Offensive/Defensive Stat Comparison (2018 Illinois v. 2019 Illinois)

#26
Aurora, IL
Some Illinois offensive and defensive stats for you (compared to the 2018 version):

Offensive Comparison
Team YPG
2018: 412.2 (54th)
2019: 326.4 (111th)

Team YPP (yards per play)
2018: 5.9 (40th)
2019: 4.7 (105th)

Team PPG (plays per game)
2018: 70.3 (79th)
2019: 69.4 (79th)

Team Rushing YPG
2018: 244.0 (12th)
2019: 158.2 (71st)

Team Passing YPG
2018: 168.2 (111th)
2019: 168.1 (114th)

Defensive Comparison

Opponents YPG
2018: 521.8 (128th)
2019: 414.5 (75th)

Opponents YPP (yards per play)
2018: 7.0 (124th)
2019: 5.4 (59th)

Opponents PPG (plays per game)
2018: 74.5 (87th)
2019: 76.1 (104th)

Opponents Rushing YPG
2018: 261.6 (124th)
2019: 190.1 (90th)

Opponents Passing YPG
2018: 260.2 (105th)
2019: 224.4 (61st)
Want to redo this after the Rutgers game?
 
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#27
Cincinnati, OH
**Post-Rutgers Update**


Some Illinois offensive and defensive stats for you (compared to the 2018 version):

Offensive Comparison
Team YPG
2018: 412.2 (54th)
2019: 326.1 (112th) πŸ‘‡1

Team YPP (yards per play)
2018: 5.9 (40th)
2019: 4.8 (104th) πŸ‘†1

Team PPG (plays per game)
2018: 70.3 (79th)
2019: 68.0 (90th) πŸ‘‡11

Team Rushing YPG
2018: 244.0 (12th)
2019: 163.3 (64th) πŸ‘†7

Team Passing YPG
2018: 168.2 (111th)
2019: 162.8 (114th) πŸ‘‰πŸ‘ˆ

Defensive Comparison

Opponents YPG
2018: 521.8 (128th)
2019: 398.6 (63rd) πŸ‘†12

Opponents YPP (yards per play)
2018: 7.0 (124th)
2019: 5.3 (49th) πŸ‘†10

Opponents PPG (plays per game)
2018: 74.5 (87th)
2019: 74.8 (95th) πŸ‘†9

Opponents Rushing YPG
2018: 261.6 (124th)
2019: 189.6 (91st) πŸ‘‡1

Opponents Passing YPG
2018: 260.2 (105th)
2019: 209.0 (42nd) πŸ‘†19
 
#28
Captain 'Paign
Phoenix, AZ
**Post-Rutgers Update**


Some Illinois offensive and defensive stats for you (compared to the 2018 version):

Offensive Comparison
Team YPG
2018: 412.2 (54th)
2019: 326.1 (112th) πŸ‘‡1

Team YPP (yards per play)
2018: 5.9 (40th)
2019: 4.8 (104th) πŸ‘†1

Team PPG (plays per game)
2018: 70.3 (79th)
2019: 68.0 (90th) πŸ‘‡11

Team Rushing YPG
2018: 244.0 (12th)
2019: 163.3 (64th) πŸ‘†7

Team Passing YPG
2018: 168.2 (111th)
2019: 162.8 (114th) πŸ‘‰πŸ‘ˆ

Defensive Comparison

Opponents YPG
2018: 521.8 (128th)
2019: 398.6 (63rd) πŸ‘†12

Opponents YPP (yards per play)
2018: 7.0 (124th)
2019: 5.3 (49th) πŸ‘†10

Opponents PPG (plays per game)
2018: 74.5 (87th)
2019: 74.8 (95th) πŸ‘†9

Opponents Rushing YPG
2018: 261.6 (124th)
2019: 189.6 (91st) πŸ‘‡1

Opponents Passing YPG
2018: 260.2 (105th)
2019: 209.0 (42nd) πŸ‘†19
I'll bet literally no one thought our defense would be better than our offense this year.
 
#32
All good points. I think it’s a combination of all six bullet points with one adder: Brandon Peters.

If you can’t throw the football to a reasonable degree of success, teams will bite down at which point it’s a simple numbers game. A numbers game you will lose more often than not, regardless of who you have up front. 5 will never consistently block 8.

Until Brandon starts earning the respect of opposing defensive coordinators, our run game is gonna have a tough time.
Twanger, do you really think the problem is with Peters or the offensive schemes by coach Rod? I haven't gone to the game, but most decent offenses I've seen have an "automatic" play when rushers out number blockers and there's always a hot read for the QB to dump to when he's only got 2 seconds at best before he's nailed. I don't see that with some many of our passing plays.

Do you see this as a play design problem, confused communication between coach, QB and receivers, or something else? Whatever it is, it's time that Coach Rod stepped up and addresses it, along with teaching Brandon how to look off DBs and do a better job of going through his progressions.

My impression over two years is that Coach Rod just isn't very good at developing a passing game. Has he done this successfully ANYWHERE?

What I've seen is that Peters has the arm and accuracy to be a good passer. It's the mental piece that's currently lacking. He has the ball velocity for the quick out and 5 yard buttonhook, but for some reason we're not seeing it. I also don't see many slants and crossing patterns. Any idea why?
 
#33
Twanger, do you really think the problem is with Peters or the offensive schemes by coach Rod? I haven't gone to the game, but most decent offenses I've seen have an "automatic" play when rushers out number blockers and there's always a hot read for the QB to dump to when he's only got 2 seconds at best before he's nailed. I don't see that with some many of our passing plays.

Do you see this as a play design problem, confused communication between coach, QB and receivers, or something else? Whatever it is, it's time that Coach Rod stepped up and addresses it, along with teaching Brandon how to look off DBs and do a better job of going through his progressions.

My impression over two years is that Coach Rod just isn't very good at developing a passing game. Has he done this successfully ANYWHERE?

What I've seen is that Peters has the arm and accuracy to be a good passer. It's the mental piece that's currently lacking. He has the ball velocity for the quick out and 5 yard buttonhook, but for some reason we're not seeing it. I also don't see many slants and crossing patterns. Any idea why?
Rod Smith's offense is maximized with a running QB. We were all hoping to get Khalil Tate who played one full season under Rod. His stats in 2017:
111 Completions on 179 Attempts for 1,591 yrds, 14 TDs and 9 Ints
153 Rush attempts 1,411 yrds and 12 TDs
That is Rods offense. Brandon is not it. The offense is designed to get the ball in the hands of our athletes in space as fast as possible. Slants and crossing patterns draw those players back into the middle of the field where more defenders are.
Brandon is however just under that completion % and with three games left, hopefully four, will be at that yards number. What is nice is he has 13 TDs and only 4 Ints.
A running QB allows you to play 11 v 11 football. When Brandon refuses to run, we play 10 v 11. The play action pass doesn't draw the weakside LB up if there is not threat of QB keep. Therefore the passing lane there is not open even if we wanted to call it.
Add on the fact that we have had a lot of passed dropped again this year. Bebe is a beast, love him. But the dude has dropped a lot of passes. Rickie, before he got hurt, still was dropping passes he needs to catch as a no. 1 WR. Stampley…..come one
This is the offense we are going to have till the end of next year. Not because Rod is trying to develop Tom Bradys, but because he is the best option until we get some of these athletic QBs developed. Then the O will take off IMO
 
#34
Twanger, do you really think the problem is with Peters or the offensive schemes by coach Rod? I haven't gone to the game, but most decent offenses I've seen have an "automatic" play when rushers out number blockers and there's always a hot read for the QB to dump to when he's only got 2 seconds at best before he's nailed. I don't see that with some many of our passing plays.

Do you see this as a play design problem, confused communication between coach, QB and receivers, or something else? Whatever it is, it's time that Coach Rod stepped up and addresses it, along with teaching Brandon how to look off DBs and do a better job of going through his progressions.

My impression over two years is that Coach Rod just isn't very good at developing a passing game. Has he done this successfully ANYWHERE?

What I've seen is that Peters has the arm and accuracy to be a good passer. It's the mental piece that's currently lacking. He has the ball velocity for the quick out and 5 yard buttonhook, but for some reason we're not seeing it. I also don't see many slants and crossing patterns. Any idea why?
A lot of questions in this one post. I'll do my best, if you want/need anything clarified just let me know.

The TV coverage won't show you the full tree but we run a fair number of hot reads, good one's actually. We run both the dig from the "X" and Z" and the drive quite a bit, Donny seems to have taken this route from the now-injured Trevon Sidney. You won't see this on the tube unless it's thrown and because Illinois Breakdown is increasingly misinformed as to what it is we do offensively and defensively, they use the 7-8 minutes they put out on youtube to only show the times they feel we should have this called but didn't. Shoddy work. Those routes have been there, Brandon simply misses them more often than not. As for why that is, I obviously couldn't say for certain as I've never broken down film with him but it appears to be an issue with diagnosing post-snap coverage. Small sample size examples but take the 3rd down ball to Barker at the end of the Wisconsin win. Brandon CLEARLY sees the coverage pre-snap, Wisconsin gives him the same look post snap and he sticks it in there for a first down that helps us win the football game. Big time. Now, rewind back to the UConn game. First quarter, 10 or so minutes in to things. UConn shows him pressure and Cover 0 outside so he gets to the line thinking he only has to sell the safety on the seam route to open up a tough throw to his first read on the outside hash (I believe this was Ricky Smalling. Have to watch that game back again to confirm. End of year project) but when the ball is snapped, UConn bails. Now it's not Cover 0, it's Cover 4 and the defender is ready to drive on the outside hash. He practically gift wraps the pick six. He threw this exact same ball the very next week against EMU, same coverage but the kid dropped it. These are not hot reads but their affect has been dramatic as they seem to have stuck in Brandon's mind. Now when he gets a look that he appears to not recognize, Brandon won't throw it, he'll hesitate. Lovie preaches ball security on offense, Brandon doesn't want to throw another pick 6 ball, the coverage confuses him and he hesitates. This problem is not easy to fix and to shield Rod here a bit, it's definitely not something you can fix in 4 months when you're game planning for an opponent on a week to week basis. It's gonna be a long summer of work for the two of them, none of which is helping us now. Rod needs to be more creative and flexible with his situational play calling but all he can do is what he's doing currently in my mind. Try to get Brandon throws he's comfortable with and run the crap out of the ball.

Only criticism I'd give Rod is that he needs to sit Brandon down and tell him to take more vertical risks with Josh in mind. Just throw the ball up and if it's a pick, it's a pick. Oh well. More often than not, Brandon needs to be cognizant of the FACT that Josh will make the play. Those two deep balls against Wisconsin, neither of which were successful, changed the game. Jim Leonhard panicked and we won in large part to his overreaction to Josh's downfield presence.
 
#35
Only criticism I'd give Rod is that he needs to sit Brandon down and tell him to take more vertical risks with Josh in mind. Just throw the ball up and if it's a pick, it's a pick. Oh well. More often than not, Brandon needs to be cognizant of the FACT that Josh will make the play. Those two deep balls against Wisconsin, neither of which were successful, changed the game. Jim Leonhard panicked and we won in large part to his overreaction to Josh's downfield presence.
I agree with this, but I also wonder how much Lovie's "don't turn the ball over at any cost" (even though the rewards for the risk might justify it) prevent Rod Smith from calling plays like that.
 
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#36
So we're passing about the same, but the running game is really down. The question is "why?". I've got some theories:

1) Big dropoff in OL performance despite a bigger, stronger more experienced unit, and better prepared depth. We're just not getting the holes for Corbin we did last year. I think a big part of this was Allegretti's leadership. He called blocking schemes, recognized the opponents fronts and as a result we had far fewer missed assignments. I'm not seeing anyone step up to his leadership role. He also was a great motivator when he saw there wasn't the intensity he and Butkus expected.

2) Fundamentals like footwork, especially for the tackles in pass blocking. They weren't great last year, but at least they kept some part of the pocket protected. Our 300# tackles are getting bull rushed by smaller DEs, and that shouldn't be happening that much. This is a coaching issue. I'd feel a lot better if we had an OL coach who at least had SOME previous P5 coaching experience....

3) It seems like the RBs aren't running as "smart" as they did under Ward. I know with less control of the LOS than last year it's tougher to pick the right gap, but it seems Corbin was much better at this last year. It also seems that Corbin is going down much easier than last year. Could this be due to his early season injury? It seems that quite a few times he gets past the LOS but stumbles after minimum contact when if he kept his feet he'd be scoring 6.

4) AJ Bush was a tremendous asset to the running game both in planned and broken plays. Many times he escaped when blocking broke down for big gains. You can't really count on that as a reliable part of your offense, though...

5) Downfield blocking seems to be down a bit this year. That results in fewer long gains, which was Corbin's forte.

6) Corbin was never the kind of runner that would reliably get 5-7 yards each carry. He'd be stopped a couple of times than periodically break a big run. If you only give him 10-15 touches, that's not enough carries for him to break a couple for big gains. His YPC are way down this year, and I think that's part of the reason...

Any other thoughts on this regarding the drop off in the running game??
#4 is the biggest reason!
 
#37
I agree with this, but I also wonder how much Lovie's "don't turn the ball over at any cost" (even though the rewards for the risk might justify it) prevent Rod Smith from calling plays like that.
I think that’s a very good point and probably exactly what is happening. And that’s ok,
 
#38
A lot of questions in this one post. I'll do my best, if you want/need anything clarified just let me know.

The TV coverage won't show you the full tree but we run a fair number of hot reads, good one's actually. We run both the dig from the "X" and Z" and the drive quite a bit, Donny seems to have taken this route from the now-injured Trevon Sidney. You won't see this on the tube unless it's thrown and because Illinois Breakdown is increasingly misinformed as to what it is we do offensively and defensively, they use the 7-8 minutes they put out on youtube to only show the times they feel we should have this called but didn't. Shoddy work. Those routes have been there, Brandon simply misses them more often than not. As for why that is, I obviously couldn't say for certain as I've never broken down film with him but it appears to be an issue with diagnosing post-snap coverage. Small sample size examples but take the 3rd down ball to Barker at the end of the Wisconsin win. Brandon CLEARLY sees the coverage pre-snap, Wisconsin gives him the same look post snap and he sticks it in there for a first down that helps us win the football game. Big time. Now, rewind back to the UConn game. First quarter, 10 or so minutes in to things. UConn shows him pressure and Cover 0 outside so he gets to the line thinking he only has to sell the safety on the seam route to open up a tough throw to his first read on the outside hash (I believe this was Ricky Smalling. Have to watch that game back again to confirm. End of year project) but when the ball is snapped, UConn bails. Now it's not Cover 0, it's Cover 4 and the defender is ready to drive on the outside hash. He practically gift wraps the pick six. He threw this exact same ball the very next week against EMU, same coverage but the kid dropped it. These are not hot reads but their affect has been dramatic as they seem to have stuck in Brandon's mind. Now when he gets a look that he appears to not recognize, Brandon won't throw it, he'll hesitate. Lovie preaches ball security on offense, Brandon doesn't want to throw another pick 6 ball, the coverage confuses him and he hesitates. This problem is not easy to fix and to shield Rod here a bit, it's definitely not something you can fix in 4 months when you're game planning for an opponent on a week to week basis. It's gonna be a long summer of work for the two of them, none of which is helping us now. Rod needs to be more creative and flexible with his situational play calling but all he can do is what he's doing currently in my mind. Try to get Brandon throws he's comfortable with and run the crap out of the ball.

Only criticism I'd give Rod is that he needs to sit Brandon down and tell him to take more vertical risks with Josh in mind. Just throw the ball up and if it's a pick, it's a pick. Oh well. More often than not, Brandon needs to be cognizant of the FACT that Josh will make the play. Those two deep balls against Wisconsin, neither of which were successful, changed the game. Jim Leonhard panicked and we won in large part to his overreaction to Josh's downfield presence.
Peters footwork at times can drive you up the wall especially when he is feeling pressure. Its a common problem and very fixable. His throw to Donny down the sideline in the first half, Peters was falling away and he left the ball short and to the inside. The ball to Josh in the second half was a great example of how his footwork should be and it led to a good ball. If throws that ball short and to the inside its not completed.
 
#39
Cincinnati, OH
**Post-MSU Update**


Some Illinois offensive and defensive stats for you (compared to the 2018 version):

Offensive Comparison
Team YPG
2018: 412.2 (54th)
2019: 334.0 (106th) πŸ‘† 6

Team YPP (yards per play)
2018: 5.9 (40th)
2019: 4.9 (100th) πŸ‘†4

Team PPG (plays per game)
2018: 70.3 (79th)
2019: 68.4 (87th) πŸ‘†3

Team Rushing YPG
2018: 244.0 (12th)
2019: 150.6 (64th) πŸ‘‡12

Team Passing YPG
2018: 168.2 (111th)
2019: 183.4 (103rd) πŸ‘†11


Defensive Comparison

Opponents YPG
2018: 521.8 (128th)
2019: 411.3 (72nd) πŸ‘‡9

Opponents YPP (yards per play)
2018: 7.0 (124th)
2019: 5.4 (56th) πŸ‘‡7

Opponents PPG (plays per game)
2018: 74.5 (87th)
2019: 76.0 (107th) πŸ‘‡12

Opponents Rushing YPG
2018: 261.6 (124th)
2019: 198.1 (99th) πŸ‘‡8

Opponents Passing YPG
2018: 260.2 (105th)
2019: 213.2 (46th) πŸ‘‡4

**This has been a consistent theme all year, but the time of possession discrepancy is incredible. Currently they are 122nd (out of 130) and besides UCF, the rest of the teams near the bottom of this stat are terrible. The saving grace of turnovers.**
 
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#40
Cincinnati, OH
In honor of Peter's torching MSU, some QB stats that have taken heath steps forward compared to last season.

Average Team Passer Rating (includes some IW and MR stats, but mostly Peters)
2018: 103.9 (123rd)
2019: 128.7 (84th)
Last three games: (142.4 - 50th)

Yards per Pass Attempt (includes some IW and MR stats, but mostly Peters)
2018: 6.1 (117th)
2019: 6.8 (90th)
Last three games: (8.6 - 33rd)

And just for fun, Northwestern is averaging at 4.3 yards per pass attempt, which is dead last in the NCAA (and worst since 2009-10 New Mexico State)
 
#41
**This has been a consistent theme all year, but the time of possession discrepancy is incredible. Currently they are 122nd (out of 130) and besides UCF, the rest of the teams near the bottom of this stat are terrible. The saving grace of turnovers.**
When your offense is boom-or-bust oriented and your defense is bend-but-don’t-break oriented, TOP discrepancy is to be expected. I’m usually more concerned with how the TOP β€œspread” looks. A slower game with longer play development and time in between plays leads to long TOP, but fewer plays being run. Illinois’ defense seems to thrive against those kinds of offenses (thrive being a little strong of a word).
 
#42
Captain 'Paign
Phoenix, AZ
How are we looking in the Turnover Margin and Incredible Comebacks team stats? I'd have to imagine we rank towards the very top in both.
 
#44
Cincinnati, OH
**Post-Iowa Update**


Some Illinois offensive and defensive stats for you (compared to the 2018 version):

Offensive Comparison
Team YPG
2018: 412.2 (54th)
2019: 334.2 (110th) πŸ‘Ž 4 (**Actual YPG went up so slightly but ranking went down overall)

Team YPP (yards per play)
2018: 5.9 (40th)
2019: 4.8 (103rd) πŸ‘Ž3

Team PPG (plays per game)
2018: 70.3 (79th)
2019: 69.1 (84th) πŸ‘3

Team Rushing YPG
2018: 244.0 (12th)
2019: 154.4 (69th) πŸ‘Ž5 (**Actual RPG went up over 4 YPG but ranking went down overall)

Team Passing YPG
2018: 168.2 (111th)
2019: 179.8 (108th) πŸ‘Ž8


Defensive Comparison

Opponents YPG
2018: 521.8 (128th)
2019: 409.1 (72nd) βœ‹ (OYPG went down but ranking stayed the same)

Opponents YPP (yards per play)
2018: 7.0 (124th)
2019: 5.4 (54th) πŸ‘2

Opponents PPG (plays per game)
2018: 74.5 (87th)
2019: 75.2 (104th) πŸ‘3

Opponents Rushing YPG
2018: 261.6 (124th)
2019: 187.3 (85th) πŸ‘13

Opponents Passing YPG
2018: 260.2 (105th)
2019: 221.8 (53rd) πŸ‘Ž7
 
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#45
Looks like a lot better defensive stats and much poorer offensive stats. Strange considering we returned most of a solid running O OL and RB and substantially upgraded passing talent with Peters, Navarro, and more experience in OL and Dan Barker at TE. Justice Williams has been solid as a TE receiver as well.
 
#46
Looks like a lot better defensive stats and much poorer offensive stats. Strange considering we returned most of a solid running OL and RB and substantially upgraded passing talent with Peters, Navarro, and more experience in OL and Dan Barker at TE. Justice Williams has been solid as a TE receiver as well.

Here's a theory on "why".

Lovie is back where he was before the "Peter Principle" caught up with him as a HC. An excellent DC and position coach. He designed a D that focused on turnovers rather than yards (bend but don't break) and once the players got better at knowing their assignments it was pretty effective along with his teaching of fumble creating technique. I suspect he's spending a lot of time with the LBs, his best area of coaching in the pros, to cover for his inexperienced son. I think he's having a challenge teaching concentration and fundamentals to college kids compared to the pros, and well as reading keys, taking the right angles to tackle, and pass coverage by LBs. Long way to go there, but a lot of progress has been made and with Hansen, Eifler, Cooper with a year of weight training and coaching and Tohlson getting more experience and strength, it could be even better next year.

I'm sure he's had positive impact on the DL ( especially Oliver and Milan) but the DEs really need better coaching, and Lovie can't do it all even though he thinks he can. We could really use a deeply experienced college DL coach to better develop these guys for next year. Secondary? I think that Hudson brought along the CBs pretty well in Adams , Hobbs and Witherspoon. Not so much Martin who showed flashes last year but seems to have dropped off the earth. I suspect Lovie is leaving CBs to Hudson. Safety with Byrd is another matter. Brown is fine after he got healthy and Green has played like we expected him too for his career, but development of Joseph and the other guys just doesn't seem to happening. Byrd can probably teach and scheme, but he just can't recruit. Without the players, he's pretty much dead in the water unless some other assistant can get him players. He's also our passing game coord, and that hasn't exactly been stellar either.

Offense? It's still an open question whether Rod Smith can develop a pro style QB. Peters has the tools, but needs to be coached to make better decisions. I don't know if Rod is up to that here unless he has a Khalil Tate type talent, and he hasn't been able to recruit QBs to that level.

I think the biggest problem with our O is the Line. It's not that they're not big and strong enough, but this is perhaps the most mistake prone and confused group we've had outside of the times we were starting true Frosh. Butkus hated recruiting and was better suited for the pro game, but he sure was a good motivator and pretty good at teaching technique and had good discipline and focus in his players.

It would be interesting to see how the OL graded out last year compared to this year, and how many of our penalties were from the OL. I'd expect it was an overwhelming majority of the offensive penalties. I know that's the case on most Offenses, but it would be interesting to see if we're above average in the OL in penalties. Perhaps it's time we gave McClain his old job back and get a top OL coach in from the outstanding staffs that will probably be breaking up after the season.

On defense I think we'll improve next year at LB despite the loss of Harding (Hansen move to MLB?), and CB should be solid. Brown needs help at safety, and unless someone can recruit for Byrd for transfers that could be a killer.

We need to see if Peters can get better on his decisions next year. I suspect he can given what he's accomplished coming in in August. That would make a HUGE difference. RB is OK, and receivers and TEs can be outstanding. The only ???? is the OL performance, and getting in a top college OL guy could really make this offense something special and competitive with most teams in the league.
 
#47
South Carolina
Looks like a lot better defensive stats and much poorer offensive stats. Strange considering we returned most of a solid running OL and RB and substantially upgraded passing talent with Peters, Navarro, and more experience in OL and Dan Barker at TE. Justice Williams has been solid as a TE receiver as well.

Here's a theory on "why".

Lovie is back where he was before the "Peter Principle" caught up with him as a HC. An excellent DC and position coach. He designed a D that focused on turnovers rather than yards (bend but don't break) and once the players got better at knowing their assignments it was pretty effective along with his teaching of fumble creating technique. I suspect he's spending a lot of time with the LBs, his best area of coaching in the pros, to cover for his inexperienced son. I think he's having a challenge teaching concentration and fundamentals to college kids compared to the pros, and well as reading keys, taking the right angles to tackle, and pass coverage by LBs. Long way to go there, but a lot of progress has been made and with Hansen, Eifler, Cooper with a year of weight training and coaching and Tohlson getting more experience and strength, it could be even better next year.

I'm sure he's had positive impact on the DL ( especially Oliver and Milan) but the DEs really need better coaching, and Lovie can't do it all even though he thinks he can. We could really use a deeply experienced college DL coach to better develop these guys for next year. Secondary? I think that Hudson brought along the CBs pretty well in Adams , Hobbs and Witherspoon. Not so much Martin who showed flashes last year but seems to have dropped off the earth. I suspect Lovie is leaving CBs to Hudson. Safety with Byrd is another matter. Brown is fine after he got healthy and Green has played like we expected him too for his career, but development of Joseph and the other guys just doesn't seem to happening. Byrd can probably teach and scheme, but he just can't recruit. Without the players, he's pretty much dead in the water unless some other assistant can get him players. He's also our passing game coord, and that hasn't exactly been stellar either.

Offense? It's still an open question whether Rod Smith can develop a pro style QB. Peters has the tools, but needs to be coached to make better decisions. I don't know if Rod is up to that here unless he has a Khalil Tate type talent, and he hasn't been able to recruit QBs to that level.

I think the biggest problem with our O is the Line. It's not that they're not big and strong enough, but this is perhaps the most mistake prone and confused group we've had outside of the times we were starting true Frosh. Butkus hated recruiting and was better suited for the pro game, but he sure was a good motivator and pretty good at teaching technique and had good discipline and focus in his players.

It would be interesting to see how the OL graded out last year compared to this year, and how many of our penalties were from the OL. I'd expect it was an overwhelming majority of the offensive penalties. I know that's the case on most Offenses, but it would be interesting to see if we're above average in the OL in penalties. Perhaps it's time we gave McClain his old job back and get a top OL coach in from the outstanding staffs that will probably be breaking up after the season.

On defense I think we'll improve next year at LB despite the loss of Harding (Hansen move to MLB?), and CB should be solid. Brown needs help at safety, and unless someone can recruit for Byrd for transfers that could be a killer.

We need to see if Peters can get better on his decisions next year. I suspect he can given what he's accomplished coming in in August. That would make a HUGE difference. RB is OK, and receivers and TEs can be outstanding. The only ???? is the OL performance, and getting in a top college OL guy could really make this offense something special and competitive with most teams in the league.
I don't see Lovie demoting anyone on the staff. I do agree that there are probably some easy opportunities for improvement, especially now that we've staved off the impending doom that made Illinois much less attractive a year ago.
 
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