Reanimating Michigan Football
In 2012 Rodriguez took his spread to Arizona, and he had a pretty good year (8-5) with an offense that averaged an enormous thirty-eight points per game. But the Arizona defense--led by Rich Rod's former West Virginia defensive coordinator, Jeff Casteel--faced an astounding 1,085 plays and gave up 35.3 points per game. Of the 120 FBS teams, Arizona finished 102nd in defensive scoring and 118th in yards allowed. Yikes.
So I was willing to listen when U-M offensive coordinator Al Borges told me that he perceives himself to be a part of the Michigan defensive structure. When his offense runs a lot of plays and controls the clock, he explains, the defense has a chance to rest, and the opposition offense has fewer opportunities for success. Conversely, an offense that doesn't hold the ball can tire a D out and, even worse, allow the opposition more opportunities to probe and find a sore spot.
The Michigan Rooting Universe has exulted in Mattison's success but sees Borges as more of an enigma. This is understandable, since by the most common measures of offense U-M has been pedestrian. In 2012 U-M's offense was fifty-eighth in points scored and seventy-ninth in yards gained. That's not very good. But my preferred measure is yards per pass attempt, and there, Michigan has been very solid, finishing twelfth in 2011 and twenty-first in 2012. Given last year's schedule difficulties and the mid-season transition in quarterbacks, I give Borges high marks.