Nuss v. Borges total offense rankings

Submitted by ADSellers on August 6th, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Below are the total offense rankings for Nuss and Borges in recent years. I also included the prior year's ranking in years where there was a job change. 

Obviously Borges's career goes back farther than this but the site I used for the data only goes back to 2007 and I figured recent history is more relevant anyway. I'm not sure if anything useful or interesting can be drawn from this.

The biggest thing that jumps out at me is that both coaches engineered a remarkable turnaround during this stretch (Borges at SDSU and Nuss at Washington), although Nuss did it in a more competitive conference. 

Michigan's offense experienced a sharp dropoff when Borges came on board and it never recovered, while Nuss pretty much towed the line at Alabama. 

  Borges Nussmier
Year Team Off
Yr Rank
Team Off
Yr Ra
2008  DID NOT COACH  Fresno St. 43 38
2009 SDSU 86 99 Washington 62 117
2010 SDSU 16   Washington 76  
2011 Michigan 42 8 Washington 38  
2012 Michigan 79   Alabama 31 31
2013 Michigan 87   Alabama 33  




August 6th, 2014 at 12:20 PM ^

Its hard to extrapolate too much from this... Both jumped around a bit as coordinators are want to do and Borges had a pretty good track record pre-UofM stop. There a lot of moving parts that get to those numbers so would be hesitent to make any real judgement based on the above, but it is still good information to have.


I do know there have been some other kinds of comprehensive reviews of Borges' career that might indicate his jumpiness is due to an inability to take a team to the next level FWIW. 


Man I want the season to get here. 24 days! Go Blue!

Haywood Jablomy

August 6th, 2014 at 3:01 PM ^

I like your take. Dare I say and its been said before on this board, that college football is like no other sport. I believe a fifth year snr. QB, matchups in the recieving game and a more simplistic road-grader blocking scheme could make this offense a load to handle. I also think DG has unacanny athletic ability and scrambling- eyes forward- out of this offense could lead to the kind of plays that break a defense's back.

I also think that there are plenty of reasons to think the defense could also be scary good. Finally, got some depth and girth on the line, strong LB and a lot of competitoin in the backfield among talented kids.

I am fucking stoked for this season.


August 6th, 2014 at 2:21 PM ^

Borges has a good early track record at schools. But he stays for three years or so and his offenses crater. Happened here, happened at Auburn.

To me he is a guy that is good for walking into an upper classman ladened team. But he cant develop the young kids he recruits.


August 6th, 2014 at 2:53 PM ^

I kind of agree. To me, Borges was never bad at drawing up plays or having the necessary knowledge, I think he was a pretty poor teacher and motivator. Those are two of the biggest requirements to be a successful coach. I think he had a “sink or swim” mentality and perhaps had a little arrogance. He would probably be a decent NFL coordinator because the talent would always be there and all he would have to do is draw up plays.

Maize and Blue…

August 6th, 2014 at 3:41 PM ^

he had a loaded offense.  It would have been difficult to screw that up.  His last year at SDSU they played 7 teams that were worse statistically than our D that year and a D2 school.

I was never a fan of Borges primarily because I think the West Coast Offense is stupid to run in college.  When the "father" of the offense, Bill Walsh, says it takes 3-4 years to get really good at it and college player's careers are generally 3-4 years you're going to have a difficult time maximizing your O.


August 6th, 2014 at 1:11 PM ^

We were in the 80's last year according to the statistics, so honestly, even a jump up into the mediocre 50's would be a big boost, with perhaps another jump up several slots in 2015.

It also depends on how the statistics were complied.  We had some monster games and then some where we couldn't buy a first down if our lives depended on it.  And that of course, starts to wear on the defense as we've discussed on this blog previously.  At some point if you're on the defense and you see your offsense go on their zillionth 3 and out, you'd have to be a saint not to start to look at your offense cockeyed and/or get a case of the screw-its.  

So for me, half the battle this year isn't even racking up the yardage or PPG in the season overall, it's simply raising our "floor" so that our bad offensive games aren't as terrible.  I suspect that's why we hear Nuss talking about eliminating all those TFLs and turnovers. Simply not getting too far behind on 3rd down all the time will increase our first downs and be a big boost to not only the offense, but to the defense as well.  So if we are just talking yardage or PPG, I'd be happy if we could just reduce the variance of the overall season yardage, as well as the yardage per play or PPG.  My guess is if we looked at at least the yardage per play plotted out from the 2014 season, you'd see TFL/O-Line Shit Show and then huge plays due to Gardner/Gallon/Funchess Explosion.  I'd be content with the exact same yardage but with 6 yard Green/Smith carries or 14 yard Norfleet/Hayes sweeps--stuff that's high percentage.  I suppose that might make us less efficient (more offensive plays to get the same points on the board), but if we're viewing the team holistically, staying on the field helps our defense out as well.


August 6th, 2014 at 12:30 PM ^

Got FEI numbers? Like at Bama, the offense wasn't a yardage monster but it was one of the most efficient in the nation. How about Borges at Auburn? Would be nice to see Borges' SEC stop.


August 6th, 2014 at 12:39 PM ^

I think with Nuss we'll see a pretty consistent offense, but nothing spectacular. Like the days of old, Michigan's success with be largely defined by the defense. Consistent offense + shut down defense is a solid recipe for conference championships.


August 6th, 2014 at 12:56 PM ^

"Al Borges took the 8th rated offense in the country and promptly turned it into the 87th rated offense over a three year span".

Say that to any Michigan fan in January 2011 and see what happens.  At least none of them would predict one BCS title.  So, at least we haz that? 


August 6th, 2014 at 4:02 PM ^

At least "GERG" wasn't running his own system when the UM squad under his command went belly up.  His base defense was a rather conservative 4-3 cover 2 with minimal presnap movement and very basic blitz packages.  Then he comes to AA and is expected to command a defense running a 3 man front that relies not only on number of blitzes, but complexity of them as well (think Dick LeBeau, Dom Capers, minds that excel on designing new and more elaborate blitzes) to throw off opposing offenses.  GERG's mind worked the exact opposite.  So UM ran a vanilla 3 man front with one of those three (Craig Roh) being woefully undersized.


When Borges shat the bed, he did it with his own system.

snarling wolverine

August 6th, 2014 at 1:14 PM ^

I didn't feel like we had a top 10 offense in 2010, regardless of what the advanced stats suggest.   Maybe in September we looked dominant, but we regressed from October onward.  There were several games that year where we didn't do much for three quarters and then scored some meaningless TDs in the fourth.  And then in the last two games we just plain stunk for four quarters.





August 6th, 2014 at 1:31 PM ^

We turned it over constantly... we still moved the ball on everyone..  I remember that OSU game and being in scoring position 5 times and getting 3 whole points or whatever it was..


Also it could be that he was referring to 2011, you are referring to 2010.


What was our final Offense ranking in 11?



August 6th, 2014 at 1:07 PM ^

At Michigan,, Borges was working under the MANBALL mandate.  At Bama, Nuss was working under the SABANBALL mandate.  Bama bought Nuss all the players he could possibly want.  Bortges worked with some major holes, especially the offensive line.


August 6th, 2014 at 1:20 PM ^

Have to disagree with you here. In 2011, Borges had Denard at QB. The OL had Lewan, Molk, Omameh,Huyge, Schofield, Barnum. The WR corps had Hemmingway, Roundtree, Koger, Gallon. RB had Toussaint and Smith. That's not exactly a bare cupboard. Centainly not enough to justify the dropoff from #8 to #42.  


August 6th, 2014 at 1:55 PM ^

I was not a fan of AB, but FWIW, you would certainly run Fitz every carry if you knew that:

1) Your O-Line was terrible; and

2) Your other backs had absolutely no clue what to do in pass protection.

I don't know that Fitz was great at pass protection last year, but he certainly had more knolwedge than Green or Smith.  Then as the season progressed and the kids got their heads wrapped around the playbook a bit more, you saw his carries decline.

Space Coyote

August 6th, 2014 at 3:26 PM ^

Michigan went from one of the fastest teams in 2010 to one of the slowest tempo teams in 2011. Much of this was to help the defense, but, IIRC, Michigan was actually a better offense in 2011 (at least more efficient) than it was in 2010, but the tempo just drastically decreased.


EDIT: This is incorrect. The 2010 offense had an FEI of .652, so it did drop in 2011. It dropped from 2nd in the nation to 9th in the nation.


August 6th, 2014 at 4:22 PM ^

A couple things popped into my head:  I wonder too how much of the dropoff is just b/c of a decline in the number of plays run.  Under RR, UM was snapping the ball with 20-25 to go on the play clock.  Did that lead to a significant enough number of offensive plays run to help skew that ranking?  And on the same note, how many fewer plays were run against the UM defense in 2011 vs. in 2010 and to what extent did the offensive playcalling help in that regard?


After looking at the numbers:


UM defense in 2010:  554 rushes against for 4.4 ypc average.  409 passes against and 8.3 ypp

UM defense in 2011:  429 rushes against for 4.0 ypc average.  374 passes against and 6.6 ypa

So in 2010 opponents ran 963 plays against UM's defense (74.1 per game) and in 2011 they ran 803 (61.8).  The biggest improvement is clearly in opposing QB's ypa in the passing game.  More pressure on the QB was probably the biggest factor.


UM offense in 2010:  556 rushes for 5.6 ypc average, 385 passes attempted for 8.4 ypa

UM offense in 2011: 560 rushes for 5.2 ypc average, 284 passes attempted for 8.4 ypa

Not much statistical difference between 2010 and 2011 except in number of plays run (941 total plays in 2010 or 72.4 per game vs 844 total plays run in 2011 or 64.9 per game.)


But in terms of the eye test, the 2011 defense was significantly better than in '10 and the offense didn't see a huge decline.


August 6th, 2014 at 1:38 PM ^

I had similar thoughts. From how I took it, Nuss had limited control of his offense because of Saban, so I think him having full control over our offense might bring a different tempo/style than what we're used to seeing at Alabama.

Also, Borges was given pretty much full rein of the offense at Michigan. Hoke may have taken a little bit more control/guidance at the end, but he always gave Borges his "full trust" in how he ran the offense. I think this is why Nuss was so attracted to Michigan in the first place - He was going to get his shot at running things how he wants to run them.



August 6th, 2014 at 1:23 PM ^

The major Borges disconnect was assuming freshmen and kids 1-2 years from high school would be able to "execute" the calculus that were his pro-style schemes.  Glad Nuss is simplifying to shore up this "execute" malady, and leave to proper play combined with crafty rock/paper/scissors to be successful on offense.

Jury's obviously out on Nuss, but after last year, it is almost impossible for him to do anything  other than improve the consistency and overall general effectiveness of the Michigan offense and its identity.


August 6th, 2014 at 2:57 PM ^


You think I coach that stuff? I don't coach that stuff. I get all the heat from every one of y'all, hammering my tail. They've got to step up and make some plays. This game still comes down to players. It's embarassing to me. It ought to be embarassing to everybody.



August 6th, 2014 at 1:28 PM ^

SDSU's success on offense that year came from the improvement of Ryan Lindley (a junior), the emergence of Ronnie Hillman, and the rounding into shape of the OL (Funk was the OL coach).  Their best game may have been a 35-40 loss to TCU. 

It was unquestionably a good year.  Some of the offense's stats came from runaways against the likes of Nicholls State and UNLV, but I suppose every team pads its numbers against tomato cans. 

Maize and Blue…

August 6th, 2014 at 4:04 PM ^

that were worse statistically than M's 2010 D and a D2 school and anybody could be successful coordinating an O.

They put up numbers against TCU thanks to big plays- 49 yard pass leading to 1 yard TD plunge, a defensive fumble recovery in EZ for 6.  Down 34-14 at half with 80 yards of O. 8 yards of O for first three series of 3rd down 37-14. 50 yard pass led to one yard TD to end third down 16 with just over 150 yards of O. SDSU's last two drives accounted for TDs the first included a 42 yard completion and 33yd TD pass and the second was a one play 35 yd TD pass.  So 40%+ of O's yardage and half of their points came on last two drives down 19 points.


August 6th, 2014 at 1:39 PM ^

Here are the FEI Offense +/- from 2009-2013:

2009 - Borges (SDSU) = -0.278, Nussmeier (Washington) = 0.109

2010 - Borges (SDSU) = 0.424, Nussmeier, (Washington) = -0.007

2011 - Borges (Michigan) = 0.472, Nussmeier (Washington) = 0.306

2012 - Borges (Michigan) = 0.267, Nussmeier (Alabama) = 0.553

2013 - Borges (Michigan) = 0.173 (sad face), Nussmeier (Alabama) = 0.551


August 6th, 2014 at 2:19 PM ^

I really don't care about numbers. It's more of the eye test. I just want to see a michigan team that does not get pushed around in the trenches. I think UM has the talent, last year they lost the will. Love what I am "hearing" so far about teammates, brothers, family, etc but it's put up or shut up this year.


August 6th, 2014 at 3:44 PM ^

Correct. Last year, if one lineman wasn't missing a block, than another was getting blown up and pushed into the backfield. The toughness/physicality of this team must go up for it to be successful. If the amount of negative plays were to be cut in half they would still rank average but it would seem like a gigantic improvement. Once the negative plays are reduced, I think we'll see them win games like the Penn St., Nebraska and Iowa games of last season.

Perd Hapley

August 6th, 2014 at 2:21 PM ^

I turned on the ESPNU Auburn vs Bama game to check out what Nuss offense may look like. 1st play: shot gun spread out run play with a nice cut back for big yards. Play 2: motion and a screen pass. Someone had to explain this play because I had been watching Michigan the past 3 years and didn't understand what was going on!

Seriously, I am very excited. It seems Nuss will do what ever he needs to do with the players to make the offense work instead of pounding his head against a wall like I felt we did last year at times. I expect more 3 WR sets spreading the field a bit more because of our young O line

Avon Barksdale

August 6th, 2014 at 2:23 PM ^

Obviously, we can't really take much into this for several reasons:

1.) They didn't coach in the same conference vs the same teams.

2.) Weather plays a role, and it's much easier to complete November passes in Tuscaloosa as opposed to a wind storm in Iowa.

3.) Talent makes a difference as Borges never had the pieces he wanted, and in all honestly neither did Nuss at Alabama. McCarron was the QB by default, but I tend to believe Nuss want's an agile QB that can toss the pill around a bit ala Keith Price, Devin Gardner, and apparently Messiah deWeaver.


August 6th, 2014 at 3:13 PM ^

Oh really? taking the 8th ranked offense and a year older even, and take it to 42nd, and get worse each year? That is fucking epic fail. It reminds me WHY we hired RR and that offense. Borges blew it. Granted, Gardner did him no favors, and I've been fingering Gardner for awhile, but boy, these numbers just slapped me into reality. Its on Borges when the offense got progressively worse, given what he inherited. Heck, it could be on Hoke, if he demanded manball too soon.

Avon Barksdale

August 6th, 2014 at 4:18 PM ^

Comparing Al Borges' offense to Calvin Magee's offense is apples to oranges. They were asked to do different things. Of course Magee's offense ranked 8th in the country in total yards - they were a hurry up, finesse, run a play every fifteen seconds type of team before the hurry up was ran by practically everyone in America.   

That is also one big reason why the defense sucked every year. The offense was scoring every three minutes against bad teams and turning the ball over every two minutes against average/good teams. Hoke has asked Borges (and now Nuss) to slow the game down, control the time of possession, don't turn the ball over, and make just enough plays to win (ala Michigan State in 2013.)

In 2010, being ranked 8th in the nation, we turned the ball over 29 times. 2011, we turned the ball over 22 times. That's a big difference when you think about it. I'm not an Al Borges supporter by any means but to compare him to Calvin Magee with Calvin Magee's recruits is simply unfair.

I think Nuss will be an upgrade until he takes a head coaching gig, but we definitely cannot compare Al Borges vs Calvin Magee or Nussmeier with these statistics.