This is what happens when fans and internet blogger heroes think they know more than coaches. We're not running a spread-option offense anymore. The bubble screen and constraint plays went out the door with Rich Rodriguez. If that pisses you off, then take it up with David Brandon for hiring a coach who doesn't wish to run the spread. Expecting a coach to run an offense that isn't his is unfair, and, quite frankly, dumb.Frankly, I'm not asking Al Borges to run an offense he doesn't know or doesn't understand. I'm asking him to be smart enough to take advantage of the defense when it aligns like this:
This is egregious. When you don't throw the bubble screen here, things like the Sugar Bowl happen: a game that saw Borges absolutely punked by the Hokie defensive staff as they played to his tendencies and forced Michigan to run plays into the strength of the defense.
I don't care about constraint plays or zone reads or any of the other plays and terminology that came with the Rodriguez era. I do care about winning football games, though, and ignoring the bubble screen when a defense aligns like this makes it significantly harder to win football games. This is equivalent to coming out in a three-tight end formation under center on 1st and 10 in the first quarter, when the defense has 11 defensive backs on the field, and running play action. Attack what the defense is giving here. In the picture above, they're giving Michigan anywhere from 8 to 46 free yards.
If Borges never aligns the offense like this next year, that's fine. But if you align the offense like this, you have to take advantage of its benefits. Those include stretching the defense horizontally by using screen passes. This isn't even a questionable screen pass call (where it's 3 vs. 3, for instance, and you're asking a receiver to make a play in space); there are barely two defenders covering three of Michigan's receivers.
Many times this game, Michigan ran the ball into 10 box defenders. This is not effective. It will never be effective. Like Michigan's losses against Iowa and Michigan State this year, the defense had a gameplan: load up the box and defend the run aggressively, forcing Denard to beat them through the air. Michigan was lucky to win this game because offensively, they were dominated. If Borges implements screen passes--and not even many of them, throwing one or two a game will force teams to respect the threat--this forces defenders outside of the box, opening lanes for Denard and Co. in the running game.
I realize that at this point I'm banging my head against a wall. No one even wants to read about this anymore, but it's something that, when it pops up during such an abysmal offensive performance, I can't simply ignore. Borges does not believe in the bubble screen. That's unfortunate. It's also stupid.