Looking ahead to 2019

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I won't miss all of the drama that seems to always surround Jeff Thomas, but the Fighting Illini will surely miss his ability to return punts and kicks. He averaged 24 yards per punt return last season while the Fighting Illini averaged 3.3 yards (which is pathetic). Somebody on the 2019 squad (and the Special Teams coach) needs to step up and make huge improvements this season regarding that aspect of the game.
 
I won't miss all of the drama that seems to always surround Jeff Thomas, but the Fighting Illini will surely miss his ability to return punts and kicks. He averaged 24 yards per punt return last season while the Fighting Illini averaged 3.3 yards (which is pathetic). Somebody on the 2019 squad (and the Special Teams coach) needs to step up and make huge improvements this season regarding that aspect of the game.
We have the speed and talent to do something similar in Cumby and Beason.
 
Captain 'Paign
Phoenix, AZ
I won't miss all of the drama that seems to always surround Jeff Thomas, but the Fighting Illini will surely miss his ability to return punts and kicks. He averaged 24 yards per punt return last season while the Fighting Illini averaged 3.3 yards (which is pathetic). Somebody on the 2019 squad (and the Special Teams coach) needs to step up and make huge improvements this season regarding that aspect of the game.
I think Mr. Beason or Mr. Cumby will help us in that regard. I'm thinking one of them will likely be returning kicks.

EDIT: LOL I see Thunderwear beat me to it!
 
We have the speed and talent to do something similar in Cumby and Beason.
I hope you're right. My concern is that it's not always as simple as sticking your fastest player back there and expecting magic to happen regarding punt returns and kick returns. I think the Special Teams coach needs to do a better job of selecting "The Guy" and then developing schemes to make something good happen.
 
Likes: Dude
Illinois Pro Watch UPDATE:

Nick Allegretti has moved up the Drafttek big board.

Draftek has him ranked at 371 overall- 5 spots improved from the previous rank of 376. He is still projected at fringe UDFA range.

K Chase McLaughlin has still been not given an invite to any prospect exhibition games. Drafttek has not ranked him either in the top 400 prospects yet.

His Linkedin does not provide any insight as well to his future decisions.
 
Cary, IL
Illinois Pro Watch UPDATE:

Nick Allegretti has moved up the Drafttek big board.

Draftek has him ranked at 371 overall- 5 spots improved from the previous rank of 376. He is still projected at fringe UDFA range.

K Chase McLaughlin has still been not given an invite to any prospect exhibition games. Drafttek has not ranked him either in the top 400 prospects yet.

His Linkedin does not provide any insight as well to his future decisions.
I really hope that the Bears bring in Chase. They said there would be competition at kicker.
 
I hope you're right. My concern is that it's not always as simple as sticking your fastest player back there and expecting magic to happen regarding punt returns and kick returns. I think the Special Teams coach needs to do a better job of selecting "The Guy" and then developing schemes to make something good happen.
Let's not forget the role Lovie played in Devin Hester.

http://www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/140828/devin-hester-forever-tied-to-lovie-smith
 
Likes: KevinC
Looks like a lot of players tweeted positive Illini things after the Thomas fiasco. Good to see
Fiasco -- created by Miami and Thomas. I think Illinois football came off well, especially Lovie. No harm to Illini that I can see; they were just being played but took the high road. I'm hoping Illini and Lovie succeed. And parents of players: send your sons to Illinois where it appears they'll be very well taken care of. (I hope.)

Need kick returners? I thought Dre Brown did a pretty good job. May he be healthy next season.
 
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I won't miss all of the drama that seems to always surround Jeff Thomas, but the Fighting Illini will surely miss his ability to return punts and kicks. He averaged 24 yards per punt return last season while the Fighting Illini averaged 3.3 yards (which is pathetic). Somebody on the 2019 squad (and the Special Teams coach) needs to step up and make huge improvements this season regarding that aspect of the game.
We ranked 109 out of 129 in Opp 3rd Down Pct. Making teams punt should be our main focus. We can worry about returning the thing later.

FWIW- MiamiU ranked 1st in this statistic.
 
Likes: lexwaldez
Just curious. What does Robert's evaluation have to do with the coaches' evaluation of the squad? Let Taylor go through the spring, at least, and see what type of progress that he has made.
Yeah..I kind of doubt that Robert was saying "Coran Taylor won't be a QB here, but rather 'these are the QBs that I think will have a chance to play and get snaps.'"
 
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Just want to throw this on here. Khalan Tolson and Bobby Rountree are looking like beast
I was thinking that if we do take a big leap and get to 7-5/8-4 that Roundtree could be getting some Top 2 Round looks. Judging by his 4-7.5 leap I could see him possibly getting 10+ next year and going to the draft. Even if we don’t we have had guys as recently as Smoot and Ward get drafted high while playing for bad Illinois teams.
 
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Head coach takes all the credit and blame. And Devin Hester publicly has attributed his successes to Smith on numerous occasions.
What else would Hester say? Coach Smith drafted was the coach who drafted him, so obviously he saw something in him. Also during a lot of those years, Coach Smith was calling the defense. To think he was also playing a major role in the Special Teams is a little far fetched.
 
I feel like we should move Brown and Pearl to offensive line from day 1. We have 15 or so guys fighting for 4 spots on the defensive line and Brown and Pearl are probably two guys that will find themselves starting third string or lower. Brown was a 4 Star Center coming out of high school and Pearl a 3 Star Tackle. My assumption as of now is that Petitbon wins the starting Guard spot so I would love if Brown was the first man off the bench for the interior positions and Boyd for the tackle positions. I would feel much more comfortable going into the season with this than putting in a walk on like Stover or a freshman like Meyers you don’t know you can trust.
Honestly I feel like at least one of them is planned, just based on OL recruiting and 1 commit. Missed on higher targets, obviously the team felt they could wait until next year. Hope to see an earlier commit.
 
I won't miss all of the drama that seems to always surround Jeff Thomas, but the Fighting Illini will surely miss his ability to return punts and kicks. He averaged 24 yards per punt return last season while the Fighting Illini averaged 3.3 yards (which is pathetic). Somebody on the 2019 squad (and the Special Teams coach) needs to step up and make huge improvements this season regarding that aspect of the game.
Cumby
 
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