Looking ahead to 2019

That is not true. Right now Illinois ranks 13th in the big ten in recruiting. They are not gaining on anyone.
Not 13th in average rating of our players, which at 86.41 is 7th in the B1G. Plus, I'm pretty sure that doesn't include 4* WR transfer Thomas or likely 5* TE transfer Ford. We have a small class so it isn't rated as high overall, but average is way more important than adding in mediocre depth. We're bringing in a bunch of highly rated players. Our program is now looking up.
 
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Captain 'Paign
Phoenix, AZ
Not 13th in average rating of our players, which at 86.41 is 7th in the B1G. Plus, I'm not sure that includes 4* WR transfer Thomas or likely 5* TE transfer Ford.
It does not include those guys. Also Shammond would boost that up higher. Add in Ford and Thomas with their respective HS ratings and the class is closer to 0.9 which is a very high average rating. One of if not the highest we've ever had since they started tracking them.
 
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If you look at an incoming class as players that we will finally get to field next year then on top of the 11 coming in we have Verdis Brown, Larry Boyd, Jeff Thomas, and Luke Ford. Also, we are the favorites for Shammond Cooper. If all these
players are playing next year for the Illini you have to imagine that 6 regular season wins, maybe 7 or 8 if they pull off an upset or two are plausible. On top of that if I checked correctly we are losing 3 starters total which has to be among the lowest in the NCAA in Phillips, Allegretti, and McLaughlin. If our Defense improves like it should and the offense remains under Rod Smith’s control then I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t be in a bowl game next year.
I agree, but health is always a big factor with a rebuild like this. We were on our 5th or 6th receiver this year and it was felt with all the drops.
 
The 2019 offense is shaping up to be a force, especially if Luke Ford decides to return to his home state. Competition for QB should be interesting, but I don't think it's a position of concern.

But what about the defense? What does Illinois need? A lot, I think, besides a great DC. What do you think? I need some analysis.

Thanks.
 
The 2019 offense is shaping up to be a force, especially if Luke Ford decides to return to his home state. Competition for QB should be interesting, but I don't think it's a position of concern.

But what about the defense? What does Illinois need? A lot, I think, besides a great DC. What do you think? I need some analysis.

Thanks.
A great DC is all in the eye of the beholder. If we stay in the lane of what we know at this point, Lovie is going to be our DC. He is most certainly going to go down as a great defensive coach, regardless of his time with ILL. I digress.
Lovie's defense is based off winning one on one matchups. What this team needs is better athletes. We are going to gain some athleticism with the maturity of the current roster. With the consideration of this being in the recruiting thread, I will keep it to incoming players.
By position
DE - We currently have one really good DE, Roundtree. Everyone else needs to step up and make a bigger impact. The DE position has been addressed this recruiting class
DT - We are very young at this position. Bigger need to land a top end DT in the next class. Denver Warren would be nice
LB - Gotta get Shammond! And possibly a transfer just for depth. Milo gets to play this upcoming year. That should make a huge impact. We have a handful of guys we brought in last year, but not sure if they will have the speed that is needed in this system. LB, IMO, is the biggest need for the next two years. To be clear, Defensive Line is the most important part of Lovie's defense.
CB - Hobbs and Beason / S - Tony Adams and Sydney Brown I think will be starting. We have a lot of young guys currently on the roster. They need to develop. If the front 7 are wrecking as designed, the CB will look a lot better. Not a current position of need

This is just my opinion based off pure observations.
 
Naperville
The 2019 offense is shaping up to be a force, especially if Luke Ford decides to return to his home state. Competition for QB should be interesting, but I don't think it's a position of concern.

But what about the defense? What does Illinois need? A lot, I think, besides a great DC. What do you think? I need some analysis.

Thanks.
They really need a LB with speed. Eifler fits the bill. Cooper would too. The LB recruiting has been a disaster under Lovie. Just so many guys we've missed on. Merlin Robertson had a great year at ASU and Adeoye could have been an MLB in a 4-3-4 base defense. The lack of LBs that they trust on this roster is probably a big reason why we moved a a 4-2-5 base which I'm not a fan of at all.

In terms of the DL, they need to take a similar jump that the OL took this year. This is arguably the most talented position group we have and we got almost nothing out of it last year outside of Roundtree's big season. Now sure if Clark is the problem but he has to figure it out this season. Someone like Gay is way too talented to just have one sack for the entire year. I mean, he's an edge rusher which means he only goes after the QB and he only had one sack? We have to get more production out of him. To me he just makes the same move over and over again which the OTs can contain. Woods being back for a full year will be important. He was good for the three games he played. Milan also needs to stay healthy. Avery should be good if he gets in shape and V. Brown will be a nice addition to this group.

The secondary just needs to get older, stay healthy and eligible. We over recruited there in the Class of 2018 so we need all of those guys to take a step forward. The loss of B. Williams was huge so we need someone to step up at FS. Will it be Adams? Who will be the SS? Green? I really want to see how effective S. Brown will be after a year of S+C. If we stick with th 4-2-5 base then the NB becomes important and I don't know who that will be. Watkins? Joseph? Ware? Beason should be the only Freshman out there and he'll be a lockdown CB. I'm guessing Hobbs will be the other CB if he can stay out of trouble. If not then I like Martin.

Our defense was 59th in the country in 2016. I would think that is close to the ceiling for an experienced defense under Lovie with the Cover 2. That's not great but it's good enough to get to 8+ wins in 2020. If we can just get back to what we saw in 2017 with the defense in the 80s then we should be much more competitive this year.
 
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Likes: Dude
The 2019 offense is shaping up to be a force, especially if Luke Ford decides to return to his home state. Competition for QB should be interesting, but I don't think it's a position of concern.

But what about the defense? What does Illinois need? A lot, I think, besides a great DC. What do you think? I need some analysis.

Thanks.
https://writingillini.com/2018/12/20/illinois-football-early-look-illini-defense-2019/

This does a good rundown of where we are defensively. To the points of some, We have been poor with recruiting LBs.

Robert also has a writeup on Lovie recruiting vs. predecessor. Going to his article is a good read (But I think he misses Hardy Jr.)

https://illiniboard.com/story/2018/12/17/numbers/
 
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Thanks for not taking the opportunity to suggest I need PSYCHO-analysis.

Love the responses. Good football IQs.

I was gonna ask about Verdis. He's defense, right? Is he still on board?

You find some pieces to the puzzle and I think you've got a competitive team. Just give me six wins and a bowl game. Can do?

What happened to Linebacker U notoriety?
 
I posted this link and it somehow got deleted.

https://writingillini.com/2018/12/20/illinois-football-early-look-illini-defense-2019/

This does a good rundown of where we are defensively. To the points of some, We have been poor with recruiting LBs.

Robert also has a writeup on Lovie recruiting vs. predecessor. Going to his article is a good read (But I think he misses Hardy Jr.)

https://illiniboard.com/story/2018/12/17/numbers/
The 2019 offense is shaping up to be a force, especially if Luke Ford decides to return to his home state. Competition for QB should be interesting, but I don't think it's a position of concern.

But what about the defense? What does Illinois need? A lot, I think, besides a great DC. What do you think? I need some analysis.

Thanks.
We need to pump the brakes here just a tad, we don’t even know if Thomas or Ford will be eiigible to play next season.
 
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Defense needs to develop mentally and physically. You’d hope that happens with age, but need to put the work in film room, weight room and on the field. Coaches have to do a better job with adjusting as well. 6/7 wins with a solid improvement on D could really do wonders for the future of the program.
 
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We need to pump the brakes here just a tad, we don’t even know if Thomas or Ford will be eiigible to play next season.
I think we have more concrete reason for optimism for our offensive line where Larry Boyd will step in for Nick Allegretti and everyone else will get a year older and more experienced.

In 2017 we were often Fr, Fr, R-Fr, R-Jr, Fr across the offensive line.

Last year that became So, R-Fr, R-So, R-Sr, So. Big improvement.

Now it will likely be Jr, R-So, R-Jr, R-So, Jr. 3 years plus for everybody. Getting there.
 
Question for smarter football people than me. Could Stanley Green move to LB? He is a hard hitter at S and is better in run support vs pass support. Wondering if moving him to LB would make him more effective
 
I think we have more concrete reason for optimism for our offensive line where Larry Boyd will step in for Nick Allegretti and everyone else will get a year older and more experienced.

In 2017 we were often Fr, Fr, R-Fr, R-Jr, Fr across the offensive line.

Last year that became So, R-Fr, R-So, R-Sr, So. Big improvement.

Now it will likely be Jr, R-So, R-Jr, R-So, Jr. 3 years plus for everybody. Getting there.

We will see continued individual improvement from the o-line. My guess is the o-line play will not be as good next year because Illinois miraculously only started five lineman all year. Not a single start lost. That will not happen in 2019 (sadly). The hope is that the backups take a significant step forward (Robert made comments about the lack of depth/6th lineman this year, raising concerns moving forward).
 
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Question for smarter football people than me. Could Stanley Green move to LB? He is a hard hitter at S and is better in run support vs pass support. Wondering if moving him to LB would make him more effective
Really just depends on the scheme. If we were a blitz heavy, odd-front defense he could play weakside OLB and fit well with his ability to support the run. Kind of a hybrid the way Michigan used Jabrill Peppers (about the same size). However the 4-2-5 is the exact opposite.
 
We will see continued individual improvement from the o-line. My guess is the o-line play will not be as good next year because Illinois miraculously only started five lineman all year. Not a single start lost. That will not happen in 2019 (sadly). The hope is that the backups take a significant step forward (Robert made comments about the lack of depth/6th lineman this year, raising concerns moving forward).
If it happened in 2018, how do we know for sure that it won't happen in 2019? Saying something won't repeat just because it typically doesn't happen isn't really valid. It's just called "realism," and we all know this board is not the place for realism. We expect only Kool-Aid optimism or extreme fire-Lovie pessimism here. Get on board!
 
I don't want to crap in anyone's cheerios but Urlacher 6'4" 250lbs , Stanley Green 5'11" 200lbs.....Not the same ball park
And to be fair, Lovie didn't do that. Brian was already on the roster when Lovie took the Bears job
I agree with you, but I thought Lovie had the premonition that Urlacher's speed with make him great in his system at Linebacker.
 
Thanks for not taking the opportunity to suggest I need PSYCHO-analysis.

Love the responses. Good football IQs.

I was gonna ask about Verdis. He's defense, right? Is he still on board?

You find some pieces to the puzzle and I think you've got a competitive team. Just give me six wins and a bowl game. Can do?

What happened to Linebacker U notoriety?
Verdis redshirted last year, so yeah, he's on board.