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From The Stands – Ohio State October 15, 2011


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pygreg October 15th, 2011

I agree 100%. Our fans are mostly idiots.

Hoppy October 15th, 2011

I was at the Arizona State game and my brother and I were pretty much forcing the rest of the fans around us to stand and make noise. It’s almost as if people think it’s a social event like theater. And we are all supposed to criticize with our “expertise” instead of just scream and support and lose our minds like real fans. (I wished I was in the student section during that game)

Now, I’m not worried about this loss. I am going to be stoked with an 8-4 year. And I will be incredibly happy with whatever wins we get on top of that. Let’s build a steady program instead of trying to do it all in one year.

My question is Zook though…How do we get behind him? He is supposed to inspire confidence in us and his team. Is it happening? When the rest of the college football world views him as a joke and his name is part of a comical catch phrase like getting “zookered” than who can really take him seriously? Will recruits?

I’m trying not to get out the torch and pitchfork and start asking for Zook’s head. Since he is 6-1 his job should be safe. But are we 6-1 because of him or despite him? Will we ever be a national championship team with him at the helm? I just don’t know.

Go Illini, let’s make it to 8-4!


thegoah October 15th, 2011

Agree on the fans, but I’m a little less concerned about our run D than you. 211 yards might sound like a lot…and sure, 4.1 ypc is not great, but really–this was a bend-but-don’t-break performance by the defense. The defense did a good enough job to win. Both of anOSU’s TD’s came on short fields set up by TO’s, and the 2nd one was on a long pass. The offense got plenty of opportunities. Time of Possession was nearly identical. The offense was the issue. The turnovers were the issue. The special teams (while not as bad as usual) were not good, and were an issue. 17 points given up in a game with 3 crippling turnovers. This game was lost by the offense. I’m confused by how the first thing out of the podcast was “we can’t stop a running team.”

thegoah October 15th, 2011

btw…211 yards rushing…228 total. don’t think our D was embarrassed out there by any stretch of the imagination.

eric October 15th, 2011

thanks for this.

rochillini October 15th, 2011

Robert please keep up the good work, fight the good fight.

I have a concern about the empty seats. I know the economy is poor, but this team should be drawing better.

illiniranger October 15th, 2011

winning cures a lot of ills. i think the reason the fans freak out about Ron Zook is that he is, quite frankly, a bad head coach. This is a guy that last week went for two because he didn’t know the score of the game – this only adds to the mystique of the “Zooker.”
I think our fans get so upset because Zook goes against the conventional wisdom ALL. THE. TIME. The rugby punt is a good example. Or how about the ridiculous extra point formation that we have run since Zook took over? Its just sooooooo amateur. Do you think Nick Saban will ever run some wackdoodle kick formation after a Touchdownt? The point you make about the fans as critics is valid, but in this regard Zook is his own worst enemy.
I asked on this blog the other day “whither Ron Zook?” Undoubtedly the program is better than he found it, but good lord, if we are ever going to NOT be a laughingstock we have to get someone else.

OWWDig October 15th, 2011

Pessimism hurts a lot less than optimism. It’s hard to go ‘balls to the wall’ for the Illini because it hurts.

Some of the ‘boos’ may have been people reevaluating expectations ‘real time.’

I thought the team’s shortcomings were pretty obvious, even before today. We allowed ourselves hope that the O Line wasn’t as poor as we thought, that we might be able to stop the run, etc. But reality hit like a ton of bricks today.

For casual fans, those that didn’t realize those shortcomings, today must’ve been bitterly disappointing – maybe that was the booing.

I dunno. I get your frustration. It’s the same frustration I feel at AH during basketball season.

illini02 October 15th, 2011

Dude get over yourself. Seriously

taz October 15th, 2011

Robert, I’ve been with you for these past few years, and shouting your praises to whoever I can find to listen. I love this blog, I love your point of view, your knowledge,and your fandom.
Still, I think you’re way off base here and I’m pretty disappointed. First off, a vast majority of all fan bases are casual fans, that’s just how it is. At least some of them are willing to spend their money and support the team.
And, yes, it drives me crazy that people go and don’t cheer or bitch if you stand up. But honestly, since the ASU game, I’ve been impressed with most of the fans at the games. And today was no different-yeah, it was quiet for part of the game, but this was a really difficult game to get into. By the time we scored, it was basically too late and we all knew it. And the only booing I heard was on the 4th down play and obviously intended for zook.

GrogsBBQPepperoni October 15th, 2011

Hey, kudos to OSU. They knew we could bring heat to the QB, they took that option off the table by not even throwing, forced us to stop the run which we didn’t and got the better breaks on the turnover game. And it wasn’t because we played like crap. Nate’s one pass was airborne due to wind, the AJ fumble – that just happens – he wasn’t super careless with the ball, a little loose with it maybe. The other Nate pass looked like it was going right to the receiver and I think the wind affected it (again). If we had forced them to pass by putting 10 in the box (earlier), they may have thrown some errant passes themselves.

Let’s face it’ we were outcoached. By a 37-year old newbie. Our coach proved (second week in a row) that he does not have a grasp on the big picture. It was clear OSU was NOT going to pass it. So do whatever it takes to make them throw. The going for it on 4th and 2 at the end is 5 times worse than the ‘go for 2′ last week. I thought our guys played hard and we just didn’t get the breaks we have been getting lately. Even special teams did well – we pinned them deep a few times. Hey, OSU has a really good defense. That’s a top-flight program with a lot of solid pieces in place.

We’re 6-1 having a great year and, yeah, we lost a home game. I still see real potentital for an awesome year. BUT – I still also see the Zooker looming out there, though, and it makes me nervous. Lucy didn’t pull the ball today. The Zooker did. Mike Thomas, wherever you are – a penny for your thoughts when you saw us going for it on 4th and 2 – especially just 7 days removed from ‘go for 2′ fever (“We were down by 5 – I mean up by 5. We were up by 7?”). I’m here if you want to talk., Mr. Thomas……

schiavonir October 15th, 2011

I wonder how many people in the stands just thought “Hey, I heard the Illini are 6-0 this year, let’s go to a game!” and don’t know the whole story. Didn’t know this was a risky game. Those of us that follow, the real fans, know that we haven’t been tested enough, that our win streak was tenuous at best.

spotticus October 15th, 2011

Out of curiousity, where do you sit? I sit towards the south end of the west balcony and the fans there blow. They’re exactly how you describe. They can’t stand up to let you into your aisle let alone stand up for a big 3rd down. They complain about everything but have pretty much no common sense or football knowledge.

chief23 October 15th, 2011

I could not possibly disagree more. The average Illini fan has endured enough football misery for two lifetimes. I will never blame the fans for not going to games, or even complaining about the head coach during the game. We pay $50 a ticket to watch our beloved Illini underachieve on almost a yearly basis. This football program that has been one of the worst in the nation over the last 20 years, the fans, alumni, and residents of Illinois deserve better. A program has to earn it’s fanbase, most of the programs you mention in the podcast, Wisconsin, Michigan State ect. have all built a much more consistent football program than Illinois. Last week Zook admitted to not knowing the score of the game when he decided to go for two against Indiana in the first half. How can you blame fans for questioning whether or not he is a competent head coach? Since Zook has been here the talent level has risen considerably, but his teams constantly seem unprepared for games, his game management skills have to be the worst in the country, and players consistently make game ending mistakes. Did Fresno State or Minnesota have more talent than Illinois last year? No. I’m not sure good coaches lose those games with the same players that Zook has on his team. I truly believe that all it takes to change the history and culture of a program is one great head coach. See Barry Alvarez, Hayden Frye, Bill Snyder and the list goes on. I would argue all of the programs of the aforementioned coaches have less advantages than Illinois. I believe that Illinois fans are bitter that this program is so inconsistent. Frankly I don’t blame any of them if they don’t buy in.

This game proves that Petrino is in no way ready for a head coaching job. The offense was an absolute joke today. How many deep balls did we attempt today? Why wait until the fourth quarter to open up the offense? Illinois got out-coached today, period. Losing a game to a team that completed ONE pass the entire game is inexcusable. If we cannot beat Ohio State when they are down then I’m not sure if we’ll beat them in the next two decades. Ohio State and Penn State will not be this vulnerable forever and it’s an absolute shame that Illinois couldn’t take advantage of it.

GrogsBBQPepperoni October 16th, 2011

and let’s please all not forget how the first half ended. OSU facing a 3rd and long, clock ticking down from about :30 and we just let the half end. They hadn’t thrown a completion yet and would never have converted that. So call a timeout, make them punt and send the dogs after the punter hoping to block it or – God forbid – try for a big return. No – we let them just run the clock out while they must gave been guffawing internally.

Zook is beyond maddening. Again – lowest football IQ in the solar system.

illini-mj October 16th, 2011

I believe that most Illini fans are great—- and deserve better than Ron “lowest football IQ in the solar system” Zook. (thx Grogs)

I also agree that kicking the field goal or calling a timeout probably wouldn’t have been game changers, but GIVE US A CHANCE! I am sick of the rest of the football world laughing at Zook, and therefore our Illini. They weren’t prepared for a running team that would be fielding the returning 1st team All B1G RB for his first game this year…..and Langford and Pollard are terrible return men.

It will be interesting to see how the coaching staff preps this team for Happy Valley.

Lastly, Robert-I am a faithful reader of this blog, but without “arrogant experts” you would have nothing here.

illiniranger October 16th, 2011

a lot of people seem down on the run game. i thought our defense was fine against the run, especially concerning tOSU’s run/pass splits. gotta remember they got that big 35 yarder from miller on a broken play. take that away and they are under 200 yds rushing.
only way tOSU scores 2 x TDs is the crushing turnovers (again) in our own end. take those TOs off the board and we probably win 7-3 or 10-3.

illiniranger October 16th, 2011

btw, although i love nate scheelhaase, he played a TERRIBLE game today. don’t know if it was the wind or what. also, we should have tried to run the ball more. playing in a 40 mph wind we threw it 28 (TIMES!) before we went on the emergency TD scoring drive at the end. Not impressed with Petrino yesterday.

jdl October 16th, 2011

Agree completely, Robert. Unfortunate, but understandable. It’s simply the effect of so many years of bad football. I don’t think people are different at UI than Wisconsin, Iowa or Indiana. They react to what they experience. Take Indiana fans for example, compare their reaction to their football team vs basketball. Night and day. If Illinois could actually string together 5-7 seasons of good football, I think you’d see things start to change. But it takes time, and we have a lot of bad football history to overcome, not going to happen with one Texas Bowl victory and a good start this year.

illinibacker October 16th, 2011

Anyone who says Illini fans don’t suck hasn’t sat in the west balcony. I sat near the south end as one poster above mentioned for almost 10 years and it was pretty much as Robert described. I just don’t understand people. It’s just bitch and moan time all the time up there.
Anyway, I thought the defense was fine. OSU only had one sustained drive all game. We lost this game because of turnovers. I’ve not been impressed with Petrino’s work this year, but maybe he is just trying to hide weaknesses (offensive line) with his playcalling so far.
This L wasn’t on Zook, but I’m not sure he is the long term answer as head coach. As far as I’m concerned if he can string multiple bowl seasons together and trend toward 9-3, 10-2 type seasons then he deserves to stay.

Boneyard Surfer October 16th, 2011

The Chicago Tribune printed a quote from Petrino today basically saying the go-for-it on 4th down was his idea. That’s fine, but it is still Zook’s call as head coach. So a wounded duck pass falls to the ground in the vicinity of nobody, and instantly tens of thousands of silent disappointed fans stream for the exits.
Here is another scenario: Dimke attempts the (35 yard?) field goal…he makes that, what, 90+% of the time, even with the wind conditions. Now we’re down by 7 and everyone (even Zook) knows what is coming. The entire crowd is on it’s feet cheering as Dimke tries the onside kick. If we recover the kick, the place goes wild. We then have 45 seconds and 2 time outs to drive 50 yards for the game tying score. Even if we don’t score, or even if we don’t recover the kick, it is a thrilling end to a close game and the crowd goes home with at least the pretense that we might have won.
That is how you excite the fan base, give them thrilling memories, and sell more tickets. It also helps to know what the score is during the course of the game.

rml October 17th, 2011

I sat at the south end of the upper deck on the west side, and some people were booing at our first (?) punt, which went out-of-bounds after 41 yards. I asked the guy next to me, “why are people booing, this is a good punt for us?”

Steve October 17th, 2011

I sat in 124 and I only slightly agree.there are surprisingly few haters among the comatose. They weren’t bad, but they sure weren’t good. I did feel a little funny jumping up to see; honestly my view was NOT impeded, but damn its more fun to jump up. So I did. Only slightly grouchy really. Comatose really is a better summary.
H,onestly this was a huge game and we did not help our team very much.huge for our record, our confidence, our recruiting. So, pretty sad. bad.but not the end of the world. We are rebuilding from nowhere. Truthfully nowhere. And there is plenty to do. But we are better. Two steps forward, one step back.
Beats the pants off the reverse. We’ve done that, too. I like this better.