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Posted on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

Q&A with Al Borges, offensive coordinator of the Michigan football team

By Pete Bigelow

Al Borges, the new offensive coordinator of the Michigan football team, spoke at length Wednesday about his background, his plans for the Wolverines’ offense, and perhaps most importantly, Denard Robinson.

Here’s a sampling of the questions he received, along with his responses.

Q: Is Denard Robinson a good-enough quarterback for the NFL?

A: There’s no question. His arm is not the issue. He’s got plenty of arm. We just need to see how he fits with NFL schemes and see how he can do. Again, I’m just judging that based on watching film. I have not stood there and gotten a chance to coach him.

Q: Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison didn’t want to watch last year’s film. You did. What did you learn?

A: What they did in the past, really, is a little irrelevant. But I watch film to see a) if there are relative schemes to what we’re doing so the transition can be a little smoother and b) what is the skill level of the players I’m working with?

I’ve got to watch Denard Robinson to see - I know how well he can run - I need to see how well he can pass. I watch to watch some of the running backs who may only have 20 carries, but I want to see those 20 carries to see how they might be used.

Q: How do you tweak the offense to suit Denard Robinson’s strengths?

A: We’re a pro-style offense. We’re not going to be shotgun every play. But we’ll probably favor a little more gun now than we did last year at State, and we ran quite a bit of shotgun last year.

But because of him, and some of the things you can do in the gun with him, we’ll be in a little more gun than we have in the past. But to say we’re going to be a gun team? No, we’re going to line up under center and come downhill on our runs.

Q: When you went through the transformation at San Diego State, was it more difficult than this one?

A: At San Diego State, we were dealing with a two-win base. The transformation was not just physical, it was huge mentally. Here, they weren’t bad now. They won seven games. We’re dealing with a seven-win base, which in my opinion, everybody’s opinion, is a better starting point.

Q: Michigan has had a lot of trouble taking care of the ball the past three seasons. Will you emphasize ball security?

A: Four points of pressure, baby, just like they did when George Halas coached, OK? Dog-gone right. I’d go into what all those are, but you don’t want to hear it. But we’re going to take care of that dog-gone thing so our defense doesn’t get into a bind.

Pete Bigelow covers Michigan football for He can be reached at (734) 623-2556, via email at and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.



Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 1:46 a.m.

Al Borges talks too much. Should't he prove himself before he takes this many interviews? The jury's out on him as far as I am concerned. On all ove them. He's making players wonder, maybe even concerned with all this talk. Anybody can theorize all day long - but the proof is in the pudding. Stop talking Al - you've got work to do.


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 4:24 a.m.

I think it's fair to say the jury's still out on Borges and maybe a couple of the other coaches. If you were talking about Mattison, however, I wouldn't agree - he's got the experience and record to prove it. Fred Jackson seems solid as well.


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 3:33 a.m.

What did he say that he so needs to prove or is going to make "players wonder"? He said UM won't line up in the gun as much, that he and the other coaches think the starting point is better at UM than it was at SDSU, and that UM will emphasize holding onto the ball. Wow...he better back all that trash talk up! Not. In this very short interview, Borgess is just mentioning some thoughts that he has and what is being worked on. Not exactly inflammatory comments to fire other teams up or things that the players on the team don't already know about. Don't worry, Al's doing his work.


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 1:32 a.m.

Question: Al, what will you call on 3rd and 13? Answer: 3rd and 13? Why would we be in a 3rd and 13? That was last years team.


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 5:39 a.m.

Right. Because there were no 3rd and 13s in 2007...


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 1:06 a.m.

Question: Al, what will you call on 3rd and 13? Answer: This is Michigan! Off tackle run.


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 3:33 p.m.

Theo your schtick is getting old. Why not get on the bus or get out of the way.


Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

And that whole answer about the turnover issue is comical considering SDSU was pretty bad at holding onto the ball themselves over the last few seasons.


Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 7:17 p.m.

I wonder if Borges will say "dog gone" as much as Bobby Bowden used to say "dadgum?" If so, he could end up being pretty entertaining. The real test, though, will be on the field.

1st Down

Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 6:53 p.m.

I like Al Borges more and more with every comment he makes. He has a clear plan and lays it out like it truly is. Coach Hoke made 2 tremendous hires for his coordinators. This is Michigan.