The Illinois Coaching Staff Search

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#1,752      
So I want to preface this and state that my expectations may be unrealistic, but I am pleasantly surprised with this staff. I think it has a lot of potential and combines good experience with recruiting personality.

I know I have been hard on both CP and Henry, and I feel those criticisms are justly deserved. I do not know enough about the new TE coach. But overall, I am fairly happy with a couple of slots to go. Go get a solid WR who can recruit and I will shut up completely lol
 
#1,753      
Admin
TE coach Ben Miller said Bart Miller was the go-between for the Illinois job with Bret Bielema.

"He obviously said something good about me."

TE coach Ben Miller said Bret Bielema wants him to recruit his home state of Ohio. Ron Zook and Tim Beckman had some success recruiting the state of Ohio.

"We want to hammer the state of Ohio, I know that."

TEs coach Ben Miller said Bielema still figuring out how he'll handle the special teams role.

Seems to leave open possibility of ST coordinator. Bielema has some flexibility with final spot because Miller and Buh have special teams backgrounds.


 
#1,754      
St. Peters MO
Had a little free time today so here we go.....This staff is night and day compared to the previous staffs, it is a true college staff that we haven't had since Zook.

Tony Petersen: A guy who knows what BB wants on offense and will be able to execute it. Plenty of experience calling plays and in multiple different offenses and will be able to adjust based of what we have on the roster instead of making the roster try and fit "his" offense. A guy BB can trust and a hard nosed coach which I like.

C-Patt: You all know why he is here. I have heard mixed reviews on C patt and wouldn't have been upset either way if he was retained or not. Think he is kind of on a one year prove it deal here. He should be a little better recruiter now that he has help from the HC.

Bart Miller: Young energetic coach who has a bright future in the business. Imo he is a great evaluator and teacher which is huge for the OL position especially at Illinois. Also a very smart recruiter who will help us open doors back up in Illinois.

Ben Miller: Another great teacher and another no nonsense guy. These guys will be coached up and coached hard which is what we are sorely missing here. Also you don't stay on a D1 staff as long as he did by accident.

Ryan Walters: A guy who is wise beyond his years. A really smart guy who connects well with the players and knows how to run a college defense. A great secondary coach who will pair well with Henry. I initially was suspect on him but once I found out he was calling the D for Odom since 2017 I was sold on him. Also seems to be a great motivator.

Terrance Jamison: Very similar to Bart Miller, younger guy with a bright future. Connects well with his players and recruits and like Bart will help us get back into the Illinois recruiting scene. Also a loyal guy to BB and another guy he trusts.

Andy Buh: This is the most interesting one to me (in a good way) a lot of experience and on paper probably the most overqualified for the position even if he was suspect as a DC. Has Special teams background like Ben Miller and knows the LB position and teaches it well. This hire has me question whether BB wants to try and bring in a younger recruiter to coach the ILB and learn under him and Buh.

Aaron Henry: Here is your guys recruiter. Also another BB guy and guy BB trusts. I think he is a decent young secondary coach and being paired will Walters will be huge.

This staff will coach the guys hard and are great teachers of their respected position groups. Will be a big change from the previous staff. As I alluded to a lot of guys BB trusts and know how BB wants to run things which is huge for a staff.

Appreciate it..thanks
 
#1,755      
I agree. Your QB is your leader and your most important position. You gotta be able to get his head right with someone when things aren't going right. Too many times it felt like Peters went into a shell and the spark went away.

Need to be less feast or famine with Petersen at the helm of the offense.
This is where I was at. Sure they can talk on the phone or over a headset but it's not the same, and it's not constant. I don't think it's unfair to say that Peters and Smith were not on the same page for most of last season.
 
#1,757      
Western Illinois
I agree. Your QB is your leader and your most important position. You gotta be able to get his head right with someone when things aren't going right. Too many times it felt like Peters went into a shell and the spark went away.

Need to be less feast or famine with Petersen at the helm of the offense.
Completely agree with this accessment. So many times when things were going bad, Peters would like a whipped pup.
 
#1,760      
Montgomery County, Maryland
Totally random question probably for 0440. Do you know if these coordinators like being in the box or the sideline? I doubt there's any facts to back it up, but when the OC is also the QB coach, I don't like the OC being up in the box and relying on GA's/etc to be the main contact with the QB on the sideline.
I concur with respect to the QB/coach relationship. I'm remembering back to Juice Williams and the way Locksley could settle him down when necessary.
 
#1,761      
MDW-CMI-MSP-SEA
Had a little free time today so here we go.....This staff is night and day compared to the previous staffs, it is a true college staff that we haven't had since Zook.

Tony Petersen: A guy who knows what BB wants on offense and will be able to execute it. Plenty of experience calling plays and in multiple different offenses and will be able to adjust based of what we have on the roster instead of making the roster try and fit "his" offense. A guy BB can trust and a hard nosed coach which I like.

C-Patt: You all know why he is here. I have heard mixed reviews on C patt and wouldn't have been upset either way if he was retained or not. Think he is kind of on a one year prove it deal here. He should be a little better recruiter now that he has help from the HC.

Bart Miller: Young energetic coach who has a bright future in the business. Imo he is a great evaluator and teacher which is huge for the OL position especially at Illinois. Also a very smart recruiter who will help us open doors back up in Illinois.

Ben Miller: Another great teacher and another no nonsense guy. These guys will be coached up and coached hard which is what we are sorely missing here. Also you don't stay on a D1 staff as long as he did by accident.

Ryan Walters: A guy who is wise beyond his years. A really smart guy who connects well with the players and knows how to run a college defense. A great secondary coach who will pair well with Henry. I initially was suspect on him but once I found out he was calling the D for Odom since 2017 I was sold on him. Also seems to be a great motivator.

Terrance Jamison: Very similar to Bart Miller, younger guy with a bright future. Connects well with his players and recruits and like Bart will help us get back into the Illinois recruiting scene. Also a loyal guy to BB and another guy he trusts.

Andy Buh: This is the most interesting one to me (in a good way) a lot of experience and on paper probably the most overqualified for the position even if he was suspect as a DC. Has Special teams background like Ben Miller and knows the LB position and teaches it well. This hire has me question whether BB wants to try and bring in a younger recruiter to coach the ILB and learn under him and Buh.

Aaron Henry: Here is your guys recruiter. Also another BB guy and guy BB trusts. I think he is a decent young secondary coach and being paired will Walters will be huge.

This staff will coach the guys hard and are great teachers of their respected position groups. Will be a big change from the previous staff. As I alluded to a lot of guys BB trusts and know how BB wants to run things which is huge for a staff.
Thank you again for your great insight. Your measured, rational optimism is exactly what I needed to hear. I look forward to consistent development and solid program building.
 
#1,763      
Thank you again for your great insight. Your measured, rational optimism is exactly what I needed to hear. I look forward to consistent development and solid program building.
We all know what we really want now, that is Gritty coming in hot with the EXACT opposite opinion.
 
#1,764      
We all know what we really want now, that is Gritty coming in hot with the EXACT opposite opinion.
Dang it, couldn't resist. I was gonna wait until the staff was finalized.

So like, the big fear was bigger than Petersen, it was the idea that Petersen meant Bielema was struggling to hire quality people, and particularly quality people with experience working with him. Because that's the fear with Bielema, the negative reading of his resume, that he kinda showed himself to be a clown at Arkansas and isn't to be trusted outside of the very pre-structured setup in place at Wisconsin. Petersen was a red flashing light in that regard.

The hires made since make crystal clear that that fear was wrong, full stop. The rest of the staff is really good, worth the money we're spending, and has a number of people with a lot of credibility and capital eagerly returning to Bielema's side after having played or coached for him. We hired Bielema in large part because of the opportunity and ability to bring in this kind of staff (though I am still looking for a couple of solid gold recruiters in the last two spots. I'd rather not Bellamy at WR but I'll live if that does end up being the case).

But the Petersen thing remains what it is. That's probably the most important spot on the staff, and we filled it with a totally baffling and shaky choice. Still, with the benefit of hindsight and context, clearly Bielema didn't just scrape him off the bottom of the barrel, that's the guy he wanted, for whatever reason. And Bret Bielema has forgotten more about football than I will ever know. So what can you do but hope for the best, hope it works, and hope that if it doesn't, the very competitive salary we have allotted to Petersen can quickly and easily be transferred to someone better.

My expectation is that it won't work and we'll have a new OC before long. But far stranger things have happened.
 
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#1,766      
Great mix of in state recruiters, military background/disciplined coaches, and a ton of pure collegiate coaching experience. This is the type of staff you put together for competing at college football. We got people that know what they are doing, as opposed to the last staff’s attitude of “we’ll figure it out on the fly”.
 
#1,767      
I am glad to hear people are excited about the staff. I have no idea about any of them besides what others say. I do like the sound of our OLine coach. I really don't see splash hires. But, I will take everyone's word that the staff is good.
 
#1,768      
Had a little free time today so here we go.....This staff is night and day compared to the previous staffs, it is a true college staff that we haven't had since Zook.

Tony Petersen: A guy who knows what BB wants on offense and will be able to execute it. Plenty of experience calling plays and in multiple different offenses and will be able to adjust based of what we have on the roster instead of making the roster try and fit "his" offense. A guy BB can trust and a hard nosed coach which I like.

C-Patt: You all know why he is here. I have heard mixed reviews on C patt and wouldn't have been upset either way if he was retained or not. Think he is kind of on a one year prove it deal here. He should be a little better recruiter now that he has help from the HC.

Bart Miller: Young energetic coach who has a bright future in the business. Imo he is a great evaluator and teacher which is huge for the OL position especially at Illinois. Also a very smart recruiter who will help us open doors back up in Illinois.

Ben Miller: Another great teacher and another no nonsense guy. These guys will be coached up and coached hard which is what we are sorely missing here. Also you don't stay on a D1 staff as long as he did by accident.

Ryan Walters: A guy who is wise beyond his years. A really smart guy who connects well with the players and knows how to run a college defense. A great secondary coach who will pair well with Henry. I initially was suspect on him but once I found out he was calling the D for Odom since 2017 I was sold on him. Also seems to be a great motivator.

Terrance Jamison: Very similar to Bart Miller, younger guy with a bright future. Connects well with his players and recruits and like Bart will help us get back into the Illinois recruiting scene. Also a loyal guy to BB and another guy he trusts.

Andy Buh: This is the most interesting one to me (in a good way) a lot of experience and on paper probably the most overqualified for the position even if he was suspect as a DC. Has Special teams background like Ben Miller and knows the LB position and teaches it well. This hire has me question whether BB wants to try and bring in a younger recruiter to coach the ILB and learn under him and Buh.

Aaron Henry: Here is your guys recruiter. Also another BB guy and guy BB trusts. I think he is a decent young secondary coach and being paired will Walters will be huge.

This staff will coach the guys hard and are great teachers of their respected position groups. Will be a big change from the previous staff. As I alluded to a lot of guys BB trusts and know how BB wants to run things which is huge for a staff.
Great stuff here. I'm old enough to remember when White and Mackovic had really strong staffs, and it showed in player development and on field performance. We have had some good individual coaches on each staff since, but none that overall appeared as strong as this one. If players develop, are well coached and are well taken care of by the staff, the recruiting will come
 
#1,770      
I am glad to hear people are excited about the staff. I have no idea about any of them besides what others say. I do like the sound of our OLine coach. I really don't see splash hires. But, I will take everyone's word that the staff is good.
I think BB is hiring some young but experienced guys with fire in the belly. Hopefully, that energy will motivate the guys on the team to get better and attract guys to the team who have the physical talent and mental makeup to play hard-nosed football and strive for success.
 
#1,771      
While many liked the Bart Miller introductory press conference, I thought Ryan Walters was much more impressive! Really a fan of his maturity and communication skills, at just 34 years old. I realize Lovie is/was a defensive coach, but I just feel like our defense will improve five-fold over the next three years under BB and RW!! Can't wait to see things progress starting this spring.
What's not to like about either one? And the good news is, they're both now on staff!
 
#1,772      
I'm impressed with the selections so far. I hope one of the remaining slots is not allocated to a full-time Special Teams coach. I just don't see that as a good use of resources. Our need for improved recruiting far outweighs anything potentially brought to the table by a Special Teams coach who can't or won't hustle for recruits.
 
#1,773      
Just realized like Jamison that Bart Miller coached at Air Force too (though different years). Interestingly, he coached TEs — Ben’s new responsibility at Illinois.
The coaches aren't just connected to BB. Several them have coached with each other before. That's got to be a good sign. (y)
 
#1,774      
Not that I know anything, but I thought BB made a point of stating how much he valued the STC, and now it is a split position? Am I missing something, or am I simply overreacting due to lack of knowledge? I am very excited about the group as a whole so far, just confused.
It's not uncommon to split special teams responsibilities -- an offensive coach handles FGs, PATs, and return game, while a defensive coach handles Kickoffs, punts and coverage teams. Or something along those lines.
 
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