Looking ahead to 2020

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So pretty much what y’all are saying is Hansen will give us exactly what we got from Dele, and we’ll improve the speed on the outside of him...? Our defense will come full circle next yr, and be exactly what we’ve been waiting for from Lovie
For the record that is not what I am saying/expecting
 
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Bennett Williams had a lot of growing up to do. Damn shame. No one to blame but himself.
I mean he was 18ish. I understand his dismissal, but given how bad our program was, he was one of the bright spots that first year. Those highlights are his true freshman highlights. He was a low 3 star And wreaked havoc as a true freshman. Another stellar find by the staff.
 
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My take is that injuries like this year will play a massive role in the season. If Hansen, Kramer and beason all come back healthy it’s a different looking team. Our two deep everywhere but DL/ WR look solid enough to win 7/8 depending on how some wild cards perform. Such as the cerny/brown competition at LG, the sidney/cumby/stampley/navaro/Frenchie rotation at slot. And lastly who replaces Harding at LB.
 
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My take is that injuries like this year will play a massive role in the season. If Hansen, Kramer and beason all come back healthy it’s a different looking team. Our two deep everywhere but DL/ WR look solid enough to win 7/8 depending on how some wild cards perform. Such as the cerny/brown competition at LG, the sidney/cumby/stampley/navaro/Frenchie rotation at slot. And lastly who replaces Harding at LB.
Hansen is going to the MIKE.
 
Yes I mean the guy who replaces him in the starting LB rotation. Either tolson, Gardner or cooper. Barnes prolly backs up Hansen. Interesting to me is the secondary depth next year. It can either be a strength or a weakness.
Your last sentence was about who replaces Dele, that’s what I was referring to.

I’m not too worried about the secondary. There are two specific spots that concern me and they’re lower end concerns. I like where we are. Bigger fish are out there for the frying.
 
Hansen is going to the MIKE.
I'm really hoping for a leap like Leman made when switching form outside to inside. Leman was HORRIBLE at olb due to lack of speed and lateral mobility, but exceptional at MLB. One big difference here, though. Leman was one of the sharpest players and leaders I've ever seen in orange and blue defense. His anticipation and recognition of the play was about as good as it gets. I've always said I'd rather have a player who ran a 4.9 and instantly read the play and got where he needed to go and had the technique to make the play over a 4.4 guy who took 3 of 4 seconds to figure out what was happening and just sat there flat footed or took the wrong coverage, gap, or angle. Leman was the epitome of that.

Perhaps more importantly, Leman was a leader who made everyone around him much better

I think Hansen has miles to go before he even approaches that, and good coaching can get him there. Ooops......Miles Smith!
 
Decent read here.

We’re still a large number of pieces short as far as 2021 is concerned but there’s no doubt the future for this program is brighter than it has been in some time.
I agree, Twanger. The problem is that SOOOO many things have to happen to be decent in 2021 that it would take unprecedented high quality transfer recruiting and player development to get there. I've seen little from Lovie prep recruits to expect championship competitive play from them, and if they COULD contribute now, they would considering our lack of depth.

The biggest problem is QB after Peters leaves in 2021 or if he's injured (I'd take odds that he will miss several games again in 2020), and the fact I haven't seen anything from the other QBs on campus that infers they can be effective B1G QBs. IW I clearly not ready and has durability problems. Unlikely he'll gain the accuracy and timing as a passer to come close to Peters in two years or compete against the top half of the B1G by 2021. By now he should have shown flashes, but I haven't seen it. Maybe he'll take a step in Spring. Hope so.

I think RB production will drop off a cliff next year, let alone 2021. Bonner isn't a feature back and doesn't have breakaway speed or moves. If we get anything from Epstein it's a bonus given his injury history. Love will be coming in after a broken ankle. Dicey. Sorry, but Norwood and Sims are simply not feature backs in a running offense. Brown MAY be decent, but there's a reason he wasn't recruited to P5. We needed a healthy RB recruit in this class. Didn't get one.

I'm not at all comfortable with our overrated (IMHO) OL. I think Lowe, Palcho, Green, and Kramer have maxed out, and as we saw many times this year they can't get to the second level in a stacked box and unless we have a REALLY dangerous deep passing game they're easily shut down, and I don't see the passing game pieces in place right now, but there is hope with Barker, Ford, Thomson, Navarro and Frenchie. I don't see any BheBhe 50/50 deep threats coming on the roster, and we need them to relieve pressure up front.
 
I agree, Twanger. The problem is that SOOOO many things have to happen to be decent in 2021 that it would take unprecedented high quality transfer recruiting and player development to get there. I've seen little from Lovie prep recruits to expect championship competitive play from them, and if they COULD contribute now, they would considering our lack of depth.

The biggest problem is QB after Peters leaves in 2021 or if he's injured (I'd take odds that he will miss several games again in 2020), and the fact I haven't seen anything from the other QBs on campus that infers they can be effective B1G QBs. IW I clearly not ready and has durability problems. Unlikely he'll gain the accuracy and timing as a passer to come close to Peters in two years or compete against the top half of the B1G by 2021. By now he should have shown flashes, but I haven't seen it. Maybe he'll take a step in Spring. Hope so.

I think RB production will drop off a cliff next year, let alone 2021. Bonner isn't a feature back and doesn't have breakaway speed or moves. If we get anything from Epstein it's a bonus given his injury history. Love will be coming in after a broken ankle. Dicey. Sorry, but Norwood and Sims are simply not feature backs in a running offense. Brown MAY be decent, but there's a reason he wasn't recruited to P5. We needed a healthy RB recruit in this class. Didn't get one.

I'm not at all comfortable with our overrated (IMHO) OL. I think Lowe, Palcho, Green, and Kramer have maxed out, and as we saw many times this year they can't get to the second level in a stacked box and unless we have a REALLY dangerous deep passing game they're easily shut down, and I don't see the passing game pieces in place right now, but there is hope with Barker, Ford, Thomson, Navarro and Frenchie. I don't see any BheBhe 50/50 deep threats coming on the roster, and we need them to relieve pressure up front.
Yes the PFF Sophomore All-American Kendrick green in his 2nd year of offense line has maxed out 😂. Not to mention the fact that brown had offers from Indiana, Syracuse and UCF he’s not a P5 running back.
 
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Yes the PFF Sophomore All-American Kendrick green in his 2nd year of offense line has maxed out 😂. Not to mention the fact that brown had offers from Indiana, Syracuse and UCF he’s not a P5 running back.
Front what I've seen, an OL makes tremendous growth from his first to third years in strength and technique when he's getting first and second string coaching all that time. It's pretty rare that an OL who's been starting a couple of years gets much better after that. If he doesn't know what he's doing by then, he probably never will. Can you name one Illinois OL who'd been playing since freshman year who made a big jump from junior to senior? It seems a lot of our OL actually regressed this year.

As far as Brown, we'll see....RBs get up to speed rushing pretty quick if they have the moves, speed, strength and smarts for running the ball. Getting into the blocking and receiving is where it takes some time to develop. He'll probably be first or second team in the Spring so we should know what we've gotten by the end of Spring ball barring injuries...
 
Front what I've seen, an OL makes tremendous growth from his first to third years in strength and technique when he's getting first and second string coaching all that time. It's pretty rare that an OL who's been starting a couple of years gets much better after that. If he doesn't know what he's doing by then, he probably never will. Can you name one Illinois OL who'd been playing since freshman year who made a big jump from junior to senior? It seems a lot of our OL actually regressed this year.

As far as Brown, we'll see....RBs get up to speed rushing pretty quick if they have the moves, speed, strength and smarts for running the ball. Getting into the blocking and receiving is where it takes some time to develop. He'll probably be first or second team in the Spring so we should know what we've gotten by the end of Spring ball barring injuries...
Once again he’s a sophomore and has been playing full time offensive line for 2 years. So your point doesn’t apply to him.
 
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Front what I've seen, an OL makes tremendous growth from his first to third years in strength and technique when he's getting first and second string coaching all that time. It's pretty rare that an OL who's been starting a couple of years gets much better after that. If he doesn't know what he's doing by then, he probably never will. Can you name one Illinois OL who'd been playing since freshman year who made a big jump from junior to senior? It seems a lot of our OL actually regressed this year.

As far as Brown, we'll see....RBs get up to speed rushing pretty quick if they have the moves, speed, strength and smarts for running the ball. Getting into the blocking and receiving is where it takes some time to develop. He'll probably be first or second team in the Spring so we should know what we've gotten by the end of Spring ball barring injuries...
I agree with your take on recruiting local talent. And our coaching staff hasn’t been together long enough, to credit player development to any one coach. But I disagree with the idea the staff hasn’t developed/identified qualified big talent.

our offenswas ranked 5th in the big 10, after losing an Nfl drafted lineman. And we return almost the entire line. None of those players were heavily recruited (that I remember), coming out of high school. And I’m guessing that multiple of the current o line will be playing on Sunday.

https://www.pff.com/news/college-big-ten-ol-rankings-week-5

the same can be said about a lot of players, Witherspoon, Barnes, and Washington were not recruited and played solid minutes for us as true freshmen. Hobbs and brown were not heavily recruited and have played well for us. And the list goes on. There is no doubt, to your point, that we lack depth because of subpar undergrad recruiting.but I think the top
Player at each position is solid and the depth improves next year.
Ultimately, the question will be can we qualify for a bowl game next year. It’s not a done deal. But I like our team and think we will surprise many in 2021
 
I'm really hoping for a leap like Leman made when switching form outside to inside. Leman was HORRIBLE at olb due to lack of speed and lateral mobility, but exceptional at MLB. One big difference here, though. Leman was one of the sharpest players and leaders I've ever seen in orange and blue defense. His anticipation and recognition of the play was about as good as it gets. I've always said I'd rather have a player who ran a 4.9 and instantly read the play and got where he needed to go and had the technique to make the play over a 4.4 guy who took 3 of 4 seconds to figure out what was happening and just sat there flat footed or took the wrong coverage, gap, or angle. Leman was the epitome of that.

Perhaps more importantly, Leman was a leader who made everyone around him much better

I think Hansen has miles to go before he even approaches that, and good coaching can get him there. Ooops......Miles Smith!
Forget the source, but I remember hearing Hansen is already a big time leader on the defense and holds players accountable. No worries there.
 
Well bowl game is over so this thread should start getting more attention.

Most Optimistic About: A big step up for Brandon Peters and the offense. His first year with Rod showed potential but also a little awkward many times. Some fans got a little frustrated with Peters at times, but we have to remember this was his first year with Rod and first full year as a starter. I'm hopeful the offense will be a well oiled machine next year. Hopefully better health at WR, add Luke Ford, and Peters comes back confident and in control.

Most Nervous About: The defense (obviously). But more specifically, I'm scared this year's turnovers were just plain luck. If we get torched next year and only create half the turnovers (or worse) then it could be a very long season.
 
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See us 5-7 next year. 3-0 non conference. 2-7 Big 10. Defense has to stop someone and not rely on turnovers or opponent miscues.(MSU)Cant be giving up 400-500 ys of offense and expect to win in the Big 10. The focus of getting to six wins a year seems hollow considering the OOC slate and Rutgers. Lovie has to start getting near .500 in conference play to be meaningful. Thanks for this year though at least we had Wisky and MSU games to remember.
 
See us 5-7 next year. 3-0 non conference. 2-7 Big 10. Defense has to stop someone and not rely on turnovers or opponent miscues.(MSU)Cant be giving up 400-500 ys of offense and expect to win in the Big 10. The focus of getting to six wins a year seems hollow considering the OOC slate and Rutgers. Lovie has to start getting near .500 in conference play to be meaningful. Thanks for this year though at least we had Wisky and MSU games to remember.
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Congratulations to the 2019 team. You provided us with excitement and thrills; you typically played hard; you were invited to a bowl game; and you were an obvious improvement over the 2018 team. You were really frustrating to watch at times, but you did not embarrass us or yourselves.
As for 2020, there is a lot of room (and necessity) for improvement. I suppose it's a good thing that Lovie keeps saying that next year's team will be really good, but I'm not necessarily buying it. We need some changes made in the coaching staff, and we need to hit it big in the transfer portal again. There are opportunities to improve; let's make some smart (and maybe difficult/painful) decisions and make it happen.
Like many people on this board I'd like to reach the point where the Illini fans can have reasonable expectations every year of a solid recruiting class and a bowl invitation. The 2019 season was a step in the right direction, but let's not assume that good things will happen next season simply because many of the same players will be returning.
 
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