New Illinois offensive coordinator Bill Cubit held his first news conference Wednesday at Memorial Stadium. Here are three items
on the to-do list for the former Western Michigan head coach:
1. Fill out the staff
Luke Butkus left as offensive line coach to join Ron Turner at Florida International. That leaves an important vacancy. While Tim Beckman will be the one making the hire, the new offensive coordinator will have major input.
Cubit on filling out the staff:
“Ultimately, it’s Coach Beck and how he feels. As a head coach, people don’t see what you have to go through in that chair. I know what Coach Beck has to go through. Of course, he wants me to feel comfortable with him. It’s kind of a joint decision, but it’s more him. And it should be. There’s a lot of things that are involved in hiring a family in the coaching business. I trust him. Whoever comes in there, we’re going to ratchet it up and let’s go.”
2. Pick a starting quarterback
It won’t happen today. Or tomorrow. But before the start of the summer, Cubit wants to know who is going to run Illinois’ offense.
He’s got an established starter with three years of experience (Nathan Scheelhaase). And he’s got a two-year player who some feel is ready to take over (Reilly O’Toole).
Cubit on the quarterbacks:
“In the perfect world, right after spring is when you try to do it (pick a starter). But if it’s not done then, you just move on. I think summer is really important after spring ball, especially with what’s going to happen to us. We’re going to put in a new system, and they’ve got to refine it in the summer. I think the quarterbacks are going to have to be really mature. They’re going to have to be leaders. I think both (Scheelhaase and O’Toole) are talented. We’ve just got to put them in the right spots.”
3. Establish an offensive line
One of the biggest problems for Illinois during a 2-10 2012 season was inconsistency on the offensive line. Injuries were partly to blame. And the talent level dropped off from previous seasons. Illinois finished 11th in the Big Ten in rushing offense and 111th in the country in sacks allowed.
Cubit has been looking at tape of the returning players and thinks there is enough talent on hand.
Cubit on the offensive line:
“I like them. I’ve seen some pretty good things in there. They’re competing. We’ve got to find five or six different run schemes and get really good at that. That’s it. That’s all we’re going to do. We’re going to get real good at what we do. We’ve got about 14, 15 pass concepts. We’re going to get real good at that, too. I was encouraged. I think we can go against anybody and score against anybody and move the ball against anybody. We’re never intimidated. We’ve played some pretty good teams in my career, some national championship-type teams and always moved the ball against those guys.”