Illinois Coaching Staff / Coaching Carousel Thread

#1
Oct. 29th
Hardy Nickerson resigns as defensive coordinator


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Original Message:


Lovie isn't changing his base defensive scheme but hopefully will look to add more wrinkles as he adjusts to college offenses. I would love to see him fill the defensive coaching vacancy (currently held by his son) with a guy like Bryan Brown, DC/CB coach at App State. In his first year as DC, his defense is one of the top units in the country. Brown runs a 3 man front that would allow players like Gay and future recruits like Coleman and Mathis to attack the QB from the Rush LB spot. J Leman mentioned on the Werner Show that they tried to change up the defense with some 3 man fronts against Purdue so Lovie has shown a willingness to at least mix in other schemes.
 
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#2
There is a good opportunity to revamp the defensive staff this off-season, but I have a very hard time seeing Lovie doing it. Nobody on the defensive side has really proven anything. Hardy has to be arguably the worst DC in college football in terms of results. Clark is a new hire with no history working with Lovie (or history in general) and the DL has been a huge disappointment. Lovie's son is filling in temporarily. Hell, even Byrd seems more like an NFL guy and may want to try to get back into the league. That's 3-4 positions that can easily change. Will it happen? Highly doubtful, but hopefully at least 2 changes are made.
 
#3
Remember, if they greatly try to change the defensive scheme, it may affect the type of player they have been trying to recruit. A 3-4 nose tackle is VASTLY different from the 3 technique in Lovie's system.
 
#5
If he doesn't voluntarily fire Nickerson, Whitman needs to force Lovie's hand
Honestly why though, Lovie's head honcho on D, Nickerson might be the puppeteer, but Lovie's telling him how to pull the strings, and same goes for any d coordinator. I highly doubt Lovie fires Nickerson ever, based on performance, because thats direct correlation to Lovie.
 
#6
Honestly why though, Lovie's head honcho on D, Nickerson might be the puppeteer, but Lovie's telling him how to pull the strings, and same goes for any d coordinator. I highly doubt Lovie fires Nickerson ever, based on performance, because thats direct correlation to Lovie.
This is the real question. What would firing Hardy do if Lovie is running the D anyhow?
 
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#7
Because we’re the worst defense in P5 and showing no signs of improvement. Something has to happen. If lovie doesn’t want to fire him, he needs to take over the defensive play calling or demote him and get a new DC.
You just circled back to exactly what I disproved in my past post. You cant possibly believe Nickerson is commander in chief for the defense--its gotta be Lovie. Sure Hardy may be play calling, but Lovie has written that book and instilled every belief he has in Nickerson and honestly the same results are gonna happen with an D coordinator as long as Lovie's HC--it's his M.O. You're basically suggesting change, for changes sake, which 99% of the time is just stupid and is detrimental in the end.

I will concede firing Hardy would open a spot for a better recruiter or teacher, but my understanding is the coordinator is much less involved in recruitment than a position coach is and Lovie is still gonna pick someone from his tree to become DC, because he isn't changing his methods at 60 years old (seriously curious if anyone is better out there, not sure that exists, outside the NFL perhaps). Essentially, so long as Lovie is head honcho, the D will look basically the same. We can only hope talent and experience makes it better.
 
#8
You just circled back to exactly what I disproved in my past post. You cant possibly believe Nickerson is commander in chief for the defense--its gotta be Lovie. Sure Hardy may be play calling, but Lovie has written that book and instilled every belief he has in Nickerson and honestly the same results are gonna happen with an D coordinator as long as Lovie's HC--it's his M.O. You're basically suggesting change, for changes sake, which 99% of the time is just stupid and is detrimental in the end.

I will concede firing Hardy would open a spot for a better recruiter or teacher, but my understanding is the coordinator is much less involved in recruitment than a position coach is and Lovie is still gonna pick someone from his tree to become DC, because he isn't changing his methods at 60 years old (seriously curious if anyone is better out there, not sure that exists, outside the NFL perhaps). Essentially, so long as Lovie is head honcho, the D will look basically the same. We can only hope talent and experience makes it better.
I guess I'm arguing more of what "should" be done and you're arguing more of what "probably will" be done. We obviously both agree that Lovie is choosing the system to run and won't completely change his philosophy. If you go back to my first post in this thread today, I basically admit he probably won't make a change, but he has a great opportunity to do so.

Also, I think you're wrong about a change being detrimental in the end simply based on the fact that it's almost impossible for us to be worse on defense. And we can't get much worse in replacing Hardy's recruiting either, as we've yet to land any good linebackers or California prospects outside of Bennett Williams (who was a 2 star).
 
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#9
Also, I think you're wrong about a change being detrimental in the end simply based on the fact that it's almost impossible for us to be worse on defense. And we can't get much worse in replacing Hardy's recruiting either, as we've yet to land any good linebackers or California prospects outside of Bennett Williams (who was a 2 star).
I'd argue Phillips has looked good since we got him, but obviously thats different than getting a HS school kid. We could be worse, but you're right, probably we wont be, but I don't think that it would be because we get a new DC. Like you said we are very close to having almost zero talent and experience on D. Add more of either and we are gonna get better, independent of DC.

You bring up a good point about the Cali recruiting. Hardy needs to step that up. And you are right, what should happen is change on defense. Personally, I think the most frustrating thing about the Lovie Era came when he said there was nothing wrong with his defensive scheme and that they were good... That was borderline Beckman-esque. Transfers and dismissals are gonna almost always happen, sucks to lose our top talent, but relying one two or three players only is not how a program becomes good, period.
 
#10
Yeah I think we're more on the same page. I just would really like to see a change, no matter how unlikely it is. Even if Lovie found another guy off his tree that he trusts I think it would be an upgrade over Hardy. He seems like a great guy and probably a great LB coach, but I think he's just not suited to be a college coordinator.

Also, if you step back and look at this program, changing OC's in year 3 and potentially DC's in year 4.... not exactly promising.
 
#11
The OC change has been good overall until last week. Agree that a DC change is necessary but hard to imagine. However, JW will likely force Lovie to provide a good justification for whatever he does. I would not want to be in JW's shoes this week. He's probably taking a lot of heat.
 
#14
It is my opinion that Lovie probably thought the D-line was going to be better than it has been. I think I read somewhere that it was thought to be a strength coming into this season. Without any amount of pressure on the opposing QB and/or a lot of turnovers - I don't believe Lovie's defensive scheme can be successful.
 
#18
It is my opinion that Lovie probably thought the D-line was going to be better than it has been. I think I read somewhere that it was thought to be a strength coming into this season. Without any amount of pressure on the opposing QB and/or a lot of turnovers - I don't believe Lovie's defensive scheme can be successful.
I’m not sure we know what lovie thinks, but he knows the nfl. I highly doubt he was expecting this d line with the injuries was ready to compete with P5 lines with future draft picks. This is a work in progress. The team is improving. Players are getting bigger, stronger faster, we are having setbacks and continuing to show an improved product.

I think we are in a decent place for this season given we have lost most of our receivers. Next year we will add some depth and strength to the line and add a bunch of electric playmakers. This should be our first if many bowl seasons. We still won’t be a ten win team. maybe the following year we can hope for 8 wins. This isn’t the MAC. Turning a football team around that lacked talent and depth is a growth process. 4 years. This Purdue team was a very solid team with a great win that exposed our lack of a pass rush. This is a young team that is still learning.

There are plenty of games left in the season. We are going to get beat pretty bad this week and then we will have some winnable games. The culture of the team is shifting. I believe this team is making progress
 
#19
I don’t think Lovie will be let go, but if I am JW I am sitting down and having a serious talk about the plan moving forward. Gotta be some donors that know the game of football an understand the job is not getting done!!!

We missed with Lovie and we missed BIG because of what he commanded financially.

Anyone that sees progress on the field is drowning in orange koolaid.
 
#22
Lovie should be fired. I know the buyout is high but try to negotiate a slightly lower amount and allow Lovie to “retire.”
And then what? Start over again? Have to allow Lovie's first classes to become Juniors and Seniors. If next year and year after we still aren't producing he will be gone. Lovie arguably started at the lowest point in Illini history, so he gets at least 4-5 year imo
 
#24
the Front Range
And then what? Start over again? Have to allow Lovie's first classes to become Juniors and Seniors. If next year and year after we still aren't producing he will be gone. Lovie arguably started at the lowest point in Illini history, so he gets at least 4-5 year imo
It’s painful to say, but I agree. It’s hard to watch us play so badly and not take action. But it’s a rebuild, it will take time. Illinois football was dead in the water and then Lovie was hired. It’s painful but such is Illinois football right now.
 
#25
Lovie gets one more year at most. Doesn’t matter where the program was when he took it over. He has taken it nowhere. After our performance the past two weeks I would argue the only thing he has changed is the fact we are getting higher caliber recruits to show interest and a few of them to VERBALLY commit. Look over at the b-ball thread and see how Cuonzo scooped up the kid from the Golphers. They’re not actually ours until they sign the piece of paper. We lay a goose egg the rest of the year and this staff will have a hard time getting signatures from these kids as GOOD recruiters like Fleck, Frost, and other young up and comers will grab these kids from us before signing day. They are hungry and eager and they can’t afford to fail as it could be their only shot at the big time.

The problem with hiring Lovie was that he had nothing to lose by taking the UofI job. His image and legacy was already built on his success in the NFL. His willingness and ability to teach, mentor, and promote young African American coaches is admirable and well documented. He is a big name that JW thought would make an immediate impact. It has been disappointing and the only person that has gained anything is Lovie and his retirement fund.