Please listen to Borges

Submitted by myantoniobass … on September 24th, 2011 at 10:01 PM

The second half against ND was not an aberration.  He threw only 17 passes today-if he hit 12 or 13 of those including the Roundtree deep ball-wow.  The most he's thrown is 24 attempts vs. ND.  Why so few attempts for Denard this year? We're playcalling to his strengths while developing balance while winning ball games.  It's just a matter of hitting 3-5 more throws a game including a few deep balls.  Do you really think he can't improve in his passing?

Please, please hear this quote from last Tuesdays presser w/ Al Borges:

How key is it to have Denard establish a passing game? “It’s critical. We’re about balance. We’re going to find a way to be a balanced football team. We’re going to keep working to that end. We do it everyday in practice. For every run we throw a pass. A lot of people say, ‘What do you do that for? You’re a better running team.’ Well we’ll still be a good running team because we still work on running. But I know that at one point in time it’s going to be a difficult thing to do against certain teams. And if you don’t have the ability to throw it over the top of a defense or under a defense without a relative amount of consistency, it’s going to show up. You have to be able to do it, and we’re never going to give up on it.”




September 24th, 2011 at 10:09 PM ^

And I fully endorse the good sense of that strategy.  It's simply frustrating to see Denard struggling.  Unlike a few here, I have no problem with Borges's gameplan.  I just wish a coach would encourage Denard to meditate before the game.  If he could settle down, I think he'd be competent passing the ball, and I think that's all he needs to do.


September 24th, 2011 at 10:10 PM ^

The biggest positive is the fact the Coach Hoke and staff are utilizing the current players on the roster to the best of their ability. They are doing this an winning. If Michigan is losing we could complain about the offenses performance thus far. I am 100 percent confident that Coach Borges will continue to mentor Denard into a more well rounded passing QB. 


September 24th, 2011 at 10:20 PM ^

Thats insane. A coach should always install their system first of all, and if any of the current players don't fit, they should be run off to the NFL or Arkansas. Nothing is as important as the advanced metrics supporting the coach's system. Right? RIGHT?



September 24th, 2011 at 11:23 PM ^

It depends. If you came in when RR did, yes. You had no QB with a talent that stuck out. You were doomed either way because there just wasn't anything to rely on. It's different this time though. You have Denard Robinson. If you decide to not use his talent you are crazy. You have basically just taken the biggest weapon in college football and turned him into a 9mm.

Maize and Blue…

September 25th, 2011 at 7:39 AM ^

trying to make Denard a west coast QB is like putting a plow behind Secretariat.  Trying to compare this and RR's situation is laughable at best.  RR had one player coming back on O that had played any significant minutes in a college football game.  To not implement the system he was brought here to put in place would have been stupid.  Hoke is blessed with 10 returning starters on O.


September 24th, 2011 at 10:15 PM ^

The mgoblog community's lack of faith in Denard's ability to grow as a quarterback is one of the more disappointing trends of the season to date.  Denard has some fantastic coaches, some fantastic teachers.  Have a little faith.  This is what they do.


September 24th, 2011 at 10:20 PM ^

Personally, what I see most imporantly is that the coaches are growing into what they inherited in Denard.  Its true that I hate the QB off-tackle designed run because it opens him up to bigger hits, but the coaches understand that the biggest threat the offense has is Denard on the ground.  Its encouraging to me to know that they know, and knowing that they know makes me happy.



September 24th, 2011 at 11:05 PM ^

I don't agree with absolute statements either way, but it is at least fair to wonder if a guy who can pass well downfield would ever be prone to some of the things we have seen this season over the course of almost a month now. Some of those throws are real ugly, man. Hard to sugarcoat it.


September 24th, 2011 at 10:17 PM ^

The problem is the routes the WRs are being asked to run aren't helping Denard get into a rhythm.  The long, over the middle passes are tough for Tom Brady, let alone Denard.  I want to see more bubble screens, hitches 6-7 yards down the field and those fake QB draw, throw the ridiculously open pass plays (that play is probably available 3 or 4 times per game).

I'm still hopeful though and to be honest, Koger had a bad game today.


September 24th, 2011 at 10:32 PM ^

I've been waiting for this myself. I don't know if its just me, and I know its not completely true, cuz they're 4-0, but so often it seems like Borges' offense is nothing more than first, a designed QB run, then a full on MANBAW RB run up the gut, and then a 57 yard throw, to the tune of 3 yards, -1 yards, and INC/INT.


September 24th, 2011 at 10:30 PM ^

Personally, I think when he made statements about passing more and under 1000 rushing, he thought he could do it.  He seemed to try in the first two games at the beginning to throw the ball more but ended up switching to more zone reads because Borges' own style wasn't working.  I think we'll see Denard running more than we thought he would at the beginning of the season.  Not necessarily 20 attempts a game, but 15 or so.


September 24th, 2011 at 10:30 PM ^

on first down so seldom. If they would use play-action it would keep the defenses from being able to load up in the box on first and second with confidence that we're running the ball.


September 24th, 2011 at 11:02 PM ^

I like how they added the option pitch. it frees up Denard big time, because the d is actually concentrating on the rb and Drob, instead of just going balls out to tackle Denard, they know Denard can still pitch it when they get to him. I think Denard needs to slow down when he throws, he seems to always rush everything.


September 25th, 2011 at 1:10 AM ^

an extra blocker is irrelevant if Denard as the ability to pitch it if the defense commits to him, and vice versa if they play safe on the pitch. Besides, running backs don't mean much in blocking schemes unless it pass protect. Vincent Smith for example isn't really a superstar at slowing down linebackers.


September 24th, 2011 at 11:26 PM ^

the one thing that makes mad is why havent we establish any receiver i thought after the notre dame game we establish our wide reciever that hemingway was our big play wide reciever. but after that game they havent utilized his talent and denard has to hit some throws we cant do this going into big ten play


September 24th, 2011 at 11:32 PM ^

The problem is most MGoBloggers care more about their own opinion than what the coaches have to say.....that is what makes it a blog. The Brian's of the world should try and coach a game. Probably some Pop Warner teams in A2 would be happy to let him put his football knowledge to work, of course he'd have to put pants on and go outside.

Let's be happy the team is 4-0 and showing progress on defense.

In The Shadow …

September 25th, 2011 at 12:50 AM ^

Maybe we are just showing this basic offensive stuff in these first games so that when we get into the BIG schedules teams will be preparing for one thing and we will hit them with something totally different.  I have faith in the coaches.   GO BLUE!!!


September 25th, 2011 at 10:40 AM ^

but the lack of anything actually functional in the throwing game cannot be by design 4 games into the schedule. Perhaps we will see more variety when we see a problem, but if there is a problem, if Denard is not comfortable, he is not going to be able to do a whole lot against it. II know, ND, but not everyone has Gary Gray in the defensive backfield.




September 25th, 2011 at 1:17 AM ^

Awesome post, OP, and I agree 100%. 

I think Borges is an absolute genius, far much more than many people give him credit for.  I think by the end of the year everyone will agree.

The adjustments he made mid-game vs. ND show that, and how he's playcalled last week and this.

And as for needing to establish a pass game in the B10 season, he's right.  Last year's B10 season shows he's right.  When it's all Denard runs, all the time, the offense doeesn't always succeed.  


September 25th, 2011 at 6:27 AM ^

I think the coaching staff has done their homework on offense and they are trying to play to the strengths of their personnel to mitigate known weaknesses (hence the odd spread option formation, Denard still running the ball, etc...). Really, that's how you should approach this as a rule. They do ultimately need to work with what they have right now if they want  to win as much as possible right now.


September 25th, 2011 at 9:37 AM ^

Comparing last year to this year, this year's passing game has a lot more deep routes.

Last year's had more flares, bubble screens, quick slants, and seams off of play-action.

Denard doesn't have the touch yet for NFL-style outs, or threading the needle in a Cover 2 over the LB (overthrow of Roundtree yesterday).  And I'm not sure our receivers have the skills to get open in those routes.

I know Borgess wants a pro-style/manball, but for the passing game, I really think the offense needs to regress to last year's short, quick patterns for the passing game to be effective.  

The jump-ball offense only seems to work against certain cornerbacks with gold helmets who haven't mastered the skill of looking for the ball while in air.


September 25th, 2011 at 9:47 PM ^

They need to have DB throwing balls our WR's can catch. Get the ball to them in space. Another thing however is Hoke saying in his post game that the wideouts are not running good routes. Could be combination of WR's not running good routes cuz DR is always running or overthrowing everything so WR's getting complacent. Either way. Short passing game has to reappear. More TE's in the passing game.