If Al Borges Left Michigan, Who Would Replace Him?

Adam BiggersSenior Analyst IIDecember 17, 2013

Al Borges isn't going anywhere, but what if he left? Then what?
Al Borges isn't going anywhere, but what if he left? Then what?Leon Halip/Getty Images

The notion of Al Borges leaving Michigan is music to Wolverines fans' ears. 

Well, for most anyway. 

Borges, who's wrapping up his third year in Ann Arbor, is by and large Public Enemy No. 1 according to the legions of disgruntled Team 134 supporters who watched their heroes of Saturday hobble to a second consecutive five-loss season. 

Points shouldn't have been so difficult to come by for an offense supposedly as powerful as Michigan's.

With Devin Gardner at quarterback, a handful of readily available backs, a corps of wideouts brimming with size and speed, along with a couple of senior tackles to make room, the Wolverines should have broken scoreboards around the Big Ten. 

At times, they did. But during other moments, the extraordinarily painful ones, the offense couldn't overcome its self-inflicted, anti-point syndrome.

The Wolverines scored only nine points through four quarters versus Northwestern?!


They only got two field goals against Michigan State?! 

Yes—two lucky kicks, actually. The Wolverines scurried to come up with 168 yards of total offense and 12 first downs. They went 2-for-14 on third down. 

And don't forget Michigan's snail-mail pace during its 17-13 loss to Nebraska. That performance at The Big House—the Wolverines' first home loss under Brady Hoke—was agonizingly frustrating to endure for everyone involved, fans included. 

Borges' offense averaged 29.8 points per game. It goes without saying that he didn't sniff the top 50 (No. 83, per NCAA Football.com), let alone emerge as threatening producer in his own league.

Should his game plan fall to floor and get plowed into oblivion Dec. 28 by Kansas State during the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, the former Auburn maestro could be singing a sad tune while looking for future paychecks. 

However, Dave Brandon, Michigan's athletic director, has already confirmed the worst fears of some loyal supporters: The entire staff, along with Borges, will return in 2014. 

It's unlikely that Borges will lose his job based on his unit's showing against the Wildcats. But should the worst-case scenario come to fruition, it certainly wouldn't hurt for Brandon to look for a successor. 

Who could that be? That's debatable. 

Who should it be? Well, that's also debatable.

But there's a clear-cut, top-tier option who just so happens to be looking for gainful employment: Former Miami (Ohio) head coach Don Treadwell, who, as many remember, once called the shots as Michigan State's offensive coordinator. 

Simply put, he's a guy who understands the Michigan-Michigan State dynamic and the demands of the Big Ten. The Wolverines aren't conference leaders, and they've scored a combined 18 points during their past two duels with the Spartans. 

Treadwell can recruit and has take-charge abilities, evidenced by his hiring. Although he didn't work out as a head coach for Miami, he would be an incredible asset to the Wolverines offense—or to whichever program decides to offer him a contract. 


He's Versatile, Understands Strengths

Sep 28, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA; Miami Redhawks head coach Don Treadwell during the second quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports
Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

While in East Lansing, Treadwell helped Mark Dantonio craft a one-time doormat of a scoring attack into a juggernaut that routinely scored 30-plus points. Treadwell used what he had and received quite the return. 

Pro-style, spread elements—Treadwell dealt with each, and he dealt with each at the Big Ten level, which helps.

Kirk Cousins, a traditional pocket passer, eventually won the full-time No. 1 job. But there was a time in which Treadwell effectively used Keith Nichol, a dual-threat with similar athletic qualities as Devin Gardner; both played receiver and quarterback at some point in college. 

In 2014, Shane Morris and Wilton Speight, an incoming freshman, could challenge Gardner for top honors. Regardless of who wins, Treadwell would have a clear path to success with two former 5-stars and a hot-shot freshman.

He helped mold an offense that transformed a passed-over Cousins—a former 3-star, per Rivals—into Michigan State's greatest signal-caller. 

Enough said. 

During that same time, Nichol earned legendary status with a Hail Mary grab against Wisconsin. A passer by trade, Nichol found great success as a chain-moving option for Cousins. That combination was made possible by Treadwell's expertise—and a little luck. 

Treadwell's son, Blake, is a senior offensive guard at Michigan State. It's fair to assume that Treadwell has knowledge when it comes to constructing an offensive line, although he's never held the position of O-Line coach.

Blake's been coached up, sure. But he more than likely picked up something from dear old dad along the way. 

At the very least, Treadwell could assist Darrell Funk, Michigan's O-Line coach. Funk's line stunk this past fall. 


Patch the Run Game

Nov 16, 2013; Evanston, IL, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Derrick Green (27) runs with the ball as Northwestern Wildcats safety Traveon Henry (10) tackles during the first half at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Treadwell didn't have the No. 1 back to work with. Most of his runners weren't national prep stars, just sturdy, hard-nosed ball-carriers. Since Borges joined Michigan, Fitz Toussaint has been the only running back to eclipse 1,000 yards. 

Of course, much of that had to do with Denard Robinson, who ran enough for a backfield of three. However, the Wolverines didn't have a dominant force coming from the backfield in 2013, and that's an issue. 

Derrick Green was the No. 1-ranked running back of 2013, per Rivals. Due to a hoard of guys who couldn't block and poor play-calling from Borges' end, Green didn't contribute as much as anticipated.

If anything, he should have backed Toussaint with about 500 yards.

Head-to-head comparisons of lines aside, the following table compares Treadwell's elite to Borges' finest. 

Top Back
Toussaint/UM1,0412011UM hasn't had a 1,000-yarder since
Edwin Baker/MSU1,2012010Shared carries in talented backfield
LeVeon Bell/MSU6052010Freshman entered MSU as a 2-star, didn't have great O-Line
Javon Ringer/MSU1,447/1,6372007/2008More than 3,000 yards in two years, led NCAA with 22 rushing TDs in 2008
Sports-Reference.com (Treadwell was OC at MSU from 2007-2010).



Sept.15, 2012; Boise, ID, USA; Miami Redhawks head coach Don Treadwell in the white hat during second half action at Bronco Stadium verses the Boise State Broncos.  Boise State  defeated the Miami Redhawks 39-12.  Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

In 1986, Treadwell began his career as Youngstown State's offensive coordinator. He then coached running backs and receivers at Miami (Ohio) and Cincinnati until 1994.

Bouncing around from Stanford, Boston College, and Michigan State, Treadwell eventually found his way back to Cincinnati, where he ran the offense from 2004 to 2006. 

The 53-year-old is a born-and-bred Ohioan. And Michigan football has long owed a thanks to its southern neighbor for providing countless stars. Do the names Charles Woodson and Desmond Howard ring a bell? 

Cleaning up on Ohio recruiting trails isn't only a way to keep up with the Buckeyes, but it's a necessary component of competing for conference titles. Ohio, by and far, is one of the nation's top producers of high school football talent. 

Having a native of the area helps. But Treadwell isn't just a local, he's actually one of them—he played quarterback at Oberlin High, so he can relate to the young men he's recruiting. From Dayton to Youngstown, Cleveland to Cincinnati (queue Cam'Ron), Treadwell has connections in all corners (and in all of the round parts) of Ohio. 

Having the Michigan name behind him would only strengthen his efforts. 

Dissect it, like it or dislike it—a former Spartans coach would be the logical choice as Borges' heir. Get it while it's available, Michigan, or Treadwell's knowledge could come in handy for another Big Ten school. 


Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81