Auburn just lost its Hawaiian shirt-wearing former-offensive-coordinator-turned-offensive-analyst Al Borges to yet another job. Borges will leave Auburn after just one season in an off-field role to take on the task of revamping the offense at UTSA.
With the addition of Gorgeous Borges to the offensive staff before last season, Auburn’s offense became one of the most potent attacks in the SEC, and allowed quarterback Jarrett Stidham to flourish with more than 3,000 yards passing. Obviously, with Chip Lindsey running the show, it was tough at times to see the Borges wrinkles at work, but they were there.
As he leaves to go take on his eleventh D-1 coaching job, let’s remember some of the good times we had.
This ended up being a trick play staple of the Auburn offense. While it worked to perfection in Auburn’s evisceration of the Hogs in 2004, it didn’t work against Wisconsin the next year in the Capital One Bowl. That’s okay, we’ll always have Aromashodu behind the defense.
At the time, this was an unheard of play. I know he threw a pass the previous season in the Music City Bowl against Wisconsin, but I think I chalked that up to the laissez faire attitude that many coaches have with bowl games. Tuberville was no exception to that, wrasslin’ gators and not prepping for the Badgers after the 2005 campaign. To get the halfback pass in a big game on a national stage for an “in your face” moment was incredible.
Could the Auburn offense in 2003 have made this play? Of course not. 2004 could have, and 2005 did. Needing a whole bundle of yards on 4th down we converted and drove a stake in Georgia’s heart on their home field.
Now we go a little differently. With a quarterback that was obviously struggling, and against one of the more talented defenses that Auburn’s faced over the years, Borges drew up a fantastic gameplan for Florida in 2007. Brandon Cox had regressed since his 2005 campaign, and wasn’t playing well at all to start the 2007 season. We went to Gainesville as huge underdogs, and the play-action, motions, and occasional Kodi Burns appearance really kept the Gators off balance. It helped Auburn score early and hang on to win over a top five team on the road.
Now, the sad part about all of this is that Al Borges probably didn’t deserve to get fired after 2007. I would argue that his dismissal is the crux of modern Auburn football history. If he stays, we probably win 9-10 games in 2008. Even with Tony Franklin running the show, we lost by five at home to LSU and one at Vanderbilt. Are you telling me that Borges’ impact on the offense isn’t good enough for an extra touchdown in each of those games?
After Franklin was fired midseason, we lost by three to Arkansas, and then went up to Morgantown, where we led West Virginia 17-10 at halftime and then did nothing on offense after intermission. We lost 34-17. The next week it was a 17-7 setback at Ole Miss, and then a 17-13 loss to Georgia in the final home game of the season.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Borges’ effect on the offense could’ve won us every single one of those games. I won’t chalk up the Iron Bowl as a win that year, since that was several years’ worth of frustration catching up to us in Tuscaloosa, but there’s no way Borges gets fired if that was our only loss.
If he’s not fired in 2007, we don’t fire Tuberville after 2008, Chizik never comes in, which means Gus never comes in, and Cam never comes in. Then Gus likely doesn’t come back, probably ends up at Arkansas, and the landscape of the SEC is terribly different.
Either way, congrats to Al Borges on his new gig with UTSA. They should enjoy his work!