Illini Football 2021

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#26      
I gotta believe we'll stunt, blitz, press, and vary coverages far more often than we did in the Lovie years.
Probably likely, though blitzing is getting less and less popular, especially in college against spread offenses that are designed to get the ball to the guy you left.

The trick with throwing the kitchen sink at opponents is that you have to be able to run all of it well. Not easy with limited time to spend with your players.

For all of his flaws, Lovie is a better defensive X's and O's guy than just about anybody. A dinosaur maybe, but a master dinosaur. And that wasn't TOTALLY absent in the way we played under him. But our new staff know the college game and the college player much better, and so I expect we won't have the misalignment of talent, opponent, and scheme that we so often suffered with under Lovie. The problems will be different problems.
 
#27      
Probably likely, though blitzing is getting less and less popular, especially in college against spread offenses that are designed to get the ball to the guy you left.

The trick with throwing the kitchen sink at opponents is that you have to be able to run all of it well. Not easy with limited time to spend with your players.

For all of his flaws, Lovie is a better defensive X's and O's guy than just about anybody. A dinosaur maybe, but a master dinosaur. And that wasn't TOTALLY absent in the way we played under him. But our new staff know the college game and the college player much better, and so I expect we won't have the misalignment of talent, opponent, and scheme that we so often suffered with under Lovie. The problems will be different problems.
I agree with the bolded. That's my main concern until we actually see what we're going to run on the field.

I very much disagree with the Lovie statement. Great X's and O's guys can and do get good results even with inferior talent. That was not the case during Lovie's tenure here. There's a very good argument to be made that his staff was a big reason for that, but ultimately he's responsible for his staff. Iowa and Northwestern run relatively similar schemes to what Lovie tried to run and they both typically have good defenses. We were never close to their levels of competency.
 
#28      
Great X's and O's guys can and do get good results even with inferior talent.
Not if they're insisting on running something that doesn't fit and they don't have the connection to their players or the quality of staff necessary to teach it to them properly.

Bruce Weber, also a great X's and O's guy who didn't have the ability to put what was in his head onto the real life playing surface.
 
#29      
Not if they're insisting on running something that doesn't fit and they don't have the connection to their players or the quality of staff necessary to teach it to them properly.

Bruce Weber, also a great X's and O's guy who didn't have the ability to put what was in his head onto the real life playing surface.
That's just a very slippery slope though. That's not far off from the classic Beckman "take away X plays and we're right in the game" stuff. If you know exactly where you want all your players positionally, why are they never getting there?
 
#30      
Back to '21. I really think we're going to see some creativity on defense. The coaching talent on that side of the ball is so impressive. I just hope there's not too many cooks in the kitchen. When you include Bielema, that's 4 guys with DC experience, 2 very young, 2 older. Lots of potential.

I am a little more confused on the offense. I worry about the WR position and to some extent the QB, as I don't see how Peters and IW can run the same offense. We need some breakout WRs this fall.
 
#31      
If you know exactly where you want all your players positionally, why are they never getting there?
Because you can't coach and/or your players stink because you can't recruit.

We've seen in the NFL over and over again that Lovie Smith is the real thing as a defensive mind. And there were flashes here too. We were 8th in the country in takeaways in 2019. But Lovie's defense is so, so vulnerable when one LB or Safety is an athletic liability, or you make one mistake in zone coverage, or you can't get pressure with your front four, all of which were constant features.

You don't look at Lovie's tenure here and retroactively think "oh, he was just lucky with the Bears, or had the right players". That would be silly. The problem is that Lovie came here with an attitude that he could just do everything the same as he did in the NFL and schematically and culturally and in so many other ways he was wrong.
 
#32      
I agree with the bolded. That's my main concern until we actually see what we're going to run on the field.

I very much disagree with the Lovie statement. Great X's and O's guys can and do get good results even with inferior talent. That was not the case during Lovie's tenure here. There's a very good argument to be made that his staff was a big reason for that, but ultimately he's responsible for his staff. Iowa and Northwestern run relatively similar schemes to what Lovie tried to run and they both typically have good defenses. We were never close to their levels of competency.
Im gonna disagree with the great X and O statement. It doesn’t matter if I’ve perfectly coached you on what spot to get to, or how to make the most perfect tackle. If you can’t physically get to that spot or physically bring that guy down, the coaching is pointless. It looks bad and people will say things like, “how is he so out of position?” Or “don’t the coaches work on tackling in practice?” If the players have inferior talent, they probably just can’t do it.

It’s also why teams in any sport can say things like “we should be pretty good this year,” or “we will struggle this year,” before they even practice and put in schemes. They know if they have the talent to win, or if they don’t.
 
#33      
Probably likely, though blitzing is getting less and less popular, especially in college against spread offenses that are designed to get the ball to the guy you left.

The trick with throwing the kitchen sink at opponents is that you have to be able to run all of it well. Not easy with limited time to spend with your players.

For all of his flaws, Lovie is a better defensive X's and O's guy than just about anybody. A dinosaur maybe, but a master dinosaur. And that wasn't TOTALLY absent in the way we played under him. But our new staff know the college game and the college player much better, and so I expect we won't have the misalignment of talent, opponent, and scheme that we so often suffered with under Lovie. The problems will be different problems.
Emphasis on dinosaur. His scheme worked in the 90's and 00's, but offenses have caught up to it and Lovie hasn't adapted.
 
#34      
Decatur, IL
Two games after that Northwestern game we had a sellout for the night game with UNC. In Champaign. Where our real fans are accustomed to going.

(It's such a cruel irony that that first big disappointment under Lovie which presaged what was to come was getting absolutely ripped apart by Mitch Trubisky)
I was there. He shredded us. I think the Bears GMs must have been at that game as well to draft him over Lamar Jackson.
 
#35      
Just to kinda reply to the Lovie X and Os comments that somehow crept into this thread. I am not saying he's never been a good defensive coach. Obviously he has been a very well respected and successful defensive NFL coach. I actually had a relatively objective point of view on the Lovie hire. Although I have lived the vast majority of my life in the Chicago area, my family is originally from Pittsburgh so we are huge Steelers fans and don't care one way or the other about the Bears. I was very excited about the Lovie hire, and I did believe he would bring a sound defense and respectability and discipline to the Illinois program. Over the years that obviously was not the case.

His defenses in the NFL worked in the early parts of his career and when he had great talent. His best defenses as a HC came with Ron Rivera at DC, one of the best defensive minds in the NFL. By the end of Lovie's time in Chicago and definitely during his time in Tampa, his defenses were no longer upper echelon, in fact they were getting worse. I think there's plenty of evidence out there that although he was considered a top defensive mind in the late 90s early 00s, offenses have adjusted and he has yet to catch up.
 
#36      
Emphasis on dinosaur. His scheme worked in the 90's and 00's, but offenses have caught up to it and Lovie hasn't adapted.
Not even so much offenses as the rules.

You basically can't get a solid hit on a QB anymore unless someone comes free off the snap, which is never going to be the case if you don't blitz. And a zone scheme predicated on players spread across the field rapidly shrinking the windows into which the ball can be thrown as the play develops are inherently very high risk for targeting penalties, or mistakes made trying to avoid targeting penalties.

RPO stuff makes it more difficult too, but personnel can fix that, you just need more guys in the box with DB-type mobility. And RPO's are challenging to any defensive scheme, not just Lovie's.

All of that said, it can still work and don't be shocked if things go better for him in Houston than you're expecting.

I was there. He shredded us. I think the Bears GMs must have been at that game as well to draft him over Lamar Jackson.
Wrong draft, Lamar was the next year.

Patrick Mahomes is on a path to go down as one of the best players to ever put on a helmet, so the legend will probably be that he's the guy the Bears "should" have taken. But Mahomes was a wild, raw talent coming out of Texas Tech, and got to enter a perfect developmental environment sitting behind Alex Smith and learning from Andy Reid, I really do think that story might have turned out differently if he'd walked into the Bears mess.

It's Trubisky over Deshaun Watson that drives me nuts. Watson was as ready for the NFL as a college QB possibly can be, and in addition to his considerable talent, the way he had elevated a Clemson program that had a decades long reputation for underachievement before he walked in the door just screamed that this was the right guy for the challenge of being the Bears QB. And he still is. Trade anything that isn't nailed down to get that guy if the Texans are dumb enough to do it.
 
#37      
Des Moines, Iowa
Both Mahomes and Watson have had great to good receivers and weapons. In Mahomes case he also has Reid as his HC. If either of those guys were with the Bears they would of had poor to 1 good WR and Nagy to work with. Would they be better than Trubisky - of course but don’t act like they would of had equal results with the Bears.
 
#38      
If either of those guys were with the Bears they would of had poor to 1 good WR and Nagy to work with.
And pray tell, who was the OC that Mahomes studied under as he sat during his rookie year?

Anyway, this isn't a Bears thread, and it isn't a Lovie Smith thread anymore, I just thought it was interesting to observe the sliding doors moment of that UNC game.

Beat Nebrask...actually,

O'Beat Nebraska
 
#39      
Des Moines, Iowa
And pray tell, who was the OC that Mahomes studied under as he sat during his rookie year?

Anyway, this isn't a Bears thread, and it isn't a Lovie Smith thread anymore, I just thought it was interesting to observe the sliding doors moment of that UNC game.

Beat Nebrask...actually,

O'Beat Nebraska
In title Nagy but reality Andy Reid.
 
#40      

Deleted member 654622

D
Guest
unless this is in another thread that I bypassed, I am very disappointed in this board. I actually had to go to youtube to get this interview
 
#46      
Such as good read. I'm ready to commit. 🔶🔷

If there's a better feel-good story about Illini football recruiting I want to read it right now.

I'm sure Lovie had his moments, but this is NOW!

A former Wisconsin (now Alabama) high-school coach going to bat for an Illini football coach? Get outta here.

(Note to Nick Saban: wake up, watch out, there's competition. I don't want to mention any names, but his initials are Bret Bielema.)

Don't lose too much sleep, Coach Saban.

But congratulations are in order, especially to Josh. Welcome, running back.

More Champaign toasts - I'll drink to that!
 
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#47      
Forgottonia
Such as good read. I'm ready to commit. 🔶🔷

That’s awesome! It’s really easy to be excited about what’s happening. It’s really hard to be patient and know it’s going to take a little time for this to build into its potential.
 
#48      
Such as good read. I'm ready to commit. 🔶🔷

It is a great read. Also, if you watch the Melvin Gordon highlight video, not a red-letter day for a Zook recruiting miss, Corey Cooper. He looked awful trying to tackle Gordon on several of his long runs and gets called out by the announcers (and his coaches) for it on 1 of them.
 
#49      
Tailgreat
Chiraq
hopefully the game in Dublin is moved back to Champaign where it belongs. Dumb move by Wonder Boy Whitman to agree to that nonsense. and now if the game is played August 28, week zero, that is the best matchup that weekend. maybe get on national TV, good exposure for start of Bielema Era against a team that is ripe to be defeated again. Beat Nebraska.
 
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