Borges investigates his play-calling

October, 2, 2012
10/02/12
3:48
PM ET
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Ever curious and with a little bit of time for self-reflection and evaluation, Al Borges popped in every game from his season and a half at Michigan and started to chart.

He looked at plays he called at home. He looked at what he called on the road. He examined sequences and tried to find out if there was any validity to the theory he is calling a different game inside of Michigan Stadium as opposed to when Michigan travels.

[+] EnlargeAl Borges
Leon Halip/Getty ImagesAl Borges is trying to balance out his play-calling as the Wolverines prepare to embark on B1G play.
“Went over every tape and looked at how I went about calling the offense on the road as opposed to calling the offense [at home],” Borges said. “Took every single play we ran and evaluated it. Play-calling is an interesting deal because when you look at a play, is it overdefended or underexecuted?

“You’ve got three categories, a potentially successful scenario where it should really work because you’ve got the pieces in the right places. Then you’ve got a play that has a chance to be a successful play but it’s going to require a little more. Then you’ve got a play that you’re working uphill on and the advantage is more for the defense.”

So he did that and made notations and markings in hopes of making him a stronger, better play-caller as he embarks on his second Big Ten season at Michigan. And he said if he had any questions after watching the play again, he marked it as “a number three play,” which means he did not do a good job of putting players in a good position.

In WolverineNation’s own research of Borges’ time at Michigan, the Wolverines have had 1.82 rushes per pass attempt. When that happens, though, skews between home and the road. In home games, Michigan has 2.1 rushes for every pass attempt. On the road or at neutral sites, the ratio dips to 1.45:1, although it is worth noting all four Wolverines losses have come away from Ann Arbor.

Borges has also been inching closer to a 50-50 balance this season, as the run/pass ratio is at 1.41:1, although some of that can be explained by trailing in two games this season.

As for the actual data Borges culled and learned from, he wouldn’t go that far. But it will be interesting to see if things change with a road game against Purdue on Saturday.

“I’m not even going to address that,” Borges said. “That would release and give some secrets.”

Borges confident in Big Ten success: Despite the offense’s struggles, Borges remains supremely confident about Michigan’s chances to win the Big Ten this season. A lot of it has to do with what he sees from his team -- and what he sees from the rest of the teams in the Big Ten.

One thing he is certain of, however, is if Michigan plays offensively like it did against Notre Dame, it could lose to anyone.

“I feel like we can win the Big Ten if we play like we’re capable of playing,” Borges said. “Yeah, I think we’re as good as anybody. And if we play like [Michigan did against Notre Dame] we can get beat by anybody.

“I think the kids feel the same way. There’s a lot of parity in this conference for a lot of reasons. But we’ll have to play like we’re capable of playing. We can play with anybody in this conference.”

This and that: Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said he has reached out to Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, who announced Monday he is battling leukemia. Pagano was Mattison’s secondary coach in Baltimore and then took over for him with the Ravens when Mattison left for Michigan. ... Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Purdue defensive lineman Kawann Short is “maybe the best defensive lineman in the league.” ... Hoke wouldn’t go into his philosophy on tape sharing, which has come into question this week across the league.

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

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