Maryland 20, Illinois 17 Postgame

#201      
I've been at every home game and have read everything I have found about the team, and watched every video. I'm in deep for sure. When we punted on 4th and one (which was near mid-field), I did not think at the moment that it was a bad decision. Peters had not played well, and we could not count on a run not getting stuffed. We had a chance to pin Maryland deep and to that point our defense had given up few points. If we had gone for it and not made it, Maryland would have had great field position. If you want to engage in further hind-sighting, you could say that if we had gone for the first down but failed, Maryland might have scored to tie it up sooner, giving us more time (more than the 47 seconds which is what I recall we had) to plan a drive toward at least a field goal without needing to pass in desperation. But that's of course just speculation.
As for Maryland, they looked and played like they were inspired and confident, with what looked to me like a good game plan. They clearly have some athletes and playmakers. I don't know if they played over their heads, but we certainly didn't catch them when they were down by any means. It is a shame that the last 5 minutes overshadowed Illinois' solid play (other than our quarterbacking) up to that point.
Anyway, I'm a believer in Bielema and his staff, and I like the direction Coach B is taking the program. I very much hope we can be at least competitive in all of our remaining games this season, and win more of them than expected. I'd like to go to the game at Purdue, but practically would have a difficult time arranging it. I look forward at least to attending each of the remaining home games.
Slight correction. I think Maryland had 47 seconds at the start of their final possession. So we obviously had more time than that at the start of our final possession (maybe 2 minutes or so).
 
#202      
So this may have been asked already or brought up but I am honestly wondering, what the heck is going on with our offense? We looked very 1 dimensional. Defense looked much better against Maryland but Offense was just not good.
 
#203      
I dont get it. The bowl game was 2 years ago. That season we finished with a losing record. 6-7 is not that much better than 5-7 in my eyes. At least, it’s nothing I would celebrate. Plus a few of those guys are now playing in the NFL. Who many guys on this team will make an NFL roaster next year? Maybe the kickers but that might be it.
That team was unsustainably lucky. They pulled wins out of their asses against Wisconsin and Michigan State that could have easily gone the other way and had a lot of turnover luck. And they still finished 6-7 which isn't anything special given the non-conference schedule they played.
 
#204      
Cary, IL
I have stayed away from the board, but had a few thoughts, as I watched Friday night;

1. Maryland seemed to be MUCH faster, stonger and talented. Our receivers got 0 separation and they dominated the offensive line.
2. Once we lost our top 2 backs, the OC really had to get creative, to keep drives alive, he didn't.
3. The 4th and 1, late, reminded me of the OSU game during Zook's Rose Bowl year. I wish they either would have gone for it, or I also wondered if we should have gone for a field goal.
4. The game went better than I expected, but not as good as I wanted. I was happy for a while, which I didn't expect.
 
#205      
So this may have been asked already or brought up but I am honestly wondering, what the heck is going on with our offense? We looked very 1 dimensional. Defense looked much better against Maryland but Offense was just not good.
I think the biggest issue on offense is consistency throughout the course of the game. The offense has demonstrated the ability to move the football the length of the field to score a touchdown in every game this year. But the Illini offense has been slow to get going and at key moments they've come up short.

Part of the blame can be laid at injuries -- and the lack of depth to back up front line talent. E.gs., Peters goes down in game one, and MD was his first game back. They lose their top O-lineman in the VA game, who remains sidelined against MD. Then right when Illinois is moving the ball on MD, the Illini's top two RBs go down in near-successive plays. That is disruptive to the flow and very difficult to overcome.

When one reviews the stats, the offensive production is not bad, and it is pretty balanced. (I know, I know, stats tell a limited story; but still, they provide a useful tool for evaluation. And to be sure, the offense needs to be more productive.) Moreover, Illinois was far better than Maryland on third down conversions, and Illinois did produce a few big plays. But the biggest statistical difference (aside from the score) was in passing yardage. Illinois had 185yds passing, but MD had 350yds. The latter figure is not on the offense. The former needs to improve -- or be more effective at scoring points.

Bottom line: Illinois has some talent, but not a lot of speed. And speed kills (so the saying goes). Illinois lacks depth of talent and experience across the board. And their thin ranks have been beleaguered by the injury bug-a-boo on both sides of the ball. Add in a heavy dose of "lack of confidence" created long before the current staff arrived, and tough breaks can become demoralizing. But I think these players and the staff are nowhere near giving up on their season. So, don't you give up on them either. They're working hard, and they are improving -- even if it's two steps forward, one step backward.
 
#206      
injuries have been a "factor" , but not a huge one.
Its often an issue for every team, and the replacement player that takes the place should not be that much of a step down to really cause major problems.

Overall, we just dont have size nor speed at WR, and we seem to lack that speed at DB , and all over the Defense , as well.
We need an offensive game plan that allows us to maximize our strengths minimize our weaknesses.

Im not "blaming the coaches" overall , Im just saying that im not convinced we have had a game plan that truly reflected our players abilities.
 
#207      
Does it seem that we have more injuries than other teams and once we have an injury, the player seems to be out longer? Maybe it just seems that way b/c it’s “my” team. But I check the injury list each week and our list is inevitably (and significantly) longer than our opponents. Is there any chance the U of I policy on injuries is more conservative than other teams, perhaps due to the lawsuit during the Beckman era?
 
#208      
So this may have been asked already or brought up but I am honestly wondering, what the heck is going on with our offense? We looked very 1 dimensional. Defense looked much better against Maryland but Offense was just not good.
Slight correction. I think Maryland had 47 seconds at the start of their final possession. So we obviously had more time than that at the start of our final possession (maybe 2 minutes or so).
2:13
 
#209      
Slight correction. I think Maryland had 47 seconds at the start of their final possession. So we obviously had more time than that at the start of our final possession (maybe 2 minutes or so).
Well the Ravens went for it on first down last night and iced the game, because they didn't want the ball back in the Chiefs hands. 1 yard to win the game, and we're afraid to go for it. What in the world do we have to lose. We haven't had one trick play all year. Why can't our offense be like UTSA or Virginia? We play scared all the time.
 
#210      
Well the Ravens went for it on first down last night and iced the game, because they didn't want the ball back in the Chiefs hands. 1 yard to win the game, and we're afraid to go for it. What in the world do we have to lose. We haven't had one trick play all year. Why can't our offense be like UTSA or Virginia? We play scared all the time.
I would totally agree if the same thing would happen 3 - 4 years from now when, like Virginia and UTSA, we have a coaching staff that will have worked together and have players that staff has recruited and who are well-versed in the offensive system. A criticism I had of the prior coaching regime is that I don't think we ever got to that point, and were playing scared, or at least appearing not well-rehearsed, all the way to the end of that regime.
 
#211      
I would totally agree if the same thing would happen 3 - 4 years from now when, like Virginia and UTSA, we have a coaching staff that will have worked together and have players that staff has recruited and who are well-versed in the offensive system. A criticism I had of the prior coaching regime is that I don't think we ever got to that point, and were playing scared, or at least appearing not well-rehearsed, all the way to the end of that regime.
Having said that, I too felt the last 5 minutes of the game were gut-wrenching. I saw it being a combination of lack of execution on our part and really good plays by Maryland. Their QB, when given time (which he had too much of), is as good as you'll see - poise, awareness, and a strong and accurate arm. Our defense also had to guard against him running, which I was surprised to see he only did very little. But just the threat of him taking off with the ball had to weigh on our defense.
 
#212      
Well the Ravens went for it on first down last night and iced the game, because they didn't want the ball back in the Chiefs hands. 1 yard to win the game, and we're afraid to go for it. What in the world do we have to lose. We haven't had one trick play all year. Why can't our offense be like UTSA or Virginia? We play scared all the time.
And with Williams and Spann who can run and throw, why not mix it up a little when the offense is struggling like on Friday?
 
#213      
And with Williams and Spann who can run and throw, why not mix it up a little when the offense is struggling like on Friday?
Im convinced we need to shake things up
If nebraska didnt crap the bed in week 0, we would be 0-4 right now.
We played ok that game, but their numerous mistakes really made that game a W. But its not like we played great that game.

new people at QB is where I would start with this.
if BB wants to give BP one more try, ok, but I have seen the movie before and am pretty sure I know how it ends.
 
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#214      
I’m already sick of hearing about “the process” and players needing to learn how to win. That may be true for first year players, but the majority of starters are in their fourth, fifth or SIXTH(!) seasons. Not to single out one guy, but watch the Maryland offensive highlights and note how many times a chunk play got sprung due to Hansen biting on a fake or filling the wrong gap.

If the old guys can’t get it done, start giving the youngsters experience, because they aren’t going to learn how to win by sitting on the bench.
I was just thinking about this today while listening to some Illini football on the radio. I think you're right. You get it right or ride the bench at this point and get the youngsters in there.
 
#215      
I don't understand why you keep wanting want to skip a year. It's not the same talent that went to a bowl game. There's no way Illinois goes bowling in 2019 without Josh Imatorbhebhe, for one. You should be comparing the talent and records this year to last year, not two years ago.
Quite a few of the guys in 2019 are playing in 2021. JI was a great help but, he was not that whole team. Taking him away does not make this year's Illini soft, slow, and weak. My reaction was to so many on here stating that we have no speed, strength, or desire.
 
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#216      
Morris, IL
#217      
Washington, DC
That play call absolutely broke me and I'm still reeling from it. I don't understand how coaches keep making these types of decisions. The math has been run and the verdict is in. You go for it on 4th and 1 once you hit midfield.

And for our team specifically, our entire freaking offense is predicated on the fact that we want to establish the run. You're telling me you don't have a play in the entire playbook that can get you 1 yard with the game on the line??? I understand we were down multiple running backs, but two of our best athletes are former QBs. Line one of them up under center and go for it.
 
#218      
That play call absolutely broke me and I'm still reeling from it. I don't understand how coaches keep making these types of decisions. The math has been run and the verdict is in. You go for it on 4th and 1 once you hit midfield.

And for our team specifically, our entire freaking offense is predicated on the fact that we want to establish the run. You're telling me you don't have a play in the entire playbook that can get you 1 yard with the game on the line??? I understand we were down multiple running backs, but two of our best athletes are former QBs. Line one of them up under center and go for it.
100% guarantee that a play action pass to a TE in the flat would have worked on 3rd or 4th down. Maryland sold out on the run and it would have been a huge gain. Not sure why it wasn't called when there had been so much success the last couple games.
 
#219      
Morrison, CO
100% guarantee that a play action pass to a TE in the flat would have worked on 3rd or 4th down. Maryland sold out on the run and it would have been a huge gain. Not sure why it wasn't called when there had been so much success the last couple games.
Our TE could be 15 feet tall and BP still overthrows him.
 
#221      
Im convinced we need to shake things up
If nebraska didnt crap the bed in week 0, we would be 0-4 right now.
We played ok that game, but their numerous mistakes really made that game a W. But its not like we played great that game.

new people at QB is where I would start with this.
if BB wants to give BP one more try, ok, but I have seen the movie before and am pretty sure I know how it ends.
Agreed not sure we have a QB that can win us games this year. I think a slightly above average QB wins the Maryland game ..easily. We are going to need to hit the portal long and hard for a QB this off-season
 
#222      
Agreed not sure we have a QB that can win us games this year. I think a slightly above average QB wins the Maryland game ..easily. We are going to need to hit the portal long and hard for a QB this off-season
I just don't think the portal is going to be the answer to our QB woes. We've been hopping from transfer QB to transfer QB for a few years now and the one thing that's become clear is the QBs willing to transfer to Illinois are not the QBs that are going to be able to win games at this level of competition. The number of impactful QBs that need a change of scenery each year is tiny and they always are in high demand, and it just means we are not going to get any of them any time soon. We really need to land and develop talented prep QBs.
 
#223      
Forgottonia
I just don't think the portal is going to be the answer to our QB woes. We've been hopping from transfer QB to transfer QB for a few years now and the one thing that's become clear is the QBs willing to transfer to Illinois are not the QBs that are going to be able to win games at this level of competition. The number of impactful QBs that need a change of scenery each year is tiny and they always are in high demand, and it just means we are not going to get any of them any time soon. We really need to land and develop talented prep QBs.
True, but we haven’t been able to land the preps either it appears. We have a couple with good HS rankings that haven’t been able to crack the line up as QBs. I’m certain if the staff felt they were up to it they would be on the field. It just means we have to pursue both avenues.

While a top level QB can always elevate a program, we have so many needs right now it’s difficult to say which is the most glaring.
 
#224      
True, but we haven’t been able to land the preps either it appears. We have a couple with good HS rankings that haven’t been able to crack the line up as QBs. I’m certain if the staff felt they were up to it they would be on the field. It just means we have to pursue both avenues.

While a top level QB can always elevate a program, we have so many needs right now it’s difficult to say which is the most glaring.
I tend to think that this staff prioritizes qb's that don't take any chances at all. Meaning, the qb drops lower on their charts if they try to do something out of the ordinary. Spann seemed very accurate in the glimpses we got of spring practice. He has the height to be a pocket passer. His arm strength seems good. I still think a game opportunity at qb would tell us a lot.
 
#225      
True, but we haven’t been able to land the preps either it appears. We have a couple with good HS rankings that haven’t been able to crack the line up as QBs. I’m certain if the staff felt they were up to it they would be on the field. It just means we have to pursue both avenues.

While a top level QB can always elevate a program, we have so many needs right now it’s difficult to say which is the most glaring.
Our recruiting generally has been a disaster, so who knows if this has an actual impact, but I do worry that our QB recruiting is going to be damaged by continually bringing in mediocre transfer QBs and starting them while converting talented but flawed prep recruits to WR (though I am very excited about IW and Deuce at WR, don't get me wrong).

We won't get, and don't necessarily need, 5-star QB recruits. He's having a rough start to this year, but Michael Penix Jr. at Indiana is an example of a good 3-star prospect who chose a non-powerhouse program over a place like FSU. I'd much rather have him than Peters. But if Indiana was bringing in guys like Peters, with the expectation the job was theirs, I doubt Penix would have gone there.