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Old Oct 31, 2012, 12:32 PM   #1
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Outside of two fumbled returns, Tim Beckman said blocking in space is main downfall of #Illini return game (115th in KRs, 117th in PRs).

Bright side for #illini special teams: they're in top-half in punt return defense and top 1/3 in both kick return defense and punting.

Asked #illini Tim Beckman how you correct blocking in space on returns. His response: "Recruiting."

ST coach Tim Salem trying to find right combo but hasn't. Said the coaches have to keep the players moving in the right direction.

Salem: said most of the return breakdowns are because of one player's failure. "It's always one guy, and it's not the same guy."

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Old Oct 31, 2012, 12:34 PM   #2
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Pretty candid answer about how you fix the blocking on ST. I think we all knew that Zook and staff didn't spend the time or do the right kind of drills to fix ST. Even ALE has alluded to that in his posts.

Nice to see our coverage units doing well as well as our young punter.
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 12:34 PM   #3
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Flashback: Ohio State vs. Illinois, 1980

Even with the win, the carnage wrought on the Ohio State defense was staggering. Wilson finished the day 43/69 passing for an NCAA record 621 yards and 6 touchdowns. The Illini had 659 total yards, although they helped the Buckeyes out with 7 turnovers. By comparison, Schlichter's 17/21 for 284 yards and 4 TDs looked like a weak effort. Ohio State would finish the season with losses against Michigan and Penn State (in the Fiesta Bowl) to go 9-3, the first of six straight seasons with that record.

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Old Oct 31, 2012, 12:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by AHSIllini32 View Post
Pretty candid answer about how you fix the blocking on ST. I think we all knew that Zook and staff didn't spend the time or do the right kind of drills to fix ST. Even ALE has alluded to that in his posts.

Nice to see our coverage units doing well as well as our young punter.
It makes sense right...we can't block on offense, why would we be able to block on ST?

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Old Oct 31, 2012, 12:38 PM   #5
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"Recruiting." That answer should provide a nice topic for discussion. Is this the dreaded "throwing the current players under the bus?"

People tired of hearing the coach-speak should be pleased the answer wasn't "we'll watch some film and get that fixed"

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Old Oct 31, 2012, 12:41 PM   #6
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"Recruiting." That answer should provide a nice topic for discussion. Is this the dreaded "throwing the current players under the bus?"

People tired of hearing the coach-speak should be pleased the answer wasn't "we'll watch some film and get that fixed"
He's right, and some people have had a hard time accepting that the talent level on this team isn't high at all.

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Old Oct 31, 2012, 12:43 PM   #7
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He's right, and some people have had a hard time accepting that the talent level on this team isn't high at all.
I agree. I wonder if this is a new approach now that season is lost and the staff still seems to be having "buy-in" issues 2/3 of the way through the year.

no more mollycoddling!! haha

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Old Oct 31, 2012, 12:54 PM   #8
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Mike White Era / Wilson's Record Day

I was a Soph at the time. Watched that game on TV (I'd see a few games in person that year) - a heartbreaker, but so entertaining. That one game completely energized the fan base...at least in my dorm. New coach, exciting style of play. Records falling...against OHIO STATE of all teams.

Even though we lost that game, boy do I want us to have a day like that again soon.

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Old Oct 31, 2012, 01:22 PM   #9
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I was a Soph at the time. Watched that game on TV (I'd see a few games in person that year) - a heartbreaker, but so entertaining. That one game completely energized the fan base...at least in my dorm. New coach, exciting style of play. Records falling...against OHIO STATE of all teams.

Even though we lost that game, boy do I want us to have a day like that again soon.

That was Mike Whites's first year IIRC. He took over for Moeller and the teams during the Moeller years were awful. It's interesting that new coach White brought optimism and enthusiasm to Illini football after an era of gloom. A few years later the Illini were undefeated in the big ten and Rose Bowl bound. That's what we all hoped would happen with TB.
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 01:35 PM   #10
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That was Mike Whites's first year IIRC. He took over for Moeller and the teams during the Moeller years were awful. It's interesting that new coach White brought optimism and enthusiasm to Illini football after an era of gloom. A few years later the Illini were undefeated in the big ten and Rose Bowl bound. That's what we all hoped would happen with TB.
That wasn't a realistic expectation. Mike White had a few advantages that aren't true any more.
  • The 1980's marked the end of the Big 2, little 8 regime, with scholarship limits implemented in the 1970's rippling through the game. There were only two strong programs to beat, not the 5-7 we have today.
  • The B1G had no experience defending anything like White's west coast passing attack. Offensive systems are far more diverse today.
  • White had a strong ties to a VERY good CA JUCO system that allowed him to quickly upgrade talent. The JUCO talent isn't comparable today and we have trouble getting these guys into school.
We had a golden opportunity to become a Tier 2 program with White and Mackovic, but ceded that status to schools like Iowa and Wisconsin.

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Old Oct 31, 2012, 01:36 PM   #11
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That was Mike Whites's first year IIRC. He took over for Moeller and the teams during the Moeller years were awful. It's interesting that new coach White brought optimism and enthusiasm to Illini football after an era of gloom. A few years later the Illini were undefeated in the big ten and Rose Bowl bound. That's what we all hoped would happen with TB.

That's what I hope will happen. We'll see in a few years I guess.

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Old Oct 31, 2012, 01:36 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ctblaisdell83 View Post
I was a Soph at the time. Watched that game on TV (I'd see a few games in person that year) - a heartbreaker, but so entertaining. That one game completely energized the fan base...at least in my dorm. New coach, exciting style of play. Records falling...against OHIO STATE of all teams.

Even though we lost that game, boy do I want us to have a day like that again soon.

Boy, can I echo this sentiment. I live right in the heart of Buckeye land! It's going to suck after we lose by 8 TDs.
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 01:39 PM   #13
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That's what I hope will happen. We'll see in a few years I guess.
Yep, rebuilding a football program is not a 1 year (8 game) job.

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Old Oct 31, 2012, 02:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by TheSecretWeapon View Post
"Recruiting." That answer should provide a nice topic for discussion. Is this the dreaded "throwing the current players under the bus?"

People tired of hearing the coach-speak should be pleased the answer wasn't "we'll watch some film and get that fixed"
You are right. And so is Coach. The answer to the question is recruiting. We don't have the athletes to have solid special teams right now. We just don't. And when you play almost all starters on special teams it takes a toll on 1. their play on Off/Def and 2. Their special teams play because they have bigger things to worry about rather than that. Which is why we need depth because a solid group of 2's and 3's gets you solid special teams.
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 02:27 PM   #15
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That wasn't a realistic expectation. Mike White had a few advantages that aren't true any more.
All I was hoping for was optimism and enthusiasm. I didn't really expect the second coming of Mike White. Your list is accurate.
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 02:43 PM   #16
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Yep, rebuilding a football program is not a 1 year (8 game) job.
You rebuild when you have a team that won 2 or 3 games the year before, not 7. And yes, I realize we lost 6 of our last 7 games. Outside of the Minnesota game (which the staff and players already knew the coaches were gone), every loss was competitive. Zook came in after a 3-8 year by Turner in 2004. The personnel was awful, barely at a MAC level. There is no reason at all Beckman should be having a season nearly as bad as that 2005 season because the level of talent is substantially different. His comment about recruiting solving their return game blocking is 100% a cover for a lack of competent coaching. Great blocking on something like a kick return is not something someone is born with. It is something that is taught by a good coach.
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 02:56 PM   #17
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You rebuild when you have a team that won 2 or 3 games the year before, not 7. And yes, I realize we lost 6 of our last 7 games. Outside of the Minnesota game (which the staff and players already knew the coaches were gone), every loss was competitive. Zook came in after a 3-8 year by Turner in 2004. The personnel was awful, barely at a MAC level. There is no reason at all Beckman should be having a season nearly as bad as that 2005 season because the level of talent is substantially different. His comment about recruiting solving their return game blocking is 100% a cover for a lack of competent coaching. Great blocking on something like a kick return is not something someone is born with. It is something that is taught by a good coach.
Tim Salem is one of the best in the business with a very proven track record. Did he forget how to coach when he got here?

And the team that lost 6 in a row to end last season had a horrendous offense down the stretch and then lost a WR and two OL to the NFL without recruiting any quality replacements.

The defense has been decimated by NFL, graduation, and injuries and has implemented a new system and has actually played pretty well the last few games.

Zook's lack of recruiting doomed this team and that is why he was replaced. Not sure how you can blame the new guy for the horrible football team he inherited

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Old Oct 31, 2012, 03:24 PM   #18
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Year ago, Ohio State 3-3, Illinois 6-0 entering game. SInce then, OSU 12-4, Illini 3-12. Our prev: http://t.co/EkDLvkUQ

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Old Oct 31, 2012, 04:56 PM   #19
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You rebuild when you have a team that won 2 or 3 games the year before, not 7. And yes, I realize we lost 6 of our last 7 games. Outside of the Minnesota game (which the staff and players already knew the coaches were gone), every loss was competitive. Zook came in after a 3-8 year by Turner in 2004. The personnel was awful, barely at a MAC level. There is no reason at all Beckman should be having a season nearly as bad as that 2005 season because the level of talent is substantially different. His comment about recruiting solving their return game blocking is 100% a cover for a lack of competent coaching. Great blocking on something like a kick return is not something someone is born with. It is something that is taught by a good coach.
It's about getting his own players in here that buy in to him and his staff. Pretty clear from what we see on the field!
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 06:11 PM   #20
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Recruiting doesn't necessarily mean "recruiting players who are great at special teams."

It could simply mean recruiting enough good players that you don't have to tire out starters on ST and also don't have to worry about putting in bad players to preserve the health/stamina of said starters.

The 2nd and 3rd stringers who are good are the ones who usually get a lot of play time on ST. It's become obvious that we don't have a solid group of secondary and tertiary contributors. So how do we fix it?

Recruiting.

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Old Oct 31, 2012, 06:15 PM   #21
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I love the comment about "recruiting" being the solution to our ST blocking. It's an indirect way of communicating the opinion that his players aren't doing what he wants them to. It should be taken as "I'm not doing my job; I've gotta step up."

But it likely won't by many. Maybe 10-20 years ago, but not today. Many of today's players will see it as throwing them aside, blaming, etc. Mental toughness is not a huge part of the modern athlete of major (i.e. highly-paid professional potential) sports.
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Old Oct 31, 2012, 07:24 PM   #22
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That wasn't a realistic expectation. Mike White had a few advantages that aren't true any more.
We had a golden opportunity to become a Tier 2 program with White and Mackovic, but ceded that status to schools like Iowa and Wisconsin.

GHD - you were around, I think, for the Mike White era, and you're pretty close to where Leach coaches today...

I wonder if the Mike White era at UI was similar to the Mike Leach era at TT. Both coaches burned bright for a few years, surpassed expectations, ran afoul of the establsihment. Both didn't seem to care overly much about their critics. Both were innovative coaches who had detractors in their conferences (who maybe were upset at the extra competition).

I really liked Mike White, and I hear TT fans really liked Leach.

You know, I never got the feeling Mike White bled Illini orange...but I never held it against him. Kinda like Shane, maybe we knew he wouldn't stay forever, but man it was good to have him while we did

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Old Nov 1, 2012, 06:21 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by illinoistradition View Post
You rebuild when you have a team that won 2 or 3 games the year before, not 7. And yes, I realize we lost 6 of our last 7 games. Outside of the Minnesota game (which the staff and players already knew the coaches were gone), every loss was competitive. Zook came in after a 3-8 year by Turner in 2004. The personnel was awful, barely at a MAC level. There is no reason at all Beckman should be having a season nearly as bad as that 2005 season because the level of talent is substantially different. His comment about recruiting solving their return game blocking is 100% a cover for a lack of competent coaching. Great blocking on something like a kick return is not something someone is born with. It is something that is taught by a good coach.
He's rebuilding the entire program, not just the team, there was a culture while Zook was around that doesn't work for the new coach. He is rebuilding, the talent is not as good as you think, as others pointed out.

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Old Nov 1, 2012, 08:12 AM   #24
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GHD - you were around, I think, for the Mike White era, and you're pretty close to where Leach coaches today...

I wonder if the Mike White era at UI was similar to the Mike Leach era at TT. Both coaches burned bright for a few years, surpassed expectations, ran afoul of the establsihment. Both didn't seem to care overly much about their critics. Both were innovative coaches who had detractors in their conferences (who maybe were upset at the extra competition).

I really liked Mike White, and I hear TT fans really liked Leach.

You know, I never got the feeling Mike White bled Illini orange...but I never held it against him. Kinda like Shane, maybe we knew he wouldn't stay forever, but man it was good to have him while we did

Leach won alot more games at TT than Mike White did at Illinois. Leach went to 10 straight bowl games and White only made 3 losing all three. Everything else though is a fair comparison.
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Old Nov 1, 2012, 08:36 AM   #25
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Leach won alot more games at TT than Mike White did at Illinois. Leach went to 10 straight bowl games and White only made 3 losing all three. Everything else though is a fair comparison.
Leach was at Texas Tech for 10 years, Mike White was at Illinois for 8 years, so yes you are correct that Leach won more games than White. Also you have to factor in that 4 of White's seasons, Illinois had 9 conference games and only 2 nonconference games. Also you have to factor in that White had 5-straight winning seasons and only made 3 bowl games, because back then even 7 wins didn't guarantee a bowl. Also you have to consider a true stat that means nothing: Leach lost more bowl games that White, thus White > Leach
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