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Updated: Michigan makes OC switch, fires Borges, hires Nussmeier

Denard Robinson, Al Borges AP

A return to a more traditional style offensive system following the graduation of Denard Robinson failed to yield quite the results expected out of Michigan this past season. The Wolverines dropped from eighth in the Big Ten in total offense in 2012 to 10th in 2013 after ranking third in total offense in the conference in 2011. Today Michigan took a step in shaking things up on offense by removing offensive coordinator Al Borges. He has already been replaced by Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, according to reports.

Michigan head coach Brady Hoke brought Borges with him from San Diego State, where he served the same role under Hoke. According to a report by Bruce Feldman of, Michigan acted quickly to hire Nussmeier from Alabama. Hoke and Michigan AD Dave Brandon made a big push to pluck Nussmeier away from Alabama and committed to make him one of the five highest paid assistant coaches in the country.

“Decisions like these are never easy,” said Hoke in a statement released by Michigan. “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.”

Michigan actually saw their average per game scoring increase marginally in 2013 from 2012 by about three points, but struggles to consistently move the football and capitalize on some opportunities eventually caught up with Michigan with fewer yards per game. Michigan ended the year with a 7-6 record.

The pressure should start to be mounting on Hoke though. After three years on the job Hoke has seen his win total decrease each of the past two seasons after an 11-2 debut in Ann Arbor. With the roster more and more becoming his responsibility, Hoke will start to lose options before really starting to feel the heat if things do not turn around soon for the Wolverines.

This story was updated at 9:53 p.m. ET.

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32 Responses to “Updated: Michigan makes OC switch, fires Borges, hires Nussmeier”
  1. mogogo1 says: Jan 8, 2014 6:49 PM

    The offense hasn’t been good most of the time, but their problems go way beyond that. Hoke just looks lost at times.

    Hoke coached the bowl game against Kansas State like he knew the would lose and he was just hoping to keep it close. K-State had receivers open all over the field, Hoke wouldn’t go for it even on 4th and short to try and get them back into it… Just a terrible performance that looked all the worse because Bill Snyder did his normal thing and had his guys ready to play.

  2. jrs45 says: Jan 8, 2014 6:53 PM

    What about the defense???

  3. tampajoey says: Jan 8, 2014 6:57 PM

    Try being a fan of a Big 10 team while living in the heart of SEC country. It’s not easy defending these losers!

    Go Blue!

  4. jrs45 says: Jan 8, 2014 7:17 PM

    Try living in sec country being a Buckeye. Even worse.

  5. pike573 says: Jan 8, 2014 8:02 PM

    It’s tough to run a big time program and be the governor of New Jersey at the same time.

  6. harbourimages says: Jan 8, 2014 8:21 PM

    Best news I’ve had all week! Great start to the New Year. Now hire somebody with a track record of knowing how to coach an offense!!!

  7. manik56 says: Jan 8, 2014 8:35 PM

    He scored more against Ohio State than Clemson did and they had Roby & Spence.

  8. dumbpollack says: Jan 8, 2014 9:26 PM

    I wouldn’t brag about that. Our (tOSU) D was legendarily bad this year. In fact, if like to see Urb’ shake things up as well.

  9. normtide says: Jan 8, 2014 10:04 PM

    The guy did a pretty good job at Bama, hard to complain if your a tide fan. That said, the offense lacked an identity this year, and consistency. Not saying it’s a bad hire, it is a great one. I’m excited to see where our offense goes next year.

  10. jarzmel says: Jan 8, 2014 10:32 PM

    Smart move

  11. tigersfandan says: Jan 8, 2014 10:35 PM

    They turned that around really fast!

  12. tolan04 says: Jan 8, 2014 10:44 PM

    Michigan hasn’t been relevant since Henne was qb who cares.

  13. dcroz says: Jan 8, 2014 10:47 PM

    The rumors in Tuscaloosa are that there was friction between Saban and Nussmeier. Saban certainly looked exasperated the last two games with something and in a way that felt more like it was about coaching than with players. Knowing how Saban pushes for balance and ball-control on offense, Nussmeier’s more-open style likely made both guys unhappy with each other. There are also questions about where Saban stands with Mario Cristobal’s performance as OL coach and whether a change may be coming there, as well.

    To make things even more interesting, there is speculation than Lane Kiffin’s visit to Tuscaloosa last month was not merely as an offensive consultant, but rather an interview with Saban to take over as OC. Kiffin was a solid OC at USC, though an unqualified disaster as HC. It will be interesting to see whether Kiffin is announced as Nussmeier’s replacement, and if so, how well he fits into Saban’s program.

  14. normtide says: Jan 8, 2014 11:05 PM

    I’m mixed on the Kiffen rumors. Saban doesn’t allow his assistants to talk to media, so that would be good for him. But, Saban also pushed his assistants hard, not sure how Kiffen would work out.

  15. nickmiller63 says: Jan 8, 2014 11:16 PM

    Interesting side note: Borges was OC under Pokey Allen at Boise State when Nussmeier was QB at Idaho. They were rivals then, in a way. Now, in another way.

  16. noaxetogrind says: Jan 8, 2014 11:41 PM

    @ dcroz,
    Perhaps the reason Saban look exasperated in the last 2 games is because they were the ones he was losing in and eventually lost.

  17. rolltide510 says: Jan 9, 2014 12:35 AM

    Nussmeier is a really great OC as long as he has an offensive line with three first round draft picks on it.

  18. thegeneral7694 says: Jan 9, 2014 12:39 AM


    For one thing, Saban wasn’t losing against Auburn until the clock read :00. But the larger point is why….pretty clear that he was less than satisfied with the direction of the offense when he brought in Kiffin as a “consultant”…that’s not going to happen if he’s thoroughly pleased with his OC. Derrick Henry, OJ Howard and Chris Black were totally underutilized all season, and while the points often came in bunches, the balance was lacking. I wish Coach Nuss well in his new endeavor, but I firmly believe that if Saban had wanted to keep him on staff, he’d still be on staff. I’m excited to see who the next OC will be…

  19. thegeneral7694 says: Jan 9, 2014 12:45 AM


    Agreed, although CyKo didn’t play like a 1st rounder consistently, and certainly not in the Sugar Bowl. Nuss tried to force the passing game WAAAY too much. If he runs Derrick Henry 25-30 times in that game, Bama wins by a TD or more….

  20. rolltide510 says: Jan 9, 2014 1:12 AM

    In order to run 25-30 times in our offense, you need Warmacks and Flukers, not two guys from Maryland with unpronounceable names.

  21. halbert53 says: Jan 9, 2014 7:30 AM

    When it became obvious (3rd possession) that OK was going to go all out uptempo, Bama should have gone more ball control to eat up clock and keep OK offense off the field. Henry was a beast and underutilized. Stoops made the strategic change after seeing how Bama defense struggled against A &M and Auburn. Bama isn’t built for a track meet. Up tempo offense doesn’t give your defense much rest; Henry also better RB than Yeldon. Some of the problems may be fault of OC but lot of blame is on Saban. Everybody looks at film of who gave you problems and even casual fans knew uptempo caused problems for Bama defense. Not taking anything from OK because they played very well, but fact is Bama was out coached.

  22. dhardy8207 says: Jan 9, 2014 9:20 AM

    Much respect for Nussmeir, but there were several games this season where the tension between Saban and the OC were palpable. The Miss State game for one when BAMA had no problems stopping their offense but had problems moving the ball on ours. Saban is all about balance and he has one of the best RB coaches in the country (Burton Burns) yet there were some games such as the Sugar bowl where Kenyan Drake didn’t play at all and Yeldon played despite turning the ball over and OU smothering his runs. Not taking anything away from Yeldon, he’s a stellar player but other teams prepare for his type running where Kenyan has a whole different style and has the height to be utilized as a wide receiver. Kevin Norwood wasn’t a factor in that game and he’s been a significant part of our offense all year.

    Saban, is a defense guru and I think was really unconfortable with how the offense was run in the later part of the season. All that being said, I m not terribly suprised by the change at the OC position.

  23. dkhhuey says: Jan 9, 2014 9:22 AM

    So I guess Flounder Hoke saying ‘there will be no coaching changes in 2014’ would be as truthful as him saying he eats nothing but salad!

  24. liverpoolred04 says: Jan 9, 2014 9:40 AM

    Bama fans are crazy to think this guy underutilized they talent around…do you honestly think his Fuehrer would have allowed the coordinator to let the less talented guy play??? Dumb@ss hillbilly Bama fans.

  25. polegojim says: Jan 9, 2014 9:53 AM

    Borges ‘can be’ a good OC… but as I’ve posted the line on him… inflexible, lacks adjustment savvy, runs his offense no matter what the team talent may lend it to.

    Michigan needed someone who gets the best out of what he has… not force feeds and hopes for the best.

    That said… the D MUST improve… WAY too many points given up.

    @DK… very soon he’ll be eating salads with a side of Scarlet and Silver. I can see it now… Flounder swallows OSU whole in an Urban setting…

    News Flash to Tide fans…
    Nuss’ O averaged about 38 points PER GAME
    He wasn’t responsible for giving up 45 to OK.

  26. polegojim says: Jan 9, 2014 9:58 AM

    @ tolano4… neither have your posts

    @mogogo1… freshman QB with, u must have missed it.

    @thegeneral… so they should hire you?

  27. polegojim says: Jan 9, 2014 10:00 AM

    PPS… all homerism aside… I agree with most of the serious criticism of Hoke.

    Time to earn your money and make things happen.

    4th year is PLENTY of time… see Nick Saban.

  28. dkhhuey says: Jan 9, 2014 10:53 AM

    @pole – love the headline!!! Sorry, sometimes it is just to hard to lay off the Hoke fat jokes!

  29. rolltide510 says: Jan 9, 2014 12:34 PM

    “liverpoolred04 says:
    Jan 9, 2014 9:40 AM
    Bama fans are crazy to think this guy underutilized they talent around…do you honestly think his Fuehrer would have allowed the coordinator to let the less talented guy play??? Dumb@ss hillbilly Bama fans.”

    Every criticism of Borges from fans of his former teams ended up being correct. Why do you think it’s different this time? Is it because you actually think he as “stolen away” vs. “fired”?

  30. Deb says: Jan 9, 2014 1:00 PM

    Nick’s probably the best coach in the college game–just as Belichick’s the best coach in the pro game. But neither is infallible. Both have made mistakes that have cost them games. I’ve disagreed with Nick on many occasions, usually involving offensive play. I wasn’t sad to see McElwain go, and after the last two games, won’t be sad to see Nussmeier go, either. Clearly … there’s room for improvement.

    @polegojim …

    Newsflash. The offense gave up 35 points on turnovers in that Oklahoma game. I’m not going to damn the defense for giving up 10 points. I’d like to see any defense hold up when the offense turns over the ball FIVE times. The finger is pointed in the right direction.

  31. polegojim says: Jan 9, 2014 6:03 PM

    Deb… C’mon Sis…

    So McCarron’s fumbles and turnovers are the OCs fault? Since when?

    I didn’t know Bama had an ‘Auto-Score on Turnover’ rule under Saban??? I’d fix that for next season, let the D know that’s been changed.

    Did Bama decide to let OK score TDs… on ALL turnovers??? Could they maybe have only let them score TDs on 2 or 3 of them, or maybe hold them to some field goals???

    Yes, I’m being sarcastic… mostly.

    All kidding aside… the D let them down as much as the O in the OK game…

    Under Nussmeier… they scored MANY points.

    Tuscaloosa News,
    “Under Nussmeier, a Broyles Award nominee who was hired to replace Jim McElwain in 2012, Alabama’s offense racked up its biggest numbers of the Nick Saban era. The Crimson Tide averaged 38.2 points and 451.4 yards per game in 2013 and put up similar numbers in 2012, when it won its second consecutive national championship behind a dominant offensive line and shrewd play from quarterback AJ McCarron.”

  32. polegojim says: Jan 9, 2014 6:05 PM

    @dk… u are what you eat… we’re gonna be HUGE!!!

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