Borges Talks OL Competition, Gardner's Growth

Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges isn't panicking. Unable to find a true rhythm with the run or pass in the win over Akron, the long time coordinator discusses the competition and play of his offensive line, Devin Gardner's mistakes and development, and the run game (VIDEO included).

ANN ARBOR—Don’t cue the sirens yet, folks. At least that’s Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges’ belief.

Just three days removed from a near disastrous home loss to Akron, Borges, who says he has watched film of the game over and over again, isn’t as concerned with his offense as some may believe he should be now three games into 2013.

Specifically focused on the run game and the lack of consistency between senior Fitzgerald Toussaint and the offensive line, flashes of execution are there, just not enough.

“If you watch our video and really study it, you can tell when we do it right and when we don’t,” Borges said Tuesday. “When we come off the ball and our butts are right next to each other on zone blocks and our combo blocks are hard and there’s no space between blockers, you can see the difference from when it’s not.

“One time it looks good, one time it doesn’t look good.”

Toussaint carried the ball 19 times for 71-yards Saturday, exploding for a long gain of 24. Aside from that, quarterback Devin Gardner was the team’s leading rusher with 10 carries for 103-yards.

Taking a closer look at the young interior of Michigan’s offensive line, Borges has stated on several occasions this season that the depth chart at those spots remains in pencil and competition is ongoing in practice to ensure they have the best five on the field.

“We’re going to continue to force people to compete at the position,” Borges said. “But to say we’re going to start firing guys left and right, no. We knew, going through this that there were going to be some growing pains and there has been in the first three games.

“By the same token there is the expectation that we should improve. That’s my biggest issue with this football game more than anything is I don’t think we took a step forward.”

Left tackle Taylor Lewan was effusive in his praise of redshirt sophomore left guard Graham Glasgow on Monday. Tuesday, Borges reiterated Glasgow’s performance but noted more is to be expected.

“He plays with aggressiveness,” Borges said. “He gets after people. But he too is a guy that has an error here and error there and a lot of it again is experience.

“But he plays hard and that’s the one thing I think Graham does a nice job of. He plays hard and for the most part he plays smart. He still has those things that happen in games that kids have to go through to grow and he’ll still have a couple of those.”

Junior quarterback Devin Gardner is another Wolverine learning through experience on the field, turning the ball over four times on Saturday. According to Borges, Gardner will get more and more comfortable with every snap, now with eight starts under his belt at quarterback at Michigan.

“He’s not any different than anybody else,” Borges said of Gardner. “If he makes a mistake he’s going to be corrected just like anybody else.”

Borges added that it’s not about censoring Gardner from taking chances, simply utilizing proper judgment and knowing what the situation is.

“There’s a fine line between being a playmaker and making a bad decision,” he said. “And sometimes the playmakers step over that line and sometimes the playmakers supposedly step over that line and make a play.

“As a coach, you got to make sure you keep him aggressive. You can’t scare him into playing cautiously.”

To watch video of Borges from Tuesday, press play below.

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