Borges was Auburn’s OC from 2004-2007

The national pundits want to talk about Michigan’s QB Denard “Shoelace” Robinson and Nick Saban’s plug-n-play defense after several elite recruiting classes at Alabama. And that’s okay. Those are the “known” names in the nation’s conscience in this weekend’s Cowboys Classic featuring the Tide and Wolverines in Dallas.

Brady Hoke begins his second season as Michigan’s head coach against the defending national champions. And although many Buckeyes fans don’t want to admit it, he was a very good hire from San Diego State and a “Michigan man” to boot. Like Saban, Hoke’s background is on the defensive side of the football, and to address his offense, he hired former Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges, and coaching vagabond, at San Diego State. The 56-year-old Borges followed Hoke to Michigan last year and installed an offense around Robinson’s unique skills.

Former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville hired Borges away from Indiana in 2004 to lead an offense featuring QB Jason Campbell and RBs Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown. The Tigers promptly went undefeated after Borges installed what he termed his “Gulf Coast” offense.

Each of Borges’ offenses at Auburn finished in the top 15 nationally

Borges stayed at Auburn through 2007 as the Tigers went 41-9 and never lost to Alabama. His offenses were the only SEC offenses to finish ranked in the top 15 nationally each season from 2004-2007.

“We played against him a lot through the years [with LSU and Alabama] when he was the offensive coordinator at Auburn and he did a really good job,” Saban said in an article. “He does a lot of shifts and motions and tries to give you new looks, maybe confuse your players, but not really anything to confuse his players because they end up running the same plays. They try to out-flank you and use formation shifts and motions to do that.”

The good news for the Crimson Tide is Michigan doesn’t have anyone close to Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown in its backfield outside of Robinson, and Alabama’s program has made a rather large change from its 2004-2007 days.

But while everyone else focuses on Robinson’s “escapability” and Saban’s defense, we’ll be eyeing the shifts and motions Borges has in store for his old rival.