Al Borges – The Answer at Offensive Coordinator?

I personally believe it is far to early to even have this discussion, but it was held recently in the forum and the varied viewpoints representing the fan base were intriguing to read.

Fan #1

Truth is, I’d think if our defense deserves a 750k coordinator, so does our offense. The people who act like Borges is a good hire are the same morons who claimed Greg Robinson was a good hire coming from a TERRIBLE Syracuse team. If Borges were that good, why was he coaching at SAN DIEGO STATE this late in his career?

Borges has done OK, sure. But he will be getting a lot of blame down the stretch once Michigan starts playing teams with a defensive pulse in the 4th quarter. Probably about the same time that people cool off on Denard throwing jump ball bombs on every passing attempt.

Fan #2

Very true, which is why all of the handwringing over Borges & playcalling is ridiculous, imho. If the success of your offense (hell, your entire team) rests entirely on the shoulders of only one player, then you don’t have a very good football team. Guess what. We don’t have a very good football team. Our skill position players outside of Denard scare no one. Our o-line is inconsistent. Just like last year, we have a lot of trouble moving the chains unless it’s Denard running the ball.

Fan #3

We are 3 games into a new regime?! Borges has inherited offensive personnel fit to run the spread option of RR’s offense. He is trying to adapt to the personnel he has to work with.

We already suffered through a coach who chose not to adapt to the players he inherited in forcing a square peg into a round hole. At least Borges isn’t doing that?!

Fan #4

Who’s the reason we have no #1 RB on the squad who can take the load off Denard?
Who’s the reason we have no OL on the squad who can make holes for any RB?
Rich Rod was 27 games into his tenure at Michigan and pretty much only getting flack at this point last season because our defense sucked a*s. Borges is 3 games into his tenure and still trying to figure out what to do with Denard (as I’m sure most coaches in America would be doing). I’m not saying Borges should be given a free pass, I’m just not ready to burn him at the stake.

Fan #5

And yes, it’s only 3 games into it but here’s what we have after 3 games: the exact same thing as last year. Another misleading record, another Top 25 ranking that is comical, and a QB who is taking a beating AND has actually regressed throwing the football. I’m not saying we need to "burn Borges at the stake". But I’m going to call it like I see it and not lap up the kool-aid because this guy is Hoke’s guy. He was a mediocre coach before he got here and so far, he’s done nothing to change that. The differences between Mattison and Borges are night and day, even though both are getting similar results to Rodrigues & crew from last year. Mattison makes adjustments, puts guys in good spots to make plays, and they seem to improve as the game goes on and not the other way around. Sorry-can’t say that about Borges. He’s 3 games in and has no clue what he has. Mattison went 1 qtr against Western and started adjusting and making changes. But go ahead and keep telling me how great Borges is going to be SOME DAY. I’ll listen.

And a SDSU fan chipped in: 

First off, you have to know that as far as the SDSU fanbase is concerned, Al Borges (and Hoke and Rocky Long, for that matter) is considered somewhat of a savior around these parts. We love the guy and are extremely grateful for what he managed to do here on Montezuma Mesa. That troika literally resurrected Aztec football from the dead!

He’s running the same system there at UM that he ran here at SDSU, but because of the personnel you have he’s tweaked it a bit. I’m of course mainly talking about Denard Robinson. Borges likes the pro style offense that gives him a TON of options both in the run game and in the passing game. Lots of different personnel packages and sets: Two back, two tight ends (sometimes three), multiple wide receivers and one back, empty set, etc……. It’s set up perfectly for a power run game (which is traditionally what Michigan football is known for, if I’m not mistaken) AND a lethal passing attack. It’s a great system, and he is an exceptional O-Coordinator.

At SDSU he had a good in-the-pocket QB with a rocket launcher for an arm, which is exactly the ideal type for what he wants to do. There at UM he’s got a guy who’s biggest strength is his ability to make plays with his feet…….oh, and the guy can throw the ball a little bit. Borges likes to have his QB under center, but with Robinson’s skillset he’s better off operating from the shotgun. That and the fact that it’s tough to make the transition from a RichRod type of spread system to a pro system–the exact same type of transition he had to make here. But it’s perhaps toughest on the offensive linemen, who go from playing back on their heels every play in a pass blocking set to being able to fire off the ball and bludgeon someone.

In their first year at SDSU they found that they couldn’t run the offensive system the way they wanted, so we saw them usually lined up in the gun. That changed a year ago after Aaron Wellman had a chance to get his hands on the team. Last year he had Ryan Lindley mostly lined up under center (something he wasn’t used to his first two years at SDSU), and with the addition of a legitimate run game (something Borges didn’t have his first year here either) the results were pretty staggering.

Like I said, it’s still the same system he ran here, but with Robinson and the fact that the O-line is used to playing back on their heels, I would expect to see him continue to run out of the shotgun. It won’t change the system at all, but it will allow Denard Robinson to be Denard Robinson–it will allow him to use his feet more often to make a play, something he never really had to worry about with Lindley.

Another thing you have to know about Borges that we learned pretty quickly out here is that he is VERY good at understanding his personnel; what their strengths are and gameplanning around them. He’s going to get the very best out of Robinson and everyone else on that side of the ball. But he’s not going to ask them to do something they’re just not good at or prepared to do. No square peg/round hole scenarios.

Give them time to build their roster with the types of players they want. But as long as Robinson is around I wouldn’t expect to see him operating out of anything but the shotgun. And that’s the beauty of the system Borges runs: He can run the same plays out of the gun and take advantage of what the kid does best. But still, I think you’ll all be pretty pleased with the results……just hopefully not this weekend

Fan #6

I disagree. Yes, I would like to see more flow with the pro style O, but you can’t scrap it because it hasn’t taken off yet. As many have pointed out, we don’t have the personnel just yet, however, the more we run it, the better our current roster will be able to execute it more effectively. Scrapping it is saying, "forget 80% of what you learned this year, we’re going back to the spread full time" would be horribly detrimental to the team dynamic.

Mark my words, once Denard settles down and is able to be a more consistent passer, we will become an elite team again, practically overnight. We have the weapons at WR and TE that can bring us glory again. Once our passing attack becomes legitimate, our rushing game (tailback and fullbacks) opens up which begets more open receivers and soon all the defenses we face will be on their heels. Denard doesn’t need to be a great passer, only satisfactory. We will then all be signing in harmony the praises of our OL, QB, RB’s, TE’s, HC and OC. It all hinges on DRob’s ability to make the pass. I really believe he will get there very soon. We’re not as far off as some would have us believe. Having a DC who can adjust during games doesn’t hurt either.

The question is… what fan are you?

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2 thoughts on “Al Borges – The Answer at Offensive Coordinator?”

  1. I don’t see Denard ever becoming an elite QB at this level – sure he’s electric but 90% of that is predicated by his running abilities. He still doesn’t make good decisions in the pocket and doesn’t throw a good ball. I’d venture to say 50% of his pass completions are because the receiver adjusts to the ball, rather than the ball being in the right place. He’s just not accurate and after 2 years of this, not sure how that changes.

    But I digress, Borges does seem to be doing the best he can while learning the various aspects of his personnel. 3 games in, with (maybe) one decent opponent is hardly a good testing ground. We have to give him more time to judge. He did make the change against Eastern where the ‘I’ wasn’t working so he adjusted to the gun. Running Denard 25+ times against inferior competition probably wasn’t in the cards but he probably didn’t assume the D would struggle as bad as it did early in the game either.

  2. I believe Al Borges will work out in time, that is just my opinion though. I’ll be honest I didn’t really know anything about him until I watched SDSU last season and I’ll be honest, their offense really impressed me. Yes they were in an extremely weak conference, but what they did against TCU and in their bowl game was really impressive. While Denard is the only reason we are winning games, he just isn’t the right fit for this offense. I believe Denard can run this system well enough to win games, but we won’t become an elite team again for at least 2 to 3 more seasons. Have some patience guys, Al will work out, Hoke is the right man for the job and he can get Michigan back to being an elite team like we should be.. just give them time. With that said GO BLUE! Oh and does anyone else think we should get Mike Hart to come back and be the running backs coach? I truly think that would be a great idea, and plus hes on EMU staff… He would come back in a heartbeat

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