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Old Nov 29, 2012, 09:43 PM   #1
Jabber Jabber
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Dave Wischnowsky just tweeted this. I believe it's a message board post from another board (maybe someone else could confirm that). Apparently, the info/opinion is from a good friend of Ron Zook.

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Very interesting message board post sent to me tonight by a former #Ilini football player. Worth a read: https://sites.google.com/site/truthaboutillinoisfb/home

http://twitter.com/wischlist
Dissect away.

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Here is what I can now tell you: the plan, with Guenther still there, was to give Zook and staff a chance to get off to a good start in 2011. Then, if they started 4-0, 4-1, 5-1, whatever, to give him an extention right then and announce it. Make a big deal of it. Send a message to the recruits that THIS is our guy and he's going to be here a long time. Those who liked it would have been elated; those who didn't want Zook to stay would have had time to deal with it and digest it, but at least they would have had a good record and a good team. The hope was that, once firing Zook was off the table, some of those folks would say, well, we are undefeated, have won eight of nine, he isn't going anywhere, so let's back it. That was the plan.

Meanwhile, Zook believes the recruiting class was about to blow up. He may be wrong, but that is what he truly believes. Keith Brown, the linebacker out of Miami, had already committed. Zook told me the minute the extention was announced, made truly public, Cyler Miles was coming, the QB from Denver. And the big fish -- Antonio Morrison -- probably was coming. Now, you may not believe that, I guess we'll never know totally for sure, but know this:

Antonio's female cousin,with whom he is VERY close, was a student at Illinois and worked as student assistant in the football office, specifically, in the recruiting office. She talked to him all the time and was sure he was coming, just wanted to be sure Zook and co. were going to be there and was an early admissions guy, coming in January. And if you're still not sure if Morrison was coming, I wish you could ask Will Muschamp if he thought he was going to beat Illinois for Antonio before Zook was fired. Suffice it to say the two of them have had plenty of conversations about it since.

And, for the record, Morrison may be as good a true freshman player as I've seen all year, a tough, fast, nasty inside linebacker. He started half the games for Florida, played a huge role in all of them, and just made THE deciding play in the Florida-FSU game, blasting FSU quarterback E.J. Manuel, forcing a turnover that the Gators' turned into the go ahead points and knocking Manuel out for a series.

https://sites.google.com/site/truthaboutillinoisfb/home
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 09:46 PM   #2
trevdv
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Wow. Just... wow.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:08 PM   #3
I Hate Lemonier
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More Zook was not the answer moving forward.

All of it sounds plausible yet unverifiable and most importantly moot.

I guess Zook liked that whole Weber meme of lack of support derailing a season so much that he adopted it too. At least he had the professionalism not to whine about it incessantly in public

Last edited by I Hate Lemonier; Nov 29, 2012 at 10:12 PM.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:10 PM   #4
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Water under the bridge.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:13 PM   #5
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Meanwhile, Zook believes the recruiting class was about to blow up.
And all the way through the 2009 season Zook believed we were "close." My goodness, did someone perform a lobotomy on Wisch and make him forget that Zook always saw the world through delusional rose-colored glasses? Our 2012 class was incredibly thin and what drove the few good players away was the fact that we lost our last six regular season games!

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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:18 PM   #6
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Not sure what to think about that TBH, lot's of second hand sources and speculation. Either way after we were 6-0 all Zook had to do is win one more game and he would have gotten another year.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:18 PM   #7
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ok, whether you were for or against zook, it's a moot point. BUT does anyone else find it worrisome that the man in charge of our athletics was brought in for the sole purpose of firing our current coaches and carrying out an agenda of a corrupt, and now overthrown, president?

the infamous search committee suggested other candidates and hogan stepped in and does THIS to our athletics dept...
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:19 PM   #8
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Well, this certainly won't help those select few that think Thomas should be fired. Not many on this board but Scout has quite a few and HQ a handful as well.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bromontana View Post
ok, whether you were for or against zook, it's a moot point. BUT does anyone else find it worrisome that the man in charge of our athletics was brought in for the sole purpose of firing our current coaches and carrying out an agenda of a corrupt, and now overthrown, president?
What in the world are you talking about?

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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:23 PM   #10
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Well, this certainly won't help those select few that think Thomas should be fired. Not many on this board but Scout has quite a few and HQ a handful as well.
I checked out the scout forum yesterday and the lunatics had taken over the assylum. They really thought that the uproar on the scout fan forum represented fans attitudes generally, and the Thomas firing was all but a done deal.

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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:24 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Groundhogday View Post
And all the way through the 2009 season Zook believed we were "close." My goodness, did someone perform a lobotomy on Wisch and make him forget that Zook always saw the world through delusional rose-colored glasses? Our 2012 class was incredibly thin and what drove the few good players away was the fact that we lost our last six regular season games!
Right. Who knows if Zook was going to land any of those recruiting hits among all those misses. I know Wisch almost has a personal vendetta against Mike Thomas right now, so take this with a grain of salt. I'm sure nearly everything said in there goes along with what Wisch believes, hence the reason he tweeted it.

One point I thought was interesting was the Colorado Effect. There are some who believe - like this anonymous author - that Toledo's success hinged on the mind of offensive coordinator Matt Campbell. I believe even you, GHD, said that it was a big loss when Campbell took the HC job and didn't follow Beckman to UI. I agree.

Thing is, does that lead us to this statement: if Beckman finds experienced coordinators who can implement their system effectively, should we expect a turnaround, or will it be a "fake" model like Zook-Petrino-Koenning that only solves our problems temporarily?
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:34 PM   #12
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Wow. Not much to say about this. Honestly I don't know how you can argue with any of this

Last edited by Juice; Nov 29, 2012 at 10:48 PM.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:40 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jabber Jabber View Post
Thing is, does that lead us to this statement: if Beckman finds experienced coordinators who can implement their system effectively, should we expect a turnaround, or will it be a "fake" model like Zook-Petrino-Koenning that only solves our problems temporarily?
Is the Northwestern success a "fake" model because their program depends upon OC Mick McCall? Remember, Fitz was the DC but their defenses have generally been bad to very bad.

You have to have a system, recruit kids to that system, and teach that system over several years. I'm not even sure it makes that much difference what kind of system you implement (power man blocking at Wisconsin, defense + zone blocking at Iowa, spread offense at NW.)

The problems with the Zook-Petrino-Koenning model were:
  • It was too late. Zook was already damaged goods when those guys were hired and recruiting went downhill.
  • The defensive coaches were all weak recruiters (except for Disch who hung around for one more year.)
  • After LeShoure left, Petrino's offense went into the tank. We were really bad in 2011, almost as bad as 2012.
  • Zook continued to coach special teams and special teams were awful.
If Zook had hired Petrino and Koenning from the beginning, recruited to their needs, mixed in some capable recruiters with good teachers/strategists, this might just have worked. But it was really too late to give it a fair shot after the awful 2009 season destroyed what remained of Zook's reputation as a coach.

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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:49 PM   #14
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The article is definitely from Frank Frangie, Zook's close friend who used to run the Scout board. Frank's insights were the only reason I paid for the premium subscription over there.

The funny thing is the first 2/3 of the piece (mainly about the cultural, coaching search) was exactly what Frank posted months ago before he left Scout. When I was reading it tonight, the comments about Cyler Myles and Antonio Morrison sure sounded familiar.

So it looks like he reposted that but added comments about this season, future of the program, etc.

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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:59 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Groundhogday View Post
But it was really too late to give it a fair shot after the awful 2009 season destroyed what remained of Zook's reputation as a coach.
This is what I had trouble with. The author glossed over Zook's terrible seasons in 2008 and 2009 by citing other coaches who had down years in the middle of their tenures. Zook had plenty of chances to win at Illinois. It will be interesting to see if Beckman has as many.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 11:04 PM   #16
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Wow. Not much to say about this. Honestly I don't know how you can argue with any of this
One winning regular season in 7 years, would be my argument.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 11:15 PM   #17
Groundhogday
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Knights in shining armor come to Notre Dame and Ohio State and LSU, they don't come to Wisconsin and Virginia Tech and Missouri. They don't come to Illinois. And, unfortunately if they do, they stay a few years, and THEN go to Notre Dame and Ohio State and LSU. Just sort of how it is.

So what those three schools did is realize they had a guy who, maybe wasn't perfect, needed to learn how to be the right head coach, needed some help and support, but ultimately, could make those schools as good as they could be.
Does he really think that Zook's record over 7 years compares with Alvarez over the same period? Alvarez won the Big Ten and Rose Bowl with a 10-1-1 record his 4th year. Over his first 7 years Alvarez was 21-32-3 in conference play vs. 18-38 for Zook. After climbing the mountain, Alvarez had one losing season (4-5-2, 3-4-1) and otherwise went bowling every year. Zook failed to squeeze out a winning season with a talented team in 2008 and we collapsed to 3-9 in his fifth year with multiple blowout losses. Alvarez was really getting rolling with recruiting in his 5th, 6th and 7th years, assembling the talent that would take them to two straight Big Ten championships and Rose Bowl victories. Zook's 2010 and 2011 recruiting classes were terrible.

And what about Missouri? For one thing, Pinkel managed to whip Zook annually in the St. Louis opener. He made bowl games in years 3, 5-11 (and barely missed a bowl game in year four.) Overall, there is a clear trend of improvement for Pinkel from year 4 to year 10. The one comparison that might be valid is with Beamer, but no one would give a coach that much slack today.

Zook lost his job because
  1. he did a terrible job of coaching fairly talented 2008 and 2009 teams, to the point of national embarrassment in 2009. That disaster killed recruiting for 2010 and 2011, and put us behind the 8-ball for the 2012 class.
  2. He couldn't find a way to win a game over the last half of the 2012 season. Beat Purdue and the tailspin doesn't even start. Beat Purdue and you probably don't lose to Minnesota at the end of the season. Beat Purdue, finish 8-4, go to a nice bowl, get an extension, and sign a nice class. It wasn't that hard Ron, just beat Purdue. (And if you can't beat Purdue, then close the deal against a vulnerable PSU team on the road.)
90% of ADs in this country would have fired Zook after the 2009 season. He got a second chance, blew three very winnable games in 2010, and couldn't stop his team from losing 6 in a row in 2011.

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Last edited by Groundhogday; Nov 29, 2012 at 11:18 PM.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 11:19 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Jabber Jabber View Post
This is what I had trouble with. The author glossed over Zook's terrible seasons in 2008 and 2009 by citing other coaches who had down years in the middle of their tenures. Zook had plenty of chances to win at Illinois. It will be interesting to see if Beckman has as many.
2008 was a down year. That is normal. 2009 was an epic collapse.

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Old Nov 30, 2012, 12:19 AM   #19
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History from a Zook buddy. What fun. A couple gems though:

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Well, say you want about Ron Guenther, but he got that. He was an Illinois guy, loved Illinois. And he knew what Illinois could and couldn't get.
Thats the spirit!

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For months, many speculated that Michael Hogan hired Mike Thomas to fire Zook and Weber. I'll never know that because I don't know anyone who knows Michael Hogan. But what I can tell you is this: I got this, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I got it second hand -- I don't want to misrepresent it -- but from someone no longer at Illinois but who at one time was very high ranking in the AD's office, that Thomas was hired because he either promised, or at the very least implied, that he would make the "necessary changes" quickly. Make what you want of that, but that is what I was told.
A significant part of MT's appeal was that he had a good track record of hiring successful coaches. Anyone can fire someone. Its not exactly ridiculous to think Thomas was brought in with the thought that we might be replacing Zook or Weber.

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Well, from the same source who was in the AD's office at the time and is no longer at Illinois -- and again, I got it second hand -- but the word was that Thomas' body language suggested he was very uptight when the football team got off to the great start.
So, one person told another person what they thought a third person's "body language" implied. Yes, every AD's job is so much easier when the teams lose.

And we tried to hire Paul Rhoads? :laugh:

Last edited by Aaron; Nov 30, 2012 at 12:22 AM.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 04:55 AM   #20
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For months, many speculated that Michael Hogan hired Mike Thomas to fire Zook and Weber. I'll never know that because I don't know anyone who knows Michael Hogan. But what I can tell you is this: I got this, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I got it second hand -- I don't want to misrepresent it -- but from someone no longer at Illinois but who at one time was very high ranking in the AD's office, that Thomas was hired because he either promised, or at the very least implied, that he would make the "necessary changes" quickly. Make what you want of that, but that is what I was told.
What an incredibly tortured piece of logic and prose. Dreadful writing and even worse thinking!

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Old Nov 30, 2012, 05:18 AM   #21
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MT sure didn't look uptight on the sidelines of the ASU game as he was jumping around and cheering.

What a complete and utter hack this guy is. Solid representation of the University for sure.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 05:21 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by KJKobs View Post
The article is definitely from Frank Frangie, Zook's close friend who used to run the Scout board. Frank's insights were the only reason I paid for the premium subscription over there.

The funny thing is the first 2/3 of the piece (mainly about the cultural, coaching search) was exactly what Frank posted months ago before he left Scout. When I was reading it tonight, the comments about Cyler Myles and Antonio Morrison sure sounded familiar.

So it looks like he reposted that but added comments about this season, future of the program, etc.
Yup
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 05:30 AM   #23
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Zook...the gift that keeps on giving!
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 05:33 AM   #24
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Zook had ample time to win. He had one maybe two strong recruiting classes and did little with them. Zooks average/poor recruiting has left this team with a serious lack of depth. There will always be zook supporters and they will defend him. If Beckmann would have won this year the same people would argue it was Zooks recruits and that's why he won ala Florida. People move on and move forward. Beckman may be a blip on the radar years from now or maybe he'll be here the next 10 years, we just don't know. I think he wanted recruiting assistants over coaching assistants and that has got him in trouble. However, so far he has a strong recruiting class this year compared to past years. A few assistant changes and a couple years to get his players he may surprise.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 05:43 AM   #25
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Biased article. Zook may have been a great guy, but his teams generally underperformed relative to the talent level. The 6-0 start in 2011 was predicated on some luck; this easily could have been 3-3. And I just don't buy the "AD didn't support me" crap. If Zook (or Weber) need hand holding from the AD, they simply aren't qualified to coach in D-1.
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