Posted by: Chris Vannini on May 24, 2013
Michigan offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Al Borges is excited about the upcoming season because, with a pass-first quarterback, he'll finally be able to use more of the offense he's wanted in Ann Arbor.
But some fans are skeptical based on some games over the previous two years.
Borges sat down for a very informative Q&A with MGoBlog and touched on a ton of topics, from every detail during the week to game day. One topic he touched was the offensive gameplan, and fan reaction to it.
"People sometimes don't understand the value of a failed play," Borges said. "Sometimes the defense overdefends a play and gives you another play by doing so. So you may run a run in there and it doesn't gain anything, and obviously people say, 'Quit running the ball up the middle!' How many times do you hear that? 'Don't run the ball up the middle!'
"Well, sometimes running up the ball up the middle will afford you the opportunity to pull the ball out and throw the ball down the field, because people are so aggressive with playing that play up the middle. I call it the residual effect of football plays. What's the leftover effect of what we just did?
"If both plays don't work, then you probably have a problem. Either the plan wasn't good or your execution's off. There's only two ways plays fail. The plan isn't good or your execution is lousy. Overdefended, underexecuted. That's why plays fail. But you have to understand that a play, just because it fails, doesn't mean it's a bad play. It may give you something down the line.
"For example, if you ran the ball into the line of scrimmage and gained a half a yard. But the play-action pass off that play gained 35 yards. What's the average of the two plays? Would you take that? Not a man in the world wouldn't. And that's why you have to understand, that's how it works sometimes. It costs something at times to get to that 35-yard gain."
Borges also talked about how he loves Brady Hoke's aggressiveness, and he has to take that into account sometimes on third-down plays.
Borges wants his offense to balance pass and run. Some coaches have different takes on this. Mike Leach considers his offense balanced. Borges doesn't want to use too much tempo at the expense of success. Michigan was No. 103 in offensive plays ran in 2012, No. 79 in total offense and No. 34 in yards per play. It has to be efficient.
"So many guys want to run 80 plays a game these days and then they wonder, 'Gee, why isn't the defense playing well?'" Borges said. "If I thought we would be more successful going 100 miles an hour all the time, I'd do it."
Chris Vannini is the lead writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and MLive.com. He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to email@example.com