Question: Were there significant adjustments made by you at halftime or was it just kind of settle down and kind of refocus?
Al Borges: "Well, yeah, there's some adjustments. There's always some adjustments, but I think for the most part in the second half we kind of stuck with the plan, we just didn't turn the ball over. That's really the difference. When we didn't turn the ball over, we were much better. Everybody is, that's not news. We did a couple things differently, but I think sometimes halftime adjustments can be a little bit overrated. Sometimes they're not, sometimes they're critical, it depends on the game."
Question: Denard said on some of the throws he was just too excited; how much of an issue is that with him especially in a big game, like on the road or in a big time situation?
Al Borges: "Yeah, that can happen to any quarterback. He's not the first guy to have that happen to him. He was fired up. He's coming off a really good game, and he really wanted to show up and kind of pick up where he left off. Eventually he did. Early on, he had a little bit of early trouble getting into rhythm. Once he did, he was really good. I've told you guys before, we just got to limit our mistakes to incomplete passes. Because incomplete passes…you can recover from incomplete passes, but when you turn the ball over that hurts a bit more. He knew every time the mistake he made. We went over the tape and doggone it we beat it up one side and down the other. I think he's getting better, he really is. Other than the turnovers, but in terms of his passing, and his fundamentals are improving and hence his numbers are gradually going up a little bit."
Question: Is it something like as soon as he is coming off the field, he knows exactly what he did wrong?
Al Borges: "Usually he does. We've coached him, we've told him. Most guys are like that. When they throw the ball bad or make a bad decision or step wrong, they can darn near coach themselves. Now I never assume that, because it's my job to make sure it's corrected, but by the same token, a kid that is as prideful as he is, when he makes an error, he already knows what I'm going to tell him."
Question: What did you talk to the other quarterbacks that you've in the past that have been too excited; how did you fix it with them?
Al Borges: "Every guy's so different. It's interesting. You can kind of get a feel in pregame about the way the guy's going to go. Basically you want to make sure he understands to keep a good fundamental foundation and do the things that are right about the position. It's a finesse art, and if you let your emotions override your fundamentals, like any other position, you'll struggle. Once he got a groove, it all changed. You could see it boy. You could really see it. In the second half, he flung one dig on third down, and I could tell he was back. Every quarterback, even great quarterbacks at times, they have those kinds of games. It takes a few shots, takes a few throws to get in rhythm."
Question: You've had him for half a season now. What's it been like for you to work with a guy like Denard and his unique talents?
Al Borges: "It's incredible, you know. You just don't get a chance to coach a talent like that. Now I've had some really talented kids at the position, but he brings a completely different skill set to the table. So as coordinator and as an offensive staff, because it is not just me doing it, it's a bunch of guys doing it, we have to figure out the best way to utilize that talent. He's a good kid to coach. He listens to what you say. He tries to do what you tell him to do, and that's all a coach can ask for. If they'll listen and try to do what you tell them and not be stubborn because then you know they can improve. As soon as you know they're listening, they can improve. If you have a guy who thinks he's already got it figured out, they usually deteriorate."
Question: Do you feel like you've figured out the best way to utilize his talents?
Al Borges: "We had a pretty good idea from the beginning. We had to figure out as a total offense how to scheme to his talents. I knew that was going to take longer than I wanted it to take. But we got a pretty good feel for where we are with it right now. I think we do. The offense is ever-evolving, I don't care who the quarterback is. There's always things, little tweaks and nuances and deals that you throw in there to accommodate everybody but not the least of which is the quarterback."
Question: Does it bother you that he is near 80% of your yardage?
Al Borges: "No, not really. If we didn't get the yardage, then that would bother me (laughter). You don't want to be one-man dependent, don't misunderstand me, but by the same token if he doesn't and someone asks, well how come you're not using him more? As long as we can keep him healthy, I don't much care where the yards are coming from."
Question: Offensively is this where you thought you'd be at this point in the season, is it a lot better or a lot worse?
Al Borges: "I have to be honest with you, I didn't really give that any thought. Where should we be in the middle, where should we be at the end. I will say this, every time I've taken an offense the first year, and some have been better than others, there's always been some transitional growing pains. Every time and it's always the first three or four games. People are wondering why'd they hire this guy. But in time, as we became more acquainted with the players' skill level, and I'm not just talking about Denard, I'm talking about everybody now, how the whole thing works, it generally came around pretty good. We started a little slow and every game isn't going to romp and stomp. There are going to be times we'll sputter, probably. That's offensive football. That's defensive football. That's darn near everybody. But for the most part, we're getting better. I really feel like we're improving a little bit in one phase or another of our game."
Question: Is this the type of game where your offensive line needs to help each other a little bit more?
Al Borges: "Every game's like that. They're really good on defense, and it's going to force the issue. This game is going to be won up front. I don't think there's going to be any question about that."
Question: In spring, you talked about Denard, you wanted him to make plays and let the good lord make miracles. How has he done not forcing play?
Al Borges: "He's been good for the most part. There's a couple times where he's kind of taken it away from the good lord. But for the most part I think he's understood that. There's only been a couple desperation throws. That's what I call, plays where you're just trying so hard to make a play you do something that you wish you hadn't done. He's had a couple of those, but it hasn't been blatant, and what he's done a great job of and now this I can say unequivocally, his recovery skills, once he makes a mistake, and it's one of the reasons I've never believed as a coordinator, and I always talk to head coach about this a little bit too. Just because a kid throws a couple of picks, pulling him out of the game, I know a lot of guys who are quick trigger guys and they'll say, he's not playing well, we'll get the other guy in there, or they let the crowd change the quarterback. We're never doing that. They can boo or do whatever. We're going to make the best call based on what we believe is best for the team. But with Denard, because he's so capable of winning you the game in a lot of ways, not just passing. So just remember, just because there's a couple interceptions in there, there are other ways for him to beat you. I bet other quarterbacks, if they couldn't pass, they couldn't do it any other way. So you want to stick with that guy, and if you stick with him, you give him a chance to prove that he's your leader, and the team will believe in him. But if you go south on him, I just don't believe that's a good way of doing it. Now I've taken quarterbacks out before, but that's usually because they've lost their confidence."
Question: You said the diamond-2 formation came from the ‘80s Chargers, where did you put the Maryland-I from?
Al Borges: "The what?"
Question: Maryland-I. Three backs?
Al Borges: "The Maryland-I?"
Question: Two fullbacks and a …?
Al Borges: "You got me. Tell you what draw it up for me when you're done, okay."
Question: The quarterback is under center, fullback, another back and three straight backs behind the quarterback. Where you have Steve Watson…?
Al Borges: "Ooh. The stack-I. That's just a short-yardage deal. We've done that forever. That's not new. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be condescending (laughter). You had me at the Maryland-I. Did Maryland invent that? They might have. I don't know."
Question: How do you think your receivers have played the last couple of weeks and has their morale picked up a little bit just the fact that they are getting more opportunities?
Al Borges: "Oh definitely, they weren't bad before, but they've had a chance to make some plays, and they made them. That's what we need. We got a couple of one-on-one situations and went up and got the ball. Denard threw it when we gave him a chance to when the guy was singled up. Again that's another thing that gets lost. When that guy's up there one-on-one, I told you guys a couple weeks ago, you got to give them a chance to make a play, and our kids have done it. I think it's helped the morale of the whole group."
Question: The play that Jeremy Gallon scored on, you've done that play obviously the last couple of weeks and picked up six, seven or eight yards, why was it more successful this last game?
Al Borges: "We just blocked it better. There's no more or less to that. We just got out there and Mark Huyge made a hell of a block in the perimeter, and Pat Omameh cut the inside linebacker."
Question: Was it better on the right side than the left side?
Al Borges: "It's six of one and half dozen the other. Both our tackles move pretty good. When I was at San Diego State, we only ran it one way, but here our tackles are good enough to do it both ways."
Question: You had Denard split out wide is that almost like a more spread out winged-T putting him out there?
Al Borges: "Naw, we call it a fly series type deal. It's very common. A lot of college football teams use it. We just wanted to give a fast guy the ball and run. He's plenty fast."
Question: Looking at the film of Denard's bad passes, the picks, have you pinpointed one breakdown in technique?
Al Borges: "Well we fell off a couple throws, no question, absolutely. The key to throwing the football accurately in a nutshell, and there's a lot of things that go into it, is A) do you transfer through your throws when you set your hips to throw. If you do that a lot of guys who have thrown the ball a lot of wacky different ways. I've seen the strangest deliveries in the world, and some really good quarterbacks with strange deliveries. But if you can get your hips set to the target and you can transfer it through your throw, you can do a lot of other things wrong and still complete passes. We didn't do that and that's why we threw a couple of interceptions."
Question: Denard and Roy Roundtree hooked up a couple of times that first drive after halftime, was there something that you saw that Denard was not seeing in the first half that Roy was getting open?
Al Borges: "No, nothing in particular. You are talking about the deep ball?"
Question: Yeah I think there was one before that.
Al Borges: "I would love to say that was my structure, it kind of was, it was improv. We got beat on the right side and he kind of flushed out to the right and then he saw it was singled up out there. We had a little sail combination and there was no post defender, so he threw it, which he should with no post defender to give the guy a chance. So no, we didn't dissect anything."
Question: Just when it seemed like you were going with Fitz Toussaint and Vincent Smith, now we saw Michael Shaw the last two weeks, how has he carved out a role and what is his role in this offense?
Al Borges: "When we were going through the game, Freddy (Jackson) keeps a close eye on what the guys are doing, and he's coached that position and those guys for quite a while. He's got a pretty good feel for who's feeling it, and we just felt at that point that a good change would be to go with Michael. Michael came in and gave us a little shot in the arm. I don't really like this in-and-out stuff, but because that's the way we are, that's what we are right now. I told you before, it takes some time, a few games to realize what you are, and part of it is we're going to be using more than one back. At that time, Fred just felt like Michael would give us a shot in the arm, and he was right."
Question: I know Michigan State did a great job against Denard last year, have you watched that tape and what did they do to stop him last year?
Al Borges: "Well, there were some turnovers that hurt them. Mostly a lot of the same stuff we did last game. That was pretty much it. There were times when I watched last year where they looked like they moved the ball pretty good on them, but there were some issues with just not being able to finish drives. That's about it that I could see."
Question: With Devin Gardner, you guys have confidence in him, but to have him go out there and play in a couple of plays when Denard was out, does that do more for the coaches and for him?
Al Borges: "Oh yeah, absolutely because Devin's a highly skilled kid, he is. When he can go in the game and score a touchdown, really not make any tactical and not many technical errors either. He gains confidence, and we gain confidence in his ability to do it. In the last couple games, the role that he's played, and I knock on wood with this, he's had very few flaws. He's done a nice job of what we've asked him to do. The touchdown that he ran in was close. He could have thrown that ball because Steve Watson was open. I tell him, if you can score, don't throw it because as soon as you throw it a lot of things can go wrong. But if he would have been cut off, then he would have had to throw the pass, which would have been fine, too, but he saw the goal line. It was close. I probably wouldn't have been happy if he didn't score, but he's got enough speed to get there and he made a good decision."
Question: When the clock was running out and Denard ended up calling the timeout, is that another reason to have Denard on the field as Devin is still learning?
Al Borges: "It helps. Yeah, it helps. That's one thing, when the second quarterback comes in the game, because he's not in the rhythm of the timing of the game, that kind of stuff can happen. He has not taken every snap. He doesn't have a feel for how the clock's running. As much as you tell him, you and the center, both have to be keenly aware of the 40-second clock, it still can be tough."
Question: Do you feel like Denard has a traditional throwing motion?
Al Borges: "It's not that unorthodox."
Question: Who is maybe the most unorthodox guy, you've seen some pretty crazy ones, is there a guy who stands out?
Al Borges: "There's been several guys that throw different. Bernie Kosar was unconventional the way he threw the ball, but he hit the guy right in the hands every time, so you don't want to over coach that. Philip Rivers kind of changed his motions a little unorthodox, but always effective. The thing about that stuff, the one thing I do is recruit throwing motion. I don't try to start kids over with the way they throw the ball at 18 or 19 years old unless they're a mess, in which case why would I recruit them, right. So for the most part I work much more from the waist down than I do the throwing action and all that stuff. Knowing that a lot of guys throw the ball a lot of different ways."
Tues nite Full Transcript: Al Borges
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