Michigan coach Hoke makes change, fires offensive coordinator Borges
JAN 08, 2014 5:26p ET
In a surprising move, Michigan coach Brady Hoke announced Wednesday afternoon that he has fired longtime assistant coach Al Borges.
"Decisions like these are never easy," Hoke said in a statement. "I have a great amount of respect for Al as a football coach and, more importantly, as a person. I appreciate everything he has done for Michigan football for the past three seasons."
Borges, who first coached with Hoke in 2009-10 at San Diego State, came to Michigan with Hoke for the 2011 season and has served as his offensive coordinator for his three years in Ann Arbor.
In their first season with the Wolverines, Hoke, Borges and Denard Robinson put together a dynamic spread attack that helped Michigan surge back to prominence with a Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech.
In 2012, though, Michigan struggled all season to run the ball, and Robinson's elbow injury left the Wolverines without any consistent offensive weapons at the end of the year.
This season, with Robinson off to the NFL, Borges was determined to scrap the spread offense and install a pro-style attack with Devin Gardner at quarterback.
Once again, the plan fell apart when the Wolverines couldn't put a decent offensive line on the field. Senior tackles Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield -- both recruited before Hoke and Borges arrived on campus -- were steady performers, but the middle of the line was manned by an ever-changing mix of underperforming underclassmen.
Borges was criticized for constantly churning the group instead of settling on a unit long enough to give it any chance of gelling.
The result was another season with no running game, without Robinson's speed and play-making ability to bail them out.
Although Gardner was able to make plays, especially with his scrambling ability and uncanny ability to find Jeremy Gallon in key situations, he was beaten up by opposing defenses. Gardner even had to sit out Michigan's Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl loss to Kansas State with a foot injury.
With Lewan expected to be picked in the top half of the first round of April's draft and Schofield expected to go in the middle rounds, Borges has left the new offensive coordinator with major question marks at every position on the offensive line.
Gallon is also graduating, leaving Devin Funchess as the only real offensive threat for either Gardner or highly touted Shane Morris, who had an up-and-down performance in the bowl game.