Football Coaching Staff / Coaching Carousel Thread

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Forgive me, cause theres a lot to unpack in this comment. The SEC is a different animal. Football in the south is a religion. Now, you can compare UI to UM or OSU or NU. Well those schools have something we will (probably) never have and that tradition that spans more than the early 1900s. We've never strung together even 3 years of top flight football since maybe the late 80s if you even want to call John Mackovic's run that. You're expecting fans to blinding follow a team (and therefore the leadership) most probably don't believe in. It's human nature to oppose things that are wrong, or else have apathy towards them. Either case, you aren't coming out to the games.

I live in the burbs and I would expect >75% of this board (and the rest of the fan base) lives rough as close or farther than I do from Champaign. Why would I travel 2.5+ hrs, sit in crappy weather, and watch bad football, in hopes that some 18 year old kid picks this team? You can call me fair weather, but its beyond ridiculous to think lack of fan support is the main reason we don't get 4 and 5 star kids committing left and right. And I don't think the win first rhetoric is that crazy. Lovie drew plenty of fan support when he started, 3 years is enough time for most sports fans to quit on a guy, logic be darned.

It's the job of the staff to sell what they have and what could be to recruits. Sure, it would help them if the stadium is packed, but very, very few sports teams have the luxury of unwavering fan support, and without putting too much thought into there, the Cubs and Red Sox are the only traditionally crap teams that got support through the leanest of years, and even still suffered plenty of attrition from their stadiums.

I'll continue to watch the Illini on TV because I am a fan. If I lived in Champaign, I would probably go to the game, but I'd rather only waste 3 hrs instead of 8+ on Saturdays for Illini football. If that makes me fair weather, then I'm fine with that label.

Agree with everything you unpacked. For years we had football season tickets which grew to a group of 10. We had a pretty good time in spite of the steady decline in Illini football. I still remember when we had an extra ticket and I was going to sell it for 50% of its face value and a prospective buyer offered me $1 for the ticket. I now think giving Coach Smith another year only sets the program back even further than it is now. He needs to go too and If the top recruits decommit that's the way it goes. It's going to take a heck of a lot more than a couple blue chippers to turn the mess which is Illini football around.
 
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I now think giving Coach Smith another year only sets the program back even further than it is now. He needs to go too and If the top recruits decommit that's the way it goes. It's going to take a heck of a lot more than a couple blue chippers to turn the mess which is Illini football around.
Today, I will say he deserves to at least start next year. The schedule is too soft and even though it might sound a little like hypocrisy, this seasons only gone slightly worse than I anticipated. I want to believe he is building something, but I couldn't tell you if it's hope, apathy, or something else driving those thoughts. My biggest issue is that the record is one thing, but the product on the field has shown zero improvement defensively and our offense really hasn't shown all that much. When/if we lose out, I still dont see Whitman cutting ties with Lovie. 2019 is a much bigger year for both sports.

The thing is, I might have gotten too much into my head about the recruits we have next year. I want to believe this situation is different than Groce/Tilmon, but its strangely similar. One more year only works if theres ever an actual outcome.
 
Agree with everything you unpacked. For years we had football season tickets which grew to a group of 10. We had a pretty good time in spite of the steady decline in Illini football. I still remember when we had an extra ticket and I was going to sell it for 50% of its face value and a prospective buyer offered me $1 for the ticket. I now think giving Coach Smith another year only sets the program back even further than it is now. He needs to go too and If the top recruits decommit that's the way it goes. It's going to take a heck of a lot more than a couple blue chippers to turn the mess which is Illini football around.
And this is exactly why you give a great football mind like Lovie as much time as he needs. It's been said many times, but nobody is beating down the door to come coach here. We all knew there was a chance Lovie might not be able to adapt to the college game, but you have to give him a chance because he has as good a pedigree as you can get here. Whitman will give him at least 4 recruiting classes.

In 2006 when we went 2-10 how were fans feeling? Did people think there would be a big jump in 2007? Or was it doom and gloom. I can't remember so I would love some insight WITHOUT the revisionist history.
 
patience young Jedi... I remember going into the season, talk of Butkus needing to go because our mostly freshman offensive line was so bad...we are still too young & paying the price for the end of the Beckman era recruiting

Look at Depth chart of West Foes below included Sophomores/Freshman (including Redshirts), you can debate it a bit, such as if AJ is still number 1 on the Depth Chart or if Corbin should be #1 at this point. If you dig a little deeper, it probably looks worse considering we didn't redshirt many sophomores & we are starting a large number on both Offensive/Defensive line where it matters more.

Ill 7/11 Off; 7/11 Def (14 total FR/So)
Purdue 3/11 offense; 4/11 on defense (7)
Minnesota 8/11 offense; 4/11 on defense (12)
NW 2/11 offense; 5/11 on defense (7)
IA 5/11 Off; 4/11 Def (9)
Neb 7/11 Off; 2/11 Def (9)
Wis 3/11 Off; 6/11 Def (9)
 
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In 2006 when we went 2-10 how were fans feeling? Did people think there would be a big jump in 2007? Or was it doom and gloom. I can't remember so I would love some insight WITHOUT the revisionist history.
I don't think anyone saw an immediate Rose Bowl coming but the jump from 2005 to 2006 was enormous. We gave Ohio State and that year's Heisman winner Troy Smith all they could handle. Almost beat a ranked Wisconsin in Madison too. We could have and probably should have gone bowling that year, and if we're honest in retrospect some of the Zookiness that would plague us later was very visible in failing to win some of those close games.

But we were miles better on the field and built a Top 20 in the nation recruiting class during the season. The arrow was pointing straight up in a way that was plainly obvious to all observers.

There is no parallel to the current situation whatsoever.
 
I think Lovie thought NFL coaches would immediately attract recruits. I also think that giving his buddies a shot would be a no brainer. I think he finally realizing that he has to be more hands on. Nickerson was out of his league from the beginning. Just the offense was so bad that it made the defense look passable. Well as you can see that time is over. Lovie will get to 2020. This defensive coordinator hire is his Waterloo. I think Whitman will give him every chance to succeed here. He must find a coach that knows how to stop a college offense.
 
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I don't think anyone saw an immediate Rose Bowl coming but the jump from 2005 to 2006 was enormous. We gave Ohio State and that year's Heisman winner Troy Smith all they could handle. Almost beat a ranked Wisconsin in Madison too. We could have and probably should have gone bowling that year, and if we're honest in retrospect some of the Zookiness that would plague us later was very visible in failing to win some of those close games.

But we were miles better on the field and built a Top 20 in the nation recruiting class during the season. The arrow was pointing straight up in a way that was plainly obvious to all observers.

There is no parallel to the current situation whatsoever.

Agreed. We were light years ahead as a program in 2006 than where we are now.

Even though we were losing on the field, we lost respectably to some really good teams. And more importantly, we were laying the foundation for a strong future with great recruiting.

We are getting beat like a drum on the field, and we have the worst recruiting class in the Big Ten for next year. If anybody would rather have our predicament in 2018 than our predicament at this point in 2006, they need to have their head examined.
 
Captain 'Paign
Phoenix, AZ
Unless you have 50,000 friends, no one can do anything about option B either. Fun soap box though, good luck with that.

Getting lucky with our next coaching hire is 1,000x easier than telling this ghost town that we all need to find 1,000 friends to bring to every home game over the next 3 years.
Yeah...you're never going to convince people, die hard or not, to pay good money to support a losing team that appears to be a lost cause. Why? Because watching your team lose is no fun. Sitting on a hard bench in the cold to watch your team lose for 3 hours is even less fun. Blah blah support the players, etc. and Yes, there will always be those alums and fans that will come no matter what (a very few). But nobody built a winning program simply off fan support and packing a stadium. Winning will always come first. You win, then you start to attract more fans, then you pack the stadium. That's how it is and that's how it's always going to be.
 
Even though we were losing on the field, we lost respectably to some really good teams. And more importantly, we were laying the foundation for a strong future with great recruiting.
Given that we had our peak of that era the very next year when all those great recruits were true freshmen and only a handful of them made an impact, was that the more important part?

I don't mean to downplay the impact that Vontae and Benn and Juice and of course Rashard (a Turner recruit though) had on that team. I would just observe that the pinnacle of Zook's success came because he and his staff turned guys like J Leman and Brit Miller and Kevin Mitchell and Xavier Fulton and Chris Norwell and Ryan McDonald and Justin Harrison into high quality, impactful Big Ten players.

The kind of guys who the savvy, twitter-smart, faux sophisticated type of fans love to accuse of condemning a program to irrelevance until they are eventually recruited over.

Those guys bought into their coaches and especially their strength and conditioning staff and THAT'S why we went to the Rose Bowl.

This idea that you have to burn a losing program to the ground and start it totally from ground zero is garbage, in both sports. Our AD and our two coaches made a mistake looking at our situation that way, IMO.
 
"we are still too young & paying the price for the end of the Beckman era recruiting"

This continues to be hogwash. I agree we are not Ohio State, but easily a dozen Beckman era recruits have gone in to play in the league.

We are too young because Lovie and his guys ran off half the scholarship players... One is at Miami. One is at Maryland. And so on and so forth.
 
It is very simple. If you, as a fan, want the top end recruits to come to your university, you have to do your part and generate that environment on the same level as the schools you want to be like. Everybody can say, "well they need to win and we will come out". Well you are not going to win without talent. Big talent coming in this weekend. One guy is already committed to Mississippi State, a team that plays in the SEC, a conference that averages 75k fans per game. Everybody wants to blame this coaching staff for not getting a good recruiting class. They have gotten them on campus to find a stadium 1/3 full! The fans are not doing their part. They cry and wine and sit back in their recliners. Nebraska was 0-6 and still had a packed stadium. You think Lovie is going to win any recruiting battles against that? This fanbase is putting the coaching staff at a disadvantage and then want to throw mud when they are not pulling in top talent.

Lets compare
Can get you to the NFL?
SEC: Yes ILL: Yes
Top of the line facilities?
SEC: Yes ILL: Yes (next year, thank you JW)
Top Educational Programs?
SEC: Yes ILL: Yes
Great Game Day Environment?
SEC: Yes ILL: NOT EVEN CLOSE

All these comments looking outward at what the coaching staff is not doing, and ignoring the ONLY thing we can actually do is making me feel this program will NEVER reach the likes of Michigan or Ohio State. To many fair weather fans. I guess this really is only a golf school.
Win and the fans will come. It is that simple.
 
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So with all of this talk about us being the worst program and all, it got me to thinking about Rutgers. And the thing people don't understand about Rutgers is that they aren't this school that has just lost and lost forever, it's a historically fairly successful 1AA-type school that has tried to make it in big time sports despite never having the infrastructure or fan support to sustain that.

So I was looking some stuff up and this struck me as a pretty good way to draw the contrast between that and Illinois, founder member of the original major sports conference.

1972 Illinois Football Schedule
Michigan State
#1 USC
#14 Washington
#16 Penn State (a nonconference game in those days)
#4 Ohio State
#6 Michigan
Purdue
Northwestern
Indiana
Wisconsin
Iowa

1972 Rutgers Football Schedule
Holy Cross
Lehigh
Princeton
Cornell
Lafayette
Army
Columbia
UConn
Boston University
Morgan State
Colgate

Even by 1998 Rutgers' schedule was still not major league in the modern sense: Richmond, Boston College, Syracuse, Army, Miami (FL), Pittsburgh, Tulane, Temple, Navy, West Virginia, Virginia Tech.

They're just trying to invent it out of thin air. You really can't compare Rutgers to anyone else.
 
Herndon, VA
So, based on Lovie's presser today, not only do we have the youngest players, but it looks like we are trending towards the youngest coaching staff as he announced that the 3rd year grad assistant is now the linebacker coach. The defensive front seven are coached by who now?
 
This continues to be hogwash. I agree we are not Ohio State, but easily a dozen Beckman era recruits have gone in to play in the league.
I'll raise the BS flag on this. There are currently only 17 Illini on NFL rosters, and only two from the Beckman era. Going back three years doesn't change the numbers much. Beckman (facilitated my Mike Thomas) screwed every aspect of this program from top to bottom, and left to right. There was no place to go but up.
 
There was no place to go but up.
Yet, alas, we went down.

Both last year and this year so far are worse football teams than Beckman's first and worst at Illinois. He won more B1G games in his final season than Lovie has in all three combined. His 2013 and 2015 recruiting classes ranked higher nationally than any of Lovie's so far.

Beckman was a bad football coach and an embarrassment to the University in so many non-football ways and I'm glad he's gone. But he left behind a program that a coach with the credibility and the salary of Lovie Smith should have done much, much more with. He still should, there's still time.
 
United States
I don't think anyone saw an immediate Rose Bowl coming but the jump from 2005 to 2006 was enormous. We gave Ohio State and that year's Heisman winner Troy Smith all they could handle. Almost beat a ranked Wisconsin in Madison too. We could have and probably should have gone bowling that year, and if we're honest in retrospect some of the Zookiness that would plague us later was very visible in failing to win some of those close games.

But we were miles better on the field and built a Top 20 in the nation recruiting class during the season. The arrow was pointing straight up in a way that was plainly obvious to all observers.

There is no parallel to the current situation whatsoever.
Gotta admit The Zooker has Lovie beaten in the the recruiting department.
 
I try to be positive on these boards, but I was very disappointed in Hardy after Bennett dismissal. His friends kid got dismissed from team. That just sucks. It kills me from a non football perspective if a friends kid came to me for guidance/ growth, and am part of this failure.
 
For head coaches.... lookin for an innovative offensive mind, assistant with power 5 experience....rod smith might be the best we can get. He’s already in Champaign. First year calling plays, but so far so good and he’s already here.

As another poster stated, babers was possible but timing was not ideal since Beckman was not fired yet. Also throw in Jerry kill...was hired at Minn before Zook fired I think, would have been great. Need someone like Kill.
 
rod smith might be the best we can get.
If Rod Smith is good enough to be the answer at head coach, Rod Smith is going to be good enough to save Lovie Smith's job.

At the moment he's an offensive coordinator in charge of the 75th ranked offense in the country, and QB coach for a team who is 108th in the country in completion percentage.

Both of those are improvements over last year, but neither is the mark of some genius at the wheel.

The guy on this coaching staff who really deserves plaudits this year is Luke Butkus, a guy I really doubted previously.
 
Woodridge, IL
For head coaches.... lookin for an innovative offensive mind, assistant with power 5 experience....rod smith might be the best we can get. He’s already in Champaign. First year calling plays, but so far so good and he’s already here.

As another poster stated, babers was possible but timing was not ideal since Beckman was not fired yet. Also throw in Jerry kill...was hired at Minn before Zook fired I think, would have been great. Need someone like Kill.
Beckamn was fired before Babers took the Syracuse job. We just had an interim AD who gave the interim coach a 2 year extension. You're right on Kill whose first season at Minny was Zook's last here.
 
If Rod Smith is good enough to be the answer at head coach, Rod Smith is going to be good enough to save Lovie Smith's job.

At the moment he's an offensive coordinator in charge of the 75th ranked offense in the country, and QB coach for a team who is 108th in the country in completion percentage.

Both of those are improvements over last year, but neither is the mark of some genius at the wheel.

The guy on this coaching staff who really deserves plaudits this year is Luke Butkus, a guy I really doubted previously.
Agree with the bolded. I was heavily critical of him earlier, but he has molded a still fairly inexperienced unit into one that might be the only one I could say has shown a lot of growth over the 7 games.
 
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I merely point out, having game day fan support is a huge benefit to not just the current team, but also in the recruiting world. We don't have that, other teams we are fighting recruits for do.
Attendance 2017:
Illinois - 39,429
Virginia - 39,398
Cal - 36,548
Pittsburgh - 36,295
Northwestern - 35,853
Boston College - 35,924
Oregon State - 34,754
Syracuse - 33,929
Washington State - 31,982
Vanderbilt - 31,341
Wake Forest - 28,436
Duke - 26,797
Kansas - 26,641

F/+ Ranking 2017:
Wake Forest - 29th
Northwestern - 42nd
Boston College - 43rd
Washington State - 45th
Duke - 52nd
Pittsburgh - 79th
Syracuse - 80th
Cal - 82nd
Virginia - 83rd
Vanderbilt - 91st
Illinois - 119th
Oregon State - 122nd
Kansas - 123rd

2019 Recruiting Class Ranking:
Virginia - 30th
Duke - 37th
Cal - 40th
Boston College - 41st
Pittsburgh - 47th
Wake Forest - 48th
Northwestern - 49th
Vanderbilt - 53rd
Washington State - 68th
Oregon State - 70th
Illinois - 74th
Syracuse - 81st
Kansas - 171st


Illinois has astonishingly patient, loyal, passionate fans, beyond all reason and expectation. The absolute best of the best. Period.
 
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