Talk with football beat writer Bob Asmussen after the Illinois-Penn State game
You aren't the only fan with that sentiment. But the athletic and school administration at Illinois looks at the big picture. They give the coach credit for past accomplishments. Remember, two years ago everybody was worried about losing Ron Zook to another program. It turns so quickly The school wants to give Ron Zook the proper amount of time to turn it back. Four games is not enough time.
Why did we not see leshoure? Do you think he would have been more effective at rb today?
I was surprised by that. I thought he would play more and will try to get any answer this week.
Do you think that Illinois's kryptonite could be just guys named Ron (Turner, Gunther, Zook) I think its time we get someone named like bill. What do you think?
The Rons have had good moments and bad. But maybe a new name would change the recent performance.
Maybe another Bruce?
I'm going to take another break to get another story done, but it won't be long. I'll be back in about 15 minutes. Thanks for your great questions and for your patience.
I'm back. Sorry for the delay. I'm going to answer questions for another 20 minutes or so. I'll get to as many as I can.
How would you evaluate our OL? My uninformed perspective is that the OL has declined from 2007 to 2008, then again 2008 to 2009. This might be a bigger concern than the struggle to find a potent RB.
No question the 2007 line was the best of the Ron Zook era. Having Martin O'Donnell was a big help and I think he was a big loss last season.
I think the line has help up in not allowing a ton of sacks. But the true test will be the running game and that hasn't been right since Rashard Mendenhall left.
Are these answers coming form a manual giving to you by the Athletic Department?
I received no manual. I'm trying to answer as honestly as I can.
Is Ron Zook afraid of getting into his players faces for messing up. The same is for Juice or any of the players on the team getting into each other. There seems to be no leadership or fight. JoePa sometime in the fourth quarter was yelling at the team because they messed up. Why do we not have this type of leadership
We don't see what happens in practice or behind closed doors. I believe that the coaches get after the players, starting with Ron Zook.
You're right that the leadership starts with the coaches. If it isn't working on the field. and it isn't, then it is the fault of the coaching staff.
Does the University of Illinois Athletic Department own the News-Gazette? I would be hard pressed to find another newspaper that defends a coach who is 19-34 as much as the News-Gazette reporters defend Ron Zook.
We are actually run by a charitable trust. I don't think we defend Ron Zook and I don't think that's my job. Two years ago, he had Illinois in the Rose Bowl, a fact you can't ignore. And his teams have struggled since. But I don't think there is any school in the country that would drop a guy four games into a season that came two years after a Rose Bowl appearance. That's not defending him. That's stating a fact. And if Illinois loses the rest of its games, I think the Zook regime is in deep, deep trouble.
Thank you for doing these chats. I really enjoy them.
I think that the problems stretch back a lot farther than four games. More like eight or nine. I also think that if the staff was really capable of "fixing" things they would have done so by now. The fact that so many things have gone wrong so deeply is very ominous for the future of Illinois football.
Here is my question: do you think that the schemes Illinois runs, on both sides of the ball, fit the personnel that they have right now? I don't. Thanks!
You make good points about the way the team played late last season. And I think you are right that the schemes aren't right for the current personnel. I'm not sure what the solution would be for Illinois at this point. You can't change your style four games into the season.
I don't believe this all falls on Zook. The players need to execute. The people that want Zook fired just had too high of expectations for this year. I think the real issue is at quarterback. The quarterback needs to pass first and run second...
I think the blame is shared by the coaches and the players, but ultimately it falls on the head coach. He's responsible for bringing in the players to get the wins. If it doesn't work, he goes.
Bob, Minnesota always seem to get the ball to E. Decker, he gets double teamed just like Benn. Why can't we get the ball to him more?
Adam Weber is more accurate than Juice Williams. As simple as that. He is able to get the ball to Decker in a tighter spot, in my opinion.
can you tell me if our decline last year started before or after leshoure got his jaw broke? seems like there is some sort of rift on the offensive side of the ball like they dont like each other.
I think it all happened at the same time. I think there was a rift between offense and defense, but I think that has been repaired during the offseason. Although, every team is different. Maybe the finger pointing will start, but I don't sense that it will. Not yet.
Why is Sir Guenther getting a hall pass from the administration? This team belongs to the fans.
What administration? Stan Ikenberry just returned to the president's office and Richard Herman isn't in a great place. I also think that Ron Guenther gets a lot of credit for the other positive things in athletics. But ultimately his legacy will be tied to the football program.
It does not seem we get many yards after a catch. Does the NCAA or Big ten keep that statistic? It might be interesting to see how we stack up.
The coaches keep it, though they probably aren't sharing. That would be a great statistic to get our hands on. I'll try to find out if anyone in the Big Ten keeps track.
I know a lot of people are calling for a coaching change (and I'm starting to lean that way as well and also looking for some more changes), but who are we going to hire? More than likely it will be a guy who is an assistant at a bigger school or a head coach at a mid-level program right now and I don't think that is the answer either. I think that this cycle of mediocre teams will continue. Until we go out and pay a bunch of money to a big time coach we are forever going to be a middle of road team in the Big Ten.
Hiring coaches, in my opinion, is often guesswork. While everyone liked Bob Stoops, nobody knew he would do what he did at Oklahoma. Mack Brown wasn't an easy choice for Texas coming from a basketball school. And Pete Carroll had been a failure in the NFL.
Sometimes, you get lucky and you build on that luck with subsequent hires. I'm not sure that a big-money coach is always the answer. In fact, more often it isn't.
Everybody has warts. The idea is to find the guy who has the warts that work at your place. And you don't know you have him until far into his career.
I could come up with a list of 20 potential coaches for any school to hire. My guess is that six would be great, six would be terrible and the rest would fall in between.
I'm starting to get funny looks in the press box (not really) so I'm going to cut if off.
Thanks for all of your great questions. We'll do this again next Saturday, only it will be earlier. Probably start at about 5 or so.