Real Talk Season 2 with QBV #4 Ed Borden Current Tight Ends Coach at the University of New Hampshire
Updated: Dec 19, 2020
On this Episode of Real Talk, our guys got to talk with Current Tight ends coach at the University of New Hampshire! Before being at UNH, Coach Borden Ran the number two offence in all of Division 3 at Mass Maritime!
During his time at Mass Maritime, the Buccaneers had over 1300 yards of total offense under coach Borden. Along with coaching at UNH and Mass Maritime he spent time coaching at Mount Ida, Umass, and Curry College.
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You are currently at UNH, so talk about your role, position, recruiting?
“Thanks for having me on, I am the tight ends coach at UNH. Last year I came on after we were let go of UMass where I was the offensive intern analysis, I was able to move into the tight ends role after some staff shakeup with COVID, people deciding to move on and get out of coaching, so I was able to hop in and I was lucky for that. It has been a big blessing for me because of learning a new system of new ideas.
Coach Ferzoco our offensive coordinator a brilliant mind, coach Miller our o-line coach does a lot with the offensive line, and coach Santos our associate head coach and QB coach just being able to learn under those guys have been awesome.”
How have you guys transitioned as a team during these unusual times?
“UNH has done a great job being at the forefront of testing and kids safety you know a typical day for a student-athlete on campus is they are coming into the building getting a temperature check making sure they don’t have symptoms going to lift in small groups and then you know from there after a couple of weeks of making sure that there was no COVID or spread on campus then we were able to get on to the field in small groups of work whether it would be running or ladders.”
“We have progressed on and on the NCAA gave us the okay to do full practice now, 15 practices you know the kids get tested twice a week, they have to drop off their test at different locations, we made a good decision to keep meeting to small numbers and if we have bigger numbers, we go virtual. We bought masks to help protect with COVID and plastic shields on the helmet, and when the kids take their helmet off, they need to put a mask on. Big-time credit to our training staff, being on top of everybody because when you get into that mode on the field you kind of forget what is going on in the world.”
“It is a great place to be because you forget about all the craziness in the world and they have done a great job going around telling us hey separate or hey make sure we have our mask on. You need that, it's one of the situations where if not taken seriously, you can see some of the bigger program’s leagues shutting down. We have been fortunate and lucky that the campus has been good at protecting the students.”
What is one good thing that has come out of COVID?
“Everything in the world especially us on campus it has been about unifying. All the kids must sacrifice differently now, whether that be not being able to go to the cafeteria and get the food they would normally get or picking people up and getting them to different locations of practice. It's been good to see the leadership of our team step up from our standpoint and really take care of the younger kids. T
hey are in a scary situation, they are at school for the first time, can't really meet anyone because all the classes are online, so all our older guys did a great job with that. Then from a Whole or outside world perspective for us, it's been great to see different people come together in the coaching world and outside it.
I have been hearing from people I haven’t heard from in years, former guys I coached, and they just are checking in seeing how things are going and making sure people are safe. It's been nice to make sure everyone is still on the same path and hearing from old people.”
What do you expect your athletes to do off-campus to stay safe during these times?
“Well obviously, being a college coach, and going through college, with this past weekend being Halloween it can be a crazy time. We get to see the commitment level of our team, are they going to be going out making poor choices or are they going to be committed to the team and do the right things?
It is easy for you to go down the wrong path, it's hard to stay on the straight narrow, for us it shows the character that coach Mcdonnell has built at UNH. We have older kids who usually live off-campus and have the facilities to host parties and they have done a great job to say no to it.”
“For us, at UNH we have not made the playoffs the last two years, so we are really committed to getting back to the playoffs, we had a great run for a while, and the kids have taken that seriously. All the credit in the world to the kids I will be the first to say it our players have saved my job. If they go out and go crazy and we get a spread on campus more likely than not I don’t have a job.
So, when these kids make that decision for them and the sacrifices it is doing me a big service and keeping employed and I can't thank the players enough for that. They probably don’t understand that when they are making decisions about how many people, can it affect.”
What does a normal offseason look like at UNH?
“We have a top-notch strength and conditioning staff and we really work hard at making sure our guys are in the best condition they can be. They are going to be in the weight room four times a week, we have the mat drills in the morning to build team comradery as well as condition.”
“Those drills are very similar Mr. Pina to what we did at Mount Ida, when we were just making sure you followed the rules any little mistake would reset the whole thing and that’s something important for any team to learn because one fail, we all fail, and the littlest thing can win or lose a football game whether it be not downing a punt or missing the bus the morning of the game you must instill those values and that’s what we do in the offseason.
We build our team up from the beginning in the offseason not just lifting, the NCAA limits how much time we have together but we make sure to use every second of that time to not only build the team to the way we want but also make sure they are physically fit to go as well.”
What was one of your favorite drills to do with QBs when you use to work with them?
“I love starting the day off with baseball it's one of the fun things we did at the start of practice while they are warming up. The way we did it was you throw at the facemask you get a certain number of points, if you hit him in the chest you get another point, and then anything of the body you lose points.
I tried to do this with our quarterbacks and over the years I started to get smoked by the Quarterbacks, so I stopped doing it but it's one of those fun little drills to get a little competition going. Also, I would love it when it was a rainy practice, and we would have to work on sliding. Another easy drill we always worked on was fit second-level throws in over a coach that was holding a bag and trying to throw those seem balls in there that you
can get in there if you really work on them. Just trying to simulate as many in-game situations as you can with that and a lot of times, we were good at throwing those seem balls because we really worked it in practice almost every day.”
What are some things you look for in a QB battle?
“For me, it's always been can they step up when someone else makes a mistake, how do the guys they come into the huddle, is there confidence amongst the whole group. Another big one that has really been important to me is the player someone that comes into the game and tries to do too much. Can they run the offense efficiently even though the situation in their head might be
I need to make a play to show off, can they get that out of their mind and just do what the offense is supposed to do.”
“Guys that are forcing corner balls in when they should be throwing hitches for example that’s important you know because in a game that same situation is going to present itself, you could be losing a game and need to throw that 5-yard hitch to get the offense rolling and if you force the ball down the field you can get into a lot of trouble. For me most importantly how are the guys around them responding to them and then how are they with the offense.”
“Can they let go of the situation of it’s a big competition and they need to make something happen? Can they just do what they are told and not try to do too much, coach Santos says this all the time and I love this quote he says you’ll never get broke taking a profit and that’s how we teach our QBs. If you can take the hitch take it, eventually they will take it away then you hit the 15-yard throw to the outside and if you can do that you are really cooking with gas.”
What are some things you look for in tight ends?
“We play primarily 11 personnel so we are always going to have a tight end on the field sometimes we have two and we have had some really good ones at UNH whether it be Harold Spears and a couple of other guys but for us, we really need a guy that can hold up in the blocking game. We face some big boy defensive ends now Delaware’s got some 3 techniques that line up at
the defensive end, so you got to be able to handle your business out there and be a guy that can make plays there but then our tight ends you know me being a quarterback's guy I put a lot of pressure on them to be able to read coverages.”
“Know when you are getting man coverage and when you can rub the outside guys or know when you're getting quarters and run your over the route at a certain depth or keep the linebacker inside of you, you can open things up. So, they got to be smart and you know if we get a guy that can make plays downfield too that’s even better. First and foremost, got to be able to block, must be smart, make the passing game run through them a little bit from the standpoint of if they are doing their job well, they are going to open a lot of things for other people.”
“Our tight ends don’t get the respect they should in the passing game, their ability to get open the past couple years has been excellent, and we must just keep going on that. That’s what my job is right now keep building the passing game for them, you can throw a three-yard out and he can make someone miss, and now you can be in a lot of trouble defensively with a big guy barreling down the field.”
How do you use the information you have gained through Coaching at Curry College, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and Mount Ida College?
“I think that my first job at curry college for of my good friends from coaching skip, were still friends and he has a boat down in Falmouth, that I haven't been on yet, but I promised him as soon as I can. The one thing that he instilled in me is to pay attention to details. The little things matter, you know even the simplest things, like printing out a script for practice, knowing the weather so you know whether you need to laminate it or whatever and these things help you.”
“Obviously getting to Massachusetts maritime, it’s a different place our kids are going through regiment and there getting up early for the formation and learning how to manage your time efficiently there because our kids have a small break in their day to enjoy football and we better be on our games so there good to go as well because the rest of their life there can be tough.
At mount Ida the big lesson I learned was obviously coach always instilled throwing rocks, no problem is too big you can’t solve it. You got everybody around you that you need to be able to fix anything, keep fighting to get things done, and work hard. If you keep throwing rocks at an issue eventually you will solve it.”
“Then when I moved onto UMASS the big thing I learned from a coach there is put pressure on the players to learn the offense, don’t think that they can’t do much, once you feel like you have reached to max pull back don’t overload them but put pressure on them and see what they can handle first before thinking they can’t handle it.
Then now at UNH coach Mac is a master at building a team and making sure that the leadership is where it needs to be and his coaching Philosophy is spread out through the program, former players, it is amazing how alumni can walk into the building and kind of correct guys if they are doing the wrong thing. It’s because of that leadership he has had for years there. Guys take pride in it. Culture, leadership if you can instill that into your players you can go a long way. That’s the biggest thing at UNH, our guys play hard. We might not be the best talent-wise across the board, but we play hard and the kids will play to the end of the whistle, end of every game and you have to respect the kids for that.”
With the closure of Mount Ida we had to go through a lot of adversity, how did you deal with that, and what’s your suggestion on how to deal with adversity?
“So, my situation was crazy, I been at mount Ida and I was just engaged. Left mass maritime, was the OC there before I left, and I left to take a full-time job at mount Ida. My first full-time coaching job, so I been coaching for a while but finally got the full-time job then get engaged and the school shuts down.
Trying to plan a wedding and now I don’t have a job, that was intense for me. Being able to go from being on the up and up to being now in the basement but without that, without being at Mount Ida and meeting the coaches there I wouldn’t have the ability to go to UMASS and coach at UMASS then after UMASS go for a season and then get fired from there.”
“Then from being at UMASS doing a great job I was able to go to UNH. Not always the grass is greener on the other side but if you stick with it and you really care and it’s something you want to and you keep working hard, I’m not saying you don’t have to make sacrifices because I sure did in my life to be where I’m at right now. I’m lucky I have a great wife at home who supports me in my job.
Dealing with adversity is just that, it’s just being able to throw rocks at it, as the coaches would say at mount Ida just keep working. If there is a will there is a way, what my high school coach said all the time, if you want to do it you might not be able to go golfing at the weekend or might not be able to go out with the guys at night.”
“It’s what important to you, is coaching football important to you or not. For me, my life goal was to coach the highest level I could. It’s a blessing to make it to UNH and without Mount Ida, I wouldn’t ever be able to get to UNH. I truly believe that because at mass maritime we were the number 2 offense in division 3 and I didn’t get any phone calls to interview at other jobs.
I wasn’t getting my name in the paper or anything not that I wanted that but always wanted to go to a higher level and being at mount Ida did open doors for me. It stinks that the place closed, I really feel for the student-athletes and students that loved that place but for me, it opened a lot of doors for me. So, I’m forever grateful.”
Advice for recruits?
“The number one thing I could say is, do not pay any recruiting service if you cannot afford it. If you want to be recruited send emails, send tweets, send everything you can to coaches. 99% of coaches will get back to you with honest feedback. You Might not like what they have to say but if you want to be recruited be proactive. Send things, go to things, get your name out there. Go to anything like camps, clinics, workouts but really get your name out there.”
“Also understand that it’s a business, it truly is. Being at the Division 3 level and you're casting a big net trying to find anyone who wants to come to your school, the best players possible, you don’t get to the side on the division 1 level where you only get so many scholarships, so many scholarships at each position.
It’s the fact of the matter of how it’s built out. So, if we had unlimited scholarships like the division 3 level you could get all the guys you could ever want but that’s not how it’s built. I feel for the class of 2021, especially kids in Massachusetts who can’t play till February that’s got to be unbelievably tough but the best thing I can say for them is to get your name out there, send as much tape as you want.”
“If you think you're a division 1 player, send it to the division 1 coaches and ask for feedback. They will be honest, that’s the number one thing I try to tell each player who contacts me hey listen you might not like what I have to say but I’ll tell you the truth. I won’t lead you in one way or another, if I think you can play here, I’ll tell you, if I don’t feel like you can play here, I’ll tell you too. It’s not right to lead someone on then not be able to follow through in the end.
That’s not fair to anyone. It takes up a lot of time and stress making this decision so the best way I feel to deal with this situation is telling people straight up the Situation is and that stinks right now because there is a lot of good players right now and they're a lot of good players in the class of 2021 and there are not scholarships to be giving out because the NCAA has told the senior class that was going to graduate, that they can play for another year.”
“We’re happy for the guys on campus that can play another year without losing Eligibility, but it sucks for these kids in high school. So, it’s a tough balance for us and we’re very lucky at the University of New Hampshire were not losing anybody that’s graduating. So, it’s tough for us to fill out our roster because we don’t have those scholarships and it’s not like the NCAA will give us more so we’re full and that’s how it works.”
What’s your favorite passing concept?
“I feel like it’s boring to say four verticals, but we did a lot of good stuff with the shallow concept and different tags for where the shallow is going to. Tight end on an over, flanker WR to that side running an undergoing to the field side. Then do a bunch of different concepts with those field 2 WRs.”
“Whether it’s a corner and a hitch, taking open access hitches or two verticals or switch verticals. Being able to be very simple in the passing game but have a multiplicity of different tags and different people running at you to give you a little bit of juice to your package but not having to have the kids learn too much and That’s what we have done a very good job at UNH was making sure that we simplify the playbook but make it complex to look at and defense to take some time looking at it.”
“Different formations but we are running the same play, different two by two sets all day all different kinds of things. We have been good at it and luckily the tight ends were not asking them to do too much not having them run wheels but run overs and there catching 12-yard balls and hopefully making someone miss.”
“I’m an avid golfer, my father is a scratch golfer, my brother's golf. My youngest brother is a brick house, he hits the ball a mil, So, my dad and two brothers are a scary scramble team. The coaching staff at UNH golfs a lot too. We're lucky we get the hookup at a local golf course so we don’t have to pay for too many rounds so we play as much as we can.”