Illini Football 2019

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Here's the winning percentage the previous 3 years before the head coaches I mentioned took over.
  1. Illinois (2013-2015) 0.405
  2. Syracuse (2013-2015) 0.378
  3. Virginia (2013-2015) 0.305
  4. Purdue (2014-2016) 0.222
  5. Iowa State (2013-2015) 0.222
  6. Washington State (2009-2011) 0.194
How bout the previous 5?
  1. Syracuse (2011-2015) 0.435
  2. Illinois (2011-2015) 0.387
  3. Virginia (2011-2015) 0.377
  4. Iowa State (2011-2015) 0.322
  5. Purdue (2012-2016) 0.245
  6. Washington State (2007-2011) 0.229
Previous 10?
  1. Washington State (2002-2011) 0.404
  2. Illinois (2006-2015) 0.403
  3. Virginia (2006-2015) 0.401
  4. Syracuse (2006-2015) 0.390
  5. Purdue (2007-2016) 0.349
  6. Iowa State (2006-2015) 0.333

Illinois isn't unique. Illinois isn't the only place that sucked for a long period of time. All of these programs were in as horrible, or worse, shape than Illinois any point over the past 10 years. Those programs however, finally had an AD that made a good hire. And those good hires haven't required even 4 years to get to 6 wins and a bowl. I mean, I'm not even including a program like UAB where literally the program was dead for 2 years, and they went to bowl games in years 1 and 2 after the program started back up. Or Baylor which went though a horrible scandal, lost every coach, a ton of players, and Matt Ruhle gets them to a bowl in year 2.

Again, Illinois isn't unique when it comes to losing. Where Illinois is unique, is in having incompetent ADs make horrible hiring decisions, and then compounding those mistakes sitting idly by while those coaches continue to auger the program further and further into the ground.
Agree with most of this, but a good AD can make an unlucky hire; that’s what I consider Lovie. Literally no one - including snooty negative nancies here - thought it’d be this bad. Period. We’d be quite foolish to run Whitman out of town, though I wouldn’t put it past us.
 
Literally no one - including snooty negative nancies here - thought it’d be this bad.
Can confirm.

I think there is room to criticize Whitman regarding Lovie, but the hope is that he learns from the experience, both what went well and what didn't, and can build on that whether Lovie stays or goes.

In general I think the concept of "this hire was bad, therefore the AD must be fired" is really stupid and counterproductive.
 
Agree with most of this, but a good AD can make an unlucky hire; that’s what I consider Lovie. Literally no one - including snooty negative nancies here - thought it’d be this bad. Period. We’d be quite foolish to run Whitman out of town, though I wouldn’t put it past us.
Ok. Let’s go with “unlucky hire”. Ignoring that his job isn’t to get lucky vs unlucky, it’s to make the right hire. But, sure. I guess we could say it wasn’t bad hiring a guy with no college experience in 20+ years, that uses an outdated scheme, and seems more interested in hiring his kids than recruiting. It’s not bad, it’s unlucky.

So he made an unlucky hire. Bummer. It happens. Should probably rectify that as soon as possible huh? Not throw good money after bad. Not keep digging that hole. Right?

Wait, what’s that? He extended the contract of that unlucky hire. And if one believes many fans, he will continue to stick with that unlucky hire even if he still can’t get to 6-6 in year 4.

I guess I should stop being a snooty negative Nancy and be happy that we’ve added “Authors inane motivational hashtags” to the list of requirements of being a beloved AD at Illinois. Which now brings that list up to 2 along with the most important one “bleeding orange and blue.”

Maybe one day we add “winning on the field”! Newly formed Positive Pauline is crossing her fingers!
 
Agree with most of this, but a good AD can make an unlucky hire; that’s what I consider Lovie. Literally no one - including snooty negative nancies here - thought it’d be this bad. Period. We’d be quite foolish to run Whitman out of town, though I wouldn’t put it past us.
Whitman is not going anywhere will be our AD for at least 10 more years, it was a great hire when we did it and it wont be long till some of you will be on the hockey board complaining
 
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Whitman is not going anywhere will be our AD for at least 10 more years, it was a great hire when we did it and it wont be long till some of you will be on the hockey board complaining
I feel like we’ve time traveled to 1996. Only difference is it would be the Tennis board we’d be complaining on.
 
New York City, N.Y. City
So he made an unlucky hire. Bummer. It happens. Should probably rectify that as soon as possible huh? Not throw good money after bad. Not keep digging that hole. Right?

Wait, what’s that? He extended the contract of that unlucky hire.
If I recall, Whitman did not add any new guaranteed money with the contract extension. It didn’t change anything in terms of the pain threshold of cutting him loose at the end of 2019. If I’m wrong about that then correct me.

My biggest concern is and will continue to be the terrifyingly inexperienced coaching staff he assembled, the nepotism aspect of hiring his unqualified son, and the to-hell-with-it-who-cares-anyway attitude in naming himself DC. These are not winning moves by even the most charitable estimation. I’d love to know what Whitman’s reaction was to those decisions. But love it or hate it he was stuck with them for this year at least.
 
Can confirm.

I think there is room to criticize Whitman regarding Lovie, but the hope is that he learns from the experience, both what went well and what didn't, and can build on that whether Lovie stays or goes.

In general I think the concept of "this hire was bad, therefore the AD must be fired" is really stupid and counterproductive.
But THIS hire isn't an isolated case. Underwood is arguably as bad and Fahey is clearly worse.
 
But THIS hire isn't an isolated case. Underwood is arguably as bad and Fahey is clearly worse.
Fahey doesn't matter (she's also literally in the Hall of Fame). Underwood was a very good hire who may yet succeed here.

Lovie was a good hire too, but of course, the hire itself and the broader plan for the program very much reflected Whitman's status as a football guy and Whitman's vision of how the team he played for should be operated. It all came together in secret during those meetings Whitman and Lovie had in Tampa. In retrospect, those were two guys who hadn't been in a college locker room since 2000 and 1995 respectively and who proved to be blinkered and overconfident in how they saw this all going. Whitman deserves some criticism there, and I hope he learns from it in the future. He's a smart guy, I expect he will.
 
I'm a little surprised that there isn't more enthusiasm over the acquisition of Brandon Peters. I think it's hugely beneficial to the program. We haven't had an accurate passer since Wes Lunt and, although I understand that Lunt was injury prone and not a threat to run, he threw a beautiful pass. He was more of an offensive threat than anyone who has played quarterback for us since he graduated.
Maybe Washington will eventually become the starter, but I think it's too much to expect that a player from high school -- even if he is an outstanding athlete -- can immediately adjust to all of the requirements of a P-5 quarterback. Sure, he will still be an outstanding athlete, but there is more to it than that. He will have a lot to learn.
In any event, it will be nice to have the option of using a skilled passer or a skilled runner at the quarterback position -- as circumstances may require.
Clemson just won the national championship with a true freshman quarterback. Talent is talent! Period!
 
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I'm a little surprised that there isn't more enthusiasm over the acquisition of Brandon Peters. I think it's hugely beneficial to the program. We haven't had an accurate passer since Wes Lunt and, although I understand that Lunt was injury prone and not a threat to run, he threw a beautiful pass. He was more of an offensive threat than anyone who has played quarterback for us since he graduated.
Maybe Washington will eventually become the starter, but I think it's too much to expect that a player from high school -- even if he is an outstanding athlete -- can immediately adjust to all of the requirements of a P-5 quarterback. Sure, he will still be an outstanding athlete, but there is more to it than that. He will have a lot to learn.
In any event, it will be nice to have the option of using a skilled passer or a skilled runner at the quarterback position -- as circumstances may require.
If you are comparing Peters to Lunt, then I think you answered your own question. ;)

I hope he can be the guy this year and much more of a run threat than the system he was in allowed or planned for (i claim zero knowledge of scUMs offensive scheme so this could just be wishful thinking). It would be nice to allow IW to get stronger and mature before throwing him in too early.

Sidenote: I liked AJ's performance much more than I liked Lunt's.
 
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Pointing out the benefits that a successful coach that wins (or in the case of a 12 game schedule at least the same) more games than they lose gets? Crazy talk!


I wrote about good coaches that have proven that you can take a doormat program that was in as bad, if not worse, shape than Illinois, and win at least the same or more games than they lose. And those coaches have proven that you don't need the 5 you are more than happy to let Lovie and Whitman take.


I hate to be the one to break it to you, but...


Again, I don't know why this confuses you so. Yes, If Lovie Smith gets to 6-6 I think he should be retained. Anything below that and he should be fired. And, yeah, a great benefit of going 6-6 in the regular season is getting to go to a bowl game.

Look, if you want to say that simply getting to a bowl game these days is meaningless, then say it. But, while you're saying that, please be sure to remind yourself that Lovie hasn't even been able to meet that lowest of low expectations.
But my point is what is so great about winning half your games? That is, quite literally, average. And Lovie Smith and his assistants are not being paid an average salary. If you are going strictly by record, I would think he should be required to win at least seven games by now.

Part of my concern with the 6 win threshold is that, with a soft schedule, he might make it despite not being able to defend a modern college offense or having only two top 1000 recruits lined up. And you would want to extend his contract for that???

On the other hand, if Lovie shows he can defend a modern college offense and recruiting picks up (both of which I question), I think a case could be made for extending him with only five wins.
 
But my point is what is so great about winning half your games? That is, quite literally, average. And Lovie Smith and his assistants are not being paid an average salary. If you are going strictly by record, I would think he should be required to win at least seven games by now.
I’d like to see the walk part of crawl/walk/run right now at minimum is all I’m saying. Going from 4 wins to 6 is going to be a massive improvement, one that I see no way of happening. Demanding 7 with this schedule is insane.

Part of my concern with the 6 win threshold is that, with a soft schedule, he might make it despite not being able to defend a modern college offense or having only two top 1000 recruits lined up. And you would want to extend his contract for that???
Never said a thing about wanting to extend him. Just if he wins 6 he gets to not be fired.

On the other hand, if Lovie shows he can defend a modern college offense and recruiting picks up (both of which I question), I think a case could be made for extending him with only five wins.
On one hand you think he should win seven, but on the other you want to give him a 2nd extension in 2 years he wins 5?

Wut
 
If you are comparing Peters to Lunt, then I think you answered your own question. ;)

I hope he can be the guy this year and much more of a run threat than the system he was in allowed or planned for (i claim zero knowledge of scUMs offensive scheme so this could just be wishful thinking). It would be nice to allow IW to get stronger and mature before throwing him in too early.

Sidenote: I liked AJ's performance much more than I liked Lunt's.
Everyone on this board, including me, hopes that Isaiah Williams can someday become an effective and successful dual-threat quarterback at the P-5 level. There is simply a difference of opinion as to whether it is realistic to hope that he can immediately win the starting job and consistently perform at a high level so soon.
My point regarding Peters is that supplementing the roster by adding an older player and a reportedly excellent passer is a good thing -- even if he is nowhere near the runner that Isaiah Williams, or Matt Robinson, or Coran Taylor, may be.
As for A.J.Bush, he was surely a much-needed upgrade to the quarterback position last year, but he wasn't all that impressive in terms of his fundamentals and mechanics. He always sort of stuck me as a really good athlete playing quarterback with his friends on the beach or in an open lot somewhere (e.g., jumping up and flinging the ball downfield, etc.)
A number of college quarterbacks are described as being dual-threat when actually they are not much of a threat as a passer. I like the idea of having an accurate passer on the roster.
 
Part of my concern with the 6 win threshold is that, with a soft schedule, he might make it despite not being able to defend a modern college offense or having only two top 1000 recruits lined up. And you would want to extend his contract for that???
We don't have to. That's the beauty part of the two-year extension last offseason when everyone knew he wasn't getting fired anyway. Added nothing to the buyout and gave us a chance to "wait and see" if this season meets the bare minimum of a bowl game.

My honest opinion on where Illinois Football is going from here is that we'll win six this year, roll it over to 2020, maybe win seven that year with a glut of seniors and perhaps an even easier schedule, and then Lovie, his dignity saved but facing another roster demolition at age 63, will declare victory and retire.
 
I’d like to see the walk part of crawl/walk/run right now at minimum is all I’m saying. Going from 4 wins to 6 is going to be a massive improvement, one that I see no way of happening. Demanding 7 with this schedule is insane.


Never said a thing about wanting to extend him. Just if he wins 6 he gets to not be fired.


On one hand you think he should win seven, but on the other you want to give him a 2nd extension in 2 years he wins 5?

Wut
I'm not sure why you're confused. I think I made it pretty clear I wouldn't judge Lovie solely by his record.

But you are correct in that he doesn't need another extension. I forgot the last one was for two more years. On the other hand, why wouldn't you cut bait if he still shows he can't defend a modern college offense and he can't recruit? Do you really think that one bowl game, even if they are blown out, will be what turns the Illinois program around? That PR, extra practices and "bragging" to recruits is really all that's needed to right the ship? I ask because Rutgers won their Quick Lane Bowl game, but don't seem to have quite benefited from it.
 
Morrison, CO
I'm bored so lets play would you rather....

Option 1: Get to 6 wins but no big upsets.

Option 2: 5 wins but put the beat down on Michigan similar to how Purdue did Ohio St last season.

IMO Lovie could sell either of those seasons to future recruits.
Both of these options are like offering a sip of cool water to a person dying of thirst.
 
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Virginia
Everyone on this board, including me, hopes that Isaiah Williams can someday become an effective and successful dual-threat quarterback at the P-5 level. There is simply a difference of opinion as to whether it is realistic to hope that he can immediately win the starting job and consistently perform at a high level so soon.
My point regarding Peters is that supplementing the roster by adding an older player and a reportedly excellent passer is a good thing -- even if he is nowhere near the runner that Isaiah Williams, or Matt Robinson, or Coran Taylor, may be.
As for A.J.Bush, he was surely a much-needed upgrade to the quarterback position last year, but he wasn't all that impressive in terms of his fundamentals and mechanics. He always sort of stuck me as a really good athlete playing quarterback with his friends on the beach or in an open lot somewhere (e.g., jumping up and flinging the ball downfield, etc.)
A number of college quarterbacks are described as being dual-threat when actually they are not much of a threat as a passer. I like the idea of having an accurate passer on the roster.
Agree he was not the greatest passer, but once we lost DudeK - we needed his legs and maturity more than we needed an arm on this team. Maybe its the fog of time, but I don't recall yelling at AJ all that much on missed passes - i remember lots of drops and sometimes too soon scrambles - but our WRs also we not able to separate very well.
 
We Ready
Merced CA
Agree he was not the greatest passer, but once we lost DudeK - we needed his legs and maturity more than we needed an arm on this team. Maybe its the fog of time, but I don't recall yelling at AJ all that much on missed passes - i remember lots of drops and sometimes too soon scrambles - but our WRs also we not able to separate very well.
I feel that we have been hit pretty hard by the injury bug at the skill positions these last 2 to 3 years. QB, RBs (repeatedly) and WRs. I think that situation does negatively impact the performance on the defensive side of the ball more than it would if the offense wasn't specializing in 3 and outs as a rule of thumb. I just don't think you can get into a rhythm with those kinds of (injury) setbacks. Remember, many, if not most of those injured are the on-field leaders too and we've been so young. The "next man up theory breaks down quickly under these circumstances. So there's a lot more to our story than Purdue's build didn't take as long as ours. Think about it, we lost a freshman all-American 3 times!🤬🤯
 
In all honesty the 3 games on the schedule that worry me the most are Akron, U Conn and Eastern Michigan. We absolutely have to win all 3 of those. If we lose one or two of those this whole season could tailspin quickly, and could get really ugly.
I'm hoping we win all three, but I've been an Illini fan long enough that I know nothing is a given.
EMU is the one I’m worried about. They lost 2 games by >3 points and 1 by >7. Beat Purdue. Year before they lost 1 by >7. Well coached team that plays everyone tough.

I could see a scenario where the team loses to EMU and then turns it around in B1G play to make a bowl a la Purdue last year.
 
EMU is the one I’m worried about. They lost 2 games by >3 points and 1 by >7. Beat Purdue. Year before they lost 1 by >7. Well coached team that plays everyone tough.

I could see a scenario where the team loses to EMU and then turns it around in B1G play to make a bowl a la Purdue last year.
EMU lost a lot this past season. I expect Corbin goes for 200, and Illinois wins by 21
 
Think about it, we lost a freshman all-American 3 times!
And in addition we lost another one of our best players 2 times in 2 years, Mike Epstein. And now the Football Gods took away our best defensive player.
Anyway, I think back to a statement Josh made a while back. Think of a marathon race with 1000 runners. Illinois was at the tail end of the pack at the beginning of the race. It took half the race for them to move up to where the starting line was.
If our new drop back pocket passer doesn't have to run for his life every play, then we have a shot. However, if Lovie only rushes 4 every down, then we are at a disadvantage.
 

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And in addition we lost another one of our best players 2 times in 2 years, Mike Epstein. And now the Football Gods took away our best defensive player.
Anyway, I think back to a statement Josh made a while back. Think of a marathon race with 1000 runners. Illinois was at the tail end of the pack at the beginning of the race. It took half the race for them to move up to where the starting line was.
If our new drop back pocket passer doesn't have to run for his life every play, then we have a shot. However, if Lovie only rushes 4 every down, then we are at a disadvantage.
Yeah, the turn of events re: Dudek, Epstein, and now Roundtree absolutely sucks.

This is why depth is so important. Talented depth. We're okay at RB even with the Epstein injury. But we never could recover at WR, and it remains to be seen whether we'll recover at DE. I'd be surprised if we replicate Roundtree's productivity.

To become a winning program, we've got to get to a point where it's truly "next man up". We're lights years from that point, and we've gotta recruit to get there.
 
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Yeah, the turn of events re: Dudek, Epstein, and now Roundtree absolutely sucks.

This is why depth is so important. Talented depth. We're okay at RB even with the Epstein injury. But we never could recover at WR, and it remains to be seen whether we'll recover at DE. I'd be surprised if we replicate Roundtree's productivity.

To become a winning program, we've got to get to a point where it's truly "next man up". We're lights years from that point, and we've gotta recruit to get there.
Our depth is getting better, but we still have a few gaps. Similar to Epstein last year, Roundtree has competent replacements. Obviously, having an nfl caliber/draft ready defensive end, such as Roundtree would be better, but the substitute options are competent.

We also added depth at lb and receiver. This season will hinge on the health of the O line or not losing 4 at one position (like receiver last year).

We won’t replace Roundtree’s productivity, but we have competent defensive ends, so I think the impact is less severe than us losing receivers last year.
 
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