Looking ahead to 2019

#29
In my way too early projection, I have the floor at 5 wins and the ceiling at 8. Predicting 6-6 and would not be surprised by 7-5. If the offseason goes how it has to (e.g. good DC and staff hires, no exodus of key transfers, add a couple JUCO/transfer contributors) then I do not see Illinois being blown out in any football games next year. I am genuinely excited for 2019, and even more so for 2020.

Now to wait and be bored in between IlliniBoard articles for the next 9 months.
Michigan will be a blowout. I would not be surprised if Wisconsin and Nebraska are blowouts as well.
 
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#30
So what’s the minimum for Lovie to be retained? I think most of you will say bowl or bust. But most of you have also talked about simply being competitive.

What if we go 5-7 but are competitive in every game? Like cover the spread against Michigan and right there with every other opponent. That’s enough to show improvement right?

To me, that’s a big step up over 63-0 and would deserve more fan support going into the next season. Unless our recruiting class is completely bare.
I think most people expect at least 6 wins next year. I think Whitman will look for an improved product and culture. So if there are extenuating circumstances with injuries, he would probably be willing to let it go with 5 wins. It seemed to me that Lovie got clear as Defensive coordinator that he will need to make some adjustments to his defensive scheme because the talent level isn't there and the players don't have enough time to learn his defense (which was a concern with his scheme in college ball). If this class stays together and we add some decent depth at WR and our playmakers stay relatively healthy, I think this team could be much improved.
 
#31
Michigan will be a blowout. I would not be surprised if Wisconsin and Nebraska are blowouts as well.
Disagree with the Wisconsin prediction. They struggled offensively all season. Minnesota roughed them up. Minnesota.

Our offense will be a force next year and our defense will at least be mediocre. That is enough to play with a team like Wisky. It's also homecoming and we will likely be 4-2 at that point. Should be enough to have the stadium rocking.
 
#32
I think most people expect at least 6 wins next year. I think Whitman will look for an improved product and culture. So if there are extenuating circumstances with injuries, he would probably be willing to let it go with 5 wins. It seemed to me that Lovie got clear as Defensive coordinator that he will need to make some adjustments to his defensive scheme because the talent level isn't there and the players don't have enough time to learn his defense (which was a concern with his scheme in college ball). If this class stays together and we add some decent depth at WR and our playmakers stay relatively healthy, I think this team could be much improved.
I agree. 5-7, with a lot of the losses being close and competitive might be enough to justify a year 5 for Lovie. Especially if Illinois' APR is high enough to be in the conversation for a "loser" bowl slot.
 
#36
Had we not had the defensive transfers this last season, we win the SFU game and after that, who knows. It will be key for Lovie to not let that happen again. Good news is that really only concerns the DL. Everyone on the DL will be a year older and have another year in the weight room. We add Brown and some frosh. One of which is a really good athlete. Others to be determined. So, we should have more maturity and depth there. If the juniors leave, then that will hurt. Secondary adds two players that help. Another year in the weight room and film room helps them. If Eifler and Tolson step up and we add a couple, that unit should be much better with another year in the weight room and the two mentioned have the high rating everyone wants. I saw enough of Rivers to know that we will be more than fine at QB. To me, can the guy coming in beat him out and I would not look past Robinson either. If Rivers beats them all out, we will be fine there. Offense should be pretty good and I liked what we saw out of Norwood. It all comes down to WR. Green will be a year older. Carter blew his knee out, yet hung onto the ball. Catching the ball improves this unit greatly and I hear positive things about the kid from Texas. His school doesn't really use him from what I am told and we may have stolen one. I expect at least 6-6.
 
#37
Normal, Illinois
So, who are our WR's next season?
Barring any transfers, I believe the only guy we're losing who played significant snaps is Sam Mays. Dudek and Meadors were supposed to be major contributors but unfortunately they both lost their seasons to injury.
I'd also be "happy" with 5-7 if the margins of defeat drastically decreased. This was going to be a 5-year rebuild, and it wouldn't surprise me if the team didn't get into a bowl game until 2020.
 
#39
If you trust the coach that helped orchestrate your massive 2017 campaign. Plus Marquez Beason and or Jeff Thomas.
A freshman who likely will play DB and a guy who likely won't be eligible in 2019? I think those hoping for Tate to transfer here are wildly optimistic. Hey, I can dream with you, but I just think this is the longest of long shots.
 
#40
Our offense will be a force next year.
Slow your roll. Unless Tate transfers here, that offense will be lead either by a sophmore with light experience, or an athletically exciting but undersized true freshman. And it still doesn't have proven receivers. Based solely upon the OL and RB, the offense should be decent, but I do not see it being significantly better than this year absent an infusion of transfer talent. 2020 could be the year of the big improvement, presuming we get some quality receivers in here by then -- a senior dominated OL and RB + a decently experienced QB.
 
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#41
A freshman who likely will play DB and a guy who likely won't be eligible in 2019? I think those hoping for Tate to transfer here are wildly optimistic. Hey, I can dream with you, but I just think this is the longest of long shots.
We'll see with Beason but we desperately need help in the slot and he certainly could provide it. Granted the NCAA is absolutely unpredictable but Thomas seems to have as legit a hardship request as anyone could. I would go so far to say that Thomas is counting on that waiver. If he doesn't get it, he would be NFL draft eligible and I would think he would jump after meeting his 3 year wait out of high school.

Either way he is a game changer if he suits up for us
 
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Likes: CHEEF
#42
I think most people expect at least 6 wins next year. I think Whitman will look for an improved product and culture. So if there are extenuating circumstances with injuries, he would probably be willing to let it go with 5 wins. It seemed to me that Lovie got clear as Defensive coordinator that he will need to make some adjustments to his defensive scheme because the talent level isn't there and the players don't have enough time to learn his defense (which was a concern with his scheme in college ball). If this class stays together and we add some decent depth at WR and our playmakers stay relatively healthy, I think this team could be much improved.
I think if Vegas was setting the over / under line for wins it would be 4 1/2
 
#43
Khalil Tate is a real possibility. He will test out NFL waters first but me likey our chances.
I'm assuming he's a grad transfer and thus eligible immediately... ?

His rushing stats fell off a cliff this past year, so I'll be here hoping he wants to relive 2017 all over again, with the coach who made it happen.
 
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#44
Tate and Thomas would be two guys with a level of athleticism we haven't had on our field in a looooong time. They are definitely the dream for this offseason. If Williams isn't the starting QB he will be on the field somewhere for this offense. Too good of an athlete. I think with how poor our defensive backs were this year Beason has to play defense and he'll start day 1 opposite of Hobbs probably at corner.
 
#45
This is the year Lovie finally has an ultimatum. He's gotta win 5 game this year. Another 3/4 win season is treading water at this point.

Rutgers and the three non con games (EMU loses a decent amount of production, and they really are just a slightly above average MAC team this year) are cant misses. Between Purdue and Minny, we have a couple borderline tossups (Minny isn't gaining much steam and even with Brohm Purdue faces a lot of attrition--good class incoming though). Wisconsin, NW, and heck NU/MSU aren't world beaters and we should at least of shots in those games. Maybe we are that crappy loss for Iowa in another sure fire 8/9 win campaign for them. Michigan will Michigan, but really, you can't ask for a softer B1G schedule than ours.

If Lovie can't get to a bowl game, the experiment is over. That being said, I believe he will (seriously, he can basically stumble into this one).
 
#46
This is the year Lovie finally has an ultimatum. He's gotta win 5 game this year. Another 3/4 win season is treading water at this point.

Rutgers and the three non con games (EMU loses a decent amount of production, and they really are just a slightly above average MAC team this year) are cant misses. Between Purdue and Minny, we have a couple borderline tossups (Minny isn't gaining much steam and even with Brohm Purdue faces a lot of attrition--good class incoming though). Wisconsin, NW, and heck NU/MSU aren't world beaters and we should at least of shots in those games. Maybe we are that crappy loss for Iowa in another sure fire 8/9 win campaign for them. Michigan will Michigan, but really, you can't ask for a softer B1G schedule than ours.

If Lovie can't get to a bowl game, the experiment is over. That being said, I believe he will (seriously, he can basically stumble into this one).
If we are embracing the experiment of basically starting from scratch, why not let him finish it? His first recruiting class will only be Juniors. If he's shown enough to stay past this year, you have to give him two more years. The upperclassmen will all be his guys and then, and only then, will we see if this experiment worked. This could be ground breaking work in the world of hiring football coaches. Exciting times, fellas.
 
#47
If we are embracing the experiment of basically starting from scratch, why not let him finish it? His first recruiting class will only be Juniors. If he's shown enough to stay past this year, you have to give him two more years. The upperclassmen will all be his guys and then, and only then, will we see if this experiment worked. This could be ground breaking work in the world of hiring football coaches. Exciting times, fellas.
Honestly, I dont have an answer. They did pretty much exactly what I thought they would this year. Next I expect 5 wins, but 6 is beyond attainable. Do I fire Lovie after a 5 win season? I think thats pretty close to 50/50 and will depend on the talent coming in 2020 and how we got to 5 wins.

Do I fire Lovie after a 4 win season? My answer is probably yes, but like you say, this experiment seems to be trending in the direction of Lovie at least starting 2020 as HC, regardless of record. I think its a pure tossup at 4 wins in 2019 if he sticks around, and of course without seeing how the team looks.

As for 0-3 wins, I think Whitman has to let him go, again barring any crazy circumstances. Regression in total wins, and clear regression of on field product. Thats hard to cover for a guy who has preached constant improvement as his measuring stick.
 
#48
As for 0-3 wins, I think Whitman has to let him go, again barring any crazy circumstances. Regression in total wins, and clear regression of on field product. Thats hard to cover for a guy who has preached constant improvement as his measuring stick.
I don't think it should be that cut and dry. If there was only one loss by 39 points or more, that would be pretty good progress, even if he only won three games. Or if he loses all of the games by 7 points or less, I think you have to let the experiment continue.
 
#50
Captain 'Paign
Phoenix, AZ
I'm surprised more people aren't talking about Kyron Cumby as a slot receiver with huge potential. 4.36 is flying
I believe Robert on IlliniBoard addressed the possibility, and I agree with him. That kind of speed just doesn't come along every day. If he can catch at all we definitely should try it.