Outside opinions: ESPN broadcasters on Beckman, Illinois
Editor's note: Want a scouting report for the Illini's season opener? Tune to WDWS Saturday morning at 9:30 to hear from Youngstown State coach Eric Wolford.
On Thursday, staff writer Bob Asmussen asked college football broadcasters Jesse Palmer and David Pollack for their take on Tim Beckman’s future and why it is so hard to win at Illinois:
Is Beckman on the hot seat?
Palmer — “It’s still his third year. Granted, we’re in an environment now where head coaches are being fired after one or two years, which has gotten ridiculous. People need to remember what they are and who they are and the challenges that present themselves at Illinois. There are still going to be high expectations on Illinois to improve and get to a better win total and compete to get to a bowl game. Their biggest blessing is playing in the division they play in. It’s time to capitalize.
“When Ron Zook was there, and some of the players he was bringing in, it was some of the best recruiting they’d had in a long time. Because of what Juice Williams did there and because people remember them playing in the Rose Bowl a few years back, they always have those expectations.”
Why hasn’t Illinois been able to win consistently?
Pollack — “I don’t know. The quality of the opponent in the Big Ten is not great. To expect to go to a bowl game, I don’t think that’s unfair expectations. It will be interesting to see what Illinois does.
“The bottom of the Big Ten has been really, really bad. The bottom of the Big Ten and the middle of the Big Ten needs to get better.
“If you are Illinois, you should be a heckuva lot more competitive than getting run off the field by Ohio State in the second quarter. They should be competitive in games.”
Will Illinois be better in 2014?
Palmer — “I think things are on the up. You look at Wes Lunt. That’s the right system for Illinois.”