Spartan Nation 2010 Spring Scouting Report: University of Illinois

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The Spartans took care of Illinois in 2009.  In the interest for being fair, so did everyone else.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

The Spartans took care of Illinois in 2009. In the interest for being fair, so did everyone else. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Spartan Nation 2010 Spring Scouting Report:Â University of Illinois

2009 Actual Season Record:Â 3-9 (2-6)

Spartan Nation Predicted 2009 Regular Season Record: 10-2 (6-2) 

Predicted 2010 record:Â 5-7 (3-5)

Projected Big Ten 2010 Standing: 9th         

Head Coach:Â Ron Zook

What went right in 2009? Very little. In truth they had top tier talent and they finished in the cellar. It was one of the worst coaching performances in the history of major college football. The team quit and the staff was clueless. Illinois fans that bought tickets to watch college football should get a refund.

This was by far my worst prediction on record and the talent said more, but this staff was simply atrocious.

What went wrong in 2009? Everything. They could do nothing right. They tried everything and everything failed. Coaches were frustrated, fans were frustrated and players were beyond frustrated.

I know of coaches who were talking about getting out before the season was over and players expressing the same. It was an abysmal mark on an excellent and proud University.

Analysis: MORE THAN one Illinois employee who cited the vacuum of leadership at the school (multiple high level vacancies) as reason for Zook not being canned. One of their media members told Mark Boomgaard and I, “They simply couldn’t afford to fire him. Now they will lose even more money this year and not have a choice. I am beyond shocked he is here and it was a terrible move. Now they wonder why no one is talking football.” Ouch.

They were 11th in the Big ten in scoring offense. An unfathomable stat with that offense and that talent they had on hand to execute it. They gave up more points on defense than any team in the Big Ten and ninth in points scored. The fans have turned and although I am not an Illinois insider, whatever reason they have for not making a change it should not turn out well after this season.

Illinois is a great school and they deserve much better than they are getting. This spring they have to fill in a lot of holes and they need a lot of young players to step up and old players to buy in. Aside from coaches, players and the school, Illinois has great fans and how long will they tolerate this program floundering?

Ron Zook had talent on his roster and it didn’t perform. He has gone through staff at an alarming rate and this is a program in trouble. I know of two very successful coaches that covet this job, and multiple others who all shook their heads in shock that Zook is back. I do not EVER root for good people to lose their job and I think Zook is a good person. Based solely on performance you have to echo the old Detroit Lions coaches quote and ask at Illinois, “What does a coach have to do to get fired?”

On Thursday we will take a look at the Northwestern Wildcats.