Northwestern 29, Illinois 10 POSTGAME

#77
The problem is the season finished much like it began. Like the AT&T commercials, if you were to ask me what I thought about the coaching staff, I'd say, "They're OK."
 
Likes: pvaughn8
#78
Part of the problem is that the PA system often plays over the top of the band when they are trying to do something. You would think that there would be some way to coordinate the two so that only one, or the other, is playing at any given time.
 
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#79
I’m not advocating for firing him, the bar was 6-6 and he got there. I fully expect him to be retained and understand why.

That said, I do think we had some mid year fools gold. I think when you peel back the layers there are more questions/doubts than answers.

Keep in mind we also averaged 150 ypg less than our opponents. I think the only opponent we outgained straight away was Rutgers. That’s concerning. It speaks to the importance of takeaways. Just doesn’t seem like a sound way to build the foundation of a program. JMHO.
I agree with this 100%. We have taken a greater than average hit on injuries, though. Three starting receivers and starting QB. A number of teams have lost QBs (Purdue, NW, Indiana) but our backups are a big step down. We have to have a second QB ready next year. We must build depth all around. We must upgrade coaching staff. We have been competitive except for Minnesota and NW though. Not ideal I agree, but progress.
 
#80
Most disappointing was the play of the OL and DL. No passion. No concentration. No focus. Bad blocking schemes and communication. Some will try to blame the loss of Kramer on the poor performance, but McClain has had 11 games to prepare a back up for him, so there's really no excuse. Until today, our OL has been unexpectedly, and luckily, free of injury requiring them to sit out.

It was VITAL that the OL got to the second level to make our running game work, but they failed spectacularly. So many times we saw NW tacklers in clean behind the LOS with our blockers just standing around not in contact with any defender. Pass protection? Awful. Two sacks on 23 attempts. I don't know the hurries...

Our DL was just as bad. Milan, Oliver and Jackson were pushed around like marshmallows against a not-so-good OL. I could understand it at early in the game, but not stepping up after that to shut things down was just a character, and coaching, issue.

The bottom line is that good, experienced line coaches don't let these things happen this way. They motivate. They adjust blocking schemes. They adjust stunts and blitzes to cover gaps and stop the run. It seems their defenders knew our plays better than our guys and outexecuted us to get the tackles as well...

Not having good blocking schemes and offensive game plans has been a chronic problem. Slow starts show the starting plan was just bad.

This year we have a 27 year old DL coach who's in his second year of P5 position coaching. We have an OL coach in his first year of P5 coaching. It shows. If you're building a program, an HC needs a lot better help than that.

Are Lovie and Rod responsible and smart enough to recognize that and upgrade those coaching positions? I wouldn't bet on it...

Next year I'm looking for a replay of 2008 if we don't upgrade our OL, DL, and LB coaching (and maybe hire an actual DC who understands the college game and can recruit). Plenty of talent to be successful, but lack of coaching to have it meet its potential.
 
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#81
Morris, IL
I see some people trying to move the goal posts. I'd say mission accomplished this season, beating northwestern would have been a big bonus. Let's recalibrate our expectations and set new goals for next season
I will be the first to admit that I did not expect a 7 win regular season. So going into today's game with 6 wins was playing with house money. But that doesn't change the expectation of a win today, and the disappointment of a bad loss to an 0-8 conference team, that we were favored over by 7+pts., at home, on Senior day, with Bobby Roundtree in the house. Expecting a win today is not moving the goal posts. And injuries are not an acceptable excuse......see Northwestern for how to deal with that one. I was one of the maybe 10,000(?) at the game today, there to support the Seniors. Wish they could have finished their Memorial Stadium careers with a win.
 
#82
Let’s be honest - the injury card doesn’t fly because NU had just as many out as we did. They are on their fourth string QB. Both teams were banged up.
Okay? If Coran Taylor had started for us, the offense couldn't have been much worse.

Losing your three top receivers is not normal.
 
#83
This is a big boy league that requires legit big boys in the trenches. Something Illinois hasn’t had in ages. Both sides of ball were completely dominated by the Kitties. Not sure that I see this issue getting any better in the foreseeable future.
 
#87
Forgottonia
This is a big boy league that requires legit big boys in the trenches. Something Illinois hasn’t had in ages. Both sides of ball were completely dominated by the Kitties. Not sure that I see this issue getting any better in the foreseeable future.
This is on point. We lost on both sides of the line today and had no chance because of that. O-line has been up and down this year. Today they got outplayed badly. D-line got pushed around more than I expected. NW with one punt for the day. With Robinson at QB maybe it didn’t matter, but I thought the weather conditions favored NW more than us.
 
#88
They saved me several hundred today cause I was debating whether to keep tickets next year. The win streak got me going but today told me it was fools gold. Been down this road too many times with Illinois football.
That would be a terrible decision. Next year's team has a very solid chance of being the best this century. Anybody who has ever thought about season tickets, and lives within traveling distance of CU, should definitely buy tickets for next season. Definitely!
 
#90
Over the top disappointed....not so sure we deserve to go bowling. No pride in being " bare minimum" bowl eligibility.
 
#91
Agree...both were big factors...I know the QB was a big dude...but their yardage after first hit was ridiculous...they were either stronger, better motivated, or better coached
Northwestern's yardage after contact was appalling. When are our coaches going to teach the defensive players how to properly tackle? Far too often this season the defenders have used only their hands/arms (while trying to strip the ball) or they throw their shoulder into a runner and don't use their arms at all.
Furthermore, how about teaching our guys that the point of playing defense is to prevent the other team from gaining yardage? I'm tired of watching our defenders (on the occasions when they actually use their arms while attempting a tackle) grab somebody around the waist and then spin them several yards in the direction they were trying to run.
Also, the big Northwestern quarterback is a powerful runner but aside from his size he basically had one weapon. He spun on contact. He spun the same way, in the same direction, and each time our guys looked like they had never seen it before.
Sorry, I'm tired and crabby from being at the game today. As others have pointed out, we all would have gladly accepted a 6-6 season several months ago and we therefore should have some perspective now. Congratulations to the team for making progress.
 
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#92
Geneseo, IL
Who’s responsible for ensuring our players stay healthy? We all know why Peters wasn’t ready to go, but what happened to Imatorbhebhe? What happened to Hansen that took him out for a month? What happened to Williams that made him unavailable earlier in the season? Not having half of our team available is a huge disadvantage and today it showed.
I'm going to piggy-back on your comment. I get it that injuries are part of football, and you can have a stretch of games or even a season where you seem to have an inordinate number of players hurt. But under Smith it's been almost every game and all four years where we have a ton of guys hurt, at important positions too. Don't you have to re-evaluate your training/strength & conditioning programs at this point?

Also, when you look at the big picture we have a nice four-game winning streak in four years under Smith. A four game stretch out of 48 games that was good. Tenuous at best to think he's actually righted the ship. He basically did the minimum to save his job this season. I really don't have much confidence that next year will be any better.
 
#93
If people would leave their wild emotion at the door and stop completely misdiagnosing what is happening on the field, there is actually a lot to learn from this game that can help us in the future.
Yes, a lot to learn. I'm just wondering if we have the proper staff to provide the instruction.
 
#95
I'm going to piggy-back on your comment. I get it that injuries are part of football, and you can have a stretch of games or even a season where you seem to have an inordinate number of players hurt. But under Smith it's been almost every game and all four years where we have a ton of guys hurt, at important positions too. Don't you have to re-evaluate your training/strength & conditioning programs at this point?

Also, when you look at the big picture we have a nice four-game winning streak in four years under Smith. A four game stretch out of 48 games that was good. Tenuous at best to think he's actually righted the ship. He basically did the minimum to save his job this season. I really don't have much confidence that next year will be any better.
I wish it weren't so, but those are my sentiments also.
 
#97
My toes are still froze from hanging in there thinking the coaching staff would adjust and try something new. We are not very good!!
 
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#99
I'm as big an Illini fan as anyone on this board. That being said, what I saw today was more than disappointing. Coaches and schemes aside, if the new facilities and that we are going to a bowl game does not increase our high 3 and 4 star and a possible 5 star recruit, I do not see us rising above the level of mediocrity. Our depth is painfully thin and when we lose a key player it's like a knife to the jugular. Let's hope today's performance was an anomaly and that our bowl game will make us proud to wear our Illini garb.