Al Borges sat down with AnnArbor.com to share his philosophy on player development during spring ball recently, and talked in depth about two key concepts that he calls "body learning" and "functional intelligence".
He explains that body learning is the actual action of going through what it takes to play your position within the specific playbook. A lot of coaches talk about mental reps, but Borges is a believer that nothing compares to the real thing. "There's nothing like doing, I'm a big believer in 'body learning.' Just physically going through the trial-and-error part of it so you can fix the problem yourself. Mental reps are great, and you have to take them, but the 'body learning' is really important."
Borges explains that getting additional practices for bowl preparation is vital to the development of young players because it allows valuable extra snaps not running plays off of the other teams scout cards. He compares those practices to an extra set of spring practices for the young guys.
The second concept, functional intelligence, is "the ability to transfer what you learn in the film room, on the chalkboard or in the walk-throughs and practically apply it to the game. It's irrelevant what your IQ is when you take a test if, when it comes time to execute the responsibility, you're not able to do it."
Borges says that he is happy with the functional intelligence in the second year under the same offense. The real test will be at noon on Saturday when the Wolverines will see how they measure up during their annual spring game at the Big House.