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Get inside beat writer Bob Asmussen's head. He's chatting at 1 p.m. Monday but submit questions any time.
Welcome back to another chat. Thanks for your patience. By my clock, I'm at least one minute late.
Football news continues to happen, like the hiring of Greg Colby and the pending hiring of a receivers coach at Illinois.
And the Big Ten created some news by saying it won't play FCS schools anymore. Not sure about that decision.
Enough blathering. Time to get to the questions.
Thanks for the chats. Hope you have fully recovered from your heart attack!
I was looking at the Fighting Illini web site a couple of weeks ago and the site had the 2013 football ticket prices. I just looked again today and all the pricing information has been removed. Any idea when the pricing for the 2013 football games will be released? Any idea of the ticket pricing for the game in Chicago and how the tickets will be distributed to the season ticket holders?
Thanks for asking about my health. I'm getting better every day. The people at Carle have been fantastic and I've got a whole bunch of doctors and nurses to be thankful for.
I just asked about tickets today and was told the season ticket renewals will go out later this week, with plans for the Chicago game to be announcer shortly thereafter. Season ticket holders will have the first shot at the Chicago tickets and Illinois students will also be first in line. That makes perfect sense.
Not sure about the pricing in Chicago, but it can't be out of line with what is paid for games at Memorial Stadium. I do think the crowd will be better than it was for the game in 1994,
Seems like one of Beckman's goals was to assemble a much more experienced coaching staff. I like the fact that he or whoever was able to recognize this. That being said with this in place for off season activities, spring and summer camps, and the season itself, is it unreasonable to assume a much more organized and prepared team, resulting in a few more wins? Couldn't this mean the difference in games with PSU, Purdue, Indiana, and maybe even NU? Or am I being to optimistic? Also any word on a new WR coach? And have we ever really tried to recruit California or Texas/
I think it is a safe assumption that the team will be better organized and prepared. And that could translate to more wins.
The second year of any staff is going to look better than the first. Guys know what they are doing and don't have to ask questions like "Where is the Quad?"
The staff changes also add to the improved organization. Two guys are former head coaches, so that will increase the level of clarity across the board. Having Bill Cubit run the offense and Greg Colby help on defense will mean increased knowledge. Both hires seem like smart decisions.
Illinois wasn't competitive in the bulk of its games last year. To get more wins, it needs to play closer games. I believe that can happen.
It looks like Mike Bellamy will be moved to receivers coach, which is a genius move. Nothing will be official until at least Tuesday. I should have thought of Mike when the position came open. He is already with the team and knows so much about the position. Plus, he can sell Illinois to recruits because he played here.
Illinois has made runs at select parts of California and Texas, but not with a ton of success. I think recruiting the Dallas area is a good decision if there are some ties to Illinois. And those are developing.
Bob - Thanks for keeping us posted with the chats. Are there any plans to honor the 1983 Rose Bowl team this season? It's the 30th anniversary of the only team to defeat every B1G team in same season and would be a great time to bring back those alumni and have them reconnect with the program. Perhaps it could be suggested to the football and/or marketing and promotions office.
Illinois has gotten pretty good at honoring its past teams/athletes. I thought that was a school flaw for a long time, but has really improved lately. Look at the banners being hung at the Assembly Hall and all of the former players being honored. Very impressive.
Thirty years isn't like 25 or 50, but it is significant. And even if Illinois doesn't do anything, I can certainly bring it up a lot. Nothing better than talking to Mike White, David Williams and the rest of the folks off that team. I did a look back at 10 years and I'm pretty sure we followed that up at 20.
Bob, I hope your feeling fine and ready to hit off the tee. My questions and comments are as follows:
1. As for the Billy Gonzalez comments, what do you make of them? Also, yes, I know there are always coaching changes, but the number from Illinois seems to be somewhat high. Am I wrong to think that?
2. I think you mentioned that the team will do better despite the number of experienced players and coaches leaving. You said that Cincinnati could be taken because of the coaching change, but the new coach is Tommy Tuberville, and he is very good. Give me three reasons to believe in your crystal ball about the team being better.
3. Do you believe Nathan Scheelhaase will be moved to another position or remain at quarterback?
4. Finally, what do you put the over/under on sideline coaching interferences this year?
1. I wasn't surprised by what Billy Gonzales said. He was asked what happened at Illinois and responded. I'm glad he was willing to talk about it.
When programs struggle, there are more changes in the coaching staff. The guy in charge wants to make it better and often that involves moving in new people. I don't think Illinois is all that unusual in the number of changes. Of course, you would like the same staff together forever if the program was winning.
2. I think the coaching on offense will be better. Bill Cubit will improve production. I believe the defense will be better ready to handle the changes asked of them last season. And I think the team is due to be healthier. We didn't talk enough about that last year, but the team went through a high number of injuries.
3. I believe Nathan Scheelhaase will be the starting quarterback. And I think he could have a comeback year in Bill Cubit's offense/.
4. There should be no sideline interference penalties. I'm guessing Tim Beckman will make sure of that.
With the B10 moving to a 9 or possibly 10 game conf schedule, I thought that would ‘force’ a ND (and then TX) to come onboard, since with only a couple non-conf games, those would be for cupcakes only? But mentioning that the B10 is dropping the FCS games, doesn’t that put us at a disadvantage with the other conferences? Will we have enough teams with 6 Ws to fill our tie-in bowls, etc?
Yes, the Big Ten is going to cost itself bowl bids by increasing the number of conferences games while eliminating the games against FCS schools. I don't think it has been well thought out and it could be more talk than reality.
The league is definitely going to increase its number of conference games. TV wants that and so does the schools. But the only way it goes to 10 is if college football increases the schedule to 13 games overall and that won't happen for a few years.
The coaches aren't going to like the nine-game league schedule because of the uneven home-field advantage. And I promise early on that somebody that thinks it can win the Big Ten will get burned by having only four home games. It is inevitable.
The Big Ten should not rush into anything. There is nothing wrong with an eight-game league schedule and four nonconference games, including those scheduled against the FCS. You won't see the SEC dropping games against the FCS and that league is considered the best in the nation.
Did the Illini sign a DE out of Calif. named Will Pretty after NSD, and, if so, do we know anything about him? ESPN has him on our signed LOI list.
I am checking, but I don't believe that has happened. Will Pretty had one scholarship offer, from New Mexico State, and interest from a wide range of schools. But in the lists I found, Illinois wasn't mentioned.
Not that Illinois couldn't have gotten involved late. But the school was already over the total scholarship limit after signing day.
I will keep asking and see what I can find out. If Will did join the team, we will get it on HQ.
I'm going to cut it off for today. Thanks for the questions.
We will chat again next Monday. Stay tuned to HQ and The News-Gazette for football updates this week.