"I was in the Pac 10 for seven years and Bill Doba (Washington State's head coach) was a defensive coordinator," Borges points out. "It's a little different in that Rob Akey is now the coordinator, but it is still Bill Doba's system with a lot of similarities. There are a few little differences.
"Conceptually, the coverages are still very similar," says Borges, who has coached at UCLA, Oregon and Cal in the Pac-10. "I don't pretend to know everything about it because I haven't been in the Pac 10 for a while, but a lot of it is very similar to when I was." The coach's last Pac-10 season was 2001 at Cal.
On Saturday, Sept. 2nd, the Tigers will play Washington State for the first time ever in football. Kickoff is 6:45 p.m. CDT from Jordan-Hare Stadium. Borges says he is expecting a major challenge.
Al Borges puts on sunscreen at Friday's practice.
"They play hard," the coach says. "Believe it or not, when I was in the Pac-10 their reputation was that they were very hard-nosed defensively and very, very wide open on offense. They played well on both sides of the ball. I think they will get back to that. When (Mike) Price was there, and even in Bill's early years there, they were very good on offense and very good on defense.
"They are a team that people don't like playing," Borges adds. "Nobody does. I believe they played Notre Dame a couple years ago and they (Notre Dame) had a heck of a time beating them." The Irish won that matchup in game two of the 2003 season by a 29-26 score. That WSU team won 10 games before losing to Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.
"They played Ohio State a couple years ago, and they (Ohio State) had a hard time beating them," Borges adds. The Buckeyes won 25-7 in 2002 as WSU won 10 games that year, including a Sun Bowl win vs. Purdue. "They are a tough opponent--a lot tougher than people think. I was in the Pac 10 and I know a lot more about them many people do."