Brady Hoke and the Michigan football team announced today that Al Borges would not return as the team’s offensive coordinator next season. After a frustrating tenure with the Wolverines, highlighted by a disappointing 2013 season, Borges was fired.
Borges had coached under Hoke since 2009 with San Diego State and at Michigan the last three seasons. Borges never seemed to find his grove at Michigan. Borges usually ran a pro-style offense, but with quarterbacks like Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner, it has been a struggle to stay away from the spread.
An up and (mostly down) offense
The 2013 season started with a bang for the Wolverines offensively. Everyone was excited after their first two games, as Michigan looked like one of the best teams in the Big Ten early in the season. A 50-point win over Central Michigan and a convincing victory in the final home matchup against rival Notre Dame highlighted the start of the season. After that, however, it went mostly downhill.
After the first two games, Michigan struggled to beat weak opponents in Akron and UCONN, and that was mostly due to an offense that couldn’t perform well consistently. After Notre Dame, Michigan really only played well offensively against lowly Indiana and in the final game of the season against Ohio State.
The Michigan State was nearly unwatchable. The team rushed for negative 48 yards, thanks to Devin Gardner getting sacked time and time again. They managed just 168 yards in a 29-6 loss to their in-state rival.
The Wolverines also were held in check by a Nebraska team that didn’t exactly feature an elite defense. In the 17-13 loss at home, Michigan was held to negative rushing yards once again (-21) and managed just 196 yards.
A miracle win against Northwestern in triple overtime would prove to be the team’s final win. The offense really seemed to click against Ohio State. Michigan racked up 603 yards, including 451 yards passing from Gardner. It would ultimately come up short in a 42-41 loss.
The season was capped off with an embarrassing loss to Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Despite not having Gardner at quarterback, the team struggled to do anything productive offensively. After nearly a month of practice, the team didn’t look prepared at all to win a game.
It really was a shame, because I believe this Michigan team was much better than their record would indicate. Borges’ offense would end up being the 87th ranked offense in the country. Those numbers are probably a little inflated by the Indiana and Ohio State games.
It’s hard to believe Hoke wanted Borges gone, but it almost had to be done. Nearly every Michigan fan blamed Borges for most of their problems this season.
After a 7-6 season, all the coaches should be squirming as that is just not acceptable for a Michigan football team. Ever since Hoke’s arrival in Ann Arbor three seasons ago, his most notable accomplishment is the Sugar Bowl win in his first season. That season, the team featured the remnants of Lloyd Carr’s team and mostly Rich Rodriguez recruits. In the two seasons after the BCS win, Michigan has done little to prove it is a national power.
If there isn’t significant improvement a year from now, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there were more coaching changes at the University of Michigan.
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