Dec. 4 Asmussen football chat

Dec. 4 Asmussen football chat

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 1:00pm

How many bowl games is the Big Ten going to win? Did joining the league mess up Rutgers? And what was Mike Thomas doing on the radio, backing his football coach? Longtime college football beat writer Bob Asmussen has all the answers - test him during his 1 p.m. chat. Submit questions any time.

Bob Asmussen wrote on December 04, 2012 at 12:12 pm
Profile Picture

Welcome back to another chat. Sorry about the Tuesday edition, but I had an appointment I couldn't miss Monday. We will be back to Mondays next week.

Let's get to the questions.

Anonymous User wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Do you think there is any chance Coach Beckman will go after Jon Tuneta again (for Defensive Co-ordinator) now that his head coach at NC State has been fired and he will probably be searching for a new job?

Bob Asmussen wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm
Profile Picture

Coach Beckman liked Tenuta enough to hire him once. But when Tenuta changed his mind, it probably burned a bridge at Illinois. If you tried to hire him again, you would be worried that the commitment wasn't there because of what happened the last time.

Now, Illinois did go back to Mike Gillhamer, who had changed his mind about a job at the school in the past. But that was a different coaching staff. The Tenuta change of heart iis too fresh.

J wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Regarding conference expansion, might it have been better for maintaining academic and athletic purity, along with tradition and geographic identity, for the Big Ten and Pac 12 to have joined into one super conference, with each former conference comprising its own division (with subdivisions if desired), and the annual winners in each sport competing for the conference championship (and then moving on nationally)?  This may not have addressed the Big Ten's apparent desire for a more direct eastern exposure, but that might not have been as big an issue for that proposed conference.


Bob Asmussen wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm
Profile Picture


It's an interesting idea. But I think both the Big Ten and Pac-12 like having their own identity. To be group with the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl is fine and traditional. But to do much beyond that wouldn't suit either league.

You are right about the similarities between most of the schools. They share ideals. But there is a different way of thinking in both leagues, too. I think the Pac-12 sees itself, especially with Larry Scott in charge, as more progressive. Not sure if that's right, but it's the perception.

And I think the Big Ten does want an Eastern presence, which has now with Maryland and Rutgers.

EA Sports wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Hi Bob -

How is the JUCO recruiting going?  It looks like we need help in a hurry!



Bob Asmussen wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm
Profile Picture


There are three commitments and I'm guessing another handful on the way. This is critical for a quick turnaround for Tim Beckman. He needs help on both lines and at the skill positions. That's what he's out there looking for.

I think Illinois will have 7-8 January enrollees.

Dan Bloeme wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Hello Bob,


Mike Thomas says it's been a collaborative effort between him and Tim Beckman and that will continue. So if Thomas is as much to blame as Beckman then we need to fire them both as soon as expediently possible. Both have demonstrated they are incompetent improving this team so far with no indication they will do better next season. Who is able to fire both?

Bob Asmussen wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm
Profile Picture


I supose the Chancellor, but that isn't going to happen. Both are going to be given more time. And I think Mike Thomas has done very well overall as AD. Hard to argue with his hiring of John Groce or Matt Bollant.

I understand your frustration with the situation, but this is not a one-year fix. It will take more time.


Dr. Phil B. wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Bob, had to take a week off to sunny Tucson after watching, in person, the debacle in Evanston. While there, I pondered the Illini situation compared to the AU and ASU teams. Both had first-year coaches and both finished 7-5 overall, playing in the tough PAC 12. How were those coaches able to win, and Beckman was not. I argue that ASU lost more important players than the Illini did. More questions are as follows:

Did Beckman set the record for most coaches' interference calls this year?

Will you connect with players and find out what actually went wrong? Not only did the defensive players seem frustrated from the beginning, but I thought some Scheelhasse comments indicated that he was frustrated, too.

I actually called a couple of plays that we ran against Northwestern, based on the formation and situation. If I can see this, certainly the Big 10 d-coordinators saw it through film watch. Don't you think our staff could also see that this was happening?

Finally, with many key senior players leaving, I do not see how Beckman can replace them. Make me feel optimistic about next year. Thanks.

Bob Asmussen wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm
Profile Picture

Dr. Phil.

Glad you got some time away.

I think both the Arizona and Arizona State situations were set up better for winning. I think the previous coaches had underutilized the players on hand.

I do think Tim Beckman set the record for coaching interference. That shouldn't happen again.

I do think the offense became predictable, just like in the previous season.

I will try to get to some of the players and see what they think went wrong. The seniors especially should be willing to open up, hopefully.

I think the influx of junior college players will give the team a chance to be competitive. And I like the running backs a lot.


Not in the know wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm

When will we hear about the situation with the Illinois assistant coaches?

Bob Asmussen wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm
Profile Picture

Not in the Know,

Those decisions should be revelead in the next week. I think there will be changes. I just don't know who.

Thrillinois wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm



What are your thoughts on the coaching staff moving forward next season.  Would love to see the spread but without all the east/west running our current coordinators use!  Plus not sure if we ever saw the 6 speeds we kept hearing about, did they even practice it or just talk about it?  Also, How much cash flow do you believe Thomas would be willing to spend on additional coaches with the threat of a lot of empty seats starring the department down?



Bob Asmussen wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm
Profile Picture


I think you could see a change in the offensive philosophy. Somebody suggested hiring Louisiana Tech's offensive coordinator. That would be a change.

On defense, I don't think you will see any major changes, just an effort to get better across the board.

I think Illinois will spend some money to upgrade the staff. Because it is better to add $200,000 to the salary list instead of hiring a new head coach. That worked for Ron Zook, especially in 2010.

EddieO wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Hi Bob, I;ve heard you repeatedly refer to Nathan S. as one of the 'most prolific' and 'most successful' qb's at Illinois. Can you be more specific?  You can't mean Big 10 wins right? I count that number as four, in three years. You must be referring to an accumulation of stats as a three-year starter.  From watching the last two years, Nathan doesn't appear to be the savior QB to ressurect a program. All successful resurrections at Illinois had good throwing QBs to build around.....D.Wilson/Eason, Jeff George, Kurt Kittner and brief success with Juice.  As I see it, the path to ressurection is..(1) Find a good QB to throw the ball and make the offense exciting, (2) the WR and RB recruits will come to play with a good QB, (3) good defensive players will come once they see a successful offense.  Is this the plan Beckman is trying to follow?  Thanks!

Bob Asmussen wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm
Profile Picture


You are right, wins are more important than statistics. But we have statistics as one of the ways to measure a quarterback and Nathan Scheellhaase ranks among the best at Illinois.

I don't think he would disagree that he had a rough season and that he needs to win to considered a sucess. That will be the goal.

You can win without throwing, even at Illinois. But you point out great examples of throwing QBs who did well at Ilinois. I think Kittner was the best in my two decades here. He was also a great leader.


Bob Asmussen wrote on December 04, 2012 at 1:12 pm
Profile Picture

We are out of questions, so I'm going to cut it off for today. Talk to you next Monday. Have a great week.