June 11 Bob Asmussen chat

June 11 Bob Asmussen chat

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 11:00am

How will the Luke Ford decision impact the Illinois offense? Should the team continue to pursue grad transfer quarterbacks? What are the must wins if the Illini hope to go to a bowl game?

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 June 11, 2019 at 10:06 am
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Welcome back to another Bob Asmussen chat. I am going to get started a few minutes early because I have a phone interview coming sometime between 11 and noon. Sorry about that ahead of time.

Hope everyone had a great weekend. I watched a lot of sports, like always, and spent a lot of time at the paper working on our upcoming Top 50 countdown. It starts Thursday. Hope you have a chance to take a look.

Illinois football players have returned to campus and are working hard ahead of the start of training camp. Of course, the guy we all want to see is Isaiah Williams. He will get plenty of attention in the coming months from fans and media.

Enough stalling, time to get to your questions. Thanks again for your participation.

 

 

Zekiah Swamp wrote on June 11, 2019 at 10:06 am

Bob,  Kindly name the FBS programs within 100 miles of Carterville, IL.  One could argue that the NCAA rule regarding hardship transfers discriminates against individuals from rural areas.  Even if there is a program within the 100 mile radius, these athletes certainly would have fewer choices. 

Bob Asmussen wrote on June 11, 2019 at 10:06 am
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Zekiah Swamp,

 

Well, Southern Illinois is about 9 miles from Carterville, but Luke Ford would b e immediately eligible at the FCS school.

You make a great point. The 100-mile rule seems unfair. Again, I wish the NCAA would lay out the rules and allow the players to follow those rules. I think a one-time transfer without penalty makes a lot of sense. That way, there aren't questions about why one guy is allowed to  play right away and the other guy is not.

 

Illini Football Fan wrote on June 11, 2019 at 10:06 am

Bob -

Is there any possibility of having a one-time Open House for the public/fans to have a tour of the new Performance Center for the football team?  I believe, if correct, the Performance Center (once open for football team use) is only accessible for coaches, analysts, support staff, and select UI personnel.

Thank you

Bob Asmussen wrote on June 11, 2019 at 11:06 am
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Illini Football Fan,

 

Great question. I know the school is determined to make sure the players see it first. I think that is a good idea. It will be their new "office" and it think it's only right they get the first look.

I will check with Illinois officials to see if the public will be allowed in. I would think they will make that happen. I am curious about it too. I especially want to see the bowling alley and the barbershop. Cool ideas that put Illinois in a unique place.

Illinois is trying to draw fans. Having its facilities open to the public, even during limited hours, will help sell the program.

 

 

I have some Illinois facilities questions. Anonymous User wrote on June 11, 2019 at 11:06 am

I know the NCAA sounded like they followed the letter of the law in the Luke Ford transfer. And I know I sound like a big homer but..............Do you think if it was Ohio State or Michigan in the Big Ten or any other traditional NCAA FB power the ruling would have gone the other way? I for one do!  Seems like the ruligs are rigged to favor the elite. Either make them all eligible or none of them. The hypocrisy of the NCAA runs rampant.

Bob Asmussen wrote on June 11, 2019 at 11:06 am
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Anon,

The NCAA has long said there are no special rules for elite programs. For years, I believed it.

But this one is a head-scratcher. It guess it is possible that the players who are allowed to play right away simply made better arguments. But Luke Ford had help with the appeal from folks who know what to do. So I am not sure why the appeal was denied.

I hope we can count on the folks in charge of the NCAA to do the right thing at all times. But it does seem like there are two sets of rules.

The good part for Illinois and Luke Ford is that he can spend the season learning the offense and will be better prepared for 2020. And he still has three years left.

I hope the inconsistency forces a hard look at the transfer rules and leads to the changes you suggest.

I have some Illinois facilities questions. Anonymous User wrote on June 11, 2019 at 11:06 am

Seems to me that this will be a make or break year for FB recruiting doesn't it? I feel like the Illini roster is much deeper and talented now than when Lovie took over? It also seems like the cupboard was so bare, and Lovie had so much catching up to do in these regards that it has taken him longer than usual to turn it around. Also the fact that when he was hired was not in the traditional timeline, that he was hired after the recruiting period was over for his first season. Another thing was the coaching turnover and not realizing initially the importance of hiring coaches with good recruiting resumes and attachment to college experience over the NFL ganme.   Am I wrong for looking at it this way? He has improved his win total every year, and I think the quality of performance for the most part has improved to. I think 6 wins and a bowl trip would maybe put them over the hump and convince HS kids that he will be here for awhile. I think what would be good for the Illini is to stay the course with him. Seems like we have jumped the gun in coaches (firing Zook) and in hiring bad fits (Beckman) and this has eroded any kind of stability to maintain a winning program. I look at Iowa and Wisconsin as what the Illini should be. Consistent winners and occasionally great years.Those schools were terrible in FB in my youth, but hired the right guys, stayed with them, and have reaped the benefits year after year. Hopefully Josh will steer the ship in the right direction. Your thoughts please and thanks for the chats!

Bob Asmussen wrote on June 11, 2019 at 11:06 am
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Anon,

 

This is definitely a critical year in recruiting. The program got off to a good start with the two early commits, but the pace has slowed. It will be a smaller class, so there is no rush to fill up.

The talent is better. No question. I think the current staff is good at identifying the type of players it wants and going after those guys.

Lovie was actually hired at a good time. Unlike most coaches, he didn't have to scramble to put together a first recruiting class. It was already done for him and many of those players are contributing: Jake Hansen, Dele Harding, Tymir Oliver, Stanley Green, etc.

I think Lovie Smith made some mistakes with his initial staff that he has since corrected. The current staff has plenty of recruiting skill and also on-field ability. Rod Smith, to me, was a terrific hire. The offense will make another leap this season if the quarterback situation is settled.

I have said repeatedly that six wins are doable for the 2019 team. I think it will sweep the nonconference games. Then, it will have to go 3-6 in the Big Ten. There are some really difficult games in the conference, but also some winnable games.

Ron Zook and Ron Turner, when they turned the program, were able to get upset wins. That has so far eluded Lovie Smith. Maybe this year.

If the team gets to a bowl, it will be a huge boost for recruiting and show the prospects the staff is moving in the right direction.

I don't think changing coaches is the answer. The best programs, as you poited out, have stability. That has been an issue at Illinois during my 30 years at The News-Gazette.

Josh Whitman strongly supports Lovie Smith. There is no question about that. If the team can reach a bowl game in Smith's fourth year, it will be a reward for that faith.

 

 

mustwhiz1 wrote on June 11, 2019 at 11:06 am

Bob: Do u ever talk with Jim Grabowski? He was always a favorite of mine and SO good on the radio...when I couldn't be there? Thx.

Bob Asmussen wrote on June 11, 2019 at 11:06 am
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Mustqwhiz1,

 

I have not talked to Jim Grabowski since the night he went into the Illinois Hall of Fame. He has always been great to me and I agree with you that he was awesome of the radio. You always knew how the game was going by Jim's tone. I think that's a good attribute for an announcer.

Jim was a great player at Illinois, one of the best of all time. It would be nice to see him again soon.

 

mustwhiz1 wrote on June 11, 2019 at 11:06 am

Bob: Just a quick note to "second" Loren's article concerning  Chief Illiniwek. I attended  the U. of I. when the Chief was in full step and it was always presented with the utmost respect. It never failed to stir the fans and they would stay during halftime to watch him perform. This is probably not the place to debate this...but I would think the school administrators would leave this alone and disregard the two professors that seem to be obsessed with this topic. A new "mascot" will not be accepted and a plaque isn't going to placate any supporter.When we are on the verge of building a respectable sports image why push this now? Shades of Nancy Cantor. Thx Bob.GO ILLINI !  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Asmussen wrote on June 11, 2019 at 11:06 am
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Mustwhiz1,

 

Thanks for your comments. I will pass along your support to Loren.

 

Bob Asmussen wrote on June 11, 2019 at 11:06 am
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I am going to cut off the chat for today. Thanks for all of your great questions.

Normally, this is where I write I will be back next week at the same time. But I am taking a two-week break from the chats while I go on vacation. My wife and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary next week and we are going to a secret destination. Shhhh, don't tell her.

Have a great two weeks. I will talk to you again on July 2. Wow, that seems like a long time from now.

 

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