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Old Nov 2, 2012, 05:41 AM   #1
AHSIllini32
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We've all talked about depth and how much it's played a part in our season so far so I wanted to take a look at it in depth based on recruiting rankings, offers, *'s, etc. coming out of high school. I'll do one post with the offensive 2-deep and one with the defensive 2-deep. Dan, please move or delete if need be. I'm going off of where we the media guide had players listed before the IU game and I won't be doing the QB's and TE's.

Starters in bold.

Offense:
OT:
Hugh Thornton SR. - 3* 5.7 Rivals Ranking (RR), Offers from Mich St., Or. St., IU, Wash ST.
Simon Cvijanovic SO. (Listed as starter at RT as well as backup in the game notes before IU game, vitals listed below)

Simon Cvijanovic - 2* 5.3 RR, Offers from Toledo, Bowling Green, Ohio
Pat Flavin RS FR. - 3* 5.7 RR, Offers from Boise St, L'ville, Purdue, Zona, Oregon St. (amongst many others)

OG:
Michael Heitz SO. - 3* 5.6 RR, Offers from Wisky (?) and the directional Ill. schools
Alex Hill SO. - 3* 5.6, Offers from Duke, Missouri, aTm, and some other smaller schools

Ted Karrass RS FR. - 3* 5.5 RR, Offers from IU and Iowa St. and mostly smaller schools
Tyler Sands SR. - 3* 5.7 RR, Offers from BC, Nebraska, Pitt, Wisky

C
Graham Pocic SR. - 4* 5.8 RR, Offers from Florida, Michigan, PSU, Tenn, Wisky
Jake Feldmeyer JR. - 2* 5.4 RR, Offers from Cinci, UCONN and smaller schools

Breaking down the OL recruits in the 2-deep we've been hurt by a couple of things: 1) Poor recruiting overall, 2) some of the more highly rated guys coming out of high school haven't quite developed. Sands had a pretty good offer list but just hasn't been able to get on the field. Pocic has been solid but with that offer list you'd expect him to be a bit more dominant.

Of the 10 listed in the 2-deep, 6 are Sophomores or younger...ouch.

Skill Position players in the next post.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 05:55 AM   #2
AHSIllini32
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WR:
Darius Millines JR. - 3* 5.7 RR, Offers from Florida, Miami, Ole Miss, Vandy
Justin Hardee FR. - 2* 5.4 RR, Offers from mostly MAC schools

Spencer Harris JR. - 2* 5.4 RR, Offers from Ark. St, Central Ark. Missouri St. (reportedly Arkansas was close to offering however)
Kenny Knight RS FR. - 3* 5.6 RR, Offers from Cinci, IU, Minny, Wisky and some smaller schools

Ryan Lankford JR. - 3* 5.5 RR, Offers from UCONN, L'ville and smaller schools
Fritz Rock SO. - 3* 5.6 RR, Offers from Cinci, IU, Wash St. and smaller schools.

RB:
Donovonn Young SO. - 3* 5.5 RR, Offers from Mcneese St, North Texas (we all know he didn't have more offers because he was hurt his SR. year)
or
Josh Ferguson RS FR. - 3* 5.5 RR, Offers from Toledo, Ball St., mostly schools like that
Dami Ayoola FR. - 3* 5.7 RR, Offers from Auburn, Iowa, ND, WVU, Wisky

So looking at our skill position players it's no wonder we don't have many playmakers. Our WR's are experienced but the one guy who we hoped would become "the next AJ Jenkins" just can't stay healthy and that's hurt his development. Our RB's should be in great shape going forward. DY5 and Ferg have played above their offer lists and Dami will be a perfect fit for this offense going forward.

Again, it comes down to finding that one WR who can stretch the field and make plays after the catch. Those offer lists paint a bleak picture for our WR corps. right now.

On to the defense!!
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 06:18 AM   #3
AHSIllini32
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DE:
Justin Staples SR. - 3* 5.7 RR, Offers from UCONN, Mich St., NW, Pitt, PU
Tim Kynard JR. - 2* 5.2 RR, Offers from...us

Mike Buke SR. - 4* 5.8 RR, Offers from a bunch of quality schools
Darius Caldwell RS FR. - 3* 5.7 RR, Offers from GT, Ole Miss, South Carolina, WVU

DT:
Glenn Foster SR. - 3* 5.7 RR, Offers from IU, K St., Mich St., Nebraska
Austin Teitsma SO. - 2* 5.4 RR, Offers from directional type schools

NT:
Akeem Spence JR. - 3* 5.5 RR, Offers from Iowa St. NCSU, So. Fla.
Teko Powell FR. - 3* 5.6 RR, Offers from Florida, FSU, L'Ville, WVU, Wisky

LB:
WLB: JB, JR. - 3* 5.6 RR, Offers from Ark, Kentucky, Ole Miss, TT
Mike Svetina FR. - 3* 5.5 RR, Offers from Syracuse and mostly smaller schools

MLB: Mason Monheim, FR. - 3* 5.5 RR, Offers from Toledo, Ball St., etc.
Houston Bates, RS SO. - 3* 5.6 RR, Offers from LSU (as a DE), La. Tech, Tulsa, etc.

STAR: Ashante Williams, SR. - 2* 5.2 RR, Offers from IU, Cuse, Virginia
Tommy Davis, SR. - Can't find NIU's rivals page for his ranking and offers

So looking at the DL/LB we see again that we really don't have as much talent in the front 7 as we thought. Yes Buchanan is a monster and has played to his potential for the most part and Spence has done his part as well. However, Staples we recruited as a LB according to his page and had a decent offer or two, Foster was recruited as a DE and finally got consistent snaps last year.

The depth at those positions along the line are eye opening. One JR who's only offer listed was from us, a true freshman who's made a couple nice plays but is still a true freshman, a SO. who's biggest offer was easily ours, and a RS. FR DE with a couple nice offers and great athleticism but who is, again, very young to be getting meaningful snaps.

At LB, we have JB who's a monster but then we have 2 true freshman getting a ton of minutes with one starting. The depth at WLB and MLB is very young as well. Having Dickinson healthy will make a difference next year. At star, wow, Fuller not having his sh*t together is going to hurt as we have no one to take over the position right now. Could be another true freshman starting there.

Final post is the DBs!
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 06:37 AM   #4
AHSIllini32
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CB:
Terry Hawthorne SR. - 4* 6.0 RR, Offers from everywhere
or
Eaton Spence RS FR. - 2* 5.4 RR, Offers from Marshall, NIU, Fla. Int.
Whoever doesn't start between these two is obviously the backup so I won't list the 3rd string guy

Justin Green SR. - 4* 6.0 RR, Basically came down to us and OSU
V'angelo Bentley FR. - 3* 5.6 RR, Offers from Iowa, Pitt, Kansas and smaller schools

FS:
Supo Sanni SR. - 3* 5.6 RR, Offers from Iowa, Mich St., Oregon, WVU
PNY SR. - 3* 5.7 RR, Offers from Florida, LSU, L'ville, WVU (stupid injuries! )

SS:
STEVEHULL SR. - 3* 5.5 RR (as a WR), Offers from Cinci, L'ville, IU
Earnest Thomas SO. - 3* 5.7 RR, Offers from L'ville, Missouri, PSU, Stanford, UCLA, Wisky

Our back 4 is a perfect example of Zook recruiting athletes and trying to make them work at certain positions.

We have our starting CB's who were both high 4*'s with tremendous offer lists and they have struggled from the get-go at CB. Sure they've had some good moments (Hawthorne more than Green) but I would say that they haven't quite lived up to those rankings coming out of high school. I could see an argument for Hawthorne but not for Green.

At S, it's unfortunate that Hull has had to play S his entire career. He's gives everything he's got and plays every week through a painful shoulder injury but he's just not quite athletic enough. I wish all our players had his heart though, for sure. Sanni is a physical freak who just hasn't quite put it all together. Had some good plays and some not so good. It really is too, too bad that PNY had that horrific injury because that kid had some talent. It's amazing that he's even still playing after that AB injury.

Our depth here is just horrendous. Not necessarily in terms of talent but experience. Our backups at CB are a RS freshman (who's pushing our 4 year high 4* starter for minutes) and a true freshman who perhaps should be starting at this point. At S, our backup for Sanni is a walk-on JR and the only guy listed in the 3-deep that isn't a Jr. or above is Earnest Thomas. Speaking of ET, I didn't realize he had that kind of an offer list. I've been impressed with his play this year and think he could be a good one for us before it's all said and done.

Basically here, it's the same old story; highly rated upperclassmen starters underperforming and inexperienced backups who may be good in time but are struggling a bit in their first action.

I was thinking about this last night and thought I'd make a post on it. Some may not find it interesting or think it's a "well no sh*t sherlock" type of post but I just wanted to lay it out this way to get a better look at depth, offer lists, rankings, etc.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 06:55 AM   #5
PaytonHighstep
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Well done.

I was intrigued to see the type of offers for the OL. It seems we offered kids that Wiscy also offered on multiple occasions. To me Wiscy is a downhill / attacking, N-S type running team without all the read option and zone blocking. My question is, do you feel the Illini landed recruits that haven't really fit our scheme?

Also, everyone posts / argues about lack of depth and injuries. I have read post after post on multiple sites and it seems posters don't recognize it or just ignore it. I would say to those that don't believe we have a depth issue or an injury issue to take a look at this because it reinforces the fact we have depth issues and they are hi-lighted by injuries.

IMO
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 06:58 AM   #6
AHSIllini32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaytonHighstep View Post
Well done.

I was intrigued to see the type of offers for the OL. It seems we offered kids that Wiscy also offered on multiple occasions. To me Wiscy is a downhill N-S type running team without all the read option and zone blocking. My question is, do you feel the Illini landed recruits that haven't really fit our scheme?

Also, everyone posts / argues about lack of depth and injuries. I have read post after post on multiple sites and it seems posters don't recognize it or just ignore it. I would say to those that don't believe we have a depth issue or an injury issue to take a look at this because it reinforces the fact we have depth issues and they are hi-lighted by injuries.

IMO
Good point about the offers from Wisky to our OL. I think fit is a HUGE problem with our OL right now. Even the guys Zook recruited after we switched to more of the Pistol/pseudo-spread offense of the last two years didn't fit that scheme.

And I agree that people don't want to acknowledge the depth issues because it takes away some potential ammo for them to rag on Beckman.

I should have put in red those guys who have been injured at one point or another this year...darn it!!
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 07:12 AM   #7
quhawks12
Location: Hamilton County, IN
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And if you really want to look at depth look at our 3rd team...ugh...horrible. 2nd and 3rd team guys are where you build your special teams (hence Beckman's "recruiting" answer to the special teams questions). If you have ZERO depth that means you are either playing guys who aren't capable on ST or you are playing starters. It's kind of a lose/lose.

So...how do we fix special teams and depth issues?? Everyone say it with me: RECRUITING

And, this staff actually turned out a miracle of a class last year if you ask me. And, from the looks tried like hell to redshirt just about all of them to help build depth for the future. Obviously injuries did not help with that and we were forced to play some guys. Think about it, ideally Monhein, Svetina, Powell and Hardee never see the field. And come back next year bigger, faster and stronger as RS-freshman OR they start on special teams as true freshmen who have their ears pinned back and are flying around the field fresh on every special teams play.

So, if they can hold this 2013 class together this staff has already done a much better job of "building" depth and a team than the previous regime had in it's last few years.

Last edited by quhawks12; Nov 2, 2012 at 07:15 AM.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 08:56 AM   #8
BigStan97
Location: Dayton OH area
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Zook did a lot of things differently to try and "make it work"

Hawthorne and Green both yes had solid offer lists....but Hawthorne was moslty being recruited for WR and Green at RB and so they go from that to CB....Yes they are athletes and when Zooker made the switch they were young guys willing to learn new to get on the field....

Just not "ideal" for a program trying to build a foundation.

Another thing that hasent been sooo great for us with Zook was the amount of kids he offered that never made it to ILLINOIS.....I mean come on part of your job is to know who has the grades and who doesnt....thats part of recruiting....and Zook and his staff did a terrible job with that....I even think one year roughly our top 3 or 4 guys we had "committed" to us ended up not making it....I think it was ROTs' year maybe???

Any team trying to Build their program and kids who we think are coming in to compete to play end up not even making it to our school really hurts..

I do not believe that Star Rankings and offer list mean everything in recruiting...

A lot of times yes the more popular the kid is with other schools offering and stars can mean hes a great prospect....but not always


Another thing that puzzles me is how we have had so many injuries to sooo many players season after season.....Do we need to review our Strength and Conditioning program? our trainer and medical staff???

That to me doesnt make sense I know yes its football and injuries happen...But i guess we have just had really bad luck with injuries....

Zook seemed to me now looking at our depth and roster that he did a lot of "patchwork" in recruiting and talent evaluations.

Kinda did the well he looks the part and if he can play this position in H.S maybe we get him to come here to play and learn a new position to fill our depth issue at this position.....

Feel like Zooker was satisfied with average talent and just put the kid in a new position a lot of times

We have had 3 to 4 interior Oline guys in our starting 5...Maybe playing our best 5 isnt the best idea....In H.S thats a great idea....In D-1 college ball it does not cut it.

Above is an example Beckman feels like they have to do due to our depth and injury issues. which is never good

Heck i still feel like a handful of players are playing out of position right now....

Bates should be at DE not MLB how many MLB can I remember who have been successful recently who are 6'4 240 LBS??? Bates is a DE body Playing in space at MLB when clearly his hand needs to be on the ground.

Sani- After his Achilles Injury he has more then lost a step and thats clear and at 6'2 220lbs he should be our Star LB position. his range speed and reaction physically is not par with a Safeties duties so lets put this physical freak closer to the LOS and let him play.

Hull- 6'2 200lbs SS who has a shoulder that after an "okay" hit hes on the ground....WR playing Safety is a normal transition in college when it does happen BUT the kids body cant play at S, it wont let him, even when Zook made the move he should have never done it. we had enough in the secondary at the time to make adjustments and to keep Hull at WR. Where at WR he would not have taken the beating his body has taken already, and now his shoulder is always one hit away from being out of the game.

This year so far with all new coaches and a fresh start is CLEARLY a rebuilding year....Feel like Beckman once he got here and started practice that he was shocked about Depth issues and upperclass's talent in the classes

Thats why we are playing soooooo many RS SO. RS FR. and True Freshman......

We have a makeshift Oline at best which we took our best Olineman and moved him out of position when hes played at OG for years now and his SR year now we move him to OT out on an island when hes not use to it. Not saying he hasent done a solid job at LT but Hughy is a Offensive Guard not Tackle. Having a Makeshift Oline is not good when you have to move your best players at one position to make another position "okay"

I feel like we should have Kept Thornton Pocic at their positions at LG and OC and Heitz at RT and filled in the best available at the other 2 positions.

Thornton at LG where he has played there for years
Pocic the same at OC
Hetiz at RT would have been his 2nd year getting comfortable at that position.

Tried out Karras at RG where hes won the position which is good for the future but not so good that a RS FR is starting now. But least have competition with Karras, Hill, Sands, Boles for the RG position. If Karras is the best then play him.

Simon, McDowell, tryout at LT. Whoever wins..wins and plays

and we go out and play....None of this move a guy whos is played at a position for 3 years and now move him out of position.

Do not like that idea at a D-1 program at all.

Have way to many people playing out of position...Our Oline i feel like should be

LT- Simon LG- Thornton OC- Pocic RG- Karras RT- Heitz

but its

LT Thornton LG- Heitz OC- Pocic RG- Karras RT- Simon

having a OG Vet SR move to LT
having a young RT move to LG- inexperienced already now moving to new position
Pocic has moved from OC to OT back to OC when hes a OC Vet SR
Simon who is more suited at LT cause of his pass blocking footwork agility is playing RT where at RT is more of a road grader type position.

all these things make zero sense to me.

When your Offensive Line does not produce, we see the results and they have not been good.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 09:06 AM   #9
quhawks12
Location: Hamilton County, IN
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Justin Green was NOT "mostly recruited as a RB". He was mostly recruited as a CB by Ohio St and others. He came to Illinois because Zook being Zook promised him he could play RB. Which lasted a year I think? Green was regarded as a MUCH better CB than RB.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 09:15 AM   #10
BigStan97
Location: Dayton OH area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quhawks12 View Post
Justin Green was NOT "mostly recruited as a RB". He was mostly recruited as a CB by Ohio St and others. He came to Illinois because Zook being Zook promised him he could play RB. Which lasted a year I think? Green was regarded as a MUCH better CB than RB.
Yup i agree i was just trying to state that Green went from "playing RB" to switch and playing CB now

thats all
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 09:16 AM   #11
BigStan97
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wrong choice of words on my part for Greens situation
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 09:19 AM   #12
quhawks12
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Originally Posted by BigStan97 View Post
wrong choice of words on my part for Greens situation
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 09:20 AM   #13
quhawks12
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Originally Posted by BigStan97 View Post
Another thing that hasent been sooo great for us with Zook was the amount of kids he offered that never made it to ILLINOIS.
This demoralized the DT position. Totally ruined it.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 09:23 AM   #14
BigStan97
Location: Dayton OH area
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Originally Posted by quhawks12 View Post
This demoralized the DT position. Totally ruined it.
yea I agree Heck I cant even remember all the names of the "bigger named commits" we had coming and then never made it.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 09:23 AM   #15
illynifan34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quhawks12 View Post
Justin Green was NOT "mostly recruited as a RB". He was mostly recruited as a CB by Ohio St and others. He came to Illinois because Zook being Zook promised him he could play RB. Which lasted a year I think? Green was regarded as a MUCH better CB than RB.
I took it to mean mostly recruited at RB by Zook and Co.

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Old Nov 2, 2012, 09:26 AM   #16
BigStan97
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Originally Posted by illynifan34 View Post
I took it to mean mostly recruited at RB by Zook and Co.
Yes as in we pretty much got him because we were the school going to give him a shot at playing RB...

So a Freshman kid coming into a BIGTEN program playing RB learning as much as he can at that position then switching him to play a completely different position.....has to be tough no matter what anyone says.

Trying to adjust to everything with living on a college campus, getting use to school, learning a new system on the football field, learning how to play RB in college. THEN switching to Defense and playing CB...Thats a lot to ask for from a KID
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 09:28 AM   #17
BigStan97
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It just never is "ideal" to do that and it seemed like we did that a lot to our best athletes and it could be good but it could be bad and time has shown us that Zook didnt handle it well.

Hawthorne is great when hes healthy
Green hasent amounted to anything close to where his hype was at when we locked up a 4* RB/Athlete
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 09:53 AM   #18
jmontgo3
Location: Chicago, IL
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Stunning. Great summary and analysis AHS.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 09:55 AM   #19
quhawks12
Location: Hamilton County, IN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigStan97 View Post
Green hasent amounted to anything close to where his hype was at when we locked up a 4* RB/Athlete
I disagree. He's been extremely solid at CB. In fact he's our best CB this year. Most fundamentally sound and has improved each year. He'll get a few looks on Sundays.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 10:07 AM   #20
BigStan97
Location: Dayton OH area
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Originally Posted by quhawks12 View Post
I disagree. He's been extremely solid at CB. In fact he's our best CB this year. Most fundamentally sound and has improved each year. He'll get a few looks on Sundays.
I agree hes been our best CB this year but I was just hoping following all the hype he had around him being such a talent he would have made more of a game to game impact

I again do agree with you he is very solid and our best CB tho.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 10:21 AM   #21
BigStan97
Location: Dayton OH area
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Our Depth issues could turn around rather quickly. Might not affect us winning games right away but we could be building us a foundation with all these young kids getting experience right now and the commits we have currently verbalized to us.

Ferg, Dami, Hardee, Church, Karras, McDowell, Flavin, Durkin, Caldwell, Nelson, Powell, Williams, Monheim, Svetina, Bentley, Spence, Little, Thomas III

is the core we need to focus and Build around.

"Potentially" incoming freshman are: Bailey, Mosley, Day, Kelly, Clements, Spearman, Dawson, Hermosillo, Jackson, Douglas, Jones, White, Foster, Cazley seem to all be guys in positions that need growth and depth.

the Three Olineman we have right now with DiLauro, Chadwell, Schmidt are all guys who, like most Olineman, need time to grow and develop.

Now everyone including our coaches are jumping all over the JUCO route

When I think about JUCO players and our team I would have thought that when Beckman got his staff together they would have gone after JUCO players at that time hard to be players for us this season.

JUCO players for next season seem to be a not the ideal way of doing it.

If we would have got 3 to 4 JUCOs last year to help with our lack of depth this year I feel like that would have helped more then getting the JUCO players for next year.

Kinda wish if we were gonna go the JUCO route we would have done it at the end of recruiting last year to maybe be able to hold off exposing players to soon this year and get some guys redshirted and develop them better for the coming years.

Obviously just my opinion with how I felt things should have went but I guess it really does not matter now since we have already well into this season and seems to be heading for the quick fix next year with lately offering JUCO players now.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 10:31 AM   #22
PaytonHighstep
Location: Downers Grove, IL
Posts: 793
BigStan...

I agree, but when they got hired they only had 2 months to finish off their class. I don't think the new staff understood how limited their roster would be at that moment. They hit the recruiting trail awfully hard those 2 months. I would bet they realized this (lack of depth and IF injuries did happen what it would do to our depth) through Spring Ball, but it was too late to get JUCO's at that point.

I will give them the benefit of the doubt in this situation. The late hire along with keeping the 2012 class together was priority and maybe they didn't see the potential problems with their roster at that point. Let us not forget they were also trying to lockdown the staff into January if I remember correctly. So it was a skeleton staff on top of it.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 10:49 AM   #23
TooHot4Tots
Posts: 545
Great break down of the true depth concerns! TB mentioned it early on along with OL concerns. Your post really sheds light on this. Well done
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 11:11 AM   #24
BigStan97
Location: Dayton OH area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaytonHighstep View Post
BigStan...

I agree, but when they got hired they only had 2 months to finish off their class. I don't think the new staff understood how limited their roster would be at that moment. They hit the recruiting trail awfully hard those 2 months. I would bet they realized this (lack of depth and IF injuries did happen what it would do to our depth) through Spring Ball, but it was too late to get JUCO's at that point.

I will give them the benefit of the doubt in this situation. The late hire along with keeping the 2012 class together was priority and maybe they didn't see the potential problems with their roster at that point. Let us not forget they were also trying to lockdown the staff into January if I remember correctly. So it was a skeleton staff on top of it.
Haha so very true and just one negative situation after another....

Gonna be a long road ahead of us with Beckman and Staff to turn this program around.

Kinda feel like the Scabs and Band Aids have been ripped off this team through Beckman and Staff to really see the real light on this team. Our Current staff is now seeing and have been dealing with what Zook left them.

Might have been a little more then they could handle, but nonetheless at least they are confronting the issues instead of just putting another Band Aid "quick fix" on this team.

I think this really is a rebuilding process and guys who are SRs. and JRs. Im sorry and I bet so is the staff but we aren't going to be winning now and we are building for the future.

Tough situation for our coaches and the upperclassmen but it is what it is.

I feel like Zook had a patch job of a team and just tried to win with "just get by type players and depth"

Beckman and Staff i feel like are real coaches and are seeing this and doing whatever they can to fix this.
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Old Nov 2, 2012, 11:43 AM   #25
quhawks12
Location: Hamilton County, IN
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Originally Posted by BigStan97 View Post
I agree hes been our best CB this year but I was just hoping following all the hype he had around him being such a talent he would have made more of a game to game impact

I again do agree with you he is very solid and our best CB tho.
That's fair. He has lacked the "play-making" ability so far. He's one of those guys you don't really notice out there because he doesn't do a lot wrong but doesn't do a great to make you notice him.
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