The Al Borges Effect

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Al Borges Effect

The Al Borges Effect

     The return of the once lauded Al Borges to The Plains has been one of the more intriguing aspects surrounding the 2017 season to me. I was admittedly puzzled upon first hearing of his role as an offensive analyst under Gus Malzahn, but as the Summer has burned away so has my doubt about Borge’s potential on this coaching staff.

     Al Borges departed Auburn prior to the 2008 season and would not return to coaching until he joined Brady Hoke’s staff at San Diego State in 2009. In two seasons there, Borges put up respectable numbers. His offenses had back-to-back seasons with three thousand passing yards and ranked 16th nationally in total offense in 2010.  The following season Hoke would depart for Michigan with Borges in tow. 

     Michigan proved to be a much rougher stint than Borges had endured at either San Diego State or Auburn. In three years his offenses ranked 42nd, 78th, and 86th nationally respectively. I think many factors contributed to Borges’ downfall in Michigan. For starters, Brady Hoke wasn’t exactly putting the Wolverines in the best situations. The Michigan program slipped every year under Hoke’s tenure. Although his recruiting classes held talent, their development was rarely ever realized. After several disappointing offensive showings in 2013, Hoke confirmed that Borges would be retained for the 2014 season. 

     After taking a year off, Borges returned to San Diego State in 2015 – again as the offensive coordinator. His work there in 2015 and 2016 are especially impressive considering he achieved roughly the same total offensive output as his first two years there [2009 & 2010] in a completely different way. His teams in ’09 and ’10 passed for three thousand yards – his offenses in ’15 and ’16 rushed for  three thousand yards a piece. That alone proves Borges’ versatility and willingness to evolve. 

     Prior to Malzahn’s arrival in 2009, Borges was very much one of the most accomplished offensive coordinators in Auburn history (and still is). And although his previous work at Auburn is now two head-coaching staffs removed, I think it is almost guaranteed that Borges can bring some tremendous insight and innovation to the table. There’s little doubt in my mind, Al Borges fingerprints will be scattered here and there throughout the offense. Whatever the changes or ideas may be, I think that Auburn fans are in for a bit of nostalgia this season. The Al Borges Effect may be just what the Tigers need to put them over the top in 2017. 

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