Virginia 42, Illinois 14 Postgame

#101      
I thought we had the chance for a decent to good offensive line. I thought we had a chance at a decent defensive line. We have neither - in fact our defensive line play is really bad.

Can either improve? I see no reason to be optimistic.

Nebraska game gave me hope, I hate hope
 
#102      
Kelso, WA
I thought we had the chance for a decent to good offensive line. I thought we had a chance at a decent defensive line. We have neither - in fact our defensive line play is really bad.

Can either improve? I see no reason to be optimistic.

Nebraska game gave me hope, I hate hope
"I don't trust happiness. I never did, I never will." -- Mac Sledge, "Tender Mercies".
 
#103      
Where was Spann the Man in the second half ?
I had to listen to the radio broadcast, and they mentioned seeing Spann working something out with the trainer. Sounds more like a tweak and probably precautionary keeping him out. After all we we’re getting beat like a drum
 
#106      
A new coach presents an opportunity to set a new standard of performance. That abysmal performance was not it. I refuse to believe those players are that less talented than Virginia. This is BB’s opportunity to make sure the new expectations are clear. Maybe not wins, but we should expect competitive games this year. If not then in 4-5 years we’ll be starting the new coaching cycle all over again.
I don’t think we’ve recruited well since Zook’s 2009 3-9 debacle with the exception of 2017. We’ve had some good pieces but overall our recruiting has been lower end P5 for a long time. Not easy to correct.
 
#107      
I watched Bret Bielema start out good at Arkansas and season by season see the decline. He is a coach without a real philosophy of football that he can enunciate. He depends totally on his coordinators, has zero concern about special teams, and isn’t a driver regarding stamina. His teams at Arkansas became notorious for taking leads to the half and running out of steam and getting whipped. He is not a turnaround kind of coach.
He was also coaching in the SEC where every school not named Alabama has unrealistic expectations
 
#109      
From flag football to the NFL, no one can win when there is no pass rush.
I thought that was just the game plan in the first game. Now I see it is just that we can't get any pressure! Run some stunts or something! This is bad! The qb's have all day!
 
#111      
It was a game of Men vs boys.

I can recall back when we were consistently good (i.e. when we beat Ohio State 5 times in a row in the late 1980's) we looked similar to the opposing team on the field - physically. We belonged. That wasn't the case Saturday. It looked like Division I vs Division III.

UVA's offensive line manhandled us. And their receivers looked NFL ready. I had to google Jelani Woods when I got home from the game. He looked to be 6'9 on the field, with great hands. QB Armstrong was constantly throwing to wide open receivers in the middle of the field who were on the move 20 yards downfield. Conversely, we ran 5 yard come-back routes in front of the defensive backs.

I don't blame Bielema for that.
 
#112      
That was a brutal game to go to. I am not sure what it looked like on TV, but in addition to all that I have read one thing I also saw was the difference in team speed. Our lines clearly got manhandled, but I was surprised how much faster their "skill" players were than ours. Their skill position players just seemed to be able to blow by ours and their secondary (and linebackers) just flew to make plays. I am not sure if they are that fast, we are that slow, or both - or was it just desire?

We can't teach speed, but we sure need to recruit some. I still have faith in BB, but we were just outclassed when it came to talent and speed. It will take a couple years to turn this around. The Illini looked liked the UVA team of 2016 - Mendenhal's first year. They went 2-10. I went to their last game at VT and they lost 52-10 or something like that. Three years later they won the ACC Coastal division and were in the Orange Bowl. Not saying that is our trajectory, but a good coach coming into a weak situation can make the difference. I hear all the blah, blah, blah about BB at Arkansas, but I am not buying it. I am not saying he is Nick Saban, but he is legit. It takes time, and it will here, too, but BB is taking us in the right direction. Connecting to the state, being straight forward, bringing in a solid staff, and can coach. He can only work with what he has right now. Sure, I will cringe from time-to-time this year, but I still predict we pull out an unexpected win or two and get to 4 + wins,. That could be overly optimistic for this year, but I don't think so. And I see us moving in the right direction, even after a horrible loss like yesterday.

I still say ILL...
 
#113      
Forgottonia
I watched Bret Bielema start out good at Arkansas and season by season see the decline. He is a coach without a real philosophy of football that he can enunciate. He depends totally on his coordinators, has zero concern about special teams, and isn’t a driver regarding stamina. His teams at Arkansas became notorious for taking leads to the half and running out of steam and getting whipped. He is not a turnaround kind of coach.
I could not disagree more with your evaluation of Bielema as a coach. I see him putting in the work and doing the right things to revive a program left for dead. I hoped for better results so far this season, but we are playing with last years team and it’s becoming more and more clear that the talent is just not there to compete. This team has little to no depth and can not afford injuries and we’ve lost more key players every game. It’s his job to improve that talent and depth. That’s his biggest challenge imo. He knows how to win, but can he bring in the players to execute it? I’m optimistic based on his experience and his work ethic.
 
#114      
Bethesda, Maryland
I can recall back when we were consistently good (i.e. when we beat Ohio State 5 times in a row in the late 1980's) we looked similar to the opposing team on the field - physically. We belonged. That wasn't the case Saturday. It looked like Division I vs Division III.

Amen to that. Another characteristic of those teams in the '80s (most of the time) was a QB who could throw, a solid running game, able receivers, and a strong line, all of which enabled the Illini to mix it up and move the ball. We also had lots of defensive talent in those years. Still, I remember that Michigan's O & D lines were just bigger than ours.

As another poster noted, we haven't recruited consistently across the O & D in many years. We just don't have the bodies currently to match up with most opponents. It will take time to build that. I'll have faith in BB to get that done until he shows us that he can't. It's early days right now.

For now I'm also going to ignore bitter Razorback guests who visit the board to kvetch about him. He was at Wisconsin for 7 seasons. He inherited a strong Alvarez team but had to rebuild within a couple seasons and did so, taking the team from 6th out of 11 in the conference in 2008 to three straight Rose Bowls in 2010-12. And not to get all Lasagna in defending him, but that final year when he went 8-6 and lost the Rose Bowl to No. 8 Stanford, four of those losses were by 3 pts (2 in OT) and the other two were by a single touchdown to Top 10 teams. [EDIT: Oh, and Wisc beat Nebraska 70-31 to win the BT title that year.]

I could get used to that. :illinois: Keep the faith, brothers and sisters. It's the first time we've had strong reason for hope in many seasons. But it'll be ugly for a while.
 
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#115      
Decatur, IL
Amen to that. Another characteristic of those teams in the '80s (most of the time) was a QB who could throw, a solid running game, able receivers, and a strong line, all of which enabled the Illini to mix it up and move the ball. We also had lots of defensive talent in those years. Still, I remember that Michigan's O & D lines were just bigger than ours.

As another poster noted, we haven't recruited consistently across the O & D in many years. We just don't have the bodies currently to match up with most opponents. It will take time to build that. I'll have faith in BB to get that done until he shows us that he can't. It's early days right now.

For now I'm also going to ignore bitter Razorback guests who visit the board to kvetch about him. He was at Wisconsin for 7 seasons. He inherited a strong Alvarez team but had to rebuild within a couple seasons and did so, taking the team from 6th out of 11 in the conference in 2008 to three straight Rose Bowls in 2010-12. And not to get all Lasagna in defending him, but that final year when he went 8-6 and lost the Rose Bowl to No. 8 Stanford, four of those losses were by 3 pts (2 in OT) and the other two were by a single touchdown to Top 10 teams. [EDIT: Oh, and Wisc beat Nebraska 70-31 to win the BT title that year.]

I could get used to that. :illinois: Keep the faith, brothers and sisters. It's the first time we've had strong reason for hope in many seasons. But it'll be ugly for a while.
Great post. Like someone eluded to the other day, it seems like this staff is going after mean, football players. The wrestling in other sport types. Instead of chasing the freak athlete who doesn't show a ton of football IQ/grit. Much like the Underwood rebuild these upperclassmen are not gonna be the ones to get it done. We all know Underwood basically had to clean house to start winning.The numbers in football are much greater than hoops so you will see a larger number of undererclassmen that are a part of coach Bs rebuild. Lovies most talented class(Williams,Beason,Cooper) are still freshmen and sophomores so I don't think the cupboard is completely empty. The secondary is very thin and it seems that all the good safeties and corners are going to top programs. We need to get a couple top 500 players on the back end of the defense soon. Actually, some pass rush would help also. Hard to be a db today when the qb has 4-5 seconds to just camp in the pocket and throw.
 
#116      
Great post. Like someone eluded to the other day, it seems like this staff is going after mean, football players. The wrestling in other sport types. Instead of chasing the freak athlete who doesn't show a ton of football IQ/grit. Much like the Underwood rebuild these upperclassmen are not gonna be the ones to get it done. We all know Underwood basically had to clean house to start winning.The numbers in football are much greater than hoops so you will see a larger number of undererclassmen that are a part of coach Bs rebuild. Lovies most talented class(Williams,Beason,Cooper) are still freshmen and sophomores so I don't think the cupboard is completely empty. The secondary is very thin and it seems that all the good safeties and corners are going to top programs. We need to get a couple top 500 players on the back end of the defense soon. Actually, some pass rush would help also. Hard to be a db today when the qb has 4-5 seconds to just camp in the pocket and throw.
Agree, and I appreciate the reference to early Underwood years. For those who were hoping for a competitive game, Virginia was 18-2 in their last 20 home games. To win this game this would have been the equivalent of BU going into Wisconsin or Michigan State and winning in his first year. I looked it up and, yep, pair of 20 point losses.

Hearing Beilema post game he clearly sees we have a culture/confidence problem. When he said you can’t coach confidence he sounded a lot like BU in his first couple of years. I remember one press conference after someone asked BU how he could fix a certain problem and he simply responded “Recruit!” like it was the most obvious thing in the world. I expect a similar house cleaning after this year.

Bielema was able to go to 3 Rose Bowls with mainly 3 star kids who fit what he wanted to do. I firmly believe he can build us into a respectable program where 6 wins is the baseline and we are competitive with Iowa, Northwestern and Wisconsin. It’s just going to take time.
 
#117      
Bethesda, Maryland
Hearing Beilema post game he clearly sees we have a culture/confidence problem. When he said you can’t coach confidence he sounded a lot like BU in his first couple of years. I remember one press conference after someone asked BU how he could fix a certain problem and he simply responded “Recruit!” like it was the most obvious thing in the world. I expect a similar house cleaning after this year.
While I dislike the quote intensely: "You go to war with the army you have." That's where we are right now. Changing the culture of a football program requires replacing bodies and molding attitudes. It's like turning around an oil tanker while it's churning through the waves at a brisk clip.

Someone in the post-game comments yesterday claimed that BB had lost the team. That seems wildly inaccurate. As you note, he clearly sees a cultural problem. He was obviously angry at the lack of discipline, but that's a holdover from Lovie. I recall what Barry Alvarez inherited at Wisconsin in 1989: the program had won seven BT games in the preceding five seasons. He went 1-10 and then had two 5-6 seasons, then went 10-1-1. He said of his initial season there (as I recall) that the team had relatively few players suited for D-1 ball. IIRC, he gave 1994 Rose Bowl rings to each of those players who gutted out that initial disastrous season, forming the foundation for the program he would build.

I'm not foolish enough to draw a direct analogy to what we might expect, but really does anyone on this board feel worse about our long-term prospects under this coach than at the outset of any initial season of any coach we've had in, well, decades? I feel a great deal better with BB compared with all his predecessors going back to Mackovic.
 
#118      
I clearly see that BB has a plan, but we don't have the players/depth to do it. Our secondary can't run with anyone and we are going to get torched because we can't get any pressure. Our OL isn't pushing people around and if we can't stay ahead of the chains we aren't going to win either. We are building a system and saying damn the results if we don't show it this year or the next, we want the kids coming in now to be ready in a few years. It sucks, but we have sucked for years. I can withstand another 2-3 to give BB a chance.
 
#122      
I watched Bret Bielema start out good at Arkansas and season by season see the decline. He is a coach without a real philosophy of football that he can enunciate. He depends totally on his coordinators, has zero concern about special teams, and isn’t a driver regarding stamina. His teams at Arkansas became notorious for taking leads to the half and running out of steam and getting whipped. He is not a turnaround kind of coach.
Yawn
 
#125      
The Virginia loss will change how I watch games the rest of the year. While I’d love to see more victories, I’m really going to just look for positives — especially from players that will be here next year and beyond. I have no doubt we’re going to continue to see more negative things in coming weeks, but I’m going to try and not let them eat me up. Like some I hoped that with all the super seniors we had coming back (even if they were flawed) combined with better coaching and schemes that we could aspire to 5 or 6 wins. Doesn’t look like that is going to happen, so I’m looking to see some baby steps in the right direction. I do think we’ll see another win or two this year and hopefully one of those contains big step forward in an area or with a player(s).