Pregame: Illinois at Michigan State, Saturday, November 9th, 2:30pm CT, FS1

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#27
Josh Whitman said he wanted to see us establish an identity for Illinois football. We now have that - Lovie ball. There’s only two stats that matter: Big plays and turnovers.
That’s also the concerning part. Where are we going to find ways to win games when we DON’T force our opponent to turn the football over? Iowa, for instance, has given the football away only 8 times all season long. How do we go into their stadium and beat them if they aren’t coughing up the ball?

This is more of a 2020 thing but the point remains.
 
#28
That’s also the concerning part. Where are we going to find ways to win games when we DON’T force our opponent to turn the football over? Iowa, for instance, has given the football away only 8 times all season long. How do we go into their stadium and beat them if they aren’t coughing up the ball?

This is more of a 2020 thing but the point remains.
Wisconsin was tied for 9th fewest turnovers per game heading into the game vs. Illinois. Just an FYI.
 
#29
Wisconsin was tied for 9th fewest turnovers per game heading into the game vs. Illinois. Just an FYI.
Double post: Also, Wisconsin has currently only turned the ball over 10 times through 8 games. Three of them were to Illinois.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that if we're playing to our strength (takeaways) and another team is playing keep away, we've proven we can win those individual battles.

Now, whether or not the whole team answers the call will remain to be seen on the field.
 
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#30
Wisconsin was tied for 9th fewest turnovers per game heading into the game vs. Illinois. Just an FYI.
And we, while at home, got them to turn it over. That’s fantastic. Now, what happens when (Not IF, when) we don’t? How do we win that game?

Again, this is a 2020 question but that’s what we need to morph into, a team that doesn’t live and die by the strip.
 
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#31
And we, while at home, got them to turn it over. That’s fantastic. Now, what happens when (Not IF, when) we don’t? How do we win that game?

Again, this is a 2020 question but that’s what we need to morph into, a team that doesn’t live and die by the strip.
I know... But I just choose to live in a dream land of 3 to 4 turnovers per game generated by our defense. :)
 
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#32
I know... But I just choose to live in a dream land of 3 to 4 turnovers per game generated by our defense. :)
Which is more than reasonable, as we’re gonna have more games where we force our opponent to turn the over at our per game average (2) than we will where we get skunked. The worry, however, is clear. How do we win a ball game (Especially a road game) against a good football team without forcing 2+ turnovers? That’s where things get fuzzy.
 
#33
And we, while at home, got them to turn it over. That’s fantastic. Now, what happens when (Not IF, when) we don’t? How do we win that game?

Again, this is a 2020 question but that’s what we need to morph into, a team that doesn’t live and die by the strip.
The identity this team has taken on is one that that will run the football, punch you in the mouth, punch you in the mouth again, play solid defense and special teams. Wisconsin has made this work for two decades now.

Lovie is doing himself a lot of favors in recruiting with this defense. Turnovers and defensive TDs is sexy to sell and right now, he's got a whole lot of it on tape.
 
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#34
The identity this team has taken on is one that that will run the football, punch you in the mouth, punch you in the mouth again, play solid defense and special teams. Wisconsin has made this work for two decades now.
?

Wisconsin averages almost a full yard more per carry than we do. We’re merely 9th in the conference in that category which is problematic as Wisconsin can also throw the football, whereas we are tied with Rutgers in the cellar in passing yards per attempt. As evidenced by the first half of today’s game, if teams cheat to the box, we can’t consistently move on offense.

That’s an odd example. We don’t play anything like Wisconsin and we don’t put up similar results, amazing win this season aside. We would have to morph into a completely different team next season (Without Reggie and Dre) in order to mimic that program.
 
#36
?

Wisconsin averages almost a full yard more per carry than we do. We’re merely 9th in the conference in that category which is problematic. Wisconsin can also throw the football, whereas we are tied with Rutgers in the cellar in passing yards per attempt.

That’s an odd example. We don’t play anything like Wisconsin and we don’t put up similar results, amazing win this season aside. We would have to morph into a completely different team next season (Without Reggie and Dre) in order to mimic that program.
Now, we've seen two different teams this year. Team A(2-4) and team B(3-0). What is our run vs pass ratio the last three weeks vs prior and what are our defensive statistics the last three weeks vs prior?

I'm trying to figure out how this team let up 40+ (and 600 yards)to Nebraska and how they lost to EMU and went down to the wire vs UCONN.

You can take the current season stats(and rankings) and throw them out the window if you believe the team you've seen these last three weeks is the product you'll see going forward.

Who would you best comp this team to(assuming this current play is who we are)?
 
#37
Plainfield
And we, while at home, got them to turn it over. That’s fantastic. Now, what happens when (Not IF, when) we don’t? How do we win that game?

Again, this is a 2020 question but that’s what we need to morph into, a team that doesn’t live and die by the strip.
The answer is we have to get better offensively for 2020 to be sure. Yes we can’t rely on the defense to score 14 points every game. But it is an important part of our identity, an important part of every game, a tool to recruit with and exciting for the fans and players.
 
#38
I believe if MILAN and HARDING keep showing they will make major bucks next year we will be fine!
 
#39
Now, we've seen two different teams this year. Team A(2-4) and team B(3-0). What is our run vs pass ratio the last three weeks vs prior and what are our defensive statistics the last three weeks vs prior?

I'm trying to figure out how this team let up 40+ (and 600 yards)to Nebraska and how they lost to EMU and went down to the wire vs UCONN.
Bc EMU and Nebraska had running QBs in a spread offense
 
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#42
Oswego, IL
And we, while at home, got them to turn it over. That’s fantastic. Now, what happens when (Not IF, when) we don’t? How do we win that game?

Again, this is a 2020 question but that’s what we need to morph into, a team that doesn’t live and die by the strip.
Offense needs to find more consistency. I would say specifically the passing game. I'm not talking big 30+ yard plays, but those 7-10 yard catches need to be there (and capitalized on) more often. Partly the QB, partly the WRs, and maybe partly the coaching philosophy... getting the RB more involved in the passing game. Dre Brown has the most catches by one our running backs this year, at 5.
 
#43
.4 percent is still in it kids
Virginia
Offense needs to find more consistency. I would say specifically the passing game. I'm not talking big 30+ yard plays, but those 7-10 yard catches need to be there (and capitalized on) more often. Partly the QB, partly the WRs, and maybe partly the coaching philosophy... getting the RB more involved in the passing game. Dre Brown has the most catches by one our running backs this year, at 5.
Add to that the ability to handle the blitz. Peters HAS to recognize and adopt - he continues to think he has time to sit in the pocket. Either he's not recognizing it, our receivers are not (and not running hot routes) or a combo of both. I'd be happy if he just bailed out left or right to buy himself time - he throws on the run pretty well.
 
#44
Dantonio has reason to look like he does, he is probably a dead man walking and it has nothing to do with on the field stuff.
 
#45
Bc EMU and Nebraska had running QBs in a spread offense
That's a great point. You're saying that the defensive success is a derivative of the the opponents style? Would we let up 30+ again to EMU in your opinion? Would we let up 600+ yards to Nebraska? If the answer is yes, then the conversation is completely different.
 
#46
Plainfield
I don’t think it’s either/or, but both. We are playing much better as a D and running QBs are harder to defend for everyone. Rutgers ran a good amount of read option that gave us fits in the second qtr, but we seemed to handle it much better in the second half.
 
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#48
Now, we've seen two different teams this year. Team A(2-4) and team B(3-0). What is our run vs pass ratio the last three weeks vs prior and what are our defensive statistics the last three weeks vs prior?

I'm trying to figure out how this team let up 40+ (and 600 yards)to Nebraska and how they lost to EMU and went down to the wire vs UCONN.

You can take the current season stats(and rankings) and throw them out the window if you believe the team you've seen these last three weeks is the product you'll see going forward.

Who would you best comp this team to(assuming this current play is who we are)?
Great question. Assuming these last three games are truly who we are, the best case comparison I can make are the Pat Narduzzi defense’s during his time at Michigan State (He runs basically the same scheme now but isn’t recruiting the same type of athletes, unfortunately) which were, obviously, fantastic. Heavy Cover 4 over scheme, they finished 3rd in the nation that season in points allowed per game, 5th in yards per play. That team didn’t have a premier pass rusher but still had a sack total in the mid 30s if I remember right, they had lots of guys who could pressure the QB and were somewhere in the top 5 of the nation in INTs. They averaged an interception and a half per game that season, crazy.

We are, by my count, a good 4 players away from being in a position athletically to play to that standard but if this is what we are, those defensive units are the ceiling for us. How exciting is that?
 
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#49
That's a great point. You're saying that the defensive success is a derivative of the the opponents style? Would we let up 30+ again to EMU in your opinion? Would we let up 600+ yards to Nebraska? If the answer is yes, then the conversation is completely different.
I wish I knew! I think Lovie's defense lends itself to be more effective against more traditional offenses, especially now that we've been playing a 4-3 most of the time. The only real spread offense we've played recently was on a flooded field with a backup QB and multiple injuries... With that said, I don't think(?) we would perform as poorly if we replayed those teams. Or at least I'm pretty sure? I do think we have clearly improved over the year, and like BZuppke said, it's likely a combination of the 2 factors. Iowa beat us 63-0 last year and they run a more traditional offense, so clearly we have improved.
I think it's pretty plausible to expect some ongoing struggles against spread offenses going forward unless Lovie is willing to make some adjustments, but I think for the time being he's probably earned the benefit of the doubt until we face them again. Probably won't be until next year unless we face one in a bowl game.
 
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#50
Offense needs to find more consistency. I would say specifically the passing game. I'm not talking big 30+ yard plays, but those 7-10 yard catches need to be there (and capitalized on) more often. Partly the QB, partly the WRs, and maybe partly the coaching philosophy... getting the RB more involved in the passing game. Dre Brown has the most catches by one our running backs this year, at 5.
Phenomenal post, 100% correct.

We’ll probably be referencing the happenings of that Wisconsin game for quite some time. So, let’s talk about that for a minute. If I asked everyone to make a list of the 5 most important offensive or defensive plays from that game, what would that list look like? Probably some combination of the Reggie TD run, the Bhebe TD, Dre’s run, the Taylor strip and Tony’s pick, agreed? I would say that would be unanimous but there’s a play that occurred in that game that was as important if not more so than the 5 previously mentioned and we don’t win that football game without it. 1 minute left, ball at the Wisconsin 49. We are out of field goal range, it’s 3rd and 6. We all remember the play now don’t we? A 9 yard strike from Brandon Peters to Daniel Barker. Those plays must be made on a consistent basis for this offense to start functioning at a high level and for our team to be able to win a football game without relying solely on a couple plays to swing things. That’s the progression we need to see from 2019 to 2020.

Daniel had 3 catches for 37 yards including that monster at the end of the Wisconsin game. Since then? 0 catches, 1 target. Those aren’t typos.
 
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