Looking ahead to 2020

Start 4-0, finish 0-8. I don't understand why some think 6-6 is worst case scenario.
Wow, you've identified a proper Illini nightmare scenario. Congratulations? But I think (I certainly hope and expect) that having 25 seniors with boat loads of playing time and enjoying the benefits of both schematic stability and Body by Lou, this team should be better next year. Even with the loss of Milan and Harding up the middle, which is substantial.

How many starters at NW last week will also start in next year's B1G opener? Ten or eleven? We'll put a lot of talent on the field next year, and that's not including newcomers. We're going to be better.
 
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Is Lovie planning on going after a defensive coordinator? If we did get one, would another assistant have to leave or do we have an open spot?
 
That northwestern game opened my eyes to how bad our depth still is. At least it has improved alot over lovies tenure and it should only be better next year. We still have some positions that need help but at least we aren't thin at almost every position like a couple years ago.
 
We’re going to be playing a lot of juniors/seniors too...
Sure, but we were not talking about them. I am saying I would rather a Coleman or Randolph get the snaps that Ayo would have gotten next year. I don't think the production would be any less and the youngsters will get some experience
 
Sure, but we were not talking about them. I am saying I would rather a Coleman or Randolph get the snaps that Ayo would have gotten next year. I don't think the production would be any less and the youngsters will get some experience
On this one, I disagree. I think Ayo has been overperforming. Unless he wants to leave, we could use the experience and depth. Injuries happen. And Ayo has been instrumental this season. I am hoping that Ayo wanted to walk because he is graduating, but will plan to return for his final academic year (unless he is choosing to end his football career).
 
On this one, I disagree. I think Ayo has been overperforming. Unless he wants to leave, we could use the experience and depth. Injuries happen. And Ayo has been instrumental this season. I am hoping that Ayo wanted to walk because he is graduating, but will plan to return for his final academic year (unless he is choosing to end his football career).
He has completely overperformed for a 6'2" 240lber, if he is even that big. That is 16 solo tackles and 1.5 sacks on a defense that I would bet saw more snaps than any other defense in the B1G. That is not good production. We all know Gay under performed and didn't get a lot of run and he had 11 solos and 1 sack. I do appreciate all the reports about him having a relentless motor however and I understand the pull of wanting experience on the roster. I believe we are going to need that motor on some actual talent to take that next step.
 
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He has completely overperformed for a 6'2" 240lber, if he is even that big. That is 16 solo tackles and 1.5 sacks on a defense that I would bet saw more snaps than any other defense in the B1G. That is not good production. We all know Gay under performed and didn't get a lot of run and he had 11 solos and 1 sack. I do appreciate all the reports about him having a relentless motor however and I understand the pull of wanting experience on the roster. I believe we are going to need that motor on some actual talent to take that next step.
I agree on taking the next step we need more. I’m still in the weeds of completing the first step. But I can understand the staff needing to manage scholarships, class sizes, and next year we should be good regardless
 
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I've been an Illini fan way, way, waaaaaaaaaaayyyy too long to ever think 6-6 could possibly be the worst case scenario. What were the "worst case scenarios" heading into 2000 or 2008?

My shift in attitude for next season has gone from hoping they make it to a bowl to expecting they make it to a bowl, but I'm still of the opinion that anything after 6 wins is gravy.
 
Fact is, we probably finished right where we should've: 6-6. Win or lose the bowl--not sure I care in terms of what it means for this teams overall accomplishment, though I think these kids deserve a win.

Don't know the exact list of guys who will be graduating, but Harding, Corbin, Brown, Green, and Pettibon sting. We know we will be getting Ford and Beason, two highly talented players at positions of need. If Bhebhe and Betiku come back, it should already be our most talent team in 10 years, not to mention experienced.

8 wins should honestly be the floor. 4-0 start with a real chance at 6-0. Minny, Wisc, Iowa, IU, and OSU is a tough sled, I'll take one. Need to be NW. That gets us to 8.

I won't call for Lovies head with a 6 win season again, but we might not get this favorable of a schedule again in our lifetimes. If we want to gain momentum, we need to turn heads at some point.
 
Madison
Ron Rivera fired as Panthers Head coach....do we have our new Defensive Coordinator?.....s/kind of.
 
Ron Rivera fired as Panthers Head coach....do we have our new Defensive Coordinator?.....s/kind of.
Man! That’s a tough firing. 5-7 while missing your franchise qb all year, doing it with an undrafted 2nd year qb.

I imagine he’ll get an NFL DC job, if not another crack at head coach.
 
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Body by Lou, what's that all about? The only B10 team that we out-gained was Rutgers. Some teams topped us by hundreds of yards. Both Northwestern (NORTHWESTERN'S) lines curb stomped our lines. Their fourth string QB was running our linebackers over all day long. I haven't seen any proof that the strength program has lessened our injuries. Maybe our guys look good at the beach but I don't see it translating to the football field. In fairness, Lou hasn't been here very long so perhaps there will be more benefit moving forward.
 
Body by Lou, what's that all about? The only B10 team that we out-gained was Rutgers. Some teams topped us by hundreds of yards. Both Northwestern (NORTHWESTERN'S) lines curb stomped our lines. Their fourth string QB was running our linebackers over all day long. I haven't seen any proof that the strength program has lessened our injuries. Maybe our guys look good at the beach but I don't see it translating to the football field. In fairness, Lou hasn't been here very long so perhaps there will be more benefit moving forward.
Some of this might have to do with scoring on defense or by creating short fields by causing turnovers. Also our punting is great. This can’t explain away all those games like Nebby, emu, and NW.
 
Some of this might have to do with scoring on defense or by creating short fields by causing turnovers. Also our punting is great. This can’t explain away all those games like Nebby, emu, and NW.
Some of it was due to the takeaways, and there is no reason that we should expect to lead the nation in those next year. That was about as lucky as luck can be. You also can't explain away the fact that our offense struggled at times to sustain drives. Look no further than NW. Dre Brown led us in rushing yards with 17, Isaiah Williams was next with 15 yards, and that all came late in the fourth quarter. Corbin finished with -10 yards and got himself benched. That is TERRIBLE. Also you can't ignore the fact that our defense couldn't get off of the field. They gave up 480 yards to EMU, 674 yards to Nebraska, 487 to Minny, 489 to Michigan, 526 to MSU, 433 to Northwestern, 378 of that was rushing. I think I caught all of the times we allowed over 400 yards. And don't even get started on time of possession or numbers of offensive plays. Good thing we had those short fields from turnovers and great punting, because otherwise we aren't bowling and would probably be hiring a new coach.
 
All of us have at least one friend who went to Illinois State. I don’t want to think about losing to ISU.

I talked to a PSU faithful who was at the game on Saturday and they were stunned by Rutgers’ performance, a team that came prepared to play. Takeaway for Illinois in 2020: Don’t write off Rutgers as an easy win. After all, didn’t we do that with Northwestern?
 
Body by Lou, what's that all about? The only B10 team that we out-gained was Rutgers. Some teams topped us by hundreds of yards. Both Northwestern (NORTHWESTERN'S) lines curb stomped our lines. Their fourth string QB was running our linebackers over all day long. I haven't seen any proof that the strength program has lessened our injuries. Maybe our guys look good at the beach but I don't see it translating to the football field. In fairness, Lou hasn't been here very long so perhaps there will be more benefit moving forward.
How does a strength program lessen ACL tears? A lot of those are genetic—people predisposed to them more than others. Also, the strength program doesn’t teach technique and gap responsibilities. As we have seen, the DL has underperformed in that regard, and the LBs have been hit or miss. The #1 issue here is the position coaching, and I include the inexperienced OL coach in that as well.
 
Plainfield
At this point we are a very enigmatic team. Offensively we’ve been underwhelming all year but have had our moments with big plays to Behbe and a solid rushing attack at times (v Iowa). Defensively we’re a mixed bag. We’ve given up tons of yards, especially to teams with spread/option offenses, but have a great knack for take aways and at times have shown the ability to shut a team down (goal line stand v Wis). We should be a bowl team by virtue of the schedule but we also could go well beyond that and have a big year.
 
Next year: I think D takes a step back without Harding, Milan/Oliver, Green. Current DT situation is terrifying. However O should take a step forward provided Peters is back and we get some of those WR back to go along with maybe a Dre Brown 6th year?! Ford will be a difference maker.
 
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Next year: I think D takes a step back without Harding, Milan/Oliver, Green. Current DT situation is terrifying. However O should take a step forward provided Peters is back and we get some of those WR back to go along with maybe a Dre Brown 6th year?! Ford will be a difference maker.
If Avery can consistently play like half the downs as a DT, I'm more confident the DT position will be ok. We still need, like need need, a grad DT or even two, but Avery (when he wants to be/isn't gassed) is as disruptive as it gets from the DT position. Hope he understands he's got the talent for an NFL career, just gotta get his mindsight right.

Agreed as a whole the D probably wont improve, but Beason should give us a real boost, not to mention all the returners being a year older. Need Betiku to stay (is there actual buzz of him possibly jumping?), but I'm not overly concerned as a whole in terms of personnel other than the DT position.
 
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I think some of the posts are funny. We won 6 games. This is what a 6 win team looks like. 6 win teams have games where they make plays and compete with better teams. They also have games where they fail to make plays and look bad. 6 wins teams are also not very deep and serious injuries, such as to the top three receivers, the top recruit, the top nfl scout, will wear on the teams ability to make plays.

Questions/comments that don't make sense:
"Should they have won more? Should they have won less?" At the beginning of the season they were predicted to win 4 games by most experts. Some saw 5 wins. A select few saw 6 wins. I don't think many on this board saw 7 or 8 wins. We won 6 games. And, more importantly, we were in every game in the 4th quarter.

"If turnovers didn't exist, we would not have won so many games" ; " We got lucky with all of the turnovers" This isn't football and it would mean Lovie would need to formulate a new strategy to winning games. He has a well documented history of having defenses that take the ball away and score TDs. And, do this in the fourth quarter/end of the game.

"Look at all the yards we gave up" Football is won by scoring more points, not yards.

"But we lost to Northwestern/EMU/Nebraska/etc." Yes. And we won 6 games (including wisconsin/the most healthy our team has been), outplaying most predictions. If you ask me, our bad losses came when we had injuries in the secondary (Brown, Adams, or Green). I think having a strong secondary allows us to stack the box. I hope that we can see if this is true in the bowl game.


Questions I think people could look to answer to understand how next year will look:

"Are we better this year, than we were last year"
I think this is a resounding yes. We were more competitive in every game. When healthy, we showed that we had the talent to execute Lovie's defensive scheme.

"Is there reason to think we will get better" ; "what is the outlook" ; "how is the depth" ; "what do we have to look forward to" ; "What are the areas we need to improve" ; What positions will be a step down"

We graduated a handful of starters and contributors. And, this is the deepest roster we have had in awhile. We have even more and better young talent that we were able to redshirt and allow to develop. The defense loses some key pieces, but we have some capable people that will get better. Betiku, is just learning the position, he will get better with more technical experience. We have some highly talented DEs that will be able to contribute next year, including Gay, Carney, Randolph, and Coleman. We should add some rotational players (e.g., someone like Shipton or Finau) to the DT position and we have some talent that currently is on the roster (Pate, Woods, Avery, Okpala). We lose an ALL B1G LB. But we added a grad transfer (Smith) and the ones we had played pretty well when asked to step up (Tolson and Barnes) and we have an extraordinary LB waiting in the wings (Cooper). That experience for Tolson will pay dividends. Plus, we add Juco Gardner, who will add speed and depth. The DBs will also add some size and depth with Beason and Witherspoon (getting time to bulk) next season. Adding a Safety would help.

On the offensive side, remember our QB did not have time to rep with the receivers. Peters stepped in and learned the offense while playing. He will need to get better. I also expect Williams to get some time to work with the receivers and to learn the speed on Power 5 football. I would like to think he can step in mid season. We lose big RBs, but we have other solid RBs ready to play. Our WR situation is still not ideal. We have some talent, but we will need to bolster this position given the last few seasons with so many injuries. Fortunately, Jadon Thompson and James Frenchie could potentially contribute right away. And we may add Netherly or some other potentials that are not identified yet. Also Casey Washington will get some time to develop. Same with Campbell, Cumby and we may see Carter return. We also return all of our good receivers. Our OL loses 1, but between Brown, Myers, and the many others, I expect this position to improve next year.

Overall, I expect every position to improve with experience and depth (except for DT). I am excited about the incoming Freshman class and look forward to who else can step up.
 
Oswego, IL
I think some of the posts are funny. We won 6 games. This is what a 6 win team looks like. 6 win teams have games where they make plays and compete with better teams. They also have games where they fail to make plays and look bad. 6 wins teams are also not very deep and serious injuries, such as to the top three receivers, the top recruit, the top nfl scout, will wear on the teams ability to make plays.

Questions/comments that don't make sense:
"Should they have won more? Should they have won less?" At the beginning of the season they were predicted to win 4 games by most experts. Some saw 5 wins. A select few saw 6 wins. I don't think many on this board saw 7 or 8 wins. We won 6 games. And, more importantly, we were in every game in the 4th quarter.

"If turnovers didn't exist, we would not have won so many games" ; " We got lucky with all of the turnovers" This isn't football and it would mean Lovie would need to formulate a new strategy to winning games. He has a well documented history of having defenses that take the ball away and score TDs. And, do this in the fourth quarter/end of the game.

"Look at all the yards we gave up" Football is won by scoring more points, not yards.

"But we lost to Northwestern/EMU/Nebraska/etc." Yes. And we won 6 games (including wisconsin/the most healthy our team has been), outplaying most predictions. If you ask me, our bad losses came when we had injuries in the secondary (Brown, Adams, or Green). I think having a strong secondary allows us to stack the box. I hope that we can see if this is true in the bowl game.


Questions I think people could look to answer to understand how next year will look:

"Are we better this year, than we were last year"
I think this is a resounding yes. We were more competitive in every game. When healthy, we showed that we had the talent to execute Lovie's defensive scheme.

"Is there reason to think we will get better" ; "what is the outlook" ; "how is the depth" ; "what do we have to look forward to" ; "What are the areas we need to improve" ; What positions will be a step down"

We graduated a handful of starters and contributors. And, this is the deepest roster we have had in awhile. We have even more and better young talent that we were able to redshirt and allow to develop. The defense loses some key pieces, but we have some capable people that will get better. Betiku, is just learning the position, he will get better with more technical experience. We have some highly talented DEs that will be able to contribute next year, including Gay, Carney, Randolph, and Coleman. We should add some rotational players (e.g., someone like Shipton or Finau) to the DT position and we have some talent that currently is on the roster (Pate, Woods, Avery, Okpala). We lose an ALL B1G LB. But we added a grad transfer (Smith) and the ones we had played pretty well when asked to step up (Tolson and Barnes) and we have an extraordinary LB waiting in the wings (Cooper). That experience for Tolson will pay dividends. Plus, we add Juco Gardner, who will add speed and depth. The DBs will also add some size and depth with Beason and Witherspoon (getting time to bulk) next season. Adding a Safety would help.

On the offensive side, remember our QB did not have time to rep with the receivers. Peters stepped in and learned the offense while playing. He will need to get better. I also expect Williams to get some time to work with the receivers and to learn the speed on Power 5 football. I would like to think he can step in mid season. We lose big RBs, but we have other solid RBs ready to play. Our WR situation is still not ideal. We have some talent, but we will need to bolster this position given the last few seasons with so many injuries. Fortunately, Jadon Thompson and James Frenchie could potentially contribute right away. And we may add Netherly or some other potentials that are not identified yet. Also Casey Washington will get some time to develop. Same with Campbell, Cumby and we may see Carter return. We also return all of our good receivers. Our OL loses 1, but between Brown, Myers, and the many others, I expect this position to improve next year.

Overall, I expect every position to improve with experience and depth (except for DT). I am excited about the incoming Freshman class and look forward to who else can step up.
Alright, this about sums it up. No need for other responses (mine included)

 
I think some of the posts are funny. We won 6 games. This is what a 6 win team looks like. 6 win teams have games where they make plays and compete with better teams. They also have games where they fail to make plays and look bad. 6 wins teams are also not very deep and serious injuries, such as to the top three receivers, the top recruit, the top nfl scout, will wear on the teams ability to make plays.

Questions/comments that don't make sense:
"Should they have won more? Should they have won less?" At the beginning of the season they were predicted to win 4 games by most experts. Some saw 5 wins. A select few saw 6 wins. I don't think many on this board saw 7 or 8 wins. We won 6 games. And, more importantly, we were in every game in the 4th quarter.

"If turnovers didn't exist, we would not have won so many games" ; " We got lucky with all of the turnovers" This isn't football and it would mean Lovie would need to formulate a new strategy to winning games. He has a well documented history of having defenses that take the ball away and score TDs. And, do this in the fourth quarter/end of the game.

"Look at all the yards we gave up" Football is won by scoring more points, not yards.

"But we lost to Northwestern/EMU/Nebraska/etc." Yes. And we won 6 games (including wisconsin/the most healthy our team has been), outplaying most predictions. If you ask me, our bad losses came when we had injuries in the secondary (Brown, Adams, or Green). I think having a strong secondary allows us to stack the box. I hope that we can see if this is true in the bowl game.


Questions I think people could look to answer to understand how next year will look:

"Are we better this year, than we were last year"
I think this is a resounding yes. We were more competitive in every game. When healthy, we showed that we had the talent to execute Lovie's defensive scheme.

"Is there reason to think we will get better" ; "what is the outlook" ; "how is the depth" ; "what do we have to look forward to" ; "What are the areas we need to improve" ; What positions will be a step down"

We graduated a handful of starters and contributors. And, this is the deepest roster we have had in awhile. We have even more and better young talent that we were able to redshirt and allow to develop. The defense loses some key pieces, but we have some capable people that will get better. Betiku, is just learning the position, he will get better with more technical experience. We have some highly talented DEs that will be able to contribute next year, including Gay, Carney, Randolph, and Coleman. We should add some rotational players (e.g., someone like Shipton or Finau) to the DT position and we have some talent that currently is on the roster (Pate, Woods, Avery, Okpala). We lose an ALL B1G LB. But we added a grad transfer (Smith) and the ones we had played pretty well when asked to step up (Tolson and Barnes) and we have an extraordinary LB waiting in the wings (Cooper). That experience for Tolson will pay dividends. Plus, we add Juco Gardner, who will add speed and depth. The DBs will also add some size and depth with Beason and Witherspoon (getting time to bulk) next season. Adding a Safety would help.

On the offensive side, remember our QB did not have time to rep with the receivers. Peters stepped in and learned the offense while playing. He will need to get better. I also expect Williams to get some time to work with the receivers and to learn the speed on Power 5 football. I would like to think he can step in mid season. We lose big RBs, but we have other solid RBs ready to play. Our WR situation is still not ideal. We have some talent, but we will need to bolster this position given the last few seasons with so many injuries. Fortunately, Jadon Thompson and James Frenchie could potentially contribute right away. And we may add Netherly or some other potentials that are not identified yet. Also Casey Washington will get some time to develop. Same with Campbell, Cumby and we may see Carter return. We also return all of our good receivers. Our OL loses 1, but between Brown, Myers, and the many others, I expect this position to improve next year.

Overall, I expect every position to improve with experience and depth (except for DT). I am excited about the incoming Freshman class and look forward to who else can step up.
You took it a little farther than I would in some spots but overall, this is a fantastic post. Well done Thunder.
 
I think some of the posts are funny. We won 6 games. This is what a 6 win team looks like. 6 win teams have games where they make plays and compete with better teams. They also have games where they fail to make plays and look bad. 6 wins teams are also not very deep and serious injuries, such as to the top three receivers, the top recruit, the top nfl scout, will wear on the teams ability to make plays.

Questions/comments that don't make sense:
"Should they have won more? Should they have won less?" At the beginning of the season they were predicted to win 4 games by most experts. Some saw 5 wins. A select few saw 6 wins. I don't think many on this board saw 7 or 8 wins. We won 6 games. And, more importantly, we were in every game in the 4th quarter.

"If turnovers didn't exist, we would not have won so many games" ; " We got lucky with all of the turnovers" This isn't football and it would mean Lovie would need to formulate a new strategy to winning games. He has a well documented history of having defenses that take the ball away and score TDs. And, do this in the fourth quarter/end of the game.

"Look at all the yards we gave up" Football is won by scoring more points, not yards.

"But we lost to Northwestern/EMU/Nebraska/etc." Yes. And we won 6 games (including wisconsin/the most healthy our team has been), outplaying most predictions. If you ask me, our bad losses came when we had injuries in the secondary (Brown, Adams, or Green). I think having a strong secondary allows us to stack the box. I hope that we can see if this is true in the bowl game.


Questions I think people could look to answer to understand how next year will look:

"Are we better this year, than we were last year"
I think this is a resounding yes. We were more competitive in every game. When healthy, we showed that we had the talent to execute Lovie's defensive scheme.

"Is there reason to think we will get better" ; "what is the outlook" ; "how is the depth" ; "what do we have to look forward to" ; "What are the areas we need to improve" ; What positions will be a step down"

We graduated a handful of starters and contributors. And, this is the deepest roster we have had in awhile. We have even more and better young talent that we were able to redshirt and allow to develop. The defense loses some key pieces, but we have some capable people that will get better. Betiku, is just learning the position, he will get better with more technical experience. We have some highly talented DEs that will be able to contribute next year, including Gay, Carney, Randolph, and Coleman. We should add some rotational players (e.g., someone like Shipton or Finau) to the DT position and we have some talent that currently is on the roster (Pate, Woods, Avery, Okpala). We lose an ALL B1G LB. But we added a grad transfer (Smith) and the ones we had played pretty well when asked to step up (Tolson and Barnes) and we have an extraordinary LB waiting in the wings (Cooper). That experience for Tolson will pay dividends. Plus, we add Juco Gardner, who will add speed and depth. The DBs will also add some size and depth with Beason and Witherspoon (getting time to bulk) next season. Adding a Safety would help.

On the offensive side, remember our QB did not have time to rep with the receivers. Peters stepped in and learned the offense while playing. He will need to get better. I also expect Williams to get some time to work with the receivers and to learn the speed on Power 5 football. I would like to think he can step in mid season. We lose big RBs, but we have other solid RBs ready to play. Our WR situation is still not ideal. We have some talent, but we will need to bolster this position given the last few seasons with so many injuries. Fortunately, Jadon Thompson and James Frenchie could potentially contribute right away. And we may add Netherly or some other potentials that are not identified yet. Also Casey Washington will get some time to develop. Same with Campbell, Cumby and we may see Carter return. We also return all of our good receivers. Our OL loses 1, but between Brown, Myers, and the many others, I expect this position to improve next year.

Overall, I expect every position to improve with experience and depth (except for DT). I am excited about the incoming Freshman class and look forward to who else can step up.
Football is won be scoring points. That’s been my mantra this season when games were won with a defense that creates turnovers.

Turnovers are a part of the game of football and when you’re in first in the nation in a variety of elements, it’s more than being smiled on by the turnover fairy. Especially when the coach involved has a history of creating turnovers. Will it happen every game? Of course not. Passing teams sometimes fall short in passing yardage.

That said, improvements in other elements of the game would be welcome. Such as special teams. Oh, wait, we’re pretty good at that too.
 
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