Michigan Football: Al Borges' Go-to Plays on Offense

Austin FoxCorrespondent IIJanuary 27, 2013

Michigan Football: Al Borges' Go-to Plays on Offense

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    Al Borges has obviously gotten a lot of criticism over the past two seasons. Putting that aside, though, here's an interesting look at some of the plays we have seen him tab most often.

    Criticism and/or praise for Borges can be left in the comments section below, as I'm simply not going to do either here.

    It is just an interesting look at a few of the most popular plays we have seen Michigan's offense run.

Zone Read

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    Having this one on the list is obviously a no-brainer. With Denard Robinson at quarterback, Michigan had become so accustomed to running this play.

    It was most effective in late 2011 when Fitz Toussaint hit his stride, as it seemed almost unstoppable at the time.

    However, it was a weakness this past year, as no one other than Robinson had any success running the ball. Toussaint couldn't get any yards off of it, and it was even worse when Vincent Smith tried to run it.

    We may have seen the end of it, though, as one would think it will be seldom called with Gardner at the helm.

Quarterback Draw

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    This is a play that will also seemingly be fazed out with Denard Robinson gone. However, we've seen it run countless times in the past with Robinson at quarterback.

    It was often criticized, as fans would say he took too much of a beating, but at the same time, it was exciting every time it was called.

    Robinson could literally take one to the house from anywhere on the field whenever this play was called.

    Some people won't admit it, but this play is one of the many reasons Robinson will be dearly missed.

Swing-Back Pass

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    Honestly, what the official term for this play is I don't know. Heck, it may not even have one.

    However, we saw this play run for pretty much one player over the years, and that was Vincent Smith. Robinson would often roll to one side of the field and then swing the ball back to Smith who was often all alone.

    Perhaps the most memorable use of this play came against Notre Dame in 2011 when Smith scored a late crucial touchdown on it.

    Now, this is a play that we may continue to see in the coming years. Even though Smith is gone, Justice Hayes or even Drake Johnson appears ready to step in and fill that Smith-like role.

Bubble Screen

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    This is actually a play that fans complained wasn't called enough. When it was called, though, it usually worked beautifully.

    Jeremy Gallon was almost always on the receiving end of this one. His small body size made him very dangerous and shifty in space.

    If the timing and blocking sets up the way it should, the play can be taken for a touchdown from anywhere on the field. We saw this executed perfectly against Illinois this year when Gallon scored on a 71-yard short pass.

    Fortunately, Jeremy will be around once again next year and will only get better.


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    When asked for a list of Borges' top five plays in a year or two, it will likely include five totally different plays.

    Hopefully, that list will be filled with simple fullback dives, iso runs, etc.

    Sure, those may seem simple and boring, but for old-school Michigan football fans, that's about as beautiful as it gets.

    Fans are proud of the tradition Michigan has of punishing workhorse running backs and bruising fullbacks, and fortunately those days are just about here again.

    These plays listed aren't typical Michigan football plays; instead, it's Al Borges doing the best with the personnel he has. And that's exactly what a good coach is supposed to do.