ANN ARBOR—Winning a season opener 59-9, against any opponent, is always the best way to kickoff a brand new football season.
But Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges found plenty of mistakes on film and a fair share of teaching moments as the Wolverines head into a critical early season match-up with Notre Dame on Saturday.
“We had some really nice plays,” Borges said Tuesday. “We had some plays executed very, very well. And we had a reverse I thought was done pretty well, a couple play action passes that were nicely done, some outside zone plays that got the corner nice or we won cut, run.
“The biggest issue was the interceptions (cause) that’s got to go away, that will come back and haunt you. And then we had some penalties, most of them were from first time players, not all of them, but some of them by first time players. Had a false start, we had a premature snap one time, so, I hope that’s first game stuff.”
The Michigan offense had a near perfect blend of run to pass plays, tallying 221 yards through the air and a total of 242 yards on the ground.
According to Borges though, the rushing attack can always be better than it was against the Chips.
“It’s never good enough,” Borges said laughing. “But it’s a good start, it’s a good place to start. We had some nice runs; we sprung our backs a few times, that’s always good. But, with all do respect to Central, I thought they played hard and they’re a well coached team, this’ll be more of a challenge this week for obvious reasons.”
The loss of redshirt freshman running back Drake Johnson for the season after tearing his ACL in the second half Saturday is a blow to the Wolverines depth at the position.
Fortunately, Michigan has five other tailbacks that were competing for time, starting with Fitz Toussaint, the go to back and starter at the top, but also true freshman Derrick Green who lead the Wolverines in rushing against Central Michigan with 11 carries for 57-yards and a touchdown.
Green’s play, and the Johnson injury, vaulted him to No. 2 on the depth chart.
“He’s a pounding type back,” Borges said of Green. “He’s a big, strong kid that I’m sure they feel him when they tackle him and it was a great opportunity to get him running the ball some because, it was, the first game of the season so you never know what’s going to happen in that instance.
“But we got him some carries and he got a little feel for college football. Freddy’s on him now to fix some of the things he may have done wrong but I thought, for the first time, he did a pretty good job.
“He carried the ball, didn’t fumble it, number one, that’s huge,” Borges added. “You don’t want to assume that, you want to still coach that. He didn’t fumble it, didn’t really make a lot of bad running decisions, ran the ball, pretty much, where we wanted him to. So, he grew a little bit.”
Morris makes his debut
Morris completed 4-of-6 pass attempts for 59-yards, including an interception, showing poise leading the offense for the very first time.
“He did a pretty good job,” Borges said. “His biggest issues are fundamental flaws. Whether it be taking false steps under center in the run game, whether it’s following through on fakes – things that freshmen, they’re in there and they’re so fired up to be in there they forget a lot of what they’ve been coached to do.
“He made a couple of very nice plays. He made a couple pitch and catch throws where he hit the guy in stride and looked like the guy we recruited.”
Morris appeared comfortable taking the field for the first time as a Wolverine, even caught smiling on camera in the game.
“He was loving life,” Borges said. “He came out and looked around and he told me in warm-ups, he goes, ‘coach, this is cool.’ I said yeah this is big boy football and it’s going to get bigger this week.”
To watch video of Borges from Tuesday, press play below.