Borges seems confident that Michigan is on the right path: “We’ll have the guys here to run any system we want but there is a transitional phase. What we tried to do is implement what we want to do now. We’re two years behind because we didn’t do it from the beginning with that comes some growing pains.”
Unfortunately, those growing pains include Gardner running for his life, just like Robinson last year.
In my post-game Michigan-Akron article on Bleacher Report this week, I discussed the problems the Wolverines are having on the interior of their offensive line:
Gardner was able to lead the Wolverines on a late touchdown drive, and Michigan escaped with a 28-24 victory, but Akron exposed a serious flaw in the Wolverines offense.The interior of the offensive line has not shown itself capable of consistently containing pressure. Michigan Football: Wolverines Weakness on the Offensive Line Apparent
The line has been a question mark throughout the season. Against Central Michigan Center Jack Miller had a tough first quarter:
He was spun around by a defender, missed a block, found himself dangerously close to being illegally downfield on a 36 yard passing play and contributed to an illegal procedure penalty when the offense took off prior to his snap of the ball. Offensive Line Concerns Linger as Michigan Prepares for Notre Dame
Yesterday offensive coordinator Al Borges admitted being frustrated at the lack of improvement from his offensive lineman:
“There is an expectation that we should improve. That’s my biggest issue with (the Akron) game. I don’t think we took a step forward, and that irritates me more than anything.” via Mlive
Michigan is 3-0, but breaking down tape it’s obvious that the interior of the offensive line, center Jack Miller and guards Graham Glasgow and Kyle Kalis, are struggling.
If he decides to pull Jack Miller, the replacement might be Graham Glasgow, who himself has struggled. It also breaks up the rhythm between Miller and Gardner.
Does Gardner need to get used to a new snapper heading into the Big Ten season?
For now it appears that Michigan will stand pat.
“A lot of our issues are still fundamentals and techniques. That sounds like coach-speak, but if you watch the tape, that’s exactly what it is.” Al Borges via Mlive
Unfortunately, I have to disagree with his assessment. The problem is that guys are getting beat-plain and simple. The are too many times on tape you see members of the interior line with their back to the line of scrimmage, chasing defenders they missed.
The Wolverines play their first read game against Connecticut this weekend. It may be time for Borges to shuffle his lineman.
Hoke on if same starting five OL will start Saturday "I don't know yet. We'll see what happens"
— angelique (@chengelis) September 18, 2013
Add to the mix the injury of Taylor Lewan and his mystery walking boot this week and fans have serious cause for concern.
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Michigan Offensive Coordinator Al Borges loves to diagram offensive plays for hour on end.
He’ll sit drawing up play after play with multiple options, against different defensive looks and tendencies looking for the perfect call to give his offense the advantage.
His ideal quarterback is someone tall, who can survey the field and pick apart the defense, exploiting the mismatches that Borges identifies.
Denard Robinson isn’t his ideal QB.
Since Hoke and Borges arrived they’ve done their best to put Denard Robinson in a box. A lesser player would have grown frustrated by now. But Denard soldiers on.
Sometime its helpful to look a problem through a different lens.
This week is the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation and once again fans are debating incarnation of Star Trek i best.
One of the most heated arguments is which captain is best, Kirk or Picard?
Kirk is the gambler, flying by the seat of his pants, surviving and thriving by natural skill and gut intuition.
Picard is the calm, cool, and collected manager, carefully analyzing every situation.
Both have their strengths, but you would never confuse one with the other.
It’s clear that Borges is a Picard fan.
Given the choice of a playmaker versus the game manager at quarterback, he’d go for the later every time.
But that’s Denard.
Denard is at his best when plays break down he chooses to make things happen with his amazing speed.
You can’t draw that up on the play sheet. You can quantify it. You just acknowledge the truth.
Next year Al Borges will get his game manager at quarterback.
But for now he needs to let Denard be Denard.
No defensive coordinator fears Denard’s passing game.
But him running free in the open field is a nightmare.
Borges needs to realize that’s it’s been a mistake trying to stop Denard from being the playmaker.
He needs to make adjustments before this season ends up like an odd numbered Star trek movie.