teams need to adjust their approach mid-season when a key offensive player gets injured?

Yes, Borges did try to the split the O into two very different looks, but I think he could have given the offense a more spread type of look when Devin was in there, which probably would have been easier to adapt to and actually had some success. As it played out, the only thing the two offenses had in common was the dive play that never worked anyway.


November 24th, 2012 at 10:13 PM ^

There were enough threads and hours of hateful steam blowing....I thought this would be a decent one to actually present Heiko with some serious questions that we'd like to be asked.  In my opinion, there should be some sort of thread or poll like this every week.


November 24th, 2012 at 10:16 PM ^

Tell us about the play that led to Denard's long run. Did it work so well because OSU was waiting on the veer?

Follow up: Would you consider this a constraint play, and will constraints be a bigger part of this offense in the bowl and next year?


November 24th, 2012 at 10:35 PM ^

Questions like these are the only way you'll get Borges to reveal anything interesting. 

I'd also suggest starting a question with a stated premise such as -- "Coach, given the inability of interior of our offensive line to get push, what was your plan to overcome OSU's strong interior defensive line play?"  Michigan's interior offensive line play does have difficulty getting push ... those are Hoke's own words, if memory serves. 

Borges would then have a choice -- refute the premise, which would be an interesting thing for him to try to do; or accept the premise and thus have to explain why he was trying up-the-middle runs so much.


November 25th, 2012 at 1:34 AM ^

I'm not an expert, but I don't think this is necessarily a correct interpretation of how Chris Brown says the "Theory of Constraints" should be appied to football. (…)

In general, Brown's real premise is that teams should not focus on adaptive plays that trick a defense but rather build a base package that suits the strength of the offense, has succes, and forces the defense to overplay something. Now, Ohio certainly looked to overplay the run, but it wasn't because we were particularly good at it (We have good players making big plays but not consistent offensive output).

The way I see it is that Al doesn't really have a very well-developed base package of plays that can consistently get us yardage. Therefore, the defense never really overplays anything we do.. We can pretend running (obv. I-form is neither suited for us nor successful and goes against the basic premise of what a "base package" should do) is succesful for us, but in reality, teams aren't overplaying our run, they are just commiting more defenders to it, because our passing game is shit.

If anything, I fault Borges for not really developing any semblance of a base package or series that really suits our players' strengths or has succes in recurrent situations. What did we run all year that managed to gain yards consistently in key situations? If we don't have a successful base, then constraint plays never work, because the defense doesn't fear anything, and thus, it never sets itself to overplay one thing over another.

NOLA Wolverine

November 25th, 2012 at 1:02 AM ^

I realize I'm not Borges and can't give a real answer, but those plays are something I've been looking at for a while...

That has to be something Borges saw in film study. If you pull two lineman, have no defenders shoot the gap off of the lineman's hip (D lineman lined up opposite them or a LB responsible for the bubble previously occupied by the offensive lineman), and then don't see any extra defenders play side someone on the D is not doing their job. Ohio State came out in the second half and had linebackers flow a LOT faster to pulling lineman, so I would say it was their fault for the easy TD drive to end the half. 


November 24th, 2012 at 10:21 PM ^

"Had Jeremy Gallon not been tripped, Gardner would've thrown a 90 yard TD pass and your offense would've had 28 points, which was 2 points more than Ohio today. 

Why do you suck so bad?"


November 25th, 2012 at 1:17 AM ^

Our offense has playmakers for sure. For me, the issue is consistency in specific situations.

What do we go to on a regular basis that can get us the yards we need on 2nd and 8, 3rd and 6? An offense should know what they can do on 3rd and 3 to get the yards. Something they can call that has worked, should work, and usually will work unless the defense makes a play. We call things that only works if the defense misplays us.

Our offensive production is akin to playing cricket when you're drunk. If you throw with enough conviction, sooner or later you're going to hit a bullseye and win some games. You just hope everyone ignored the 7 and 2 you hit with your other two darts.


November 24th, 2012 at 10:23 PM ^

Isn't the coordinators press conference only exist before a game?
I remember after the ND game this year, it was a bye week, and Borges doesn't have a press conference until the Purdue week.
Is this the same in this case, where we might have to wait till bowl season?


November 24th, 2012 at 10:25 PM ^

After 12 games the running game is entirely Denard. Is the lack of running back productivity a result of scheme, play calling or talent?

I find it unacceptable for Borges to escape a grilling with only 14 yards on 10 carries from Smith & Rawls. Our short yardage offense was abysmal.


November 25th, 2012 at 1:21 AM ^

Shouldn't he be? Shouldn't Denard be the whole running game? He is/was our best running back? It bothers me that the one year RichRod runs Denard into the ground, he barely misses playing time. But, the two years we try to "keep Denard fresh," he gets seriously hurt, and our offense is severely affected by it. Irony.


November 24th, 2012 at 10:29 PM ^

You saw something that Ohio was doing schematically which casued you to deviate from the gameplan which worked so well in the first half.  What was that?


Also, please explain what deficiency in Ohio's defense you were trying to exploit when running from the I-form package.

steve sharik

November 24th, 2012 at 10:42 PM ^

  1. Do you think it's the coordinator's job to put the players in the best position to be successful?
  2. If so, why did you run iso with a struggling interior OL and a 5'5" tailback in short yardage?
  3. If you didn't run Denard on the last series of the game (with six minutes left) b/c it was a passing situation, why did you run him with 1:30 left in the first half and three time outs?