Illini Football 2021

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#51      
Parts Unknown
For us to be lost on D by a former coach that is known for Defensive abilities was disappointing. However, outside of turnovers, we were awful and I thought had solid defensive talent. I do think Bret will be a much better coach in terms of having us prepared. I don't see these blowouts consistently happening. The key will be to me not next year, but year after, will we have enough talent and recruiting to win? I do think we will be better than expected if can stay healthy since our depth is the issue. I think we will be above .500.
Well, we were lost under Lovie…

but I don’t think we can be “more lost”
 
#53      
We have guys with the size, speed, strength and athletecism to compete in the B1G...if they know where to be and what to read.

Coach B seems serious about instruction, so I think we'll play competent football this year. And I suspect competent football will be enough to win 4-6 of the first six games. I would like that, although I don't expect we'd add many wins in the second half of the season. It will be fun to watch.
 
#55      
Parts Unknown
We have guys with the size, speed, strength and athletecism to compete in the B1G...if they know where to be and what to read.

Coach B seems serious about instruction, so I think we'll play competent football this year. And I suspect competent football will be enough to win 4-6 of the first six games. I would like that, although I don't expect we'd add many wins in the second half of the season. It will be fun to watch.
This brings up an interesting question I’ve been thinking about the last few days RE: super seniors -

at what point are guys just what they are? This is not a knock on anyone, but how realistic is it to expect massive improvement from the older guys?
 
#56      
This brings up an interesting question I’ve been thinking about the last few days RE: super seniors -

at what point are guys just what they are? This is not a knock on anyone, but how realistic is it to expect massive improvement from the older guys?
I think you're making a very fair point, but football is very much a team game, and the cohesiveness that is required (and can elevate teams with only average talent) is the product of excellent coaching. The Lovie Smith era was a case study example of how mediocre coaching produces mediocre results. I'm hopeful that the staff put together by BB will have a lot more going for it as a teaching group.
 
#57      
Parts Unknown
I think you're making a very fair point, but football is very much a team game, and the cohesiveness that is required (and can elevate teams with only average talent) is the product of excellent coaching. The Lovie Smith era was a case study example of how mediocre coaching produces mediocre results. I'm hopeful that the staff put together by BB will have a lot more going for it as a teaching group.
True, but a lot of the excitement I’ve seen has been centered around X amount of seniors/super-seniors. I just wonder what the rate of improvement is over time.
 
#58      
This brings up an interesting question I’ve been thinking about the last few days RE: super seniors -

at what point are guys just what they are? This is not a knock on anyone, but how realistic is it to expect massive improvement from the older guys?
Another good question: are we in jeopardy of the bottom falling out (on a unit basis) after this year?
 
#59      
Forgottonia
I think you're making a very fair point, but football is very much a team game, and the cohesiveness that is required (and can elevate teams with only average talent) is the product of excellent coaching. The Lovie Smith era was a case study example of how mediocre coaching produces mediocre results. I'm hopeful that the staff put together by BB will have a lot more going for it as a teaching group.
I agree. Lovie insisted on running a scheme that he didn’t have the talent for. Average talent can have success if they are put in positions that take advantage of their skills and don’t try to force them into things they aren’t capable of.
 
#62      

Deleted member 747671

D
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This brings up an interesting question I’ve been thinking about the last few days RE: super seniors -

at what point are guys just what they are? This is not a knock on anyone, but how realistic is it to expect massive improvement from the older guys?
This is why I have such a hard time predicting this season. I think we have competent players, who have a ton of experience, which you can win with. But we also have very few NFL-type athletes. It's really going to come down to game planning, adjustments, and just plain overall coaching. I think we have a staff that's more than capable of coaching these kids up, but it's such a hard ask to get those kinds of significant improvements in year 1. I can make a case for virtually any record.
 
#63      
Champaign
This brings up an interesting question I’ve been thinking about the last few days RE: super seniors -

at what point are guys just what they are? This is not a knock on anyone, but how realistic is it to expect massive improvement from the older guys?

If it was true that at some point guys just are what they are then NFL players would never get better past their rookie years. You might hit a point where they are maxed out as far as physical attributes but most college players aren't really that sound in terms of advanced technique recognition. That's the area that you see the most improvement in pro players. Having more time to refine skills and experience to recognize plays faster is almost going to be a benefit. So basically having older plays is good from that perspective but you also need coaching that is going to teach them those technique and recognition skills which it seems like we did not have previously.
 
#64      
Gurnee
If it was true that at some point guys just are what they are then NFL players would never get better past their rookie years. You might hit a point where they are maxed out as far as physical attributes but most college players aren't really that sound in terms of advanced technique recognition. That's the area that you see the most improvement in pro players. Having more time to refine skills and experience to recognize plays faster is almost going to be a benefit. So basically having older plays is good from that perspective but you also need coaching that is going to teach them those technique and recognition skills which it seems like we did not have previously.
It seems that the great college football DCs minimize that diagnosis and reaction time by simplifying, allowing them to play fast.

Another benefit of an attacking style D over Lovie's Read and React scheme.
 
#65      
those super senior guys are basically to be viewed as depth

very unlikely for a player with an existing body of work of 4-5 years , that we know to be graded a B , to be any better in his extra bonus year .

but it does give us great depth if they or another starter goes down .

so in my opinion , it could easily be worth an extra W, but rather doubtful that it’s worth much more than that .

it is great for our O Line . that’s where it will really help
 
#66      
those super senior guys are basically to be viewed as depth

very unlikely for a player with an existing body of work of 4-5 years , that we know to be graded a B , to be any better in his extra bonus year .

but it does give us great depth if they or another starter goes down .

so in my opinion , it could easily be worth an extra W, but rather doubtful that it’s worth much more than that .

it is great for our O Line . that’s where it will really help
There have been a couple years lately where extra (quality) depth would have made a big difference by the Northwestern game.
 
#67      
I think due to our age and experience we will hit our ceiling early and maintain it consistently. That consistency is the benefit of having older players.

The real question is how high is our ceiling? Is our ceiling high enough to beat a more talented team early in the year before they’ve put it together themselves?

I doubt by later in the year we will beat a team more talented than us on paper, but early hopefully we have a shot.
 
#69      
This is the first year we should be deep (almost) across the board, and that alone could be worth a W or two. B1G coaches know how to capitalize on mismatches, so having one 4th stringer out there for a game or two is gets exploited heavily. At least when the drop-off in size/strength/speed/experience is as steep as it has been for us over the past several years.

And there's the whole "do the players fit the scheme?" thing, because if the answer is no, then we know going in that the scheme can't be implemented as intended. B1G coaches know how to exploit that.

During Lovie's tenure I was one of the guys jumping on the sofa screaming "He's the most professionaly accomplished coach we've ever hired", and expected a payoff for that resume. But Lovie wasn't doing the work. He wasn't setting the right example. That made failure inevitible. <AAARRRGGHHHHHHH!!!!!>

I have no idea what the record will be this year, but I always choose optimism. And as others have stated, the case can be made for any record with single digit wins. So I'm choosing to believe we'll go bowling, and I'm basing it not on super-seniors, but on basic competence. Actually doing the work should have these guys able to execute competent football. And if they do that consistently, lapses by the other teams will result in difference-making opportunities for the Illini.

My point with the roster is that we look like a B1G team. Coach B doesn't have to suffer that Ron Turner moment where he points out the the opponent's LB is bigger than our DEs and faster than our WRs. They aren't. And in any fairly even match-up, it's the momentary breakdowns that can make all the difference. So basic competence...players who know what they're suppossed to do, and do just that...actually gives a massive tilt the odds. And at least 9 games on this schedule are either fairly balanced match-ups, or to our advantage (1 or 2). But with competence that should translate to winning more than half of those 9ish games.
 
#70      
Montgomery County, Maryland
I think due to our age and experience we will hit our ceiling early and maintain it consistently. That consistency is the benefit of having older players.

The real question is how high is our ceiling? Is our ceiling high enough to beat a more talented team early in the year before they’ve put it together themselves?

I doubt by later in the year we will beat a team more talented than us on paper, but early hopefully we have a shot.
Regarding your last point, that will come down chiefly to depth and injuries on both sides.
 
#71      
This is the first year we should be deep (almost) across the board, and that alone could be worth a W or two. B1G coaches know how to capitalize on mismatches, so having one 4th stringer out there for a game or two is gets exploited heavily. At least when the drop-off in size/strength/speed/experience is as steep as it has been for us over the past several years.

And there's the whole "do the players fit the scheme?" thing, because if the answer is no, then we know going in that the scheme can't be implemented as intended. B1G coaches know how to exploit that.

During Lovie's tenure I was one of the guys jumping on the sofa screaming "He's the most professionaly accomplished coach we've ever hired", and expected a payoff for that resume. But Lovie wasn't doing the work. He wasn't setting the right example. That made failure inevitible. <AAARRRGGHHHHHHH!!!!!>

I have no idea what the record will be this year, but I always choose optimism. And as others have stated, the case can be made for any record with single digit wins. So I'm choosing to believe we'll go bowling, and I'm basing it not on super-seniors, but on basic competence. Actually doing the work should have these guys able to execute competent football. And if they do that consistently, lapses by the other teams will result in difference-making opportunities for the Illini.

My point with the roster is that we look like a B1G team. Coach B doesn't have to suffer that Ron Turner moment where he points out the the opponent's LB is bigger than our DEs and faster than our WRs. They aren't. And in any fairly even match-up, it's the momentary breakdowns that can make all the difference. So basic competence...players who know what they're suppossed to do, and do just that...actually gives a massive tilt the odds. And at least 9 games on this schedule are either fairly balanced match-ups, or to our advantage (1 or 2). But with competence that should translate to winning more than half of those 9ish games.

The one thing I will say is that Lovie was a good defensive coach back in the day, but as time evolved and not being in the pro's, he was too laid back and not a tactician that is required for NCAAF. Bret, I feel in terms of coaching ability will be one of the better coaches we have had in quite some time. I just hope he has matured since Arkansas/Wisconsin and can get our recruiting to be solid. If solid, we will be a good team for a while.

This year, I feel our depth is the main issue outside of our lines. I do feel though that our starters should be a good Big 10 average team and way more disciplined coaching than Lovie/Zook years.
 
#72      
The one thing I will say is that Lovie was a good defensive coach back in the day, but as time evolved and not being in the pro's, he was too laid back and not a tactician that is required for NCAAF. Bret, I feel in terms of coaching ability will be one of the better coaches we have had in quite some time. I just hope he has matured since Arkansas/Wisconsin and can get our recruiting to be solid. If solid, we will be a good team for a while.

This year, I feel our depth is the main issue outside of our lines. I do feel though that our starters should be a good Big 10 average team and way more disciplined coaching than Lovie/Zook years.

Lovie seems like a guy who is a high IQ football coach but seems to be really mediocre at translating it to his athletes. You see this when his defenses had really strong players who were able to correctly diagnose what the offense was showing. It looks REALLY bad when that doesn't happen.

So I don't have a problem with him saying his defense wasn't implementable at the college level because he's right at least relative to him.

What I have a problem with(still bafffles me really) is that he couldn't be bothered to find someone WHO COULD. His players always appeared to love him, so be the glue that holds the team together and delegate to your guys.

BB seems to have absolute faith in all his hires and it's easy to see. It's not a guarantee of success but it feels like a breath of fresh air comparitively.
 
#73      
This brings up an interesting question I’ve been thinking about the last few days RE: super seniors -

at what point are guys just what they are? This is not a knock on anyone, but how realistic is it to expect massive improvement from the older guys?
First are you calling 23-24 year old's old? Hahaha, secondly yes there can be significant improvement if an athlete increases his range of motion and symmetrically strong with less imbalances and if nutrition improves, sleep habits and mental confidence. Different coaching and strength and conditioning programs completely change the landscape. Also why do you think professional athletes are being able to perform at such high levels later in their careers?
 
#74      
First are you calling 23-24 year old's old? Hahaha, secondly yes there can be significant improvement if an athlete increases his range of motion and symmetrically strong with less imbalances and if nutrition improves, sleep habits and mental confidence. Different coaching and strength and conditioning programs completely change the landscape. Also why do you think professional athletes are being able to perform at such high levels later in their careers?

Yeah an extra year in college is another year with a *hopefully* college level strength and conditioning program.
 
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