Feb. 5 Bob Asmussen chat

Feb. 5 Bob Asmussen chat

Monday, February 5, 2018 - 10:00am

What are the priorities for the final spots in the Illinois recruiting class? When will Lovie Smith fill his coaching staff? How important is spring football for new offensive coordinator Rod Smith>

For the answers to these questions, and anything else on your mind,check in with our longtime Illinois football beat writer.

Bob Asmussen wrote on February 05, 2018 at 10:02 am
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Welcome back to another Bob Asmussen chat. Hope everyone had a great weekend. I watched the Super Bowl and a bunch of basketball games. And I covered the Illinois women's basketball game against Purdue.

The Super Bowl was fantastic and not just for people who dislike the Patriots. Remember a while back when fans complained about how boring the Super Bowls had become? The last few years have ended that talk for sure.

The two former Illinois coaches I talked before the game, Bill Cubit and Ron Turner, both had the Eagles winning the game. It's a reminder that people in the business have a better idea of what will happen than most fans.

Hope you have a chance to read our story on the 25-year anniversary of Andy Kaufmann's shot to beat Iowa. Here it is: http://www.news-gazette.com/sports/illini-sports/mens-basketball/2018-02...

Enough stalling, time to get to your questions. As always, thank your for your participation.


Anonymous User wrote on February 05, 2018 at 10:02 am

Please explain the walkon players who just signed do they count towards scholarships or do they have to earn them? If they are not on scholarship then how many spots are left open for the class of 2018? How many scholarship players are you allowed to have on your roster at one time?

Bob Asmussen wrote on February 05, 2018 at 10:02 am
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All great questions. Walk-ons don't count against the total scholarship number or the yearly number until they are placed on scholarship. Lovie Smith just did that with two guys: linebacker Jimmy Marchese and tight end Bobby Walker. Smith wants to hold back a couple of scholarships each year to reward deserving guys. Smart move and a good way to build up the walk-on numbers.

Illinois has six spots left for Wednesday, but three of those are now spoken for. Lovie Smith will hold a couple back for grad transfers.

FBS schools are allowed to have 85 scholarship players. Hope that helps.

Daytripper wrote on February 05, 2018 at 10:02 am


Great way to end the 2017-18 football season!  Once again, Nick Saban and Bill Belechick have never won championships in the same season.

Now that the NFL is completed, any idea when Lovie will fill out his coaching staff?  NBC seemed to sow some doubt in Josh McDaniels assuming the head coaching position with the Colts.  What impact does that have on Mike Phair?

Also, with the second signing day fast approaching  this week, it seems we had a productive recruiting weekend, but there are still some targets out there considering the Illini.  Any idea on who is likely to commit and when?

Thanks for the chats.

Bob Asmussen wrote on February 05, 2018 at 10:02 am
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Great points about the championship games. Great excitement at the both the college and NFL level. I didn't realize the two coaches had never won in the same year. Amazing.

I think you will see quick work in the NFL, which will filter down to the college level and maybe Illinois. I haven't talked to Mike Phair since he left Illinois, but it sounds like his move to the Colts is a done deal no matter who is the head coach.

Lovie Smith said his staff will be complete before the start of spring practice in early March. My guess is it will be done sooner rather than later. He knows a lot of people.

One coch who won't be added is former Illini Aaron Moorehead, who just went to Vanderbilt. I had heard he was a possible hire at Illinois.

It looks like Lovie Smith is looking to enhance his recruiting so my guess is the final two spots on his staff are filled with college coaches.

The Illini got three new commitments during the weekend. Lovie Smith will likely hold at least two of the remaining three spots.

Anonymous User wrote on February 05, 2018 at 10:02 am

What positions do you think Lovie finishes up with for the class of 2018, or does he take best talent available regardless of position? Also with the recruiting for 2018 coming to an end, how refreshing is it to see Lovie tackling with gusto the in-state class for 2019? Is the class of 2019 in Illinois considered special? Did we really seem to ignore in-state for 2018. If you could who do you wish they could have gotten in-state for 2018? Any earlier speculation on the 2 assistant positions left and what position they will have to coach. Thanks!

Bob Asmussen wrote on February 05, 2018 at 10:02 am
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With the addition of another quarterback in the class, it appears that Lovie Smith is going for the best available athletes to finish out. I think that is the right approach.

Lovie Smith realizes the school has to do a better job recruiting not only in Illinois, but in nearby states. That's why he is making such a strong push in the St. Louis area. The hiring of Cory Patterson should help a ton there.

As I understand it, the 2018 class in Illinois was weak, but it looks to be much better in 2019 and beyond. The coaches have spent a lot of time during the recruiting period working on 2019. They see it as a chance to bring in players who will be difference-makers.

I don't think the coaches have ignored the state in recruing. The problem has been the lack of continuity on the staff. Three head coaches in three years did great damage to the relationships.

If I was in charge, each Illinois class would have a minimum of 10-15 players from Illinois and nearby states. I would go to Florida, California and Texas for the remaining spots.

If in a given year Illinois could land half of the Top 10 players in Illinois, it would be off to a great start. Illinois will never get all the players it wants in Illinois. That's not realistic But five of 10 should be easy to do.

The final two coaching positions will likely be on defense. I am guessing a defensive line coach and someone to help at the back end of the defense. I think it will be guys currently working in college.



Bob Asmussen wrote on February 05, 2018 at 10:02 am
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I am going to end the chat for today. Thanks for all of your questions.

I will be back next Monday at the same time. If you have any questions between now and then, feel free to email me at asmussen@news-gazette.com.

If you are in town tonight, stop by the Esquire at 5 p.m., for "The News-Gazette Sports Page." Illinois men's golf coach Mike Small and men's tennis coach Brad Dancer will be our guests. Hope to see you there.

Have a great week everybody.