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Posted on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

Offensive coordinator Al Borges, on whether he'll leave: 'No. This is Michigan, for God sakes'

By Kyle Meinke


Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges, shown with Denard Robinson, says, "

Melanie Maxwell |

Al Borges is a well-traveled, well-respected offensive coordinator who had great success this season with players that weren't his own.

So, naturally, his name has popped up for several coaching vacancies, including for the New Mexico head coaching job and the Florida offensive coordinator post vacated by Charlie Weis.

Borges, though, dispelled any notion he'll be leaving Ann Arbor during his news conference Tuesday.

"No. 'This is Michigan, for God sakes,' in the noble words of someone we all know and love," Borges said, conjuring coach Brady Hoke's memorable words from January.

"Next question."

Borges inherited a team built to run the spread-option offense of former coach Rich Rodriguez, and actually increased the unit's output while transitioning it to a "spread-West Coast" hybrid. Michigan averaged 34.2 points per game this year, an uptick from 32.8 last year.

He also has been credited for modifying his preferred West Coast offense to accommodate quarterback Denard Robinson's skill set.

Borges said he bent his coaching style more this year than ever before in his 25-year, nine-stop career.

"Initially, change can be met with resistance," Borges said. "The best thing to do, I've learned, is to close your mouth and open your mind. If you can do that, you can develop yourself as a football coach, (and) hence, develop your football team."

Borges on young standouts
Borges, like Hoke before him, first listed true freshman offensive lineman Chris Bryant as a young player who has stood out in early bowl practices.

Bryant hasn't played this year, but could step into a role next year as a redshirt freshman. Michigan has just eight scholarship offensive lineman this year, about half what Hoke desires, and will lose starters David Molk and Mark Huyge to graduation.

Other standouts include freshmen offensive lineman (and possible center candidate) Jack Miller, receiver Jerald Robinson and quarterback Russell Bellomy.

"We gave Russ a few chances to show what he can do," Borges said. "There have been others too, but those guys stood out — not just in those practices, but on scout teams, too."

Bowl challenges
Borges said the most difficult thing about preparing an offense for a bowl game is maintaining timing in the passing game. How will he try to combat the rust?

"Throw and catch every day," he said. "When there's that much time between games, you lose your timing, that's huge."

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Mon, Dec 26, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

Borges and Mattison are both here because Brady Hoke is a "what you know AND who you know" kind of manager. In case someone hasn't noticed already: Coach Hoke is a master at making a good impression and drawing support and approval - in addition to having deep and comprehensive knowledge of football coaching. Congress appropriates money to both the CIA and the Pentagon for "Black" technologies. So too has Michigan's BoR appropriated a huge some to at least doubling Hoke's career span at Michigan (by extending his life expectancy by that amount). But it's "just rumor" that there will be a centuries-long series of cloned Brady Hokes. Really, that's just rumor, pay no attention to that. ;-)


Mon, Dec 26, 2011 : 2:10 p.m.

This is the genius of Hoke's selections for Coordinators I wrote about last January. Both men are mature and highly respected specialists in the profession and content to be what they are, coordinators. Neither came to Michigan to punch their resume' while waiting for a head coach offer to some C-USA school, then a Big East job and finally a SEC or B1G or ACC offer. These gentlemen know who they are and what they want at this point in their lives. These picks by Hoke were his first, best decisions as the Head Coach at Michigan.


Mon, Dec 26, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

I agree: in Hoke, Borges and probably Mattison: what we DO NOT HAVE is a Nick Saban or Urban Meyer. I also credit Dave Brandon because he knew when he came in that there was already a mess due to Martin's incompetence (it was Carr and Martin who blew the Les Miles done deal). So while the fans were clamoring for another try at Miles, Brandon went back to the original candidates list and picked (originally dark horse) Hoke.

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

Those who staw will be champions. That statement Tithof so relitive foxnews what Big al said

tom Bacon

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

If this trio stays together, I think they will put Michigan back where they should be. The verdict is still out on Urban Meyer, remember his success was mostly based on thugs he recruited at Fla and Tim Tebo. When Tebo graduated, Fla struggled and he supposively got sick. We will see how all this plays out with Ohio. It is a pressure cooker and there is no way they will be able to go throuigh their NCAA probation period without more NCAA violations. Maybe we should put Drew Sharp from the Detroit Free Press on looking into Ohio violations instead of digging up false accusations against his old school!


Mon, Dec 26, 2011 : 2:06 p.m.

Not quite, Urban gained his reputation not at Florida, rather for making Utah a national power from nothing. "This is Utah, for God's sake."


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 11:32 p.m.

I don't know why Al or Greg would even think of leaving such a prime location and position at their age. These are not young men and as assist. most of the heat is reflected towards coach and Brady is more than capable of handling any issues that might arise. I can't imagine why they would even consider head coaching jobs except maybe the money. Do these assist. coaches look to any of you like they would like the heat and burden of being a head coach? We are 10-2 this year because of the team work our coaches put in, break that up and we might not have gone 10-2. Al might be terrible as a head coach and maybe it's his ability to work so well with Brady that makes Al Borges shine.

Dick Bobb

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 9:31 p.m.

Borges and Hoke make a great team to bring "Big Blue" back to power. My question: Which one weighs the most??


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

Well, I think both Borges and Mattison deserve more than they make after this season's results. As long as we treat them right, they will be happy regardless. In other fields, that's all it's about--being treated well instead of like slaves just because you earn a lot (one of many reasons I'm not using my Michigan law degree).


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 7:15 p.m.

Scott: I question your comparison between professional athletes/lottery winners and higher achieveing, educated professionals in the private/public sector (including college coaches) who make over $75,000 annually. I bet at least 99% of higher achieving professionals do not become less happy (or end up broke) because their W-2 became higher than $75,000. As long as Michigan pays Al close to market price, things should be fine. If they pay him significantly less than market, resentment can enter the picture and wondering eyes may appear.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 5:29 p.m.

The Incredible Hoke and has inter-personal skills. I would guess better than ol'Bo. Coach Borges know this, he can sell Hoke and Change to parents, he doesn't have to sell The University of Michigan. It's Michigan for god Sakes. That is real Hoke you can believe in...


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 12:55 a.m.

Mr. Borges makes $350k/ year- more than enough to live a good life and take care of his family. Why would a guy want to go to a school like New Mexico to be a head coach with 10 times the stress and trouble, not much more money and a high chance of failing. He lives in a great city, coaches top talent, with a great head coach and other assistants. Studies have show that happiness peaks when one makes on average $75k a year and begins to decline the richer one gets. 75% of NBA players are bankrupt within 5 years of retiring, the number is not much better for ex NFL players, something like 98% of big lottery winners end up bankrupt. If Al stays put he would be a wise man in a nation where must chase after rainbows and end up with a pot of manure instead of gold. True Michigan men live for more than money because they aren't stupid.


Mon, Dec 26, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

You can prove anything with statistics, 83% of all fans know that.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 12:51 a.m.

Borges is definitely a huge part of this football program.

Terry Star21

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 3:30 a.m.

I agree 100% - his offensive really adapted well and his work adapting Denard was a huge part of us going 10-2. He stays, we become champions. Go Blue !


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 12:17 a.m.

I agree with DonAZ It has been reported that Borges loves offensive plays and draws them all the time. He may be smart enough not to want the headaches, that Hoke has to deal with as head coach, and concentrate on his craft. Besides, what could be better than bringing Michigan back to promanance and coaching inside this stadium, living in this town? Note to Dave; give Big Al a raise.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 12:31 a.m.

Agree on giving Borges a raise. A head coach is truly only as good as his coordinators and their assistants, and right now I believe that UM has the very best coordinators in all of the B10. Match that with a a passionate HC, and UM has the best staff in the B10.

Theo's Brother

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 11:40 p.m.

He would be a fool to leave with all the weapons he has coming back: Shoelace, Fitz, Tree, Stonum, Gallon, etc. However, my brother Theo has been a strong proponent of Calvin Magee to bring the spread back. GO BLUE!


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 4:53 a.m.

@7718 -- the answer you're looking for is Rodriguez, of course. To his credit, Rodriguez *did* recruit some nice talent. In my opinion he focused a bit too much on certain positions while overlooking others. And in some cases the talent he did bring in he didn't develop very well. But I'll remind everyone that despite the "empty cupboard" meme, Rodriguez had talent on this team. Most notably a young man named Ryan Mallet. Rodriguez could have retained Mallet had he signalled a willingness to use Mallet's skills. But he made no particular effort to do so, and Mallet left and lit up the scoreboard at Arkansas. In short, there's NO WAY that 2008 team had to be 3-9. None whatever.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 12:35 a.m.

Who recruited all those weapons?

Terry Star21

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 10:44 p.m.

Good news ! Hoke, Mattison, Borges - Michigan Family ! GoBlueForTiM........The family, the family, the family.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 9:48 p.m.

By the way ohio has been banned for 1 year to any bowl game. Plus some other stuff. For all the knuckle head ohio fans out there that did not think ohio would get punished.

Terry Star21

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 10:43 p.m.

They got a slap on the pinkie finger, what a NCAA farce !


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 9:23 p.m.

You can tell why Hoke loves him, and vice versa. They are a good match, and even in a year, you get the idea that Borges has a passion for Michigan and its tradition. Mattison, I think, no doubt loves Michigan and feels at home here. I think the 3 of them will be together for quite a while. Gotta love Borges.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 9:22 p.m.

DonAZ, I think the Hoke trio will coach UM until there is nobody left to play (after being banned by the NCAA) and it won't be that long before it happens. :) GO BLUE!


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 8:30 p.m.

I think the Hoke-Borges-Mattison nexis is good through at least the 2013 season. After that? Who knows.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 12:27 a.m.

garris, I second everything you just said.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 12:21 a.m.

Oh, Loraine, you had my vote until those last four fateful words. I think you and I just never will reconcile that difference, but it's okay, because we both LOVE Michigan Football. But no vote up for you today.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 11:25 p.m.

I don't see Borges leaving for a HC job, like you said, Don, after 25 years if he hasn't taken a HC job he either has never been offered, highly unlikely, or he just doesn't want to. I'm going with the later especially given his long standing fascination with drawing up plays and coaching the offense. No, I'd say he'll leave when he gets bored with Michigan. Were my name Dave Brandon and I was the AD of the University of Michigan, I'd have a long informal sit down with Big Al and find out what his future plans and desires might be. If Al likes a new challenge from time to time, which is what I suspect, I'd figure out a long term set of challenges I'd toss at him every couple of years.

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 9:31 p.m.

I think Hoke needs to groom a replacement for all three postions! None of these guys will be here indefinitely. I think Mattison is the first one to retire. Who knows how long he will want to stay involved. But in any case, there will need to be a succession plan in place, for ALL THREE. Note to Brandon, Please no more, crash and burn scenarios, like Carr left us.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 9:23 p.m.

I think Borges sticks around. Hopefully, Hoke and Mattison are grooming one of the younger defensive assistants to replace the latter when he retires; he's no spring chicken.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 9:04 p.m.

And then again he may not want a HC job. He's no doubt had opportunity to be a HC at some point since he began the OC thing in 1986. Being an OC may be his comfort zone and at Michigan with Hoke he's found a home. Let's hope.


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 8:57 p.m.

As that combo I agree with you. I dont think Mattison is going anywhere at all. The way it looks is that he may retire at Michigan. Borges on the other hand may be gone within 3 years depending on how mich. does next year or the following. If they have another great year, which they are suppose to then he may be gone. I dont see him taking another OC job in college and only a HC job would get him away. Go Blue!!!


Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 8:30 p.m.

"Initially, change can be met with resistance," Borges said. "The best thing to do, I've learned, is to close your mouth and open your mind. If you can do that, you can develop yourself as a football coach, (and) hence, develop your football team." Borges is fast tracking himself into a Michigan Man unlike the one we shall never mention.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 4:01 p.m.

Lorain, I agree with your posting and one of Hoke's best coaching traits is to make adjustments instead of ramming the scheme down the players throats. I knew if Borges have the right attitude & aptitude then he would enjoy working with a cool dude in Denard. Thanks Lorain and Merry Christmas to you and the others in here.

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 9:27 p.m.

D21. While we have diasgreed in the past, I agree with you here. on Borges. I was a sceptic, through most of this year, particularly after the Iowa debacle, but the late developing info on DRob's health issues, and the emergence of the 'hybrid' Spread-west coast, offense vs nebraska/ohio lead me to reconsider Borges.