Nebraska 42, Illinois 38 POSTGAME

Chicago, IL
Some people touched on this, but the most frustrating thing for me was the terrible play calls on third and short. Just mind boggling.

Turnovers were good and we did have some plays (the Peters rushing TD, a couple tackles for loss, for example) that made me double check I was still watching the Illini. Special teams - the field awareness of Dre Brown on that out of bounds kickoff! - was so vastly improved, and our kicking and punting is excellent.

All of which makes this SO FRUSTRATING. I actually said I haven't been this mad since the 2005 NCAA championship basketball game. This was winnable. We gave it away by not being aggressive. And the fans I was sitting with did not give two hoots about cheering or getting loud or anything. I told my family I'm done being an Illini fan - coming from someone who believed firmly in Lovie until about 18 hours ago.

And the Nebraska fans doing their dumb Go Big Red chant when we had an injured player on the field, multiple times? They can go f themselves. Trash.
 
No, I agree. The defensive scheme can, has and still is currently working with other defense’s in other programs. Again, we use it at higher percentages than others and that leaves Lovie susceptible to good offensive coaches who understand how to adjust in-game but in general, Lovie’s big failure is not the Tampa 2. Never has been, never will be. His failures lie in recruiting and assembling of a competent coaching staff down to the positional level.

Keynodo Hudson better be one amazing recruiter because his work as a positional coach is not showing up on the field.
"Keynodo Hudson better be one amazing recruiter because his work as a positional coach is not showing up on the field."

He and "recruiting Walking Dead" safeties and passing game coordinator Byrd aren't seriously in on any DB recruit with decernt P5 offers. Lousy recruiters, horrible field coaches. Typical Lovie hires.....
 
"Keynodo Hudson better be one amazing recruiter because his work as a positional coach is not showing up on the field."

He and "recruiting Walking Dead" safeties and passing game coordinator Byrd aren't seriously in on any DB recruit with decernt P5 offers. Lousy recruiters, horrible field coaches. Typical Lovie hires.....
Key is in on a couple decent kids. Recent on field performances are going to complicate that.
 
If you want to understand why the defense is performing so poorly, you need look no further than the defensive staff resume's.

Of course we all know of Coaches son Miles Smith being the LB Coach. He had no college coaching experience prior to getting a key P5 position at Illinois.

DL Coach Clark had no paid position coaching position at all, let alone from more successful P5 programs than Illinois. This is VERY rare for any serious P5 program.

CB Coach Hudson only had a couple of years coaching experience at Florida Atlantic before coming here. NO P5 experience, let alone better P5 programs than Illinois.

Then we come to Coach Byrd, our passing game and safeties coordinator where we have had perhaps the worst recruiting and on-field performance for the team. He's pretty much trailed Lovie throughout his career since his stint with the Rams....NO college coaching experience at all.

Finally we come to our part time DC, Lovie. He hadn't coached at the college level in almost a quarter century, had no recruiting contacts and was clearly out of touch with current P5 defense and offense.

So cummulatively this staff only has 2 years of college coaching experience in the last quarter century, with only Lovie having ANY previous P5 coaching experience.
No sane college coach could be expected to be successful with this weak of a staff, perhaps the WEAKEST amongst P5 programs, and certainly the weakest in the B1G.

If Lovie thought he could build a great defense, or even a competitive one, with this quality of staff, he's a fool. I don't think he is. If he built t staff knowing it wasn't what was needed to be successful, then he needs to go for that reason alone.

Anyone who's watched recent Illini games sees that the primary deficiencies with the team have coaching as the root causes, be it uncompetitive recruiting, game planning or player development. Besides LBs Hansen and Harding (who both have SERIOUS pass defending deficiencies) Is there ANY player on defense we can say is well coached? It's pretty clear Wole is achieving on natural talent and energy, NOT great technique being coached.

AD Whitman must see this problem as well, yet he seems powerless to influence Lovie to bring in top, P5 experienced assistants to have the team meet it's potential. Apparently he's too intimidated by Lovie to bring up this subject.

To be successful in any endeavor, you need quality people, process, and product. The product is poor, but there's no reason it can't regain successful quality again. it has before under sound management. The process is a mess. It results on poor game and program strategy and a terribly deficient recruiting program.
People? Those here have never been successful at the P5 level, and we've seen more than enough evidence they can't succeed here.
I'm sure I'm not the first observer to see this. Have any of you Q clubers (or donors) ever had a converstation about this with Whitman?
 
Key is in on a couple decent kids. Recent on field performances are going to complicate that.
We need at least four ready to play DB recruits in this class, not just a few "decent kids" We had this need going into 2019 as well, but we couldn't bring in a SINGLE top transfer there, and only one solid DB recruit. Meanwhile we lost Watkins to Vandy and Benet Williams for discipline. Unless we get a LOT better by the end of the year, there's no way we can keep Byrd. Lovie needs to bring in a top DB coach. For Byrd's payscale, he should be able to do that. He needs to be active in recruiting now so that he can hit the ground running when he comes in after the NW game.

That's what a competent HC would do, and what is highly unlikely under Lovie.
Seriously, If Lovie's defense keeps on giving up over 500 ypg and he remains incapable of coordinating the offense and defense to protect his terrible performing D, I just can't see how we can keep him or Whitman going into next year. Fire Whitman first, get a new AD, then let him/her hire the next coach.
 
Gameday atmosphere was a pleasant surprise. Student section full. All visible seats in the 100s looked full, ditto upper home side. Upper visitors side half full.

Little weird that a couple paved pass lots surrounding the stadium were 80% empty but can’t complain. Parked in a paved spot 0.6 miles away for free on a night with a big crowd. We might have the most convenient parking of any B1G school.
 

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We need at least four ready to play DB recruits in this class, not just a few "decent kids" We had this need going into 2019 as well, but we couldn't bring in a SINGLE top transfer there, and only one solid DB recruit. Meanwhile we lost Watkins to Vandy and Benet Williams for discipline. Unless we get a LOT better by the end of the year, there's no way we can keep Byrd. Lovie needs to bring in a top DB coach. For Byrd's payscale, he should be able to do that. He needs to be active in recruiting now so that he can hit the ground running when he comes in after the NW game.

That's what a competent HC would do, and what is highly unlikely under Lovie.
Seriously, If Lovie's defense keeps on giving up over 500 ypg and he remains incapable of coordinating the offense and defense to protect his terrible performing D, I just can't see how we can keep him or Whitman going into next year. Fire Whitman first, get a new AD, then let him/her hire the next coach.
Just a question, and I am by no means picking on Bob, but who at the University of Illinois is going to hold AD Whitman accountable for the disaster that is the Lovie Smith era? I'm asking because I seriously do not know the answer. In the 28 years since I graduated from U of I, I could not name a single person in Admin or the BOT that gives two sh*ts about the sports programs. IMVHO until that changes, we have what we have and will continue to have. With the U of I's resources and geographically central location between Chicago, Indianapolis, and St Louis there is zero reason we should be doormats of the Big10 in both major revenue sports. It's disgusting and beyond time for it to end; but the same people who continue to employ and cave to professors such as Stephen Kaufman and his ilk are running the university, and I personally have no faith that anything will change while that is the case. Hope I am wrong and I will gladly eat crow if it does.
 
The last play was PI and it should have been called. Hell the slow motion replay has an official looking directly at the play with a clear view!
However, if Sydney would have ran a good route, he would have had much more separation from the DBs and would have had an uncontested "chance" at catching that football.
And to give Peters some props, because he did make some bad throws, that ball was on the money
 
Austin
Looking into random hypotheticals, if neb makes that fg instead of misses, I wonder if we start off with better field position on the last drive than we got. Dre was killing returns all night, and make or miss, we had to score a touchdown. The difference being win v tie obviously, but both are more appealing than a loss.
 
I haven't seen a reason to get excited about Illinois football for a long time. The outsider consensus was 3.5 wins this season, even with a soft non-conference slate. That just tells me we'd get more of the same. The only thing I'm disappointed about is the way our AD has handled Lovie's contract. After 3 seasons of evidence, we should have favorable exit terms.

Glad they gave away tickets. Need to try harder to fill that stadium while we're a bottom dweller.
We do have favorable exit terms. The "extension" he signed added 0 new buyout money. Buyout remains the same as it was when the original hire was made.
 
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Don’t get me wrong, the defense isn’t great but yesterday they played their best. Their best is mediocre but they created turnovers and gave the offense short fields a crazy number times. The offense needs to return the favor and give the defense a breather and they did not do that....ALL Game!!! It’s ridiculous to think our mediocre D can carry that much load.
Agreed. Everyone would choose 4 turnovers from defense every game, with no other context.
I saw run run pass (3rd long) all second half.
This team needs to work on play action and mix it in on first down.
 
I'm not sure I agree with this. Our offense is very inconsistent and play action is high risk/reward.

The bad for Peters came on play action when the defense took away with the main read, see the fumble vs EMU. I'd have to go back and look for other examples but it definitely seems like it has not worked as well.
 
Geneseo, IL
Saturday's game reminded me a lot of last year's game against South Florida. Nebraska basically served the game up to Illinois on a dinner platter and the Illini refused to accept. I'm at the point now where I feel there is no chance this group of players is ever going to win here, partly because all they have known is a losing culture but also because I'm convinced they have no confidence in their coaching staff. Lovie is first and foremost to blame, but add Rod Smith in too. I have no idea what he is trying to do this season. For God's sake throw out the page in the playbook with the wildcat. If you never pass out of it you don't fool anybody. That play hasn't worked for years.

I don't understand why Illinois doesn't play complimentary football with the three phases. That's what Lovie did with the Bears. Illinois has good special teams now and two very good kickers. Why play a hurry up spread out offense when running is your strength? This ends up making your defense play maximum minutes on the field and its your most suspect unit. If we were marching the ball up and down the field and scoring a lot it might make sense. But they go three and out too often. Why not huddle up and be more of a ball control offense. We don't have the personnel to be flinging the ball all over the place but we do have the line and the running backs to run the ball efficiently. Then the passing game might open up a little. Peters doesn't look like a qb that can go out and win a game by himself but he might be a good qb in a balanced attack. Our defense is not very good but I doubt there are many other units in the country that could last 100 plays on the field against a good offense.
 
Morris, IL
Saturday's game reminded me a lot of last year's game against South Florida. Nebraska basically served the game up to Illinois on a dinner platter and the Illini refused to accept. I'm at the point now where I feel there is no chance this group of players is ever going to win here, partly because all they have known is a losing culture but also because I'm convinced they have no confidence in their coaching staff. Lovie is first and foremost to blame, but add Rod Smith in too. I have no idea what he is trying to do this season. For God's sake throw out the page in the playbook with the wildcat. If you never pass out of it you don't fool anybody. That play hasn't worked for years.

I don't understand why Illinois doesn't play complimentary football with the three phases. That's what Lovie did with the Bears. Illinois has good special teams now and two very good kickers. Why play a hurry up spread out offense when running is your strength? This ends up making your defense play maximum minutes on the field and its your most suspect unit. If we were marching the ball up and down the field and scoring a lot it might make sense. But they go three and out too often. Why not huddle up and be more of a ball control offense. We don't have the personnel to be flinging the ball all over the place but we do have the line and the running backs to run the ball efficiently. Then the passing game might open up a little. Peters doesn't look like a qb that can go out and win a game by himself but he might be a good qb in a balanced attack. Our defense is not very good but I doubt there are many other units in the country that could last 100 plays on the field against a good offense.
This! Hello Illinois Coaching Staff?
 
It is mind numbing that you want to fire Josh Whitman because you don't like the assistant defensive backs coach. Geez, an athletic director runs the entire DIA program and concentrates on fundraising. Haven't you heard Whitman speak on any subject? This guy has it together. I can't defend that Lovie cannot control his narrative. But he was a home run hire when Whitman cleaned out FB, then WBB, and MBB.