Dec. 10 Bob Asmussen chat

Dec. 10 Bob Asmussen chat

Monday, December 10, 2018 - 11:00am

Who will be the next commitment for the Illinois football team? What position does the staff most need to address before the early signing date? What are Lovie Smith's options to be the next defensive coordinator?

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

Bob Asmussen wrote on December 10, 2018 at 11:12 am
Profile Picture

Welcome back to another Bob Asmussen chat. Hope everyone had a great weekend. I covered the Illinois men's basketball game Saturday and watched a lot of football and volleyball.

Congrats to Chris Tamas and the Illinois volleyball team for making it to the Final Four. I'm going to predict Illinois wins Thursday against Nebraska, then beats Stanford in a hard-fought final on Saturday. There will be a big celebration at Huff Hall on Sunday. Should be a lot of fun.

For the second year in a row, I voted for the actual Heisman winner. It was a close call between Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa. I am looking forward to the Alabama-Oklahoma semifinal.

Illinois men's basketball gets most of the week off before playing Saturday afternoon. This is a great chance for Brad Underwood to get his guys going in the right direction.

Enough stalling, time to get to your questions. As always, thanks for your participation. I hope the 11 a.m. slot works for everyone. This is where the chat will stay until football restarts in the summer.



Anonymous User wrote on December 10, 2018 at 11:12 am

Do you think the Illini will have the DC hired by the early signing period? Do you think Lovie will go from the pro or college ranks for this position?  Would it be more beneficial to do it that way or to wait until after the bowl season? What are the pros and cons of getting one now or waiting? Which way do you feel would be better for recruiting? What would be some names Lovie would look at to be available? Thanks for the chats!

Bob Asmussen wrote on December 10, 2018 at 11:12 am
Profile Picture


I think Lovie Smith has his guy on the staff right now: Gill Byrd. I am basing that on some of comments Lovie Smith made after the season.

We were supposed to have a press conference with Lovie Smith on Saturday morning, but it was postponed because he had recruits in town. I have lots of questions for him, starting with what is his plan for the defensive coordinator spot and the other open position on the staff.

If I was doing the hiring -- and to be clear, I am not -- I would keep Gill Byrd in his current position and go find a strong recruiter to hire as the defensive coordinator. There are many of them out there and Illinois will have plenty of money to spend. I would get someone currently working in college. Follow the pattern Lovie Smith used to hire Rod Smith: evaluate the top defenses in the country and bring one of their guys to C-U. It went well for the offense in 2018.

One thing Lovie Smith must do is make sure Rod Smith returns in 2019. Based on the great work he did last season and the kind of guy he is, I believe he might have some pursuers. But Rod Smith and his family like it here and want to stay.

Getting back to your original question: I think a mistake Lovie Smith made in his initial hirings was not getting enough strong recruiters. So, with any open spot on the staff now, it needs to be filled with a strong recruiter. One who knows the college game well.

Daytripper wrote on December 10, 2018 at 11:12 am

of course, it's the time for commitments to change their loyalty.  Seeing as we lost one to Miami, who else can you see changing their mind?  Anyone you are hearing that might flip to Illinois from another program?  Who's next up to committ (and hopefully, stick.)

Bob Asmussen wrote on December 10, 2018 at 11:12 am
Profile Picture


From what I understand, the remaining 10 players on the commitment list are solid and will sign with Illinois later in the month.

It will be a very smal class for the Illini. The remaining spots will be filled mostly with transfers. Is that the way Illinois should go? It depends on the talent level of the transfers. There are some key spots where the right player might make a huge difference. Receiver is one. And pretty much any position on defense.

I believe Illinois is interested in some grad transfer quarterbacks. I'm not sure that is the way I would go. I think it would be better to pick one of the returning players, or incoming freshman Isaiah Williams, and be set at quarterback for the next three years or so. Continuity on offense is a huge help if the player has the skillset Rod Smith wants. All of those guys are capable of playing at a winning level.

The most important target left for the Illini might be inside linebacker Shammond Cooper. He played at St. Louis Triinity, where Cory Patterson coached before joining the Illinis staff. Sounds like the school is in good shape with him, He has big-time offers from Oklahoma and Texas.

Bob Asmussen wrote on December 10, 2018 at 11:12 am
Profile Picture

I am going to cut off the chat for today. Thanks for your questions.

I will be back next Monday at the same time. If you have anything before then, feel free to email me at

If you are in town tonight, stop by The Esquire for our radio show.

Have a great week everyone.