Al Borges' first ran an offense on the collegiate level for Pokey Allen at Portland State and Boise State. Pokey Allen once bet local beat writers that if Boise beat rival Idaho, he'd ride a horse through downtown. The Vandals were on a twelve game winning streak over the Broncos, but after a 27-24 Bronco win, Pokey rode a horse through Boise. Al Borges was there for all of it. Come to think of it; there's not much Al Borges hasn't seen after running offenses at Oregon, UCLA, Cal, Indiana, Auburn, San Diego State, Michigan, and San Jose State. If Frank Wilson ever rides a horse through San Antonio, Al will be there.
Wilson named Borges to run the Roadrunner offense earlier today. Borges comes to UTSA after spending 2017 as an analyst for Gus Malzahn and Auburn. Borges' offenses are varied, at Oregon he was on the forefront of the passing revolution as the Ducks led the Pac 10 in passing and Tony Graziani led the league in total offense and passing. From there Borges went to UCLA under Bob Toledo where he propped up Cade McNown to first-round draft pick status. They'll write that on Al's tombstone, "Fooled the Bears into drafting Cade McNown."
Borges' greatest success and oddly most controversial period came at Auburn. The Tigers, then coached by Tommy Tuberville, finished a four year run with a 41-9 record, beat Alabama all four years, a streak of seven wins in ten tries against their in-state rivals. Borges' Gulf Coast Offense helped the Tigers to an undefeated 13-0 record and a number 2 overall ranking. Having Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown in the backfield didn't hurt either. Auburn fans, as they will, turned on old Al and he was gone after the '07 season. A year later the Tigers fell to 5-7 and Tuberville was on his way out.
Borges experienced a renaissance at San Diego State running a conventional offense under Brady Hoke. The Aztecs were hard to deal with in the Mountain West, improving by five games from 2009 to 2010 and leveraging Hoke into the Michigan gig. Borges came along for the ride but his offense never enjoyed sustained success in Ann Arbor. After a couple of years off, Borges went to San Jose State, but the Spartans were 10-15 in his two seasons.
If you're looking for a trend, and it's not rock solid, but at UCLA, Auburn, Michigan, and San Jose State, he's better earlier in his tenure than later. That bodes well for UTSA. The other thing that should excite the Runners is that over the course of almost 30 years, he's run college offenses. We at the Roundup loved Frank Scelfo for what he tried to do at UTSA, but installing that system with those moving parts with the time restraints of a college schedule became untenable. Borges' offense, while not as flashy as some, is proven at this level. With the way Wilson is recruiting, the Roadrunners personnel advantage should be enough to overcome any flash deficit.
Borges will be breaking in a new quarterback, but he's done it before, elevating McNown to incredible levels and turning Jason Campbell into a solid collegiate starter. At Michigan, he worked with Denard Robinson, who never really fooled anyone into believing he was a conventional starter, but did enough in Borges' offense to lead Michigan to eleven wins and a BCS bowl bid in 2011. At San Jose State, Borges took Kenny Potter and made him into an effective starter, among the best in the Mountain West.
As for scheme, Borges will run power and play physical, between the tackles football. Running backs tend to enjoy his offense with players like Rickey Whittle, DeShaun Foster, Ben-Jarvis Green Ellis, Williams, Brown, Kenny Irons, Ben Tate, and Ronnie Hillman all having strong seasons in Borges' offense.
In the passing game, Borges will use tight ends and throw quick, short, efficient routes, nothing too exotic. At Michigan, he incorporated more spread concepts based on personnel as much as anything. Spending a year with Malzahn can't hurt either, though we doubt he's converted into a pace and space play caller.
His system is quarterback friendly, and that's probably a big reason why Wilson is bringing him onboard. The QB room at UTSA is talented but incredibly inexperienced, that's Borges' first order of business. Given his track record, he'll put a decent product out on the field in 2018, he's seen it all before.