Football Coaching Staff / Coaching Carousel Thread

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#76
If the baseline of the previous coach is F/+ ratings in the -30% range, there's no reason to think that's the case. The Purdue case is a rare one where the change was huge and overnight, but coaches who are going to improve wasteland jobs show much more competitiveness immediately. Mike MacIntyre at Colorado, David Cutcliffe at Duke, Mike Leach at Washington State and Mark Mangino at Kansas would be some examples. None of them set the world on fire early, neither on the field nor in recruiting, but they all markedly improved what they inherited right away.

Also, roster turnover during a coaching change is usually less than you'd think. If we fired Lovie right now that would probably cost us IW and Beason, which would be bad and is one reason it's a bad idea, but mass exodus of players is pretty rare. Players on low-talent losing teams don't have a ton of other great options.

It's kinda two sides of the same coin, a coaching change shouldn't be irrationally feared, nor should a new coach being a total disaster early be written off as the cost of doing business. I remain hopeful about Lovie, but if it doesn't work out, it was a very significant clue that he inherited a team that was +0.2% in 2015 and had the floor fall out on him in year 1 to -25.3% with a fairly veteran team operating with a full compliment of scholarship players.
I'm not saying it isn't possible for a coach to come here and immediately improve the team, but the likelihood of that is probably in the single digits. Honestly, out of the 4 you mentioned, only Brohm and Cutcliffe did anything extraordinary in their first three years, WSU and Kansas had higher floors when their respective coaches took over than many remember, and MacIntyre had a pretty pedestrian start. Illinois football has been the worst P5 team in the past 15 years, our point right now is in the bottom forth of those 15 years also. Firing Lovie will make this team worse for the next three years barring a proven coach who can bring in instant impact freshman and actually coach (hint there is no one out there that can claim this with certainty and is available for UI).

Also, I never said there will be a mass exodus, but you point to exactly what I meant. Top talent will have the oppertunity to leave. On most teams, it doesn't matter a whole lot, but we have very few guys who we rely on heavily. If they leave, this program tumbles further (and yes, there is room to become worse, even in advanced metrics, let alone eye tests).

There will be a point (sooner rather than later) that we find out whether Lovie can coach a top half B1G program consistently, but it isn't until after next season at the earliest. I will say Lovie should've done better since he took over, and his refusal to play anyone but his own recruits almost certainly cost him wins (or at the very least point differential). Sure Beckman/Cubit left the cupboard about as bare as it gets, but there should've been better (not by much) outcomes earlier. He will ultimately be judged on his players though.
 
#78
Here are some quotes from Robert's "on the mend" article.

"The majority of that damage was done by Wisconsin (the #3 offense in the S&P+), Purdue (#10), Penn State (#18), and South Florida (#28). The remaining offenses on our schedule, using the S&P+ offensive ratings:

Maryland #100
Minnesota #95
Nebraska #50
Iowa #73
Northwestern #103"

"The 2013 defense mentioned above? The one that was 103rd nationally and ruined that solid Scheelhaase-to-Hull offense? Well, we really didn't change anything - we just ushered those sophomores and freshmen to their senior and junior years in 2015 - and that defense climbed to 83rd in 2014 and then 15th in 2015. Monheim-Smoot-Bentley-Fej? Bad as sophomores/freshmen, great as seniors/juniors. "

Our team is not a top 25 team. We can't keep up with top 25 offenses. That doesn't mean that the Freshmen and Sophomores getting experience won't be one of the top defenses in the country when they mature. 100 to 80 to 15.

https://illiniboard.com/story/2018/10/23/on-the-mend/
 
#79
Honestly, out of the 4 you mentioned, only Brohm and Cutcliffe did anything extraordinary in their first three years, WSU and Kansas had higher floors when their respective coaches took over than many remember, and MacIntyre had a pretty pedestrian start.
Mangino's takeover of Kansas came before there were good advanced stats, but he took Kansas to its first bowl in eight years in Year 2.

As for the others, using the F/+ combined rankings:

Wazzu under Paul Wulff
2009: -56.6% (119th)
2010: -24.0% (95th)
2011: -21.9% (98th)
Wazzu under Leach
2012: -31.0% (105th)
2013: +3.7% (53rd)
2014: -8.0% (77th)

Duke under Ted Roof
2005: -42.9% (112th)
2006: -34.3% (103rd)
2007: -29.6% (95th)
Duke under Cutcliffe
2008: -9.8% (76th)
2009: -23.9% (93rd)
2010: -11.4% (82nd)

Colorado under Jon Embree
2011: -27.9% (103rd)
2012: -52.1% (122nd)
Colorado under Mike MacIntyre
2013: -14.8% (95th)
2014: -10.8% (83rd)
2015: -18.5% (94th)

Purdue under Darrell Hazell
2014: -11.2% (84th)
2015: -15.7% (93rd)
2016: -31.1% (110th)
Purdue under Jeff Brohm
2017: +26.2% (34th)
2018: +39.7% (17th)

Illinois under Tim Beckman/Bill Cubit
2013: -4.0% (71st)
2014: -8.0% (78th)
2015: +0.2% (65th)
Illinois under Lovie Smith
2016: -25.3% (103rd)
2017: -45.5% (119th)
2018: -39.8% (115th)

Two things jump out at me. First, the job Brohm has done is just astonishing. And second, there's really no precedent for where we've done with Lovie eventually succeeding. That does not mean it can't happen, just that it would be unprecedented.

The elephant in the room is obviously Lovie's decision to play an unheard-of amount of true freshmen last year, essentially trading current competitiveness for future experience. So we'll see how that works out. But the closest analog we've got is Matt Rhule at Baylor who inherited a program with some muscle memory of winning, but which had a ton of talent abandon the program during their scandal and weird interim Jim Grobe year, and then played the 2nd most true freshmen to us in Rhule's Year 1 with a similarly crazy young team in transition. They were -27.8% (97th), only slightly better than us, but have leapt to +3.8% (60th) this year.

A rebuilding job that's heading somewhere good is sometimes invisible to the W/L record in the first couple of years, but I think the evidence is very strong that it's not invisible to advanced stats that can assess how competitive you are relative to your schedule.
 
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#80
using the S&P+ offensive ratings:
So everyone knows, the F/+ combined ratings are a 50/50 combination of the S&P ratings and the FEI ratings, which are two slightly different metrics at the Football Outsiders website. https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/fplus

I like using the combined ratings just to use the most data possible, but what's nice about the S&P is that they break it down into offense, defense, and special teams. It's all available to view at that website and goes back to 2005. If you're a sabermetrics-type person you should check it out.

The general idea is to break the game down to how efficient a team is at moving the ball and scoring (or stopping yards and points) relative to the quality of its opponent. It's similar to KenPom in basketball.
 
#81
I agree with everything in this post, except this line. Whenever there are talented, P5 level players on your team and you fire a coach, you can lose them. Obviously the record might remain similar, but overall team talent will take a hit if we were to cut ties. That's just how all takeovers are, transfers will happen, recruits will decommit, and there's a large possibility schemes change and therefore players don't fit with what the new coach stands for.
All of that seems to be happening now even though we retained Smith.
 
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#82
Captain 'Paign
Phoenix, AZ
Mangino's takeover of Kansas came before there were good advanced stats, but he took Kansas to its first bowl in eight years in Year 2.

As for the others, using the F/+ combined rankings:

Wazzu under Paul Wulff
2009: -56.6% (119th)
2010: -24.0% (95th)
2011: -21.9% (98th)
Wazzu under Leach
2012: -31.0% (105th)
2013: +3.7% (53rd)
2014: -8.0% (77th)

Duke under Ted Roof
2005: -42.9% (112th)
2006: -34.3% (103rd)
2007: -29.6% (95th)
Duke under Cutcliffe
2008: -9.8% (76th)
2009: -23.9% (93rd)
2010: -11.4% (82nd)

Colorado under Jon Embree
2011: -27.9% (103rd)
2012: -52.1% (122nd)
Colorado under Mike MacIntyre
2013: -14.8% (95th)
2014: -10.8% (83rd)
2015: -18.5% (94th)

Purdue under Darrell Hazell
2014: -11.2% (84th)
2015: -15.7% (93rd)
2016: -31.1% (110th)
Purdue under Jeff Brohm
2017: +26.2% (34th)
2018: +39.7% (17th)

Illinois under Tim Beckman/Bill Cubit
2013: -4.0% (71st)
2014: -8.0% (78th)
2015: +0.2% (65th)
Illinois under Lovie Smith
2016: -25.3% (103rd)
2017: -45.5% (119th)
2018: -39.8% (115th)

Two things jump out at me. First, the job Brohm has done is just astonishing. And second, there's really no precedent for where we've done with Lovie eventually succeeding. That does not mean it can't happen, just that it would be unprecedented.

The elephant in the room is obviously Lovie's decision to play an unheard-of amount of true freshmen last year, essentially trading current competitiveness for future experience. So we'll see how that works out. But the closest analog we've got is Matt Rhule at Baylor who inherited a program with some muscle memory of winning, but which had a ton of talent abandon the program during their scandal and weird interim Jim Grobe year, and then played the 2nd most true freshmen to us in Rhule's Year 1 with a similarly crazy young team in transition. They were -27.8% (97th), only slightly better than us, but have leapt to +3.8% (60th) this year.

A rebuilding job that's heading somewhere good is sometimes invisible to the W/L record in the first couple of years, but I think the evidence is very strong that it's not invisible to advanced stats that can assess how competitive you are relative to your schedule.

Great data, and thanks for that. Looking at it at first glance though it makes Jeff Brohm look like a wunderkind. Insane the improvement there. One and a half seasons is perhaps a bit early to call it a full-on trend, but if it continues he would suddenly become the poster child for complete program turnarounds.
 
#84
I think we need to really focus in on LB Shammond (duh), DE Okpala, and DE Randolph. I feel as if we have to land these guys to keep this class moving forward
Agreed. Okpala is a man among boys, Shammond could start as a true freshman, and Randolph also fills a depth need to where after a couple years he could step in for Roundtree/Gay. Plus, one of them is from IL and the other two from STL. That would help for the future of recruiting.
 
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#85
How could we possibly be worse off? Jim Valek is dead so we can't bring him back. Maybe we could coax Gary Moeller out of retirement. At that, those guys had records comparable to Lovie's and they put more butts in the stands. By his fourth (and last) year Valek's attendance dropped to just below 38k, which is the only year since the war that average attendance was worse than Lovie's attendance was last year. Unless Iowa (or Minny) brings about 30,000 fans with them, we will likely go below that this year. Let that settle in, the last time that attendance was this bad was in 1945. The fans are jumping ship.
The fans jumped ship long ago. Lovie is trying to do the long haul of building a program, not a flash in the pan for a year or two then back to the bottom. Will it work? Highly unlikely given our history, but hiring and firing every 3 years would be moronic. If you think a guy like Brohm is building a perennial winner at Purdue, I have a beach house id like to sell ya.
 
#86
Great data, and thanks for that. Looking at it at first glance though it makes Jeff Brohm look like a wunderkind. Insane the improvement there. One and a half seasons is perhaps a bit early to call it a full-on trend, but if it continues he would suddenly become the poster child for complete program turnarounds.
It's interesting that everyone blames Beckman/Cubit for leaving the cupboard bare at Illinois, and gives Brohm all the credit for the turnaround at Purdue. Is it possible that maybe Hazell was a decent recruiter and brought some talent to West Lafayette? Not that it was a great season, but Cubit's Illini went 5-7 in 2015 and Smith basically took the same team and went 3-9 in 2016. Perhaps Brohm deserves a little less credit (although he has done a very good job by all appearances) and Beckman/Cubit a little less blame.
 
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#87
It's interesting that everyone blames Beckman/Cubit for leaving the cupboard bare at Illinois, and gives Brohm all the credit for the turnaround at Purdue. Is it possible that maybe Hazell was a decent recruiter and brought some talent to West Lafayette?
No. He didn't. He recruited even worse than Beckman/Cubit.

The situations Lovie and Brohm inherited were very similar. If anything Illinois was the better situation.

The job Brohm did immediately is unlike anything I've ever seen. Purdue is actually better than their record so far under Brohm, it's been just completely night and day from his very first game when they lost a tight one to a ranked Louisville team with Lamar Jackson. They were a new football team from the first snap, and one that exceeded their talent level.

That level of instant turnaround is not the baseline expectation, and it would have been unreasonable to expect that of anybody, let alone an NFL coach coming back to college for the first time in 20 years, cobbling together a brand new staff and having to start on March 7 without being able to bring in a recruiting class AND making a sharper scheme change than Brohm was. Those are the differences, not the inherited roster talent level.

But it going as badly as it did and then sinking even deeper in year 2 were very bad signs. Staying at around that level for the rest of this year would be yet another terrible sign.

But let's not just doom and gloom. Let me quote something from Robert's "On The Mend" article that was quoted in an earlier post:

What are the odds here? S&P+ has that covered as well.
3-9 - 27% chance
4-8 - 41% chance
5-7 - 24% chance
6-6 - 7% chance
7-5 - 1% chance
8-4 - 0% chance
According to these very same advanced stats, we are likelier to win 2+ of our remaining games than we are to win none of them. And if we do that with improving performances, we can end with an F/+ rating that shows a clear step in the right direction and a W-L record to match. And then we bring the whole team back against an easy schedule next year. The opportunities are right there in front of us. The Lovie Era is not dead yet.
 
#88
the Front Range
According to these very same advanced stats, we are likelier to win 2+ of our remaining games than we are to win none of them. And if we do that with improving performances, we can end with an F/+ rating that shows a clear step in the right direction and a W-L record to match. And then we bring the whole team back against an easy schedule next year. The opportunities are right there in front of us. The Lovie Era is not dead yet.
Right now its about baby steps and small victories. Its going to take time, and the quoted above is why I still watch the games. Everyone knows we stink right now, which is why people have checked out. They know this year is going to be a struggle. BUT we still have some games to make an improvement and set ourselves up for next year.
 
#89
No. He didn't. He recruited even worse than Beckman/Cubit.

The situations Lovie and Brohm inherited were very similar. If anything Illinois was the better situation.

The job Brohm did immediately is unlike anything I've ever seen. Purdue is actually better than their record so far under Brohm, it's been just completely night and day from his very first game when they lost a tight one to a ranked Louisville team with Lamar Jackson. They were a new football team from the first snap, and one that exceeded their talent level.

That level of instant turnaround is not the baseline expectation, and it would have been unreasonable to expect that of anybody, let alone an NFL coach coming back to college for the first time in 20 years, cobbling together a brand new staff and having to start on March 7 without being able to bring in a recruiting class AND making a sharper scheme change than Brohm was. Those are the differences, not the inherited roster talent level.

But it going as badly as it did and then sinking even deeper in year 2 were very bad signs. Staying at around that level for the rest of this year would be yet another terrible sign.

But let's not just doom and gloom. Let me quote something from Robert's "On The Mend" article that was quoted in an earlier post:



According to these very same advanced stats, we are likelier to win 2+ of our remaining games than we are to win none of them. And if we do that with improving performances, we can end with an F/+ rating that shows a clear step in the right direction and a W-L record to match. And then we bring the whole team back against an easy schedule next year. The opportunities are right there in front of us. The Lovie Era is not dead yet.
Hazell left a good group of jrs and srs. The kids that Lovie took over were not built for power football on O nor did they have even close to the talent to run his D. Hazell's recruits were almost perfect for Brohm's O in particular. If Whitman had brought in a passing game coach, most here would have been crying but, the remaining players were much better suited for that style of play.
 
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#90
The problem, in my opinion is two recruiting classes with an interim coach. Who wants to commit in that circumstance? Lovies teams would be expected to have a fall off from the beckman/cubit era. He didn’t have competent upperclassmen. And he was turning the program around. His focus has been changing the culture. At this point, i think we have a solid foundation to build on. We didn’t have that when he arrived. Whether lovie is gone in a year, two, or 12. Illinois football will have a foundation to build from.
 
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#91
Hazell left a good group of jrs and srs. The kids that Lovie took over were not built for power football on O nor did they have even close to the talent to run his D. Hazell's recruits were almost perfect for Brohm's O in particular. If Whitman had brought in a passing game coach, most here would have been crying but, the remaining players were much better suited for that style of play.
Really great point. You can't just look at recruiting rankings to decide who was left with more etc. You have to account for fit, style of offense and defense.
 
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#92
The fans jumped ship long ago. Lovie is trying to do the long haul of building a program, not a flash in the pan for a year or two then back to the bottom. Will it work? Highly unlikely given our history, but hiring and firing every 3 years would be moronic. If you think a guy like Brohm is building a perennial winner at Purdue, I have a beach house id like to sell ya.
I agree with everything in the first part. I don't get the weird hate for Brohm. He is set to have better teams/seasons in his first 2 years on the job than any Illinois coach has accomplished since the Rose Bowl year. I'd say there's a much better chance of him building a perennially good team at Purdue than Lovie building one at Illinois, and I don't see how anyone could argue otherwise with any legitimate data or evidence.
 
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#93
I agree with everything in the first part. I don't get the weird hate for Brohm. He is set to have better teams/seasons in his first 2 years on the job than any Illinois coach has accomplished since the Rose Bowl year. I'd say there's a much better chance of him building a perennially good team at Purdue than Lovie building one at Illinois, and I don't see how anyone could argue otherwise with any legitimate data or evidence.
I am not saying I am arguing your point. But I am going to for fun. And it will be more geared to the possibilities for Lovie than Brohm.

1. Lovie stays the course and we win 2 more games this year.
2. The staff continues to get diamonds in the ruff in recruiting due to their ability to spot talent
3. Add those diamonds to IW, Beason and Shammond Cooper (who picks us on National Television), legit talent we can see right away
4. The football center gets finished and looks/works amazing
5. A few more Illini get into the pros that played under Lovie and surprisingly make impacts. They let it be known that Lovie's culture really prepared them to be on an NFL roster.
6. The Fresh and Soph on this D turn into Juniors and Sophs, showing much improvement on the field. We become a middle of the pack defense nationally
7. This defensive improvement added to the surprising fact we land Kahlil Tate as a Grad Transfer to lead this Offensive, results in 7 wins and a bowl victory over Miznoz.
8. We start to get a little more recruiting buzz. We land higher talent out of California, Texas and Florida, plus we extend our still fresh roots in Chicago and St. Louis. Now we are adding depth to our roster where kids are actually getting redshirted.
9. Now players like Bobby Roundtree are Seniors. We DOMINATE on defense. A more mature MJ Rivers/I Williams leads a very potent offense, anchored by a great, experienced offensive line.
10. We win the B1G West, lose to Michigan in the Champ game.
11. Lovie's boys actually start getting drafted. University of Illinois football is in the big time light again!
12. More recruits want to come...yada yada yada


Oh yeah, and Brohm leaves Purdue for Louisville after the 2019 season and they fall back to Indiana status.

Ok. How did I do?
 
#94
WOW! this is not just glass-half-full this is glass overflowing and the sun is always shining! you forgot point 13 - monkees fly out of lovie's butt. HA!
Like I said at the beginning, I was only throwing that out there for argument sake to the previous post. However, that is EXACTLY how I envision this turnaround to go.
To make my point more clear, if it was not already, the turnaround will be built primarily on Lovie's ability to get his players into the NFL AND be successful. Those results added to the actual recruiters on this staff's (We know Lovie does not do it) hard work will bring in better talent. Better talent = better football team. And the cycle continues. But it only starts after Lovie starts getting his players into the NFL.
Which part is so outlandish?
 
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#95
I agree with everything in the first part. I don't get the weird hate for Brohm. He is set to have better teams/seasons in his first 2 years on the job than any Illinois coach has accomplished since the Rose Bowl year. I'd say there's a much better chance of him building a perennially good team at Purdue than Lovie building one at Illinois, and I don't see how anyone could argue otherwise with any legitimate data or evidence.
I worked for the team when Brohm was here for 2010 and 2011. One of the most genuine guys I came across in the college coaching world along with Koenning. The same cannot be said for others on the staff. My co-workers and I knew he was going to be a good one, and he is showing it. I don't believe he is a "flash in the pan." He is a brilliant offensive mind, and he has a defensive coordinator that has made that unit unrecognizable from the beginning of the year. I am also unsure of whether or not he wants to go to Louisville. Keep in mind, I thought it was shady when Petrino got rehired after all of his scandals, but he has done fairly well in his return. This is their first bad season, and there are already rumors of him being fired. Who would want to follow in those kinds of footsteps? That's a lot of pressure, though I know it will come with a hefty paycheck as well.
 
#96
Like I said at the beginning, I was only throwing that out there for argument sake to the previous post. However, that is EXACTLY how I envision this turnaround to go.
To make my point more clear, if it was not already, the turnaround will be built primarily on Lovie's ability to get his players into the NFL AND be successful. Those results added to the actual recruiters on this staff's (We know Lovie does not do it) hard work will bring in better talent. Better talent = better football team. And the cycle continues. But it only starts after Lovie starts getting his players into the NFL.
Which part is so outlandish?
Well...
1. If we're supposed to assume the list is somewhat chronological, I don't see any impact NFL players on this roster any time soon. Fringe guys sure. Maybe even some surprise higher round picks, but nobody that will be making high impact in the NFL in the next 2 years.
2. Relying on "diamonds in the rough" is a very weak argument. Every team finds their own. Teams like Iowa and Wisconsin always have really good walkons that seemingly come out of nowhere.
3. Somehow this 100+ ranked defense to become "dominant" in the next 2 seasons. Dominant would assume a top 25 defense.
4. You're assuming better recruiting will basically just happen.
5. You predict us winning the west in 2 years when we have proven less than every team in the division both on the field and in recruiting.
6. I actually think landing Khalil Tate is a decent possibility. However, I worry they may mess around with the QB position just enough to cause MJ to consider transferring if the staff continues to go the grad transfer route.
 
#97
I worked for the team when Brohm was here for 2010 and 2011. One of the most genuine guys I came across in the college coaching world along with Koenning. The same cannot be said for others on the staff. My co-workers and I knew he was going to be a good one, and he is showing it. I don't believe he is a "flash in the pan." He is a brilliant offensive mind, and he has a defensive coordinator that has made that unit unrecognizable from the beginning of the year. I am also unsure of whether or not he wants to go to Louisville. Keep in mind, I thought it was shady when Petrino got rehired after all of his scandals, but he has done fairly well in his return. This is their first bad season, and there are already rumors of him being fired. Who would want to follow in those kinds of footsteps? That's a lot of pressure, though I know it will come with a hefty paycheck as well.
Koenning was probably my favorite assistant in my time following Illini football (didn't really give it much care until I got to UI in 04). I have often wondered what would've happened if they had just gotten rid of Petrino and promoted Brohm to OC, or handed the HC job over to Koenning and see what he would do with the staff. I would guess he would've kept Brohm. The Beckman hire was about as deflating a hire as we could've possibly made at that time.
 
#98
Hey, I hope you're right! I'm an illini fan from the pete Elliot days. However it goes lovie is here thru year 5, imo. one problem is, as loren tate has pointed to regularly, recruiting has not/is not going well. They do land a handful of what seems to be good players, but then 20% or so of those leave/injured/dismissed. Then there's the defense, which many say (including bob asmussen) is simply not a good scheme for these Illini. Then there's Gerry DiNardo on wscr this am, voicing what many have said and I have thought - roster management needs addressed - the attrition rate is not good for roster depth. If we could pull out a couple wins down the stretch there is a 'chance' lovie could succeed. But if we go 0-5 the rest of the way, if i'm josh I start researching coach candidates - quietly of course.
Roster management is the only thing here I feel is an issue. I agree current recruiting is not what we wanted it to be at this point. But my scenario again does not have a big recruiting jump until there is concrete evidence Lovie is getting players prepared for the NFL. This defensive scheme will work, in my scenario, when we have the football players to play in it. That will happen with maturity. No shortcut there.
 
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#99
Well...
1. If we're supposed to assume the list is somewhat chronological, I don't see any impact NFL players on this roster any time soon. Fringe guys sure. Maybe even some surprise higher round picks, but nobody that will be making high impact in the NFL in the next 2 years.
2. Relying on "diamonds in the rough" is a very weak argument. Every team finds their own. Teams like Iowa and Wisconsin always have really good walkons that seemingly come out of nowhere.
3. Somehow this 100+ ranked defense to become "dominant" in the next 2 seasons. Dominant would assume a top 25 defense.
4. You're assuming better recruiting will basically just happen.
5. You predict us winning the west in 2 years when we have proven less than every team in the division both on the field and in recruiting.
6. I actually think landing Khalil Tate is a decent possibility. However, I worry they may mess around with the QB position just enough to cause MJ to consider transferring if the staff continues to go the grad transfer route.
Just to make sure my lines are clear.
1. I did not say his players will be drafted early in the process. In fact, I do not see anyone getting drafted. However, players like Nick Allegretti, I believe, will be undrafted additions to some NFL rosters. The idea is for that level of player to come in and be successful. As in, have a long career. NOT BE A PRO BOWLER. I just want to make that very clear.
2. I do not think diamond in the rough is a weak argument. This staff has already showed a knack for getting in on players before other power 5 schools and brought some talent in that no one else wanted. If anything, that is the most evidential portion of my scenario.
3. Yes top 25 defense. It actually has happened within the IL football program before. Calvin Avery, Nate Hobbs, Bobby Rountree will be head and shoulders above where they are now after 2 years of mental and physical growth. So much different!
4. I am assuming better recruiting is going to happen in tiers as the program grows. Our current staff is growing roots in Chicago, St. Louis, Texas, Florida, California and now Georgia. If the product on the field grows, yes, we will be a legit landing spot for better talent. Not unrealistic
5. Yes I do predict that. Wisconsin and Iowa, the power houses of the West have not improved and do not improve. They, for the most part, stay at the exact same level every year. It is not like I have them at the level of Michigan or Ohio State. Not as big of a task as you think.
6. No one knows what a kid thinks. But MJs dad played in the NFL. I am going to assume he has more sense than that. Besides, if all that happens and MJ wants to leave. Hello Isaiah Williams.
 
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And he's written a column on the same topic.

But there's one piece of it that I found interesting:

When the Illini football team won at Rutgers on Oct. 6, the feeling was the hoped-for progress in the third year of Lovie Smith’s head coaching reign might finally be gaining traction.
Sure, Rutgers is a lousy football team. But at the time, the Illini were 3-2 and even in the losses there were bright spots.
There was at least a small measure of hope.

Now, 20 days later, the prevailing feeling is one of dark despair. Any notion of progress seems to have evaporated.
One thing about understanding and being a believer in advanced stats is that I honestly have not ridden this roller coaster at all. The Purdue game was a bit worse than the rest, but other than that this has been a very consistent football team all year, every performance reflected the same football team. The eye test for me has consistently matched what the advanced stats show.

Win or lose, good luck or bad, my biggest hope is to see real improvement on a play-by-play basis for the rest of the season. The metrics we have talked about in this thread will tell the tale.
 
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