More on the Michigan Game Plan

Earlier, we pondered if Michigan’s game plan was simply to keep it close and injury free.  Later WolverineNation posted this article by Michael Rothstein where Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges defended his game plan:

The Wolverines faltered in running, passing and blocking. Still, the Michigan offensive coordinator said Tuesday that he wouldn’t have changed much about how he called plays against the Crimson Tide.

“Very little,” Borges said. “Almost none. But that’s probably hard to grasp because the way we executed the game plan wasn’t very effective.”

Let me offer you some help, Al.  It’s answers like these that get you fired.

To me, it sounds extremely arrogant to say you would have changed “very little” about your game plan when that game plan yielded the results it did.  It’s also not cool to throw your players under the bus in the process.

But wait, there’s more:

Borges’ plan was based on a multitude of factors. Having coached at Auburn, he was familiar with Alabama and its defense. Having seen the Crimson Tide on tape, he knew a game plan featuring a lot of Denard Robinson running the ball wouldn’t work. So he came up with a two-pronged system.

If Alabama loaded the box, Michigan would throw. If the Crimson Tide played the box light, meaning six or seven guys there, Michigan would run. For the most part, Alabama loaded up to stop the run — stop Robinson from running, specifically — so Michigan went to the air.

It didn’t work. Running didn’t, either. Against Alabama, if a team isn’t efficient, it has no chance to win.

Basically, Borges decided to take what Alabama “gave” him and make it work.  Nick Saban called his bluff, stacked the run and dared Robinson to beat the Tide with his arm.  Obviously, it didn’t work.

To me, this is a very uninspiring game plan.  Did he really think that would work?  Did he really think Alabama would not try to stop Robinson?  Did he really think Robinson – a quarterback known most for his feet and least for his arm – and a patchwork group of receivers could beat the Tide defense?  You spent an entire off-season coming up with that?

If you’re playing to win the game, you take your advantage and you use it and make the other team like it.  Robinson is the best offensive player on the team, so Borges’ game plan should have been creative enough to get Robinson in space so as to see if he could beat the Tide defense that way.  Would it have worked?  Probably not, but at least you could say you tried.

Oh, and this part cracks me up:

“They left the box light 12 times and [we] had plus-four runs three times out of 12,” Borges said. “Then we hit 2 of 10 shots downfield. The only alternative is to plus-one run the quarterback and we did some of that, too.”


Some of that I can understand, but some of it sounds like a coach trying to sound technical and talk over your head when you start questioning him.