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Date Title Body
11/11/2014 - 5:44pm abcd...is that you?

I have been reading your posts lately, and you seem to have an unhealthy love of capitalizing at random, worship at the throne of Debored, and still believe in carrying the torch for Bo single handedly.

 

So I must ask- abcd, is that you? 

01/09/2014 - 3:13pm I think Al Borges is...

is a very nice guy, and loyal coach. I too, had an opportunity to hear Borges speak, though this was at Michigan's own coaching clinic a few years back. He is very knowledgeable, and appeared easy to approach and talk with (though I myself did not).

I will give him kuddos for TRYING to adapt an offensive scheme to help his best player, Denard  Robinson, is year one at Michigan. He could have been a complete jackass and just ran with what he was comfortable with, but stepped "outside the box" and ran a spread/pro-style hybrid.

HOWEVER, I don't think he really knew how to get the transition from "mostly spead" to "mostly pro-style" seemlessly, so we ending up with the clusterfuck of formations and head scratching playcalling from week to week this season. I will give Borges credit: he attempted to be as creative as possible with an offense that was sinking faster than the Titanic. But, as it was pointed out, the constant change in formations/blocking schemes was screwing up his young players.

But what killed me beyond the countless formations, insistence of leaving Fitz in on passing downs (though he could not block AT ALL), or 27 yards on 27 carries playcalling was the regression of the QBs. I EXPECTED Denard to improve when Borges arrived, not NFL-caliber improved, but development with his skill set. But Denard progressively got worse as time went on. That pattern appeared to be heading the same way with Gardner. With limited reps Devin looked better last season than after an entire off-season and fall practice session to improve. Yes, I know the O-line was a ginormous sinkhole in front of him, but Gardner never showed any signs of real development. And I may be out on a limb here, but Gardner seems to have the physique/skills to actually BE a NFL-caliber QB.

I wish Al well, and look forward to seeing what 2014 brings...

01/09/2014 - 11:15am If I remember correctly...

Jay was a QB for the TB Storm in the AFL and won a title there. He then became an OC for the Nashville Kats before becoming HC of the Orlando Predators, where he won a couple of titles. Strange thing is, he came out of retirement to become the QB of the Predators for a short time, then re-retired to become the coach again after the Predators HC Fran Papaserdero died.

Very successful as a HC in the arena league, so we will see if that translates to the NFL...

01/07/2014 - 8:06pm Yeah, but...

isn't this season going to be the 4th season with Al Borges as OC? How is this "year 2" of his scheme? I understand Borges made some adjustments with Denard, but shouldn't most of his "bread and butter" plays already been established in the playbook?

 

01/07/2014 - 8:01pm Honestly....

No. Though I think one thing to remember is that Malzahn was OC/QB coach for Auburn from 2009-2011, so when he returned as the HC there were players who were already familiar with his system. So that's an advantage. I think Malzahn's success is he is just that good, as well as a mastermind at offense.

I think Michigan has a difficult road slate next year, and I am not sold on Borges as a QB coach, so I have no idea what Devin will look like next season. I also am not a fan of Borges'  playcalling and formations either, they are all over the map. Until Michigan has some clear offensive identity, I am not sold on it improving next season.

Overall, I think that Michigan still has some work to do to catch up to OSU and now, sadly, MSU. I think a reasonable experctation is 8-4, with 9-3 possible.

 

12/31/2013 - 2:08pm Excellent analysis

And I am taking the high road and saying that the 2014 season could (should, please?) be better than the endless abyss of inefficiency Michigan fans were forced to witness in 2013.

I will keep faith that somehow, someway Funk will get the job done and somehow, someway the OL will improve. 

My faith in Big Al, eh...not so much. It could be that his offensive scheming appeared to be a cluster-fook, almost like a teenager who pops open his copy of NCAA Football 14 and immediately peices together a strange assortment of plays that dabble in this, and dabble in that, and places it under the "custom playbook" feature. When your best plays are trick plays, you...are...DOOMED.

Then, there is that whole "developing the QB" business that must be attended to immediately. Michigan will go nowhere if the BEST we can expect is the QBs to sputter in neutral in terms of developing their talents, or as we have witnessed with Denard and Devin, REGRESSED. 

So here is to a better next season, new year, and end to the Twilight Zone feeling that has crept into Michigan fans minds as we wish the Wolverines could be as successful on the gridiron as the Spartans.  

12/18/2013 - 5:51pm That is hilarious

Well done sir, laughed aloud at my computer when I saw this post.

So rivating, yet so simple...even a Buckeye lineman could read it, well, that is if he doesn't try to eat the book's binding first...

11/28/2013 - 10:58am Brandon had to say something...

otherwise this would turn into the last days of RR all over again.

 

When an AD stays silent about his coach, he speaks volumes.

 

I never really considered Hoke on the chopping block, he should get his 5 years at least, the same way I felt RR should have. So voicing support for him is smart PR.

As far as Mattison, he is a terrific coach, getting rid of him would be a massive setback.

In my humble assessment, Borges needs to go OR you need to hire a true QB coach who can develop players.

If Borges is on the way out, I can't think of anyone off hand as a replacement BUT would hope Hoke would look at an OC with a proven record of developing QBs...and everyone else on the offense for that matter.

11/26/2013 - 1:39pm It's all the coach's fault

He told the O linemen to "block like they do during practice"...so they did, they blocked each other.

11/24/2013 - 12:52pm Spread em' out

*Have the offensive linemen widen their spits-past finger tip-to-finger tip. This will stretch the defenders out in the box, and "yes", you are giving up space for blitzers, but it makes it harder for the defense to stunt, and easier for your linemen to pick up.

*Line up in alot of spread, trips, and 5 wide. Tell Devin you are going to dip and dunk with the passing and running game. Your goal is to pick up 3-4 yards a play. Enough to move the sticks every 4 downs and keep the ball out of the OSU offense's hands. If a big play happens, great. But getting into 3rd and manageable, every series, is the primary goal.

*Emphasize a passing game that looks for the quick slants, digs, bubble screens, slip screen, underneath drag route, etc. Devin should get rid of the ball ASAP, and no more than 3-step drops. The quicker the ball gets out of Devin's hands, the less likely any OSU blitz or stunt will screw things up.

*Running game should feature true jet sweeps, inverted veers without all the "manball" blocking (just zone blocking), options, HB dives, and QB powers. Again, by widening your splits you are going to create some natural running lanes, and OSU can't defend them all. So you, in theory, should be able to pick up 3-4 yards a pop more often than not.

*Emphasize to your skill guys, then when they have the ball, get up the field as fast as you can and pick up what you can. OSU is too athletic and too fast, trying to "juke" a defender will do you no good and you may end up losing yardage.

*Most importantly, preach the significance of this rivalry. It is one of the BEST, if not THE best football rivalry in all of football. By playing your best game of the season, you can knock the Buckeyes out of a chance for the national championship. Who needs more motivation than that?

11/15/2013 - 7:19pm I think you are probably right...

I think Brandon came in and knew Michigan was in a very state as a fan base. There was so much back-stabbing and "Carr's people" and "RR's people" that he didn't need much convincing to find a reason to let Rodriguez go. Unfortunately, RR's defense help make that in easy decision.

Hoke, really was a safe hire. Miles had baggage with Carr. Harbaugh had publically blistered his alma mater. Hoke was a prototypical "Michigan Man" and the Wolverine fanbase wanted someone who would tell them what they wanted to hear ("we're gonna play 'manball', we'll never run a 3-3-5") and would be so low key  and hard not to like, he would heal the fanbase "divide".

Having said that, I will admit I like, supported, and will always root for Rodriguez. I hope he does well in Arizona. But as hard as it was to take, RR being fired probably was the best for everyone associated with Michigan football, including him.

11/15/2013 - 7:10pm I don't know if Borges threw Denard under the bus...

But I think that there has to be some sense of Hoke and company selling something to Denard to get him to stay, whether it just be to get a Michigan education or maybe try and develop him as a QB.

Yes, Denard did mask any problems that Borges' scheme may have had that first year by his sheer talent. Great players often can.

However, you would have thought seeing Devin playing QB the end of last year, and having an entire off-season to work, that he would have been a better fit to the "pro-style" offense Borges dreamt of when he took the Michigan OC job. But now Devin looks even more of a "square piece in a round hole" than Denard did.

Now yes, I realize the OL has struggled, no doubts. Yes, their blocking schemes create terrible mismatches for their RBs, who can't seem to provide any protection on passing downs.

But my biggest concern is QB development. Denard regressed under Borges as his QB coach. To me, Denard was never a NFL-type QB, he was custom fit for a spread option where the QB is primarily a run threat. But Denard looked awful his senior season in his passing game. I mean down-right bad.

The same is happening to Devin right now. He is going backwards in his QB development. I know the O-line implosion is hurting him during the game. But sweet candy corn, how can such a talented guy regress so quickly?

 I am with Brian as far as Borges, I like Big Al as a person, but his scheming seems so neurotic and sometimes head-scratching. I haven't cursed this much watching a Michigan football team in a LONG time. Bigger concern is QB development. NFL-type QBs won't come to Ann Arbor unless they are getting direction on bettering themselves as players, and that is not happening much on the offensive side right now.

 

11/13/2013 - 4:55pm I still don't understand...

Why the read guy ends up getting blocked. Realistically, if the DE isn't your primary read, then the first guy outside the tackle box should be aka the safety.

Reading an outside LB who is lined up inside his DE, with everyone being manned-up on the LOS, I think is a harder read for the QB. There is alot of bodies to have to look past.

Again, the alignment of Funchess guarantees he is not a passing threat, so that safety is clearly there for run support to the strong side of the formation. Of course he has the green light to go when his keyes tell him it is run.

I like the analysis/counterargument by SC, but I still think that unless the DE was suppossed to be the read and was blocked "accidently", the read should have become the first guy outside the box, the safety. I just think it would have been an easier read for Gardner and the path of the FB (going wide) would make more sense.

 

11/12/2013 - 8:17pm I think the issue is in the play design

Putting Funchess on the LOS , thus making him ineligible, indeed frees up the defender that is in the "gray area" to play just for the run, simply because Funchess is not a threat to catch a pass at all.

This play may have been better designed to have a WR on the left side of the formation, on the line, allowing Funchess to back off the line and become eligible, and remove the FB.

You still have a pulling guard to lead for Gardner inside, an H back playside that can seal the edge of the defense, and a clear read defender, who probably lines up wider because Funchess is now a threat to catch a pass. This is a much easier read for the QB on this type of play where the mesh point happens as both players are moving parallel to the LOS.

In the play shown, the FB is at a disadvantage because either:

A) He is attempting to block the read guy and should not be.

B) He is being asked to kick out a defender who primarily is looking for the run. So, said defender starts coming with a full head of steam inside the FB. That is damn near impossible pick up, even for the best of blocking backs.

11/07/2013 - 5:12pm That was painful

To get through. However, after seeing some of the pre-snap stills I am curious as to why there were not more check-offs to WRs if DB's were playing at a great depth off in coverage, or more quick slants or WR slip screens to get the ball out of the QB's hand as quickly as possible to help him not be demolished by the mass of humanity bowling over his linemen/blocking back and coming right for him.

 

One common theme: Whether it is playcalling, offensive identity, or QB development, that all points towards Borges. I really think Hoke has to consider maybe moving Borges elsewhere as a position coach and hire a REAL full-time QB coach, if he plans on selling developing QB's into pro prospects. Cause right now I don't see it.

 

Also, I may get blasted for this, but how about widening the linemen's splits and work on the linemen washing/logging in/kicking out defenders instead of trying to wrestle them like a bear? Maybe just work on linemen "sealing off' running lanes and having RBs read the linemen's butts and look for green...don't know what else they could do to get some openings along the LOS.

11/04/2013 - 5:32pm I agree

I felt RR should have gotten 5 years, I feel the same way about Hoke. However, I am losing faith in AL Bore because:

A) His offense seems to have no identity. Is it Pro? Is it Spread? What the hell is it? And what is Michigan's "go-to" play. Under Carr and Debored it seemed to be the stretch play out of the Ace formation. Under RR, the zone-read. Under Hoke and Big Al...uh?

B) There has been no signs of improvement for the QB's. Denard regressed his senior year. Gardener has regressed since last season.

My recommendation: Get a new QB coach/Offensive Coordinator or hire a full-time QB coach with a proven track record.

11/04/2013 - 5:20pm Oh Thank God...

Someone finally blamed Rodriguez for all of this. As a Michigan fan base, I thought this crowd was slipping.

 

I mean, it has only been THREE YEARS since he was fired, THREE YEARS Hoke had to recruit/develop linemen he needed, THREE YEARS to make the program his...Nope, it's all RR's fault.

 

Remember, when your girlfriend leaves you....IT'S RR'S FAULT!

Teenage thug lights a steaming bag of dog poo on your front step and stomp on it...IT'S RR'S FAULT!

World hunger....IT'S RR'S FAULT! 

Did I miss anything?

11/02/2013 - 8:04pm Well, try this...

1) Since your O-line can't hang on for more than 3 seconds, try some quick passes out to your WRs, or run slants, bubble screens (oh no, not THAT!), anything to get the ball out of the middle of the field and into a skill guys hands where there is more space is essential. This is will get MSU out of blitzing the living crap out of you on most plays and spread them out.

2)Run some kind of RB screen once in a while. One way to hurt an overly-agressive defense is to run screens to your RB every so often. Since the O-line isn 't blocking anyway they won't even know it's coming.

3) Take Fitz out on any "we-must-pass-deep" down, especially 3rd and long. He was awful. Line up a fullback next to Devin, or put in a TE as an H-back. Hell, line up two TE next to Gardener. Give him someone that could POSSIBLY give him more than 2 seconds of pass protection.

4) Take out the O-linemen and lay down practice tackling dummies. You may get lucky, a MSU defender may trip on  one of them. And that will give Devin more time than he had all day.

09/14/2013 - 6:19pm Hmmm...

I can agree that this near fiasco would definetely full under the "Horror" category.

It is almost like a John Carpenter trilogy:

 

Appy State was the original "Horror"

 

Toledo qualifies as "The Horror II"

 

This game would have most certainly made it as "The Horror III: The Season of the Zips".

 

Today's contest was extremely frustrating to watch. It brought me to wonder: Did Michigan just not prepare very well for this contest? I mean, I can see the mindset: Beat ND in a thriller, facing a team that has won 3 games in 3 seasons(!). Said opponent was rolled by Central Florida and went toe-to-toe with some guy named James Madison.

So, was practice time spent working on future opponents? Did the 2nd teamers/back-ups get more reps than usual because of foreseen blowout? I don't know.

I will say that Bowden has assembled a good coaching crew around him. The Zips SHOULD get better, but I was thinking 2-3 years from now. And when I mean good I mean MAC-LEVEL good, not beat Michigan good.No way should Akron have kept this game this close.

08/02/2013 - 1:21pm I think this was the right call...

The whole banning seat cushions idea was completely ludricrous from the start.

A terrorist device? Nope, worse that could happen with a seat cushion is your ass falls asleep during the game or your over-stimulated girlfriend keeps whacking you with it whenever a big play occurs.

Kudos for Brandon for listening to the Michigan alum and fan base. He could have simply thumbed his nose and kept this absurd rule knowing full well he could still fill the Big House on Saturday. But he listened to the masses, and made the change.

Now, can the Michigan faithful get a campaign going to eliminate all the damn "alternate" jereys available for the Wolverines to wear on game day? There should just be two: home, and away...

08/01/2013 - 1:22pm Not so sure...

I am not so sure about this logo. Looks like some kinda cross breed of bear-wolf- with a light touch of bulldog. A bearwolfbulldogvorine?

If you are going all revisionist on what a "Wolverine" looks like, why not go all out and add a unicorn horn and have him breathe fire. It could end up being some kinda new mythological creature.

Or something you see after washing down a few of grandma's "happy pills" with some whiskey.

07/31/2013 - 2:49pm The next item to be banned should be...

The next item to be banned should be clothing. All fans entering the Big House should be required to be completely naked. One benefit of this is it makes streaking across the football field much easier, since your job is already half-way done.

Plus, the football stadium could also qualify for special "tax breaks" since it is also a part-time nudest colony...