June 12 Bob Asmussen chat

June 12 Bob Asmussen chat

Monday, June 12, 2017 - 10:00am

Who will be the next player to commit to Lovie Smith's program? How is Mikey Dudek's recovery going? What does Bob Stopps' retirement at Oklahoma mean to college football?

For the answer to these questions, and anything else on your mind, check in with our veteral college football writer.

Bob Asmussen wrote on June 12, 2017 at 10:06 am
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Welcome back to another Bob Asmussen chat. Sorry for the late start.

Hope everyone had a great weekend. As usual, I watched a lot of sports and hung out with the family. We went to see "Wonder Woman" on Sunday. Great picture.

I am meeting with Lovie Smith later this week for a couple of stories I am working on. I saw him last week at the Illini Quarterback Club luncheon and got to talk to him about recruiting and other items.

On a sad note, former Illini football and basketball player Tony Clements passed away on Friday. He was an unbelievable guy and a tremendous asset to Illinois and C-U. I feel fortunate to have gotten to know him over the years. His services are Thursday and Friday,

Tony was a big sports fan and was always willing to help the N-G with whatever we needed.

Let's go to your questions.


Anonymous User wrote on June 12, 2017 at 10:06 am

Could you tell us John Geoce's staff, at Akron?.  What do you think of Ohio State's basketball choice for head coach?

Bob Asmussen wrote on June 12, 2017 at 10:06 am
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No surprise, John Groce broght Dustin Ford with him from Illinois. They have been together a long time and you get the idea that they will always be in the same place. Smart for Groce to hire someone he is comfortable with as his top assistant.

Groce hired Akron native Robby Pridgen to fill one of the spots. Knowing the area will be a big plus as the program moves forward. The third assistant isRob Fulford, who spent the last three seasons at Missouri. Fulford built a successful program at Huntington Prep, where he had a ridiculous 139-18 record in five seasons.

Looks like Groce has found a nice balance between youth and  experience. My guess is he wins at a high level with the Zips and is back at another power conference school in four or five years.

On Ohio State, Chris Holtmann was going to move on at some point from Butler. The school does a  tremendous job picking coaches. Including Matta back in the day. Just a hunch that Butler will hire another winner.

Holtmann is going to do a good job with the Buckeyes. The key there is to get the guys from close to home. Obviously, the state is loaded with basketball talent.

I am a big fan of Creighton's Greg McDermott. I heard he was an option for Ohio State. That makes some sense,. But I am glad he stayed in Omaha,


Illini Football Fan wrote on June 12, 2017 at 10:06 am

Bob -

What made Bob Stoops retire so late rather than earlier? Was it a tactic to get his OC the promotion? Or/and recruiting leverage to keep the recruits on campus?


Bob Asmussen wrote on June 12, 2017 at 10:06 am
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Illini Football Fan,

I heard from a good source that Bob Stoops has been thinking about this for a couple of years. He wants to enjoy life after football and now he has a chance. Hard to blame him for that.

While I think Oklahoma would have listened to his recommendation about a replacement, the timing forced the school's hand. It is going to work out well for Oklahoma, which will keep a coach on the rise. The team is going to be really good this season, which will boost recruiting even more.

I wrote this last week: I hope Stoops doesn't get tempted to come back in a couple of years. He mada  ton of money at Oklahoma and doesn't need to work again. I have only talked to him once or twice over the years, but he seemed like a really good guy. A certain Hall of Famer as soon as he is eligible. Remember, he took over at mess in Norman and put it back on track immediately.

Anonymous User wrote on June 12, 2017 at 10:06 am

What do you think of Lovie's laidback approach to recruiting? Seems like schools like Minnesota and Northwestern really have grabbed alot of commitments early doesn't it? Is it better to see how prospects perform their senior years or to jump on their bandwagon early? I guess you could argue both ways huh? Do you think he is a good closer as a recruiter or is the jury still out on that? What is the timeline on the early commitment period and do you think this will help the Illini? Also is there a chance Luke Ford commits to the Illini after changing his mind on Arkansas? And who do you think we have a chance at getting from the St. Louis area? Thanks!!!

Bob Asmussen wrote on June 12, 2017 at 11:06 am
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Anon 2,

I think Lovie Smith has to follow his own thoughts and not get caught up in what other schools are doing in recruiting. If you take a good look at the recruits Minnesota is lining up. the school is not getting a lot of high-end guys. They are all good players, but not the splash that the school might need to move its program up a notch or two.

I think the more time a school takes to look at prospects, the better. Guys do improve their senior years. If you fill up all your spots early, then you don't have room for players who shine as seniors.

Lovie Smith said he plans to make use of the early signing period in December. That means the coaches will have to do a lot of work during the season. It starts on Dec. 20 and lasts just three days. My guess is most schools, including Illinois, will try to have the bulk of their class done in the early signing period. The February date will allow schools to take a second look at need and also find some players that might have been overlooked the first round. The usual January scramble for players will now be a late November scramble. The staffs that work the hardest will benefit from the early period. I also think you might seee a dropoff in game coaching late in the season. The coaches are going to be torn between their current teams and the future. The support staffs become critical.

On Luke Ford, the Carterville tight end is one of the top players in the country. He has big-time offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Oklahoma. Illinois wants to use the tight end more in the offense. Getting Ford interested would be a major accomplishment for Smith's staff. If it lands him, Ford would be the signature recruit for Smith's staff. But it will be difficult to pull off.


Bob Asmussen wrote on June 12, 2017 at 11:06 am
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I am going to close off the chat for today. Thanks as always for your great questions.

I am traveling next week, so  I might have to skip the chat or switch it to a different day. I will keep you posted.

Have a great week. If you have any questions, fee free to email me at asmussen@news-gazette.com.