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Rock Bottom? October 14, 2012

I’ve been sitting here at the keyboard for over an hour. I had maybe five paragraphs written. Painstakingly slow going. So I deleted them. I wasn’t saying what I wanted to say. It felt forced. I was trying my best to write about our failings, and how we’re headed for 2-10, but I was failing. It’s what everyone is thinking, but it didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel like I was being honest with exactly where I’m at.

So I went back through all of the Friday night Stream Of Consciousness posts. I wanted to review all of my raw emotions towards this season. I’m getting all of these emails, my Twitter feed is in full anger mode, our beat writers are laughing, and my only real emotion is “good, that’s out of the way – now let’s get to work”.

But I don’t think I wanted to write that. Because I know that comes off as hollow. We’re a pathetic excuse for a football team right now, and I can sense that many of you desire a “Tim Beckman was the worst coaching hire since…” post. But I’m just not there. Maybe I’m missing something – better yet, maybe I’m putting blinders on to the impending return to 2003 – but I’m just not there.

So I went back to the SOC posts. Those aren’t just some fun thing I do on Friday nights – those are my Illini Dear Diary. I wanted to see where I stood when I got really real.

And I realized that I’m 7 for 7 this season (this is not a humblebrag – stay with me). I thought we could beat WMU. Thought we’d lose in the desert. Blowout over CMU, loss at home to LaTech, loss at home to Penn State, loss to Wisconsin in a closer game than most anticipated (I think that’s the only one where I wasn’t correct ATS), and then blowout loss at Michigan.

Again, I’m not saying that to say I’m awesome – this is the same person who predicted 10 wins in 2009. But I did discover why I’m not in super crazy “searching for adjectives to describe how much we suck” mode. Week to week, what I’ve expected to see on the field is what I’ve seen on the field. Especially the last four weeks. Home losses to LaTech and PSU. Close game with Wisconsin that we can’t pull out. And then, last night, I believe I said we’d get “drilled” today. And we did.

So can my preseason “5-6 going into the Northwestern game” come true? It looks really, really doubtful right now. Indiana just put up 49 on Ohio State’s defense – we won’t be favored in that game. Minnesota looks bad, and Purdue has imploded as well, but when we can’t even move the ball into the redzone at Michigan, why should we expect to even score 14 points in any of our upcoming games? Isn’t 2-9 going into Northwestern much more likely than 5-6 going into Northwestern? Probably.

But I’m just not there yet. Maybe I’m stubborn. Maybe I’m refusing to believe we’re headed for another 2-30 four-year run through the Big Ten. But I’m just not there. As of this moment, I’m expecting two weeks of soul searching and then a surprising performance against Indiana. I’m expecting all three home games to be competitive. I’m actually expecting the offense to begin to move the ball, believe it or not. I’ve gone with my gut since Rantoul, and it hasn’t failed me yet. And right now, my gut is saying that this was rock bottom and we’ll be pleasantly surprised by the final five games.

But let’s see what my gut says in 13 days when it’s time for another SOC and I’m no longer in denial.

+ A very interesting question was sent my way on Twitter. “Is this team 2-5 with Zook at the helm?” The answer is complicated.

My knee-jerk reaction is this: is Vic Koenning involved? Because if so, no, we’re not 2-5. No chance Vic would let Penn State score 35 or LaTach clear 50. But then I realize that our defense played lights out the final six weeks of the season last year. And we still lost all six games because of offense could only score 11 points per game.

Which makes me want to say that yes, we’re still 2-5 with Ron Zook at the helm. Say Vic’s defense holds Arizona State to 17 points. We still lose. Say Vic shuts down Matt McGloin like last year and Penn State scores only 10 points. We still lose. Say he shuts down Wisconsin. Still lose. Say he holds Michigan to a single field goal. Still lose.

The offensive problems are everything right now. Yes, our defense has taken 13 steps back, and that’s very disappointing. But even if we had Vic, I think we’re still 2-5. We just don’t have the depth on the offensive line nor at wide receiver to remain competitive in the Big Ten right now. We’d rank 12 out of 12 at those positions if you ranked the entire Big Ten. And that’s fully on Ron Zook.

So I’ll answer like this. Yes, we’d still be 2-5. We’d be much more competitive, like we were during the losing streak last year. But we’d just be losing 20-0 instead of 45-0.

+ About that offense. In our last nine Big Ten games, we’ve scored 7, 14, 7, 14, 17, 7, 7, 14, and 0 points. 9.7 points per game. Has to be the worst such stretch since the 1970′s, right? We had huge offensive failings in 2005 and 2003 and 1997 and even 1993. But we’ve never had a stretch like this, have we? I mean, since the days of 0-0 ties with Northwestern and such in the 70′s. Can anyone remember anything this bad?

Less than two years ago, we scored 63 points at Michigan. With Nathan Scheelhaase at quarterback. How could we fall that far in 24 months? Yes, Michigan’s defense has improved tenfold over RichRod’s 2010 defense. But from 63 points to zero? How is that even possible?

+ That reminds me. Remember Win10? Before the Minnesota game in 2010 I claimed we were going to win 10 games in a row because we wouldn’t play a good defense in any of those ten games. Last four games of 2010, first six games of 2011, no strong opponents. Anyone remember that?

We actually went 8-2 in those games, with the two losses being Minnesota scoring with 16 seconds left and Fresno State getting the phantom first down, but that’s not important right now. I wrote that post because our schedule was set up to play some awful defenses over ten consecutive games.

So let’s look at the defensive rankings of these last nine Big Ten opponents:

Ohio State: 19th
Purdue: 73rd
Penn State: 20th
Michigan: 17th
Wisconsin: 15th
Minnesota: 77th
Penn State: 32nd
Wisconsin: 19th
Michigan: 10th

And our next five Big Ten opponents:

Indiana: 103rd
Ohio State: 69th
Purdue: 76th
Minnesota: 17th
Northwestern: 54th

We MUST improve on offense when we return to the field in two weeks. Must must must. If Minnesota’s defense isn’t for real (and I don’t think it is – they have Wisconsin and Michigan and Nebraska coming up to expose them), then we really don’t have any more top-end defenses left on the schedule. We MUST improve. Must.

+ When was the last time we had a sack? Does anyone remember? I honestly can’t remember. Maybe in the Penn State game? I feel like maybe Buchanan got to McGloin once in the Penn State game? Wait – and I think Darrius Caldwell had a sack as well. Do we have two sacks in Big Ten play? Is that even possible?

#TFLU? Really, Robert? More like TLFU.

(I don’t know what it stands for. I just thought it would sound funny.)

+ Positives! This is the fourth season for little plus signs after games, and I’ve always had one for positives.

Ummm… let’s see…. Justin DuVernois! Averaged 46 yards per punt AND saved a touchdown with a tackle (and a pretty good tackle at that – stood his ground, watched the hips, didn’t bite on the fake, made the tackle).

I should mention the Truckmaster as well. I would so love to see Donovonn Young run behind Michigan’s offensive line. Give him a clean gap, let him get to a linebacker at full speed, and watch him run some people over. But we just don’t have any gaps. We actually did come out strong on the first drive. Offensive line looked fired up. But then we didn’t get the first down, Michigan had their big play touchdown, and we wilted from there.

So there you go. TWO positives. Our punter punted well the eight times we had to give the ball back, and Donovonn Young ran hard (again).

+ I thought Simon Cvijanovic’s tweet tonight kind of says it all.

That’s kind of how I feel. That’s pretty much what I was trying to say above. Once we lost to Louisiana Tech, we all kind of felt like 2-5 was written in stone. This last month felt inevitable.

But now we get a week off. Two full weeks to regroup. Three of the next four at home. No outstanding defenses left on the schedule. Are we going to be a team that makes a little surge and figures things out? Or are we going to quit?

I can’t explain it, and it sounds crazy after losing forty five to zero, but my gut tells me we’re going to fight.

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48 Comments
Illinigrad October 14th, 2012

Robert: The list of point totals generated during the last games going back to last season is revealing, brutally revealing. IF we could beat IU and get a little confidence, I could see us getting on a mini-streak and putting it all on the line vs. NW. I have my doubts this will happen simply because our offensive output has been so consistently bad from Beckman back to Zook. With the Vic hypotetical, I agree that the games would be closer. I also wonder, if the defense is better, would that help the offense? I didn’t last season during the six game losing streak. As optimistic as I could like to be, I think we are mired in some pretty bad FB right now whether it is the fault of the coaching staff, prior recruiting, or player effort and overall talent level. It would be nice to beat IU. The victory vs. MI in the 3-9 season really helped erase the bad taste of that season. A mini-win streak would help me drink less (kidding).

Joe John October 14th, 2012

Robert, you may have predicted 2-5 at this point…but you did not predict the complete non-competitive ness of this team. This is an unmitigated disaster. Its not the record, its the margins of the losses. Call it like it is.

PittsburghNellie October 14th, 2012

I’m not even in the mood to look for positives at this point. I just want the year to be over with and Beckman’s goofy a** to be out of town
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Some coaches you can just tell right away what they’re about. Beckman seems like he’s about namedropping while eating lasagna (yes, his chin is covered with it) and namedropping some more.
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There’s only one big question left on the fans minds right now, does Thomas make a move at the end of the year?

Illinigrad October 14th, 2012

Robert, After reading these posts, and laughing (ROTFLOL) at the comment,

“I just want the year to be over with and Beckman’s goofy a** to be out of town”

maybe it is time for your post on “Is Beckman Really the Guy to Lead Us to the Promise Land”, or something to that effect.

Actually the comment would be even funnier if it read, “goofy, chewing tobacco….” If we beat IU, people will feel a little better. I have to admit that I am beginning to think, “Is this the best way to spend $100! [the exclamation mark is in my head during the thought process] today.”

loyalillini October 14th, 2012

One thing is certain – MT is going to have to reduce ticket prices next year. He has totally lost the fan base.

IlliniJeffrey October 14th, 2012

My question is this: When will this coaching staff do anything…ONE SINGLE THING..an adjustment, anything that indicates they have any idea what they are doing? A play that appears well designed, players appearing to be schooled on a funamental concept that leads to a nice play, anything?

The best bet anyone can make right now if to bet on Illinois opponent on the second half line. That’s because you’d be betting on our coaches being unable to competently adjust. COACHING MATTERS! SCHEME MATTERS. There is no excuse for being this bad offensively. Look around college football. Teams with similar talent to us, even with similar line and WR talent, are putting up points. This coaching staff needs to realize that until THEY start winning some battles, this team is sunk.

Neale Stoner October 14th, 2012

Think back. When TB said “we run a six tempo offense” you knew. We all knew.

chief23 October 14th, 2012

TB has lost this team, I don’t see any fight in them.

Bryce October 14th, 2012

We made some basic coaching errors. Example on the first drive of the game it is third and inches. We run out of the shotgun instead of the iform making it much harder for DY5 to get the ball over the marker. Basic formation change and it’s a first down maybe we get a drive going.

illinitrueblue October 14th, 2012

Robert,

As usual, I admire your optimism. It’s touching. But you don’t need 13 days to figure out which way this wind is blowing.

And 2-30 might look good in 2-3 more years of this.

bkenny October 14th, 2012

Robert I admire your optimism, really, but I don’t think you actually believe this line that you wrote: “Week to week, what I’ve expected to see on the field is what I’ve seen on the field.” Or maybe you believe it, but I can’t think you are actually OK with that. You’ve expected it because it’s 10 hours before the game and you know we’re awful – it’s an obvious call. It’s just odd – you are saying that because on Friday night, you predicted we’d lose, you’re somewhat OK with it? If you wrote an SOC for each game before the season, would you have really written “get blown out by Penn St and La Tech at home, also Michigan and ASU on the road will be complete embarrassments?” I highly doubt it. It’s one thing to lose, it’s another thing to look like the coaching staff doesn’t have a clue and the team has completely given up. Not all 2-5 records are the same, and this is about as bad a 2-5 record you could look at right now.

CapitalCityOutlaw50 October 14th, 2012

One thing to remember in those defensive rankings. . .they havent played us yet.

ATOillini October 14th, 2012

I’m torn as to what to even say. Does being cynically negative (i.e.truthful) just put me in the piling on group. Or even worse, does it make me a bad Illini fan? You go to Rantoul. You go to every home game. You go (and get amazingly excited) to the KFHB. You write thousands upon thousands of words on Illini football, and even this morning somehow find a way to insert some bit of hope or optimism in your post after a blowout (not just the score by the way) of epic proportions.
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The really shocking thing is in reference to your 2 positives noted from yesterday. It’s just so hard to find anything. Anything. Anything. We seem overmatched at every position, including coaches of course. I’ll just stick with one statistic….29 yards passing. Is that a misprint? No. How is it even possible to be that futile?
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I’ve just reached the point where I feel bad for the players. No one wants to be this low in any facet of their life. I can only hope this, ONCE AGAIN (see Penn State in Zook’s first year, etc.), is the bottom in the current regime.

Salt Life October 14th, 2012

rah rah sis boom bah – way to go Robert to see all the in-numerous positives

PittsburghNellie October 14th, 2012

hahaah @ Neale Stoner’s comment. I was thinking about that last night

mlp94595 October 14th, 2012

I really think the defense would be better if the offense was better. How many times this year have we been stuffed on 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1. If you make the first down, the other team can’t score. Remember Millines dropping a pass yesterday after Scheelhaase scrambled? That would have been a first down. Last week in the first half, score 7-7 and we’re past midfield, DY5 drops a pass over the middle that would have gained at least 7 or 8 yards. Instead it’s 2nd and 10 then 3rd and 10, and then we punt. These are small mistakes that turn the momentum of the game around.

And when are they going to stop calling swing passes? Seems like no gain or TFL on every one. It’s bad enough that the other team has them covered, but the QB throws it so slowly, the RB has no chance. Throw the ball to the tight end 5 yards down field, or anywhere downfield.

At this point, it’s really hard to say of it’s all bad coaching or bad players. The O line can’t move anyone, but is it the players, the blocking scheme, or a defense who has the play figured out before it starts? Maybe all of the above.

IlliNYC October 14th, 2012

Not to be dramatic, but we’re standing at the edge of the abyss…

Our talent level goes down after this year.

I’ve seen absolutely nothing on the field to give me hope that TB can/will build a B1G program. It’s all just too bad.

At what point do we start losing recruits?

HHSILLINI October 14th, 2012

Robert~When you do your CTT, look at the obvious hold on Michigan’s first td. That was the beginning of the end.

I also agree that we need to go under center when it’s 4th and inches or 3rd and inches!!!

illiniranger October 14th, 2012

we will not get under center – it’s just not happening. it is not what timmy B or the other coaches believe in. i want it worse than anyone, but it WILL. NOT. HAPPEN. i’m not getting upset about it anymore.
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i think we are just really, really, really, really terrible this year and there’s no way about that. i think we have to wait and see until next year. there are only a very precious few glimmers of hope (mason monheim, DY’s effort running the ball). but still there are glimmers.
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this year, we have bottomed out. i don’t know if we come back out, but i think we have to wait one more year. if we are 2-10 this year and 2-10 next year with a lot of blowout losses then it’s time.

bkenny October 14th, 2012

The only positive thing in Illini nation right now is Robert’s hope, and that’s only based on his gut, because there’s been nothing that indicates this team will fight and have interesting games the rest of the way. Nothing from the players, nothing more importantly from the coaches. I don’t see how this season doesn’t keep going down the tubes, but I sure hope I’m wrong. My excitement to watch the final 5 games is at a 1 out of 10. We’ll all tune in and watch, but it’s just torture at this point.

1IlliniFan October 14th, 2012

I think this is the first time that I have been to this blog since Beckman was hired. I have to laugh a little because I was fairly intense on how bad a hire Beckman was and a lot of people seemed to jump on me here for having that attitude. Since I hire people for a living it was pretty easy for me to have that attitude, there were just too many red flags, some things were just not logical with the given data. In all honesty am very surprised that we won 2 games. True Thomas had some unusual pressure during this hire and being new on the job with that amount of turn downs had to be tough, but he caved to the pressure. Been there done that early on, now just say “piss off you will get the right person when it happens and not sooner”, when they get the right person then they forget about the impatience and aggravation previous. This is what Thomas should have done, now he looks bad and in an ongoing quagmire of crap.

Do not know if it was here, but somewhere I mentioned that the best way to vote is to hold the money. That is what I have done since the day Beckman was hired, now, it has been put into a fund so when they get their head out and hire the right coach then will send it in with interest.

Pure and simple this was a rookie mistake and a moronic hire when Thomas had one shot at this for what little talent we had left, now that is pissed away.

Am not a Zook fan at all, and thought we waited too long to fire him, but disagree with the thinking that the records would be the same. To me that comment is more in being supportive of the present staff than reality. Only have one question “How can you predict that we would only win 2 games up to this point AND still be supportive of this coaching staff?” makes no sense, unless as a group we have lowered our standards so low that all we do is grumble about it without any real action to rectify it. In this case we as fans are as much to blame as the staff.

GrogsBBQPepperoni October 14th, 2012

.
I’m no Beckman fan but am I missing something? Did we have some awesome selection of coaches who we could have attracted to come here? Any coach worth in demand would not take the Illinois job. So, we got a coach who was not in demand. The good coaches out there knew this was a problematic gig. Illinois football’s bad reputation has dug its own hole. Really a tough task to get back to relevance, I think. Though I’ll keep rooting our guys on – as tough as it is lately. And can’t blame Robert for his optimism – the flipside, glass always half empty, is no way to live. I commend him.

HHSILLINI October 14th, 2012

I know for a fact that Todd Monken, OSU’s OC, would have taken the UI head job in a second and that Rochester’s QB, Wes Lunt, was coming to UI with him. Instead, both our still at OSU and he’s starting QB as a true freshmen with a team that has a real offense. Great job, MT!!! Oh, and MT didn’t even give Monken an interview…what a moron!

ATOillini October 14th, 2012

Robert,
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I’m just saying.
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Take a look at your 12/09/11 post…”So We Hired Another Zook”. Just read the first sentence you wrote.
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Food for thought.

GrogsBBQPepperoni October 14th, 2012

.
After the failures of bumping up coordinators to head coaching positions (Tepper, Turner and I think Zook came to Florida from a defensive coordinator position in the NFL and then he had a brief Head Coach stint at Florida, one in which they were constantly wanting him fired), I think one of the job requirements was that the person was already a head coach. Head coach is really quite a different job than a coordinator and so often you see people bumped up from OC or DC to Head and then they fail. Some great coordinators can’t be the CEO of a team. Most coordinators in the NFL are former (fired) Head Coaches. They excel at the Xs and Os of the sport but not necessarily the other stuff.
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Again, I feel like I’m defending the Beckman hire. I’m really not. I think we all really wanted Zook fired and it happened. Then we were all like, “Ok, great. Now what?”. Names like Summerlin were floating around but he was never going to take the job. If Monken ends up being a stud Head Coach then we will have missed out on that. But I think we were left looking through the $3 CD bin at Meijer. This job just wasn’t that appealing. And if we were going to take a chance on bumping up a coordinator to Head Coach, might have well been Vic K.

1IlliniFan October 14th, 2012

I thought Monken was the best choice by far AND he wanted the job! Vic never expressed an interest in the job, not to my knowledge anyway. Monken still would have been a better choice. Thomas will have a hard time finding a good coach this year, just read this article:
http://outkickthecoverage.com/the-top-16-coaching-candidates-in-college-football.php

Joe John October 14th, 2012

HHS – i was also a Monken advocate specifically for the Wes Lunt connection..he’s an NFL QB and the immediate impact type of player needed to rejuvenate Illinois..

Illinigrad October 15th, 2012

The problem is not Zook or Beckman, it is the fact that we did not hire the right coach and better candidates were available. Hiring Beckman was an enormous mistake. The issue now is, admit it, cut your losses and give someone else a great contract who you know will benefit the program. Isn’t Leach at WSU 5-2 at this point? The entire Illinois FB scene this year makes me sick. Personally, I knew Beckman was a dud when he mishandled the offer made to Vic, regardless of whether we think Vic would have stayed or not. This was further confirmed when he went for a two point conversion early in the game. Nobody does that, well, maybe except for Zook. Then throw in the multiple games where basic signals could not be sent in from the sideline. The 29 yards passing vs. MI has to be a record, especially from a team like IL that historically is excellent as a passing team. Oh well, all we can do is hope we beat IU.

Hoppy October 15th, 2012

WSU is 2-5 under Leach and not doing very well at all.
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I wasn’t aware that Illinois was much of a passing school…but that might be just in recent years. (I’m only 25) So maybe they were in earlier years.
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I read in an IlliniHQ article way back during the coaching search that Lunt wasn’t going to follow Monken here if he came. The article said that Lunt was loyal to OSU and not Monken so I wouldn’t bet on the package deal. (Like it matters anyway right?) But, who knows…it could have happened. We took a different route and are feeling the fire right now. Let’s hope TB can turn it around. I think this year could be forgivable if we started playing better by the end and showing improvement and then down the road started getting some good seasons going.
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This year is sunk cost. I’ve stopped worrying about it.
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One last thing, people keep referring to the dud 2PC. I’m pretty sure it was against Charleston Southern so I don’t see the big deal. Sure it is odd, but maybe his thought process was to try and do a 2PC at game speed in front of a crowd. No practice can 100% simulate a game so why not do it against a team we know we can score on. If anything, he learned his guys are not good at them and will probably not run anymore unless absolutely necessary.

AHSIllini32 October 15th, 2012

I haven’t read all the comments because I’m sure they all have a, “Fire Beckman and he’s stupid” tone to them so it’s pointless for me to read through all that.
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But guess what? This team wasn’t as good as everyone thought coming into this year. We were all excited after winning another bowl completely forgetting that we lost our last 6 games and played in maybe the laughingstock of all bowl games last year (I’m still ecstatic we went, don’t get me wrong). We lost EASILY our 4 best defenders when you look at impact/talent/experience, etc.
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When you get a team full of guys who have been conditioned to give up because their previous head coach coddled them whenever things went bad, combined with a what I just described above, combined with numerous injuries (including another one to Nate on Saturday), AND combined with implementing new schemes you are going to have some struggles.
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Using GHD’s analysis from a certain message board, anyone remember when Cinci hired Butch Jones? As was pointed out by GHD, they were 12-1 before he was hired. After? 4-8 and people wanted to burn his house down. Now they’re in the top 20.
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Will that happen here? Who knows, you people don’t know that we will suck for the next 3-4 years and people like me and Robert and a couple others don’t know that we have the coach who will take us to that next step. Is there anything this year that says that? Of course not, but that’s where this little thing called patience comes in.
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It’s going to take time for Beckman to get his guys into his systems and recruit his type of players both physically and mentally. I’m fairly certain this is falling on deaf ears but there’s no reason to think we can’t win the rest of our home games against teams that are on our level after our bye week to heal up a bit. And yes, IU, PU, and Minny are on our level. IU is nowhere near as good as they played Saturday, PU just got blitzed by UM and Wisky at home both times, and Minny is, well, Minny with a coach with a scary medical condition that reared it’s ugly head again Saturday.

uilaw71 October 15th, 2012

Overheard from 50 year returnee at breakfast Sunday in Ann Arbor: “I really feel sorry for the Illinois fans yesterday. They must really love their team.”

I almost suggested she read this message board, but thought better of it.

GrogsBBQPepperoni October 15th, 2012

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AHS, don’t leave out that we had 8 home games last year, only one notable win (ASU) and our only 2 Big Ten wins were against Indiana and a Northwestern team that lost their QB during the game and had us dead to rights but we miraculously beat them and we still barely squeaked into a very weak bowl (the weakest?). And then after losing the talent we did, yeah, this year was going to stink regardless. Probably part of the reason this was not an attractive gig.
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BTW, I wonder if that’s why the Illini guys went so high in the draft. “You did that well under Ron Zook at Illinois? You must have talent, kid.”.

AHSIllini32 October 15th, 2012

hahaha good point Grogs.
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I mean Tavon Wilson already has 2 INT’s for a pretty good NE defense. It boggles my mind how people don’t realize just how important that young man was.
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I mean, it is what it is at this point. People have a “show me something NOW!” attitude so they aren’t going to listen to anyone who shows examples of how coaching turnovers take time or how a guy has been successful before so.

Mark October 15th, 2012

I think the title of this post “Rock Bottom” is a great title because when Zook was fired we we not at rock bottom, but you could see we were on that trajectory. Let’s not kid our selves and pretend we were not heading in this direction last year. While Beckman hasn’t done anything to change our course, there are probably only a handful of coaches who could have won with this team, and Vince Lombardi wan’t available.

I agree that there have been some red flags with Beckman (defensive coordinator debacle, Penn St. recruiting), but there have also been some encouraging signs (recruiting Aaron Bailey). There is no way to evaluate a coach after half a season, and really it will take 3 or 4 seasons until we can really evaluate Beckman as a B1G coach.

AHSIllini32 October 15th, 2012

DC debacle? It’s not really Beckman’s fault that VK didn’t want to stay or that Tenuta decided he wanted to be DC for 1 day. I will agree that I think Banks may not be the answer but when you’re on your 3rd option that late after being hired it’s tough to find a top-notch guy.
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And the whole PSU thing wasn’t a red flag at all. In fact, it showed me that Beckman was willing to do whatever he could to make this team better knowing that we were way short on depth. If O’Brien and ESPN wanted to get their panties in a bunch over something completely legal then fine, but I wouldn’t consider that a red flag.
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I agree with everything else you are saying though. I wouldn’t mind seeing Beckman and the rest of the defensive staff take over for Banks. Beckman actually had both the Okie St. D and the Toledo D improving under his 3-year watch for both units.

smithry74 October 15th, 2012

Robert, agreed on the offense. As Illinois fans we have seen co-coordinator status fail too many times and understand the lack of accountability. To win ANY of the remaining games you have to demonstrate marked improvement on offense:

114th in scoring offense
111th in total offense
103rd passing
96th rushing
110th sacks allowed
117th tackles for loss allowed
109th redzone offense
114th first downs
97th turnover margin

Illinigrad October 15th, 2012

OMG, who coaches this team with such stats? I thought Zook had left.

To win ANY of the remaining games you have to demonstrate marked improvement on offense:
114th in scoring offense
111th in total offense
103rd passing
96th rushing
110th sacks allowed
117th tackles for loss allowed
109th redzone offense
114th first downs
97th turnover margin

AHSIllini32 October 15th, 2012

One thing I think we need to keep in mind with those truly awful offensive numbers is that those have been compiled basically by our backup and/or 3rd string QB. I think Nate’s probably played a grand total of, what, 8 quarters so far this year?
Quarters:
2 1/2 vs WMU
0 @ ASU
0 vs. CSU
1/2 vs. La Tech
4 vs. PSU
4 vs. Wisky
1 vs. UM
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For a grand total of: 12 quarters. Anytime you only have you’re starting QB on the field for half of your games it’s going to hurt your offensive stats.

AHSIllini32 October 15th, 2012

Grad I don’t expect you to acknowledge the offensive recruiting shortcomings of Zook over his last 2-3 years and how that’s affected this years team along with Nate being out…but you really should.

DanBloeme October 15th, 2012

Beckman and his staff are clowns, blowouts are evidence & I have further proof:

https://twitter.com/DanBloeme/status/257596960473743360/photo/1/large

Joe John October 15th, 2012

Some people will support the coaching staff no matter what the results are. Seen it with Zook, seen it with Ron Turner…in fact most of these same people that supported these coaches even to their bitter ends are now doing the same thing for Beckman…at least they are consistent, but I still dont get it. Rationalize 2-5 all you want, but its the margins of the losses that has everyone upset. I’m thinking if Indiana puts a beatdown on Illinois, you’ll finally get the last remaining Beckman holding out hopers to call a spade a spade. Given Indiana has played NW, Michigan State, and Ohio State very tough…i’m not really sure how Illinois wins that game.

GrogsBBQPepperoni October 15th, 2012

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For the record, I am not defending Beckman. But I do think he was given lemons. Only problem is that he can’t even make lemonade. He made some undrinkable nerve tonic that is making us all sick.

Lou-a-villini October 15th, 2012

Undrinkable = Unwatchable. I commented on another “social network” that the remaining Illini games should be available by internet only. They make for bad TV.

HHSILLINI October 15th, 2012

Can we please just hire Sonny Dykes and get it over with? That boy can coach ‘em up!

rml October 15th, 2012

I watched the first 3/4 of the game and actually thought (despite the score) that they looked better than in some of the past losses. Looked fired up on that goal line stand where they held Michigan to a field goal.

Is there a way to put out feelers to Monken to see if he might be willing to take over next year if we decide we want to make a change at the end of the year? Granted that his lack of head coaching experience is a risk, but that at the end of the year we might view that risk as less than the risk of continuing as we are. (Heck, unless you aleady know the answer to this Robert, I might also put some feelers out to coach Vic to explore if he would consider coming back as head coach, or under Monken: I know he told you he wouldn’t stay, but I don’t know if working under Beckman was a factor in his decision.)

I hope we area at rock bottom, but if we lose by more than 10 points to Indiana at home on Homecoming, I suspect many will think that that’s a new low.

BexleyIllini October 15th, 2012

rml – watch the replay of OSU vs. Indiana. Indiana plays tough and doesn’t give up. They are still losing, but are competitive nonetheless. I think IU’s losing ways will change when they visit Champaign. If they can score 49 against OSU, they can punish us. If we are at rock bottom now, we may be under the rock in 2 weeks.

Eugene October 15th, 2012

I’ve not read all of the posts but I am sure many of them are not favorable. The new coaching staff has not performed as well as I would like, but they have been between a rock and a hard place since arriving. Based on Zook’s last 2 recruiting classes, ranked 8th and 9th in the B1G and TB only have about 6 weeks to recruit the current class, which ranked 12th, the lack of depth and talent will be an issue for the upcoming season. The class that is signing in Feb is listed as the 4th best. There is still time to move up or down, but 4th is a lot better than 12th. Over the next 2 years is where the most improvement will be seen. There are a lot of young players getting reps now and next year will be more of the same. If Beckman reaches year 3 and there is little improvement, then it is time to move in another direction. Until then, he must be given an opportunity to get his guys in and get his full system in place.

uilaw71 October 15th, 2012

For the record, Joe John whoever you are, I was adamantly against the Turner AND Zook hires. Both exemplified Guenther’s insular approach. Mike Thomas by contrast has a proven track record of coaching hires. What I saw, live and in person Saturday, was not a team that had quit but one that was horribly outgunned. That is on the prior staff.