La. Tech 52, UI 24: 'It hurts'

La. Tech 52, UI 24: 'It hurts'

CHAMPAIGN — The few fans who remained in their seats after Louisiana Tech's 52-24 win against Illinois on Saturday at Memorial Stadium were treated to a fireworks show.

Those who left early saw plenty of fireworks during the game, courtesy Tech's high-powered offense.

The reigning WAC champion has the look of a team that might be knocking on the BCS door in December. Illinois is a team searching for an identity.

And with the Big Ten opener against Penn State a week away, that's a problem.

"I haven't been through many defeats like this one, or the one prior to," Illinois coach Tim Beckman said.

The defense, touted as the team's strength and loaded with NFL talent in the front seven, has looked rattled and simply outclassed in games against quality teams.

Two weeks ago, Arizona State shredded the Illini in the desert. On Saturday, the visitors from the South found little resistance from Illini defenders, racking up 403 yards in front of an announced 46,539 fans. The 52 points are the most the Illini have allowed at home since another WAC foe, Fresno State, scored 53 in beating Illinois in 2009.

"It's tough, it hurts, extremely disappointing," defensive coordinator Tim Banks said. "We gave up some big plays, and the thing we talk about is in order to be successful you can't beat yourselves and you've got to eliminate the big plays. We weren't able to get that done tonight."

Against a Louisiana Tech defense that entered the game allowing an average of 43 points and 585.5 yards per game, the Illini offense was a mess, turning the ball over six times.

"It goes back to the way we played and turning the ball over. You can't turn the ball over like we did no matter who you're playing," Beckman said.

And though quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase started Saturday's contest after sitting out the last two with an ankle injury, he didn't finish the game. And it wasn't because of an injury.

Scheelhaase threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Lankford in the first quarter but followed that up with an interception and a fumble later in the quarter before being replaced by Reilly O'Toole.

"We weren't moving the ball, so we felt as a coaching staff to give Reilly an opportunity and he got in there and moved the ball a little bit for us," Beckman said.

The coach, however, wouldn't commit to a starter at that position for next week's tilt against the Nittany Lions. O'Toole was 19 for 25 for 120 yards.

"We'll just keep competing, I think that's the way the game of football should be played," Beckman said. "We'll see how we progress. ... We'll make sure we've got the one that performs throughout the week and performs the best on the football field."

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports

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PeterE wrote on September 22, 2012 at 11:09 pm

This year's coaching staff is definitely worse than last year's on both sides of the ball and especially on defense (Beckman's supposed "Speciality"). Wretched putrid coaching!!

tunacommander wrote on September 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Lost a money game. Illinois is the worst FBS school in the country. Well maybe they could beat Colorado. They lost two money games to Sacramento State and Fresno State. What an ass-kicking.....................

oandb wrote on September 23, 2012 at 12:09 am

Night game on BTN. Nice work for whomever owns up to yet another disaster. As an Illini alum I will never attend another home game with our current coach.

As for the players I hope you get a degree. Truly embarassing.


oandb wrote on September 23, 2012 at 12:09 am

Forgot to say Tim and his boys are calling guys they should never be calling if they are landing studs.

he and his staff have one more year IMO.


Illini76 wrote on September 23, 2012 at 12:09 am

Embarassing. Simply embarassing. No plan. No coaching. No execution.

Salt Life wrote on September 23, 2012 at 11:09 am
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This is the worst job of coaching I have seen at Illinois. Bunch of Clowns!

tunacommander wrote on September 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm

it still remains to be seen which is the worst conference. I think the BIG 10 might actually be a lttile better then the BIG 12. Simply putrid football. Hard to watch the stuff.

FloridaIllini wrote on September 23, 2012 at 5:09 am

I'm a little stunned by how bad we seem.  Have we really gone from awful to ......what's the word for worse than awful?  Is Beckman going to make the Zooker look like Coach of the Year?

I'll say it because most have to be wondering it.  We let a good one get away in Coach Koenning.  Beckman got his man didn't he.  It's just like in companies.  Comfort with someone doesn't mean they are the best at their job.

Good thing the Big Ten is pathetic.  Maybe we will become even more irrelevant.


illinigator wrote on September 23, 2012 at 7:09 am

The Big Ten lacks the speed to compete with the southern teams.  Today looked like a high school JV team.  Slow, slower and more slow.  Illinois  better get their butts down South and recruit some 3 star athletes, they are better than any 4 star up North.  I never seen db's and lb's get beat so bad.  Schools like St Ignites, Lakeland, Dr  Phillips and maybe a couple others in Florida  could give this Illinois team a tough game.  They at least have 3 or 4, 4 and 5 star recruits on their rosters. 

Green Shirt wrote on September 23, 2012 at 8:09 am

Illinigator.  I decent DIII team could easily handle any of the high schools you mentioned just based upon physical and mental maturity. 

crackerman wrote on September 23, 2012 at 8:09 am

1..................4     Hawthorne..............................Patton       Ridiculous!

bernies wrote on September 23, 2012 at 10:09 am

"'I haven't been through many defeats like this one, or the one prior to,' Illinois coach Tim Beckman said".

I think coach Beckman should prepare himself for a few more defeats like this, and maybe losing the rest of the games to finish out the season. This game very definitely could be a death knell to the collective psyche of the team.

On the positive side, we are entering the Big Ten season, and there are a lot of crappy teams in the Big Ten this year. (Never thought I'd be giving thanks that the non-conference part of the schedule is over!).

geriatricillini wrote on September 23, 2012 at 10:09 am

We coulda had this result without changing coaches and saved a ton of money. Hell, Loren Tate, Marcus Jackson, Paul Klee, me and and any two other posters on here could be this ineffective on the sideline. But the players are to blame as my view, if you were on the Illini sideline last night, then you are as responsible as the leaders are for this. It wasn't just losing...La. Tech. is a good team and will beat a lot of's the way we lost that bothers me more than anything.

Now I expect Penn State to be chomping at the bit to get in here and play us...they will be motivated and confident..will we be that way, too? Or will the Illini quit on us?...stay tuned. I'll give Beckman time, but the clock is running and my patience is disappearing fast and I don't want that to happen, but I can't ignore the elephant in the room...and that elephant says we suck right now, folks. I hope we can turn the corner soon, if not bball season starts November 9...

bernies wrote on September 23, 2012 at 10:09 am

The N-G (Marcus Jackson) said: "The defense, touted as the team's strength and loaded with NFL talent in the front seven, has looked rattled and simply outclassed in games against quality teams."

This is exactly what makes it more pathetic. There is some talent on the defense. And so far the defense has seemed really effective only against abysmal Charleston Southern. Have to place the blame on the defensive coaching staff. Sure, the defensive players have looked pretty bad, but it's the responsibility of the defensive staff to properly prepare the players so they don't have that deer-caught-in-the-headlights look...and there's been a lot of that in the two games against decent opponents.

If this defensive ineptitude continues, Beckman might want to consider shaking up the defensive staff. They seem on the verge of losing it...

I was going to subscribe to the Big Ten Network to follow the Illini. Now I think I'll save some money and wait until baketball season.



Moonpie wrote on September 23, 2012 at 11:09 am

Finally the Lazy and Sleep Gazoo stops the cheerlading and assigns an F. About time. Beacuse this team is not as talented as supposed. Going to be a long year. Coach B deserves much more time, of course, to try and straighten out this mess of a program, but this year they will struggle mightily, it seems -- though we won't know anything at all until smug Obi Wan Tate comes down from Olympus to tell us how to think and to chastise fans for not being sold on the team.

One other thing--Little Nathan isn't the answer. Best to committ to a an actuall tall and conventional pocket passer.No idea if O'Toole is the answer yet, but keep giving him reps and we'll find out.

bernies wrote on September 23, 2012 at 11:09 am

And how about that Illini offense? Louisiana Tech's first two opponents (Houston and Rice) now have a combined record of 1-6. And yet Houston put up 49 points against Tech, and Rice scored 37. Tech allowed an average of 43 points a game against two poor teams.

And the Illini can only come up with 24 points?!? Enough said...

There appears to be something really systemically wrong with this team...offense and defense.  :-(

And a note to the "fire Ron Zook" contingent: Be careful what you wish for.

aaeismacgychel wrote on September 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm

To your last "be careful what you wish for" line, I'm just not quite seeing how much worse it would get getting rid of Beckman and staff.  True, we might not be able to hire another coach aside for maybe someone in the stands, but really, is that person from the stands going to do that much worse?

Heck, at this point I'm seriously wondering whether Ron Turner would be willing to come back as interim coach just to close out the season while we spend the year looking for a new coach.  He was a decent game coach.  Terrible recruiter, but decent game coach.  He could pry do okay with the defensive talent and RB talent we have.

blmillini wrote on September 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Zook had 7 years to prove almost every single week how poor a coach he was. By the end of his tenure he was no longer able to sell his snake oil to recruits and now Beckman is tasked with coaching that group. You can't expect the guy to make that much of a difference in 4 weeks. I assume, like most, this is just the initial reaction, but come on... get a clue.

aaeismacgychel wrote on September 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm

No, I'm completely serious.  Perhaps if we had no talent I'd agree with you.  Perhaps if we didn't have 4 surefire 1st or 2nd Round picks on defense, I'd agree with you.  Perhaps if we didn't have a Top 10 defense last year, I'd agree with you.  Perhaps if our coordinators could actually get plays in on time, I'd agree with you.  Perhaps if our team didn't hang our heads and give up twice in four games, I'd agree with you.  Perhaps if we showed some progress at least in a preparedness or coaching decisions, or halftime adjustments, if not in the final scoreboard, I'd agree with you.  But what positives are there to go on here?  Is there a single aspect that has improved since the coaching change?  Do you really think our talent can't compete or even play 60 minutes against what should be similar competition?  Everyone last year said we lost our last 6 games because of Zook.  That we had good players but Zook failed them as a coach.  Now are you honestly saying that while we have the same players, that it's really their fault we're worse this year than last?  Zook's an awful coach, I agree with you there, so it seems to me that Beckman with the same players should allow the team to play at an improved level.  Well he's not.  We weren't prepared for the teams we played, we gave up, and we got embarassed.  Is there any positives we can take from these first four games?  Any that would indicate Beckman will excel?  Anything at all?

houstonillini84 wrote on September 24, 2012 at 9:09 am

actually, Beckman HAS made a difference. We are worse. Now I dont think thats because of beckman personally (although it may be, too early to tell), but I do think the quality of coordinator/position coaching may have dropped and isnt he responsible for those hires? Isnt he the guy who offered coach Vic a co-coordinator job and lost him because he wanted to hire his unproven buddies??

Chi Illini wrote on September 23, 2012 at 11:09 am

While the coaching staff seemed a little confused, particularly after the muffed punt recovery, this loss comes down to leadership, O and D line play, and attitude. Who are the leaders on this team? The D line is simply not as good as advertised at this point and the O line is a hot mess... Good teams play with an agressive attitude and intensity. We didn't have either. 

Paterno409wins wrote on September 23, 2012 at 11:09 am

If Illinois fans think they have problems with their program. I can sympathize with them. However the NCAA overtended its authority when it imposed sanctions on the Penn State program for doing to little to out Sandusky who technically was not with the program since about 200l. One must be told that Penn State's sanction is not about Football violations.

The NCAA acted on what it termed moral abuses as a result of media frenzy and hype and Joe Paterno with his 409 wins and I still think he has them was thrown under the bus and hit and run by the NCAA.

I am disgusted that through August 2013 that the NCAA has made Penn State a minor league franchise for all teams that want to pressure their players to transfer. Should O'Brien purposely have his players play bad or hide players so no team would raid them to fill in their deficiences...Of course not. And limiting the Penn State Program to just 65 scholarships would in four years definitely weaken the program especially next year and even this year if the greed of NCAA coaches put pressures on their good players to move on. Even the NFL could weaken the program if they encourage underclass to go into the NFL early leaving it hard for Penn State to find a replacement,

What angers me the most is that the NCAA allowed the University of Southern California which a few years was under sanctions for football related violations to acquire free agent Cyrus Redd to its program. If that program had limited scholarships in the past ... Its recent action surely makes up for it.


DaisyJ wrote on September 23, 2012 at 11:09 am

Hey pal, first of all, I would get rid of your moniker Paterno stuff. He knowingly along with the heads of your school committed the most outrageous coverup of one of the worse things a child can have done to them. Depsicable. All for what, to keep the Lions program on top. Seceret like these deserve one thing. 5 Years of no football. But, because of money, the PS program plays on. And you are knocking the NCAA. You need to see your priest as you have no understanding of what molesting children is all about.

DaisyJ wrote on September 23, 2012 at 11:09 am

More of the same.  Look, even I know that you needed to control clock, not try to outscore them

in a shootout. So, what does Sheel do, comes out thowing.

Second, the shotgunrungun we think our QB should be a runner instead of a QB , a thrower. We do not have our running backs throw the ball, why do our QB's not stand in the pocket and throw. This shotgun run stuff is old old old, and asking too much. Put the QB under center and run regualr football. Sheel is finally hopefully done. He never had the arm.

Last, did you see the get up and go with the QB for LT. My, he was acting like he was awake and Scheel drug himself to the huddle, drug himself to the line, he had no energy.

OKOMIS wrote on September 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Good news… it seems like the rest if the B1G is falling to our level… not 1 team in our conference deserves to be ranked… watch how good our defense plays against B1G opponents.. all the BS about our conference's pathetic bowel record (weather… location…) is absurd.. we are not a BSC caliber conference..

blmillini wrote on September 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm


houstonillini84 wrote on September 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm

well everyone wanted Zook gone, at least we got that going for us! Err maybe not.

I was not a fan of the Beckman hire. I think we could have done better. That being said, he deserves a lot more time before we pile on. But I am not so forgiving about the coordinator hires. They look horrible at this point. Its beyond me how we let coach Vic get away. Offering him co-coordinator - are you freaking kidding? Now we have coordinators that look like total amateurs against the likes of Az St and LA Tech. God help us in the B10 season.

I just cant believe that we were willing to throw millions at Sumlin, get played, and we couldnt take those millions and get someone better. Oh well. Hopefully we will wise up, and if the coordinators dont improve, we will can them and hire some real professionals who arent in over their heads. Recruiting seems to be pretty decent under Beckman so he deserves a real chance, but good recruiting wont compensate for terrible coordinator coaching. You need both to compete in the B10.

bernies wrote on September 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm

I'm certainly not someone who is calling for Tim Beckman's head. We don't need a web site. But I do agree that the coordinator hires are looking pretty bad right now. Of course we should look to the players for more leadership, etc., but the coordinators are largely responsible for setting the stage for that, and I don't see that happening.

OKOMIS wrote on September 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm

 for once we agree.. at least that Beckman deservese time... coordinators on short string  too..defense in general and offensive line may need new direction soon.i do disagree that the B1G will be a stiffer test than what we've had.. Az St and certainly LA tech better than almost anything B1G has..we are not a very strong conference....firing Zook was  way over due... almost as over due as firing your boy..

houstonillini84 wrote on September 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm

well if Beckman takes a 6-6 team coming off of two bowl wins and turns it into a 4-8 (or worse) team, what does that say? Versus a weaker schedule no less. Cleaning house only helps if the staff is better. Right now it looks like we took a step down. Maybe not so much with the head coach as with the staff. But then again, isnt one of the main jobs of a head coach to attract and hire a quality staff??

aaeismacgychel wrote on September 24, 2012 at 2:09 am

And there's the issue.  The coach is resonsible for assembling their staff.  And if someone on the staff is not working out, you have to let them go.  I'm all for giving people another chance, but this defensive coordinator is extremely overmatched in all gameday aspects of his job.  If you're Beckman, you either change things up internally on your defensive staff if you don't want to fire midseason (the good ol' "splitting up responsibilities" talk), or you take the fall yourself.  This is not a "well we're going to look over the flm and correct the errors" problem, it's a far more serious issue.

OKOMIS wrote on September 24, 2012 at 8:09 am

Your assuming 4-6… if we can’t win 4 games in THIS conference, we’re in B1G trouble… ( I was gonna say drop to conference USA, but that would be tougher)… I agree with you again… Beckman is responsible for his staff.. it’s his primary duty… just like Thomas said it’s his team ( when Vic K wasn’t retained) it falls on his shoulder’s when his guy’s aren’t doing the job… wasn’t that a knock on your boy??? That he was a little too loyal to his staff??

houstonillini84 wrote on September 24, 2012 at 10:09 am

I am not assuming anything. I said 'IF'. Hell i dont know what will happen. But right now I struggle to see us beat anyone except Indiana and Minnesota at home. We will be underdogs in every other game. So of course 4-8 is a guess, but its a reasonable guess based on the schedule and the likely odds. Hopefully we do better than that.

I am curious to see if Thomas will treat his hires the same way he treated the guys he inherited. I heard all that crap about expectations at UI and responsibility for results, anyone want to bet all that gets chucked out the window now that he would have to fire his own hires, which has major implications about his performance as AD?

tunacommander wrote on September 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm

The AD is to blame for the Beckman hire. NOBODY ELSE. A complete and utter waste of the next three is a sad day for Illinois.

TheChiefLives wrote on September 25, 2012 at 9:09 am

THANK YOU!  Someone finally hit the nail on the head!  When it looked like Kevin Sumlin was giving an indication he wasn't coming, MT's VERY NEXT MOVE should have been to say, "Hey Vic, the job is yours."  This isn't hindsight.  Many of us were jumping up and down screaming and spitting about this before and immediately after the TB hire was made!!!  I was willing to give the guy a chance, but I WILL NEVER ACCEPT THAT TIM BECKMAN WAS A BETTER HIRE THAN VIC KOENING WOULD HAVE BEEN.  And that is the bottom line. 

The thing that is going to save MT is basketball.  Face it, we are a basketball school.  I think Groce is a homerun hire.  Smart and Stevens were both pipe dreams...everyone knew it.  Groce was the best available coach.  His recruiting looks to be magnificent.  Lets see if he can land Jackson and XRM, then have some luck in the LOADED Illinois 2014 class.  I think Illinois basketball is on the way back to the top.  And MT is riding that wave...

bigteddy10 wrote on September 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm

After watching this disaster I really must say this team is in big trouble from here on out. The coaching staff has its work cut out if it thinks they have a chance at a bowl game cause there's only 1 winnable game left (Indiana). The problem here is obvious, we're not as good as advertised. Everyone wants to blame Beckmon for the status of the team, but we all must remember he's coaching someone elses recruits. This is probably why none of the high profile coaches who were available wanted to come to Champaign, it's gonna take a few years just to try to get top talented recruits to even consider coming to Illinois. Right now we really need to hope that the current class stays intack cause a losing season could make some recruits change their mind. It will take a least a good 3 to 4 years before thing get right, that is with good recruiting though, but who knows if this staff can weather the storm. I've said it before and I'll say it again, 2 and 3 star recruits are ok but will not dominate in this conference. The top teams get 4 and 5 star players, until that changes in C-U we the fans will continually be disappointed. If Guenther would've pulled the trigger a few years ago and fired Zook like he was suppose to maybe just maybe we're not even having this debate. 

houstonillini84 wrote on September 23, 2012 at 7:09 pm

How many 4 and 5 star recruits does Louisiana Tech have? AZ St? We beat AZ state last season and got blown out this year. I am not sure the modest turnover in the UI roster explains that. I hear what you are saying and you are right, we need 4-5 start recruits to contend to win the conference, but a good well-coached roster of 3* recruits is plenty good enough to win 6 or 7 games and go to a bowl. Beckman seems to be doing well enough recruiting but I seriously wonder about the coordinator and position coaching. It makes me sad to say that because I hoped the new staff would do well.

bigteddy10 wrote on September 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm

The thing is we've been there and done that (6 or 7) wins. We all kinda thought with the talent on the team and a new coach we would turn the corner this season. What should've happened was Coach Vic should be the HEAD COACH not the DC at N. Carolina, and All AD Thomas had to do was find a quality OC to run the offense. But Zook had a few so so recruiting classes and we're seeing the result on the field. Hopefully Beckman can continue to bring in good recruits and in a couple years from now the team improves its play and competes the way we the fans expect......

bernies wrote on September 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm

To be fair to Beckman, the Illini players are pretty much picking up where they left off from the second half of last season (with the exception of the bowl game). They seem snake bit. And I'm really concerned that Saturday's nasty loss might be a serious blow to their collective psyche. I'm really interested to see how/if the players rebound in the Penn State game. If the Illini coaching staff can get the players to win, that's a positive. If there's another embarrassing loss, I see the season going down the tubes...

aaeismacgychel wrote on September 24, 2012 at 2:09 am

Snakebit, huh?  Did the snake look like 46 ferocious grizzly bears, because that bite looked like one heck of an evisceration...

butkus50 wrote on September 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Some good and interesting comments. Does anyone think a Coach Vic K defense would have given up the points to Arizona State and this weeks opponent? NO way!

It is clear at least on defense, the coaches are the problem. I do not understand why a new coach is so arrogrant that they need "their own guys". Heck, Beckman could not get his "own guys" to follow him here from Toledo. Why did Beckman not keep the coaches that were doing a great job and add to it? And remember, Beckman's Toledo team gave up over 60 points in back to back games in MAC; this is not new to Beckman, he is used to it.

A new CEO of any corporation does not fire everyone and start over. Things were NOT that bad for Illiniois football. A better game coach than Zook, and we would have won more games last year.

houstonillini84 wrote on September 24, 2012 at 10:09 am

actually if the Paterno revelations had come out a bit sooner, we would have won the PSU game (the refs gave PSU that game at the end), and maybe Zook would still be here. I dont think Zook was a good coach, but he and the staff were right, we were robbed against PSU.

Don Dukeman wrote on September 24, 2012 at 7:09 am

I guess when you hire a "Mid-Major" type coach for a Division 1 team this is the results.  We need to throw a party for the new Athletic Director for this hire...Thank you.  It also seems like Beckman is using an old Zook playbook.  Coach Beckman should have stayed where he was winning...some of the time.

tunacommander wrote on September 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Tremendous showing against a "money" or "pay to play" opponent. They will be lining up from everywhere to play against Illinois next year. This is the evidence that the Beckman experiment is a complete and utter waste of 3 years.

minwyhe wrote on September 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Why is it that every defensive coach the Illini have had over the last 10 - 15 yrs. cannot teach pass defense particularly in the defensive backfield.  Is it the quality of the players recruited or is it a lack of understanding of technique?  I was never big enough nor perhaps talented enough to play football in HS or college, but I played a lot of touch football.  Generally, we played man-to-man and if the man was a lot faster than me, he would overwhelm me.  In  most instances I did well.  It seems to me that unless there is a total speed mismatch, I would suggest teaching man-to-man and let the chips fall.  Can't be any worse than having men totally open in the middle of the field, which I have seen all too often in watching the Illini play.