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ALionEye's 19 Point Plan for Fixing Illini Football

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Old Apr 12, 2010, 07:34 PM   #101
DaytonIllini
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We had a terrific PR under Neal Stoner, perhaps the best in the league. Together with winning teams in FB and basketball, Stoner's folks were able to generate a lot of excitement... but even then we didn't come close to owning Chicago. The city of Chicago doesn't believe that is it part of the state of Illinois. And I don't ever see that mind set going away. With winning teams and good PR we could own everything east of the Quad cities and south of Chicago (southern Illinois might be a bit iffy), but that would only be a fraction of the total state population.
I don't know Neal Stoner. I do know that Chicago supports winners and if you can make it "cool" to be an Illini alum, "cool" to fly your colors, and make the games accessible you will win the city over with time.

Growing up in the early 80's, you could not see an Illinois game to save your life on local TV. DePaul was always televised.
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Old Apr 12, 2010, 07:48 PM   #102
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I don't know Neal Stoner. I do know that Chicago supports winners and if you can make it "cool" to be an Illini alum, "cool" to fly your colors, and make the games accessible you will win the city over with time.

Growing up in the early 80's, you could not see an Illinois game to save your life on local TV. DePaul was always televised.
Neal Stoner invented the "tail great" and filled the stadium. He had some serious problems on the integrity side which eventually forced him out of the AD position, but he was a fantastic marketer. But Chicago is a tough nut. It was and is hard to get good media coverage and television sets. Notre Dame has a huge following, with Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin all having a significant presence as well. If we win consistently, I'm sure that more alums and non-alums would follow Illinois. But Chicagoan's don't really see the UofI as "their" university, and they only grudgingly acknowledge the existence of the rest of the state. So we don't really have much of an inside track to the Chicago market.

If we have a great product, sure they will watch. But the same is true for Michigan, DePaul and Wisconsin.

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"I do know that Chicago supports winners"
Wait a second, isn't that what I was saying?
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Old Apr 12, 2010, 10:25 PM   #103
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Wait a second, isn't that what I was saying?
Bah! You never let me get the last word in. :laugh:
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Old Apr 12, 2010, 10:43 PM   #104
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Sorry to interrupt the Dayton-Groundhog battle of wits I bring you:
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19 Point Plan – #15: Quality Control

Let’s face it – our head coach is not the cool, calm, and collected type on the sideline. He paces and races and yells and paces, and his timeouts are a spur of the moment decision. He’s not the calculating type (which is why he’s solid in the recruiting living room). He has his positives, but calm, precise game management definitely isn’t one of them.

I want to change that. I want an eye in the sky (and a voice on the headset) that is doing nothing more than managing the game for 3 hours. Not a decision maker – a guide. Not a coach – a counselor. Equal parts shrink, motivational speaker, messenger, seer, treaty negotiator, driver’s ed instructor and life preserver.

alioneye.com
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Old Apr 13, 2010, 07:08 AM   #105
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"I want an eye in the sky (and a voice on the headset) that is doing nothing more than managing the game for 3 hours. Not a decision maker – a guide. Not a coach – a counselor. Equal parts shrink, motivational speaker, messenger, seer, treaty negotiator, driver’s ed instructor and life preserver."

Well, there are probably 30,000 people (40,000 on a good day) in Memorial Stadium during
a game that can handle that.
Let's see, Zook can't coach, can't make game day decisions, can't seem to hire assistants
so far, can't hold onto a job at a major football school----but is one heck of a recruiter.
I'm beginning to think the recruiting part must be pretty easy. Only at Illinois could
there be a head coach that everyone hopes stays out of the way!
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Old Apr 13, 2010, 08:19 AM   #106
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The only "eyes in the sky" possible are the assistants in the box. If we can't manage a game between the assistants in the box, the coordinators and the head coach... time to hire a new staff.
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 08:55 AM   #107
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Point #16: Know Your Role
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 11:58 AM   #108
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Point #17: Just Win, Baby
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 01:25 PM   #109
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I think that one pretty much goes without saying! Winning cures a lot of ills.

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Old Apr 19, 2010, 01:30 PM   #110
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I think that one pretty much goes without saying! Winning cures a lot of ills.
It does, doesn't it?

Sometimes it seems that the budget is concern #1 at the DIA, and a winning football team is somewhere further down the list.

I don't know anymore. I just can't be optimistic about this year. The answer seemed to be obvious to anyone, and it also seems obvious that we have Zooker here for (at least) one more year because of his guaranteed contract.
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 02:00 PM   #111
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It does, doesn't it?

Sometimes it seems that the budget is concern #1 at the DIA, and a winning football team is somewhere further down the list.

I don't know anymore. I just can't be optimistic about this year. The answer seemed to be obvious to anyone, and it also seems obvious that we have Zooker here for (at least) one more year because of his guaranteed contract.
Yes, mostly true . . but to truly get Illinois a major makeover and upgrade in being competitive coaching-wise nation wide, you need to have top notch talent at OC and DC and pay them top $$$ even more than you need a top winning coach. So Illinois didn't JUST save money by retaining the Zooker, they also spent big $$, (among top in Big Ten) for powerhouse Offensive Coordinator and Defensive Coordinator. While a new head coach would have been nice too hiring top OC & DC may actually be more meaningful and effective in the short term.
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 02:09 PM   #112
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Yes, mostly true . . but to truly get Illinois a major makeover and upgrade in being competitive coaching-wise nation wide, you need to have top notch talent at OC and DC and pay them top $$$ even more than you need a top winning coach. So Illinois didn't JUST save money by retaining the Zooker, they also spent big $$, (among top in Big Ten) for powerhouse Offensive Coordinator and Defensive Coordinator. While a new head coach would have been nice too hiring top OC & DC may actually be more meaningful and effective in the short term.
So what happens if we fire Zooker after this year? Unless we promote one of the two coordinators, we'll have to pay off three contracts. Several people have said we're now paying market for the OC and DC roles. So we'll be paying that much next year no matter what, unless we go under market with new hires. (If so, what would that prove?)

JMHO, but keeping Zook just moved our eventual date to return to respectability down the road at least one year (and probably more than one year). I simply can't think of any reason besides $$ that we did this.
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 02:11 PM   #113
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... but to truly get Illinois a major makeover and upgrade in being competitive coaching-wise nation wide, you need to have top notch talent at OC and DC and pay them top $$$ even more than you need a top winning coach.
I can't agree here. The right guy at the top makes all the rest easier.

Petrino and Koening know they're working for someone who's less than the best on game day. How long do they stick around under this guy?
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 02:12 PM   #114
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I can't agree here. The right guy at the top makes all the rest easier.

Petrino and Koening know they're working for someone who's less than the best on game day. How long do they stick around under this guy?
If they thought that, why IN THE HELL would they come here at all? And don't just say money because both these guys could have either gotten the same money somewhere else, at their previous school(s) or gotten a head coaching position potentially.
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 02:15 PM   #115
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I can't agree here. The right guy at the top makes all the rest easier.

Petrino and Koening know they're working for someone who's less than the best on game day. How long do they stick around under this guy?
Don't know that Illinois will EVER spend what Texas, Alabama or USC spend for a head coach and top coordinators and assistants. Biggest bang for the buck current approach may work better than just a new head coach with likely lower paid mediocre coordinators. For this situation to work, Zook has to allow them game day decisions on offense and defense, that goes without saying.

Last edited by SaltLife; Apr 19, 2010 at 02:18 PM.
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 02:23 PM   #116
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Don't know that Illinois will EVER spend what Texas, Alabama or USC spend for a head coach and top coordinators and assistants. Biggest bang for the buck current approach may work better than just a new head coach with likly lower paid mediocre coordinators.
But if you're rotating your coordinators every two years (or even more often than that), recruiting just HAS to suffer at some point.

Not to mention the idea of changing schemes, etc.

For me: start at the top, get a good person that other good people will want to work for, rather than bribing someone with money as well as the idea that everyone in the football world will know that any success Illinois has in 2010 will be your doing, not Zooker's.

(BTW, maybe not Texas, et al. But as others have pointed out: the first step is to catch up to Iowa (ugh) MSU and Wisconsin. For that matter, we're behind Northwestern right now. It's gotta be something besides money in that situation.)
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 02:35 PM   #117
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But if you're rotating your coordinators every two years (or even more often than that), recruiting just HAS to suffer at some point.

Not to mention the idea of changing schemes, etc.

For me: start at the top, get a good person that other good people will want to work for, rather than bribing someone with money as well as the idea that everyone in the football world will know that any success Illinois has in 2010 will be your doing, not Zooker's.

(BTW, maybe not Texas, et al. But as others have pointed out: the first step is to catch up to Iowa (ugh) MSU and Wisconsin. For that matter, we're behind Northwestern right now. It's gotta be something besides money in that situation.)
Giving assistant coaches more than a 1 year contract is also not the norm and only better programs and top coordinators are able to wrangle long-term contracts. Yes, short term, recruiting will still suffer but not as much because of the coordinators contract terms and moreso because of the head coach's tenuous situation. Bottom line is Illinois needs winning seasons more to attract recruits than merely selecting another seemingly decent head coach. Recruits need to believe in the program's direction and see hard results even more than just new blood. Short-term Illini's best chance for success and WINS is to install better coaches, which is what happened. Hopefully the coaching changes will translate to increasing amount of wins the next couple of seasons and recruiting will improve commensurately.
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 02:41 PM   #118
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Giving assistant coaches more than a 1 year contract is also not the norm ...

Oh, but we've been informed that yes, this is the new norm. :rolleyes:

All sorts of people have said that it wasn't a sign of desperation to give these guys job security, it's just the way things are today.
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 02:59 PM   #119
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Oh, but we've been informed that yes, this is the new norm. :rolleyes:

All sorts of people have said that it wasn't a sign of desperation to give these guys job security, it's just the way things are today.
If you're talking top coaches, yes the new norm is multi-year contracts. Most of the assistant coaching ranks still go year-to-year. But not unusual for top coordinators to get 5 year contracts (or match their head coaches length) and some also get written in as successors to their head coach should they retire or leave. The best coaching staffs are uniformly excellent across all the key positions with pay and contract protection commensurate to their market demand.
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Old Apr 21, 2010, 12:51 PM   #120
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Point #18: Sensational Seniors

http://alioneye.com/2010/04/21/19-point-plan-18/

Mr. James! Mr. Bellamy! Please stand up!

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Old Apr 21, 2010, 03:00 PM   #121
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But not unusual for top coordinators to get 5 year contracts (or match their head coaches length) and some also get written in as successors to their head coach should they retire or leave. The best coaching staffs are uniformly excellent across all the key positions with pay and contract protection commensurate to their market demand.
The designated successors are few and far between. Texas has one, and AFAIK Florida State just moved up their designated successor as Bowden retired. But (also AFAIK) there is no designated guy at Penn State, OSU or most of the other top programs. Charlie the Tuna didn't have one at Dome.

I have to doubt that there was a lot of market demand for either of our new coordinators; certainly not enough to drive a two-year contract under normal circumstances. I have to think it's rare to bring in a new coordinator to an existing staff (much less two) and bump them to a two-year guarantee. I'd have to say that the guys who receive this are guys who have earned it thru long-term success at their current school, or when an entire staff (including the head coach) turns over.

IOW, I don't think these guys are necessarily the "top coordinators".
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Old Apr 22, 2010, 03:45 PM   #122
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The final chapter! Break out your wallet, renew those seats, sit back, and enjoy:
Quote:
19 Point Plan – #19: Fans Must Stick Around

Check your email. There’s one last season ticket renewal reminder in your inbox, isn’t there? You’ve been putting it off, haven’t you. You’re not sure what to do.

Renew.

I know the last two years have been frustrating. I know the decision to play Western Michigan in Detroit cost us more than just a bowl game – it cost us momentum. Momentum that led to a 3-9 season and the lowest-ranked recruiting class of the Zook era. The projection charts trend down. It feels like 2003 again. I get that.

Please renew.

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Old Apr 22, 2010, 04:00 PM   #123
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I haven't renewed yet. My "Plan" is to hopefully snag the cheap seats if they are available. If not, I will then order new season tix.
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Old Apr 22, 2010, 04:16 PM   #124
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Gosh that second scenario he lays out sure sounds nice doesn't it.
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Old Apr 23, 2010, 07:19 AM   #125
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Here's the entire plan (I also posted the entire plan onto the first post of this thread) -

#1: Gut The Assistant Coaches
#2: Zook As A Figurehead
#3: Bad Cops
#4: Find A Way To Keep Benn Here One More Year
#5: Terry Hawthorne = Chris Gamble
#6: Move Players Around
#7: Utilize The Depth Chart
#8: Schedule Like We’re Illinois
#9: Build The Offense Around My Man Mikel
#10: Build A Program
#11: Catch The Ball When The Opposing Quarterback Throws It
#12: Change The Way We Practice
#13: No More Celebrations
#14: Build On Our History
#15: Quality Control
#16: Know Your Role
#17: Just Win, Baby
#18: Sensational Seniors
#19: Fans Must Stick Around

Last edited by Dan; Apr 23, 2010 at 07:22 AM.
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