Ask longtime beat writer Bob Asmussen about Tim Beckman's program - or anything else on your mind. Submit questions of any kind at any time.
Welcome back to another football chat. I'm a bit on the tired side after waiting up to watch the Oscars on Sunday night.
Seth McFarlane is getting unfairly blasted for his hosting work. I thought he was great. Of course, I thought "Ted:" should have been up for best picture.
Enough movie talk, time to get to football. We've got several questions ready. Here we go.
former illini returning to coach football? do you think another illini player could be tabbed to fill opening at secondary position? what better way to sell the product?
If there is somebody out there who has the credentials, I'm sure that would be considered.
Mike Bellamy has also done a good job setting up the alumni relations position in the program. I believe that spot will be filled by a former Illini.
The more the Tim Beckman staff can do to connect with the past, the better off it will be.
Except for maybe linebacker, the defense is breaking in new players on the
line and in the secondary. I have a feeling they are going to get blown out in
the majority of games. Is there a chance that I am wrong and there will be
improvement in the Illini defense?
Linebacker will be better assuming Jonathan Brown is back to his old self, which is what the coaches anticipate. Not having him on the field hurt in 2012.
There are talented,, albeit inexperienced, players up front and in the secondary. Their greatest help might come from the other side of the ball. The more the Illinois offense improves, the more it helps the defense. The offense often put the defense in a difficult hole during the 2012 season. If that happens again, it doesn't matter who returns on defense.
There are still depth issues across the board. Those will be helped some by the incoming recruits. But you can't count on freshman to fill spots where you need juniors and seniors. Those two classes are very thin at Illinois right now.
Hey Bob, 2013 is the 100th anniversary of Bob Zupke's arrival as Illinois head coach. He is still the winningnest coach in school history(131). Are there any plans to comemerate that? I realize not many people remember him. Also, with the addition of Greg Colby, Illinois now has 4 coachs on the staff with experience as DCs, including Tim Beckman. How much will that help the defense? Thanks, Karl
I don't know that anything is being done to honor the Zuppke anniversary, but it is a great idea. He should be like Grange, with multiple spots in the stadium recognizing his impact. The field is already named in his honor, but more could and should be done. Might be time for him to get a statue, along with Dick Butkus.
I think Illinois has improved itself from an experience standpoint on the coaching staff. Bill Cubit is a former head coach and coordinator. So is Greg Colby. That will be a good thing for the players. I don't think the experience on Beckman's first staff matched the needs of the players.
I've heard good things about Greg Colby's work from different sections of the country. He made a good choice in returning to Illinois.
how do you think this new staff wil do recruiting wise ?
over or under on 4 wins this season ?
I think Mike Bellamy will be a great asset to recruiting, especially in the Chicago area. Who betteer to sell the program than a guy who starred at the place? I think recruiting and his knowledge of Illinois played a large part in his hiring. I also think he will do well as a receivers coach. The players already know him and I think he will use those relationships to his advantage.
Bill Cubit also has done work in Chicago in the past. So has Greg Colby. If that is the most important city to Illinois football, then Illinois got better recruiting-wise.
I'm going to go right on the number. I'll say Illinois beats Southern Illinois, Miami, Indiana and Purdue. It will have a chance to win other games.
I see the Big Ten wants to do away with scheduling FCS teams. I feel this is a mistake especially If Big Ten goes to 9 or 10 game meat grinder conference schedule, you can bet the SEC would never do this. What's your take Bob?
You are right on the button. It is a mistake, especially for schools like Illinois that need every win they can get. And to the school's credit, it has mostly played FCS teams from Illinois, keeping the money in the state.
I'm not sure that one will ultimately go into play. Several Big Ten schools had contracts with FCS teams for coming years and won't want to buy their way out of those games. Once the league gets a taste of the nine-game schedule, the ADs will realize they can't eliminate the games against the lower division.
Nothing has gone into writing yet, as far as I know. So, I think there is time for the Big Ten to change its mind. And it will.
Thanks for doing these chats! Can you give me your projected opening day starting lineup for both offense and defense?
Great question. And I will be very wrong.
LB-- Mike Svetina
Sorry that took so long. I had to do some digging. And I think some of the newcomers will have a chance to break into the lineup early, especially the JC transfers. But I want to see them play before I put them on a list.
Bob: Do you see anymore asst. coaching defections? To me, the Clinkscale defection is more significant as to the underlying philosophy of the staff. Now the future rests solely on wins and competitive losses IMO. With the promotion of Bellamy, might we see more emphasis on CA. since I think he might have David Williams ear and support. Can you get any feel for the ability of the new coaches to recruit or will performance dictate? I like Bellamy and feel that he will give you 125%. Be well.
I asked about new areas for recruiting and was told the school will primarily concentrate on the 6 hours around C-U and other traditional spots: Ohio, Florida, etc. I think Pennsylvania might open up a bit more because of Greg Colby. And I think Illinois is always open to California recruiting if there is a connection there.
I don't think anybody else is leaving the staff. I understand Steve Clinkscale wanting to go back to Ohio, but I don't view any team in the Big East as being in a stable situation. And that place has gone through a number of head coaching changes over the years. At some point, it won't work. What I don't know is what kind of money was thrown at Clinkscale. It it was a significant raise, it would be hard to blame him for leaving.
Wasn't Steve Clinkscale one of Beckman's guys on the staff? Do you see Clinkscale's departure as him jumping a ship he knows was sinking, or was he gently pushed out the door? Also, any idea why the spring game got moved to Friday night? It seems a Saturday would work better as far as fans going to the game and tailgating. Thanks for the chats, can't wait for game action!
I don't think Clinkscale was pushed. I got the sense that one surprised Tim Beckman a bit. Clinkscale was somebody Beckman had worked with in the past and you have to think the relationship was good. But sometimes the moves don't take and a guy wants to return closer to home.
I think the coaches who left the Ilinois staff have all gone to positive situations. Keith Gilmore landed in a great place where the money is good. Luke Butkus is back in the NFL. Billy Gonzales is back in the SEC. Chris Beatty is back in the Big Ten.
I think from this point forward, Tim Beckman needs to establish stability on his staff and I think that will happen. Often, the first pass at hiring doesn't take. The second time has to work better and I think he has added guys who are much more likely to stay put.
I am going to cut off the chat for today. Thanks for your questions.
If you are out and about at 5 p.m. today, stop by the Esquire for our weekly radio show. Should be a lot of fun.
Thanks again. Talk to you next week.