Warming to Al Borges

Submitted by Blue X2 on January 19th, 2011 at 7:09 PM

I acknowledge I was a bit underwhelmed with the hiring of Brady Hoke, but I really like what he is doing to build his staff.  Mattison was a major coup.  While I was at first skeptical of going back to Lloydball, I really think that Al Borgess has it right on how to win in the Big 10 (we have clearly seen for 3 years what does not work). 

There is a new video interview with our new OC posted today.

In case you missed it, here are the key points:
-  You win with toughness, this game is "not for the faint of heart" 
-  likes the offense - strong line, backs are "solid" and receivers "galore".
-  Plans to use Spring practice to assess what formations work best with the talent
-  Will demand great effort and run every play like it is your last
-  Premium on execution ..."everything is done wiht maticulous execution"

After seeing these interview the last couple days, I am getting genuinely optimistic.   First, these guys are all geniunely happy to be here and clearly see this as a destination job.  They all think the world of Brady Hoke.  (Mattison is only coming here because of Brady).  Lastly, they seem to really know how to win in the Big 10. 

After being a skeptic, I am looking forward to the meticulous execution (maybe no more stupid penalties on first and goal from the 5) and toughness.  If we have to sacrifice a few 500yd offense days against NC, for a few more W's against the Big 10, I am all for the new regime.

Go Blue


The Baughz

January 19th, 2011 at 7:52 PM ^

I just watched the video of his interview today. I was really impressed with him. Did anyone else get a big smile on their face when he used the words "mulitiple" and multiplicity?" Those were the words I wanted to hear. He was referring to maybe using 3 or 4 wide sets or 2 rbs. That clearly tells me he is going to incorporate some "spread" and use Denard at full capacity. Im very excited for spring ball, and I know it is off topic, bur add in Mattison and this has been a very good week for Michigan football. Now lets get some recruits.

Maize and Blue…

January 19th, 2011 at 8:13 PM ^

To the OP- really know how to win in the Big Ten?  Why in the hell were they at Ball State and SDSU then and still had a losing record?  The last three years would have worked if we would have returning starters and quality upperclassman instead of what LC left RR.  Hoke has 19 returning starters including the Big Ten MVP/Offensive player of the year.  He sure in hell better win.


January 19th, 2011 at 8:48 PM ^

Why in the hell were they at Ball State and SDSU then and still had a losing record? 

The answer is that they weren't at BSU and SDSU all that time.  Mattison has never worked with Hoke before, and Borges has only been with him since he arrived at SDSU.  The other guys he's bringing along have mostly only been with him the last few years, not all the way back to 2003.  Hoke's original BSU staff probably wasn't very good, and as a result, he lost a lot of games.  But he learned from his early mistakes, upgraded his staff, and started to enjoy more success.  He's 25-13 since 2008 and 32-19 since 2007.


January 20th, 2011 at 10:28 AM ^

So RR gets a pass for losing at M, but you won't give Brady Hoke that same privilege for coaching a perennial loser?  I'm a RR supporter all the way, but if you can excuse RR's losses at Michigan, then logically you should be able to understand a couple losing seasons at BALL FREAKING STATE.


January 19th, 2011 at 7:13 PM ^

"He seems to know how to win in the Big Ten." I am as excited as anyone but just because he says tough and effort in the interview doesn't mean he has it all figured out. Spring ball will be interesting to see how he is going to blend two styles together. If he can do that then he wins in the Big Ten.


January 19th, 2011 at 7:17 PM ^

He understands we need to transition slowly. If the Hoke thing works and he's still around, we'll be back to the halfback iso smashmouth offense in 5 years.. But for now, I think we're going to run sort of a multiple offense.


January 19th, 2011 at 7:30 PM ^

(we have clearly seen for 3 years what does not work)

I call bullshit: utter bullshit. If the spread "does not work," how did The Horror and The Oregon Debacle happen in 2007? How did OSU lose the NC game to Florida? And why were two spread teams playing for the National Championship this year?

The old school, parochial "Big Ten is the center of the Universe" attidude was good for exactly two National Championships from 1970-2010. The spread works great once the personnel is there to run it. As for Lloydball, it is exactly what "does not work" in this millenium. It is why Lloyd Carr's teams went 1-5 against Tressel and why LC was responsible for the first four games of the current losing streak to TSIO.

I really hope Hoke and Borges come up with a hybrid. If they do, things may work out great. If they don't, it's gonna be a long four or five years.


January 19th, 2011 at 7:32 PM ^

HAHAHAHHAHAHA.  I call bullshit on your calling bullshit.  You make some points about the spread, but then you go on to say Lloydball is why we lost to OSU five out of Lloyd's last six years.  OSU is sure utilizing the spread...   no.  OSU is winning with Lloydball.  As has USC.  As has Alabama.  Now, you may make the argument that Lloyd was too conservative.  Fine.  But then you'd have to argue Hoke will also be Lloyd-conservative.  Fact of the matter is, both the spread and pro style work. 


January 19th, 2011 at 7:54 PM ^

might not run the spread that Michigan has the last 3 years, but they have had spread quarterbacks. Troy Smith and T.Pryor could both make plays with their feet when they needed to. To say OSU runs lloydball is not even close. I'm not bringing up what we ALL already know about our defense when facing spread QBs. I guess when I think of lloydball its a picture of a statue QB that has zero chance to run past the line of scrimmage.

Chadillac Grillz

January 19th, 2011 at 7:55 PM ^

I call bullshit on you calling bullshit on tater calling bullshit. tOSU uses a TON of spread concepts offensively which is definitely what the OP was implying doesn't work. This idea of MANBALL stuff is overrated  in college. Certainly being physical is important ..and 3-3-5 defense wasn't getting it done (also having a ton of freshmen didn't help) on D, but our offense was headed toward something special under RR and hopefully it still is under Hoke. However, Tressel has repeatedly called his offense a spread offense even if they are kinda multiple, and USC hasn't done much the last few years. Alabama isn't old-school at all, they are a one back zone blocking team that goes shotgun and pistol frequently and they'd be an exception to the rule if they were indeed the "physical I formation team having success" they get painted as. P.S. Saban will absolutely use read-option if his Star Jackson type lives up to the hype. Basically "Pro" and "Spread" offenses are always evolving and both work will the right players. Imagine Denard as a senior and Dee Hart next to him in the backfield along with Hopkins/ Toussaint..it would remind us of WVU in 2007 only with better receivers, bigger linemen and a more well-rounded, sophisticated scheme. I'm not knocking MANBALL..I'm just giving the spread props.


January 19th, 2011 at 7:35 PM ^

Also, fine, call Lloyd out on his losing streak to OSU.  What was he all time?  6-7?   Please give him a break.  I will always remember him as one of the best coaches in the history of Michigan football.  John Cooper has a massive losing record.  RR has a massive losing record 0-3.  Lloyd Carr does not, and he won a National Championship for us. 

Blue X2

January 19th, 2011 at 7:36 PM ^

My only point is I am not excited about return to Lloydball, but I have some hope that these guys "get it" and will run a more multi-dimensional offense that leverages the talent we have now.  At the same time having a lttle more discipline, toughness, and better preparation for the Big 10 beasts can only be good. 

My point on the spread was that we had a really exciting offense when it worked, but lets face it we got shredded by every physical team we played.


January 19th, 2011 at 8:30 PM ^

The offense needed no overhaul after 2007.  The gameplan did.  Obviously you agree with that.  But now the offense needed no overhaul after 2010.  The defense did.  We put up yards against MSU, Iowa, PSU and OSU.  We just weren't able to punch it in.  We either had to go on 4th down and failed or missed kicks or turned it over.  Plus the offense always had to go 70-80 yards because we couldn't stop the other team.

I'm stoked about the changes coming on D and hopefully special teams.  But I can't be overconfident about the offense being just as competent as last year until the season gets going.


January 19th, 2011 at 10:09 PM ^

Most of the drives were not stopped because of formation or alignment on a certain down and distance.  I would put that on two things: first turnovers in key situations (mainly due to youth and inexperience at skill positions... QB).  Second, the extreme pressure the offense knew they were under.  The O knew they were not able to kick "gimmie" field goals, and furthermore couldn't trade FG's for the touchdowns our D was inevitably going to give up the next possession. 


January 19th, 2011 at 11:59 PM ^

But you don't blow the thing up and say the whole offense stinks.  I don't know how great armchair quarterbacks like you expect a first year starter at QB to perform in the red zone, but his numbers are pretty predictable.  A more experienced QB is able to make the right reads in those situations.

As far as not converting on 3rd and 1, you should not need to use the shotgun, but I've seen them stopped in the gun and not in the gun.  So I think there's another issue altogether.


January 20th, 2011 at 10:18 AM ^

I don't think that stink is the right word here, but clearly we were in need of changes.  OK, so our offense was very dynamic against the bottom tier B1G Ten teams and against our non-conference schedule.  But how did we perform against MSU, Wisconsin, OSU and Miss. State?  Not well.

No one doubts that we  were wracking up huge yards, but yards does not give you points.  This is not fantasy football.  Our offense was not capable of scoring points when it needed to against tough defenses.  Part of that could be attributed to having no kicking game, but it doesn't take away from the fact that when it came right down to it, we could not score points when necessary.


January 19th, 2011 at 7:42 PM ^

The most exciting thing about this new staff is that they will work with what we have where rr did not wanna adapt until he had his guys in. We lost mallet because of that.


January 19th, 2011 at 8:02 PM ^

No, that is not true.  Mallet was already talking about transferring before RR came on board.  It appears that he never really wanted to be here in the first place.  RR talked to him on three separate occassions and tried to reassure him, but it just wasn't happening.  You can not pin losing Mallet on RR being inflexible.

There is no way anyone would have preferred Threet/Sheridan to Mallet - regardless of the system that they run.  Neither of those could run either and at the very least, Mallet was a way, way better passer (obviously).


January 19th, 2011 at 8:24 PM ^

Yeah, on defense.  But Borges doesn't coach D.  He coaches on offense where we've shown crazy improvement over the last three years.  Not a helluva lot you can do when your special teams (blown FGs) is no good and defense can never give you a short or medium range field to work with.

I'd hate to blow your mind here, but even with Borges last year, our offense would not have been better.  You still can't do better than what we did with a true sophomore, first year starter at QB.


January 19th, 2011 at 9:44 PM ^

Our offense was great in between the 20s. It was horrible at finishing drives as well as picking up tough down and distance plays.

The debate over whether our offense was really great wouldn't even be a debate if it actually was. When a unit is kickass, you know it. And an offense that gets shut out for three quarters in a bowl, shut out for a whole first half vs. Wisconsin, and puts up 7 points against OSU is not kickass.

The constant drumbeat of the commentators in the Gator Bowl of Rich Rod's job status was "Now . . . the offense is shored up. That's taken care of." With each punt I kept thinking "Really? Shored up, huh? Really?!?"



January 19th, 2011 at 11:49 PM ^

The problem last season was not our offense.  If we put up 30 on OSU, Wisky or Miss St, we still lose because our D was playing the 3-3-DOOM!  Part of the reason we couldn't finish drives is because the field shrank and our QB had trouble in the decision making process.  Plus, if our kickers were even average, our PPG would have gone up and those examples you brought up would not have been an issue.

Oh, and you know what helps your offense?  A defense forcing some 3-and-outs and turnovers.  Working with a short field would work wonders for any offense.

So a reasonable person would assume that a quarterback with the full year of experience under his belt would improve, thus our red zone chances would improve.  The kicking game and defense is what needed the major overhaul.

The fact that there is a debate about whether the offense was great or not is a remarkable improvement over the previous two years.