Football Coaching Staff / Coaching Carousel Thread

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Peoria via Denver via Ann Arbor via Albuquerque vi
No typo, He is finally growing up and he can coach some football(offensively at least). Also think he brings an energy with him on social media and in person that Illinois desperately needs in order to gain attention and notoriety nationally and with recruits.
*looks left* ... *looks right* ... (quietly whispers: yo, you think we have a shot at Kiffin?)
 
Likes: illini0440
I think that it’s time for Lovie to go but doubt that Josh will pull the trigger at the end of this season.
There is a difference between losing and being embarrassed. We have been embarrassed too many times this year.
The defense has time after time failed to adjust. Last agame Maryland ran the same play over and over and what did we do...nothing.
Now we have two defensive coaches in their 20’s.
 
I always find it interesting that Zook's last two years were 7-6 and 7-6 and Mike White's last two years were 4-7 and 3-7-1.
Yet Illini fandom look at their legacies so differently.
Maybe I can help you out with this one....

1. White inherited the dregs of a program after the Moeller era; Zook inherited the guts of a pretty good team from Turner
2. White won a Big 10 title; Zook didn't
3. White had 5 straight winning seasons; Zook had one winning season
4. White had a Big 10 record of 40-26; Zook's was 19-37
5. White left Mackovic Jeff George among other players that contributed to 5 straight winning seasons after he left; Zook left pretty much nothing for Beckman; his last 3 recruiting classes had no players drafted

That's why Illinois fans look at their legacies so differently
 
Likes: the national
IMHO Josh will give Lovie time to make staff changes and show improvement. Meaning Lovie is here next year, for sure.

I'm at a complete loss as to what kind of fracture is going on inside the team. Is Lovie is a nightmare coach and his on-air personality is 100% fake? Are his staffing choices just breathtakingly bad? I mean, he knew Hardy for years...was Lovie blind to the needs of the job and picked a bad fit, or was Hardy the good guy and Lovie is just a nightmare? Without knowing what's going on inside, I can only guess. And I have every incentive to hope that Hardy (and Abraham?) was a disaster, and that Lovie was giving him space to show progress. Because that problem is the easiest to solve.

Best case scenario, Rod stays and improves as OC, and Lovie hires a great-fit DC who brings the D together in a hurry, and recruits like Zook/2006. Go Illini.
 
I think that it’s time for Lovie to go but doubt that Josh will pull the trigger at the end of this season.
There is a difference between losing and being embarrassed. We have been embarrassed too many times this year.
The defense has time after time failed to adjust. Last agame Maryland ran the same play over and over and what did we do...nothing.
Now we have two defensive coaches in their 20’s.
We fired the defensive coordinator....what more do you want?
 
Likes: KevinC
Normal, Illinois
Looking back several years I believe than and believe now firing Zook was the wrong decision. Believe hiring and spending for better assistant coaches was the answer. Zook did some lame play calling that made you scratch your head. But they hired a good d-coach and probably had to look at hiring a solid o-coach.

I think the answer again is to hired better Asst. Coaches, I like the Rod Smith hire. My two eyes says the offense is better run than the last two years, despite injuries and departures. Need a top D asst. coach that can instantly recruit and teach the fundamentals. I have found that lower rated players are not always just lower in abilities, but also lower in athletic IQ and desire. Our 3 star recruits are already behind the 4-5 stars athletically/ability, but the IQ and desire has to there.

The epic collapse of 2011 was fueled by an inability to make adjustments to the play calling on offense (Scheelhaase to Jenkins got picked up on in the final 7 games). That team should have won 8-10 games considering that Minnesota was terrible and Ohio State and Purdue were mediocre. Even the Penn State and Wisconsin games were winnable. Also remember that Zook's last two recruiting class were below average for his standards because of his lame duck status. I'd argue that retaining Zook for 2010 is what started the mega-downward spiral of Illini football that was only made worse with the Beckman/Cubit fiascos.
 
Likes: KevinC
Lexington, KY
Using Nebraska is a terrible example. They've had like 3 losing seasons in the past 50 years. The main way to cultivate fans is when they're students and making it a habit to come to games. Unfortunately, Illinois has been generally terrible for the past 25 years making students unwilling to come out to the games. Since they don't go to games as students they don't come back later. Not to mention Lincoln is a lot larger metropolitan area than Champaign-Urbana. Additionally, nearly 2/3 of instate alumni live in the Chicagoland area meaning at least 2 hours both ways. It's a big time investment for what is generally a bad product.

It truly is a vicious cycle though. Fans don't come because we're generally bad which hurts recruiting which keeps the team bad which keeps the fans away.
Just in terms of student turnout: My wife and I have been returning each year for one game. Part of the problem with our student turnout has to do with the demographic shift that has happened over the past 15 years on campus. PLEASE nobody infer racism in what I'm saying, just culturalism. The heavy influx of international students tilts the football fan percentage down a few points.
 
Likes: CHEEF
Is Illinois the place where head football coaches destroy their chance to be successful again at a D one school ? Mike White goes to the NFL, Mackovic probably the most success at Texas then bad at AZ, Lou Tepper never a head coach as D one, Ron Turner goes NFL and bad years at FIU, Ron Zook goes NFL, Beckman done forever, Cubit who knows. Lovie will be next. What coach would want to take a job at this place.
 
Plainfield
Who have been some of our best coordinators over the years? I’ll start with Mike Locksley. Great OC.
 
Likes: Chukwuwumba
I'm at a complete loss as to what kind of fracture is going on inside the team. Is Lovie is a nightmare coach and his on-air personality is 100% fake? Are his staffing choices just breathtakingly bad? I mean, he knew Hardy for years...was Lovie blind to the needs of the job and picked a bad fit, or was Hardy the good guy and Lovie is just a nightmare? Without knowing what's going on inside, I can only guess. And I have every incentive to hope that Hardy (and Abraham?) was a disaster, and that Lovie was giving him space to show progress. Because that problem is the easiest to solve.
This would be my best guess:

I think Lovie is a very confident guy who thought this was going to be pretty easy, but walked into the job very unprepared to be a major college recruiter, to adapt lesser talent against modern college schemes, especially his trademark defense against modern offenses, and to recruit, guide, and be a leader of the current generation of players.

To the first point, a person of Lovie's age and stature was never going to be a door-to-door salesman grinder on the recruiting trail. He was always going to need to hire a staff to really bear that load and he didn't do it. He gave the big jobs to two people he had close personal relationships with, Nickerson who just was never cut out for coaching on this level, and Garrick McGee who was a very strong hire on paper, but who it seems is not a great guy and not a model of professionalism when he's not under Bobby Petrino's thumb. He came to this job to get freedom and leeway and he seemingly abused it. In the spots below that it was more NFL buddies of Lovie and a couple of surprising holdovers from the previous staff, as if he just couldn't be bothered to look for other people. Because it was March I ignored it, but that was a bad sign. Only Thad Ward was hired to be a nose-to-the-grindstone recruiter. This hasn't been fixed since. Cory Patterson seems to have worked out better than Abraham or Austin Clark, but none of them is a proper college coach.

To the second point, Lovie is rich and famous because of his mastery of a defense that was perfect for stopping mid-00's offenses with NFL caliber players. Tempo spreads have shredded Lovie's defense in college. Football is moving on. And I don't think it's a question of a talent gap to our opponents as much as it's just the absolute level of talent. Guys as good as 26 year old Brian Urlacher or Lance Briggs or Peanut Tillman do not exist in college at Bama or anywhere. This defense asks players to play with a level of fluidity and instinct that 20 year olds don't have.

And on the third point, all of those great Bears I mentioned are around 40, the same age as Josh Whitman. I think Whitman thinks of himself as someone who really understands the mentality of these young guys, and he really responded to Lovie the way an Urlacher or a Tillman did, he really bought into this being the savior. But today's players are of a very different generation who don't respond to the reserved, treat them like men attitude in the same way. They are motivated by a more hands-on sort of bond.

Plus, it's clear that Lovie and his staff were very committed in sidelining their inherited players in favor of new guys, largely to make early playing time a sell to incoming recruits, to ease the burden on a staff not set up to win on the trail. And I think they lost any leadership in the locker room on Day 1 by doing that, I think it was a huge mistake. Our young guys have come into a program where there weren't older guys with a sense of ownership over the program setting expectations and being leaders and culture enforcers in the absence of the coaches. That's the secret sauce of any winning program, in any sport.

So Lovie is left with a staff that doesn't fit, schematic problems he's not an ideal answer for, and a locker room without enough leaders than he doesn't have a great connection with. It's a heck of an uphill battle at this point. I think he gets another year simply because his buyout is $12+ million and Whitman isn't ready to admit failure, and he will have the advantages of an easy schedule and an older, more experienced team next year, but he's going to have to really pull a rabbit out of his hat with staff, strategic and cultural issues for this to last any longer than 2019, IMO. It's possible, but it's a longshot.
 
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Captain 'Paign
Phoenix, AZ
This would be my best guess:

I think Lovie is a very confident guy who thought this was going to be pretty easy, but walked into the job very unprepared to be a major college recruiter, to adapt lesser talent against modern college schemes, especially his trademark defense against modern offenses, and to recruit, guide, and be a leader of the current generation of players.

To the first point, a person of Lovie's age and stature was never going to be a door-to-door salesman grinder on the recruiting trail. He was always going to need to hire a staff to really bear that load and he didn't do it. He gave the big jobs to two people he had close personal relationships with, Nickerson who just was never cut out for coaching on this level, and Garrick McGee who was a very strong hire on paper, but who it seems is not a great guy and not a model of professionalism when he's not under Bobby Petrino's thumb. He came to this job to get freedom and leeway and he seemingly abused it. In the spots below that it was more NFL buddies of Lovie and a couple of surprising holdovers from the previous staff, as if he just couldn't be bothered to look for other people. Because it was March I ignored it, but that was a bad sign. Only Thad Ward was hired to be a nose-to-the-grindstone recruiter. This hasn't been fixed since. Cory Patterson seems to have worked out better than Abraham or Austin Clark, but none of them is a proper college coach.

To the second point, Lovie is rich and famous because of his mastery of a defense that was perfect for stopping mid-00's offenses with NFL caliber players. Tempo spreads have shredded Lovie's defense in college. Football is moving on. And I don't think it's a question of a talent gap to our opponents as much as it's just the absolute level of talent. Guys as good as 26 year old Brian Urlacher or Lance Briggs or Peanut Tillman do not exist in college at Bama or anywhere. This defense asks players to play with a level of fluidity and instinct that 20 year olds don't have.

And on the third point, all of those great Bears I mentioned are around 40, the same age as Josh Whitman. I think Whitman thinks of himself as someone who really understands the mentality of these young guys, and he really responded to Lovie the way an Urlacher or a Tillman did, he really bought into this being the savior. But today's players are of a very different generation who don't respond to the reserved, treat them like men attitude in the same way. They are motivated by a more hands-on sort of bond.

Plus, it's clear that Lovie and his staff were very committed in sidelining their inherited players in favor of new guys, largely to make early playing time a sell to incoming recruits, to ease the burden on a staff not set up to win on the trail. And I think they lost any leadership in the locker room on Day 1 by doing that, I think it was a huge mistake. Our young guys have come into a program where there weren't older guys with a sense of ownership over the program setting expectations and being leaders and culture enforcers in the absence of the coaches. That's the secret sauce of any winning program, in any sport.

So Lovie is left with a staff that doesn't fit, schematic problems he's not an ideal answer for, and a locker room without enough leaders than he doesn't have a great connection with. It's a heck of an uphill battle at this point. I think he gets another year simply because his buyout is $12+ million and Whitman isn't ready to admit failure, and he will have the advantages of an easy schedule and an older, more experienced team next year, but he's going to have to really pull a rabbit out of his hat with staff, strategic and cultural issues for this to last any longer than 2019, IMO. It's possible, but it's a longshot.
Pretty much nailed it, muchacho.
 
Likes: the national
*looks left* ... *looks right* ... (quietly whispers: yo, you think we have a shot at Kiffin?)
Recall that USC booted him off the team bus at the airport and left him standing. He was an embarrassment at Tennessee.
Please you folks, get rid of the thoughts of Schiano, he is mean and got himself disliked out of Rutgers and Tampa Bay.
As with Rich Rod, who ruined the Michigan players' college careers.
Lovie runs a straight program to develop boys into men, and I would not want anyone's son to play for the aforementioned.
So Stop It! already.
 
the Front Range
Maybe I can help you out with this one....

1. White inherited the dregs of a program after the Moeller era; Zook inherited the guts of a pretty good team from Turner
2. White won a Big 10 title; Zook didn't
3. White had 5 straight winning seasons; Zook had one winning season
4. White had a Big 10 record of 40-26; Zook's was 19-37
5. White left Mackovic Jeff George among other players that contributed to 5 straight winning seasons after he left; Zook left pretty much nothing for Beckman; his last 3 recruiting classes had no players drafted

That's why Illinois fans look at their legacies so differently
+1,000,000, well said.
 
Zook left pretty much nothing for Beckman
Left the #7 ranked defense in the country (also 4th in the nation in pass defense, fifth in tackles for loss and ninth in sacks).
6 guys out of the front 7 available in 2012 played in the NFL ... Spence, Bates, Buchanan, Foster, Staples, Brown.
Hawthorne, Justin Green DBs.
Lankford, Lacosse, Ferguson, Scheelhaase, Prosch at skill positions.
Karras, Thornton, Pocic in the line.

Kinda crazy statement.
 
Austin, TX
We have to remember that Lovie has never been a college head coach. It is possible for a coach to learn and adapt. His willingness to let go of both coordinators is a good sign. And the Rod Smith pick looks good early on. Hopefully he has a better understanding of what he needs out of his coordinator position and makes a home run hire on defense.
Certainly hope so. However, I am not too sure if Lovie is capable/willing to change. I think if Lovie were to recruit a bunch of 4/5 star kids, his D will do very, very well. The question is with 2/3 star kids is he willing to change his D to match the quality he has? Dunno. Gut: he will not.
 
In my opinion, this is what Lovie and his coaching staff is going through at this time, and it would be wonderful if Illini nation could support him:


Roll, Lovie, roll on!!
 
Likes: KevinC
So Lovie is left with a staff that doesn't fit, schematic problems he's not an ideal answer for, and a locker room without enough leaders than he doesn't have a great connection with. It's a heck of an uphill battle at this point. I think he gets another year simply because his buyout is $12+ million and Whitman isn't ready to admit failure, and he will have the advantages of an easy schedule and an older, more experienced team next year, but he's going to have to really pull a rabbit out of his hat with staff, strategic and cultural issues for this to last any longer than 2019, IMO. It's possible, but it's a longshot.
I agree with much of what you said but I don't think it is quite as much of a long shot however. I don't think Lovie will need next years D to be the 94 Illini D to win six or 7 games. Our offense is headed in a decidedly positive direction and returns almost everyone next season. In addition Williams in whatever form he takes on the field will add instant explosiveness to what should be an increasingly dangerous unit.

I think our D could improve moderately with maturity and new coordinator and be just enough to go bowling. Now whether that is the formula for a program builder I'm not sure, but I think Lovie will save his job next season.
 
Normal, Illinois
Recall that USC booted him off the team bus at the airport and left him standing. He was an embarrassment at Tennessee.
Please you folks, get rid of the thoughts of Schiano, he is mean and got himself disliked out of Rutgers and Tampa Bay.
As with Rich Rod, who ruined the Michigan players' college careers.
Lovie runs a straight program to develop boys into men, and I would not want anyone's son to play for the aforementioned.
So Stop It! already.

I highly doubt any of those 3 would risk their careers by coming here. They'd probably want to inherit a more stable situation/more prestigious job, but if they were to hypothetically consider Illinois..


Kiffin was a massive tool during his tenures at USC and Tennessee. He was a young coach coasting off his father's name and didn't have the maturity or the skill needed to handle the expectations of those two programs. I believe his time at Alabama was beneficial for him, and last year he took a Florida Atlantic team that was coming off 3 consecutive 3-9 seasons and turned them into Conference USA champions and a dominating bowl victory over Akron (which was probably due to a talent disparity but the point still stands). Granted, the team is 3-5 now, so time will tell last season if last season was just another fluke (he had a one 10 win season at USC during their postseason ban).

You're correct in that Schiano was massively disliked in Tampa, but what are your sources for his time in Rutgers? He brought them a level of success no one has matched since. Again, I doubt he would come to Illinois, but I believe he'd be a great coach to turn around the team. Tennessee back away from because of his "middling record" at Rutgers. They just used the weak possibility that he knew about Sandusky when he was at PSU as an excuse to decommit. This article from 2014 (before he was hired by Ohio State) suggests that his time away from coaching changed him for the better. https://www.si.com/2014/11/04/nfl-greg-schiano-year-off

As for Rich Rod, what are you referring to in "ruining Michigan players' college careers?" Are you referring to his practice violations at Michigan? The allegation that he swore too much for a college coach? Not great stuff, yes, but he improved the win total each season at his time at Michigan before he was run off, and it was his players that gave Brady Hoke his early success. In all but one of his seasons at Arizona, he led them to a bowl game in a Pac-12 that was stronger than it is now. I also believe there were no concerns about his behavior while he was at Arizona, but I could be wrong.

Lovie is a good guy, no doubt, but so were John Groce, Ron Zook, Bruce Weber, and Bill Cubit, and they were all fired for the same reason that will eventually be Lovie's downfall.
 
Left the #7 ranked defense in the country (also 4th in the nation in pass defense, fifth in tackles for loss and ninth in sacks).
6 guys out of the front 7 available in 2012 played in the NFL ... Spence, Bates, Buchanan, Foster, Staples, Brown.
Hawthorne, Justin Green DBs.
Lankford, Lacosse, Ferguson, Scheelhaase, Prosch at skill positions.
Karras, Thornton, Pocic in the line.

Kinda crazy statement.
Those guys were pretty much all seniors. The 2010 - 2012 classes were Zook's worst by a mile.

I'm not sure what point you were all making - so I'm not taking sides,... but I'm just pointing out that Zook's recruiting declined substantially at the end. Beckman did inherit a good senior class and his staff did have one of the worst coaching years ever (in that first year).
 
Peoria via Denver via Ann Arbor via Albuquerque vi
Recall that USC booted him off the team bus at the airport and left him standing. He was an embarrassment at Tennessee.
Please you folks, get rid of the thoughts of Schiano, he is mean and got himself disliked out of Rutgers and Tampa Bay.
As with Rich Rod, who ruined the Michigan players' college careers.
Lovie runs a straight program to develop boys into men, and I would not want anyone's son to play for the aforementioned.
So Stop It! already.
My weekly plea... Just stop it. The run, the pass... any third down and distance put before them.

Good Lord, Lane Kiffin would make Illinois football so interesting, I get giddy at the thought of him following Fleck to a conference podium. The trolling he would do...

I love you, Lovie. Seriously, I have been on board since Chicago and was stoked with the hire. I sure as heck hope you make a super dramatic turn and this move was the catalyst needed. That said, a defensive coach is currently coaching the worst defense in the history of Illinois football. In his third year on the job.

Unfortunately, there is no way Whitman makes a Lane Kiffin type hire, regardless of what happens with Lovie (best guess, at least one more year after this)... but he should.

Chugga-Chugga-Choo-Choo!
 
Likes: Illinifan533
Morrison, CO
Recall that USC booted him off the team bus at the airport and left him standing. He was an embarrassment at Tennessee.
Please you folks, get rid of the thoughts of Schiano, he is mean and got himself disliked out of Rutgers and Tampa Bay.
As with Rich Rod, who ruined the Michigan players' college careers.
Lovie runs a straight program to develop boys into men, and I would not want anyone's son to play for the aforementioned.
So Stop It! already.
Glad someone said something sensible about Lane Kiffin. Guy seems to be a decent asst coach but a horrible head coach. I've never actively rooted against any of our coaches (Gary Moeller came close) but if we hired Kiffin, I definitely would root for his failure.
 
I am looking at things from an outsiders perspective. As soon as I call out this fanbase for not showing up, even when we are a sub par team, I get hammered with excuse after excuse. Followed by negative comments about the product on the field. If you take my comments personal, then you need to check yourself. Tell me what I am saying that is so outlandish, because other football programs that you strive to be like, have this.
I do not hope to be like Iowa or Wisconsin. They are successful teams within the B1G, but realistically will never compete vs a top 10 team. When you fall short of that goal, you end up being Purdue...and Minnesota….and ILLINOIS.
Nebraska, Michigan, Ohio State are all fan bases that show up every time. Again, Nebraska was 0-6 and the stadium was packed. "We don't have their history". So what? Is history going to help you find the stadium? That is what GPS is for. 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. If you don't want to spend your Saturday at an IL game, that is your choice.
"We should be winning" - don't show up - don't get recruits - lack of a talented roster - keep losing.
To be completely honest, I don't think Urban Meyer is a good coach at all. His team's always play down to their competition and rarely seemed prepared. But they win, because they are the Kentucky of college football. They throw the best athletes out there and let them win.

"this is a ghost town, good luck getting 1k friends to show up, I am not driving 2.5 hrs". I don't care about your personal situation. I am not calling you as an individual out. If this is the product our fan base is going to provide, we are going to have a very low ceiling. And apparently, a very low floor.
We live 28 miles from Chicago and it often takes more than 2 hours of bumper to bumper traffic. We can drive the 165 miles to Champaign in 2.5 hours with one stop in Gilman. I'd much rather go to Champaign than ride my brakes for 2.5 hours to get to the city with no parking. I have to admit though that the horrible games the last 10 years are hard to stomach.
 
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