From The Stands - Western Illinois

Sep 09, 2018

OK, this was more From The Field. I went down there at the end of the game to say hi to my son's friend (who plays for WIU), and then I just stayed down there recording this. It's very ramble-y again. I'm just not in a good place. I don't see a clear plan right now, and when I can't see a plan, I feel like I'm in the deep end of the pool, searching around for somewhere to put my feet.


WeatherfordForMVP on September 09 @ 02:42 AM CDT


By how much did you expect the Illini to beat a pretty decent FCS opponent missing at least 5 starters and with the first string QB going down early in the 2nd quarter? (Do I have that right? Was it late in the 1st?) You seem inordinately down about the program after what seems to me to be a decent showing.

I kind of understand the concern about "a plan," although with the new rules I feel like there is a LOT of room to work with the most junior players in the first 4-6 games. Especially if you're trying to instill both a winning and a high-integrity program, as it would seem Lovie is trying to do.

I do share your thoughts on Robinson's series...I'm not seeing why that was the right answer. Maybe there were similar issues all over the field on both sides of the ball that were not as visible. But see the previous paragraph about the first 4-6 games. That applies to QB as well, especially if AJ Bush isn't out for an extended period of time (which does not appear to be the case, as best I can tell).

"We're losing to Western Illinois." Just to be clear, that lasted for a few minutes of game clock. The Illini won 34-7 over the last three quarters and 34-14 over the course of the game. Before the game, most would be thrilled with that result (including you, I predicted an 18-point win).

Things are better today than yesterday. Enjoy it, man! :)

illlinizeeman on September 09 @ 07:02 AM CDT

Huge overreaction in my opinion. Each player is on a 4 yr contract with an option year, but the option year is at the beginning of the contract.

The first 2 games may be the only chance for some freshmen to play. Add in two or 3 blowouts and now you're at 4 games in which they can play. Until they play in 5 games, there isnt much to complain about. What do you expect the plan to be when the QB, 3 top WR and 4 top DBs are out? Thank goodness Lovie is using the walk-on program to bring in serviceable players. That seems like a good plan.

It's obvious they don't want to tax Epstein early on as he is clearly #1. That was immensely nit-picky. Secondly, I counted about 10 different plays that they ran the entire game. The plan was to not show anything.

Yeah, slow start again. Give WIU a smidge of credit for having a few decent players, and we're still immensely young. Do FCS teams provide tape?

I call it the Aaron Rodgers play where the center snaps the ball on an encroachment and the OL remain frozen while the WR takes off for a throw down the sideline. It looks like they've been practicing that. That's a sign of growth.

The only thing that made the game painful for me was the number of penalties. There was only one or two on an upperclassmen so I'll chalk that up to youth (and some bad refereeing).

ktal on September 09 @ 09:09 AM CDT

I think the plan is, "Let's see what we've got." Only the first two games of the season were obvious spots where we might have the opportunity to see youth on the field and still get the W.

If they're limiting Epstein to boost the odds that he's available later in the season, (while still getting the W), I'm all for it. Also getting Robinson on the field for a few snaps, to get that first taste and anxiety out of the way, seems forward-looking to me. Depending on AJ's foot, Robinson might be backing up Rivers for a game or two. If so, prefer that he's taken snaps in live action, (he was probably taking the snaps they expected to use on Rivers before AJ went down.)

One thing that worries me at QB is that Bush reminds me more of Beutjer than Kittner, which is extremely unsettling to me. I never trusted Beutjer's decision-making, and always feared he could turn an easy pass into an incompletion, or a three yard gain on the ground into a nine yard loss. Rivers reminded me more of Kittner. I had confidence that no matter what the situation Kittner could make a throw that could flip the script. He rarely made decisions that hurt us, (and I was at the Purdue game where he threw three INT's in the first half...then won), regardless of the pressure. Look at how Bush vs Rivers handle breakdowns in the me, one looks composed and one looks skittish. I want the composed one, because that pocket is going to be a pressure cooker this year.

20 point win, and a lot of new guys got a taste of the field. I like that.

Lou-a-villini on September 09 @ 09:20 AM CDT

How would you have felt if Epstein goes down with a season ending injury while up 2+ touchdowns?

Do you know what team rules the suspended players broke? (I don’t.) Are there any circumstances in which a 2 (or more) game suspension is in everyone’s best interest, or should we just go all (t)OSU and look the other way so we can win at all costs? I’ll assume Lovie knows what he’s doing there.

And, oh yeah, we’re still the youngest team in college football.

larue on September 09 @ 09:58 AM CDT

I don't know what rule(s) they broke either, but I know that the penalty for a third failed drug test is a three game suspension, and that's pretty standard across college football as far as I can tell. The NCAA lets schools set any drug policy they want, they don't even have to test for drugs. But it is an NCAA violation to fail to enforce whatever policy has been set.

jdapisa on September 09 @ 09:50 AM CDT

Robert criticizing the staff: "It feels like the coaching staff is reactionary to what is happening."

Robert in real life: Being reactionary to what is happening.

You're taking the negative spin on everything man. Don't need you to be a cheerleader, but this is getting hard to read/listen to.

The DIA sets certain suspension guidelines and lengths. How is that the coaching staff's fault?

NC_OrangeKrush on September 09 @ 10:28 AM CDT

1st, everyone take it easy on Robert, he is not wrong in what he is seeing..

But perspective of this being a '2nd year program' vs.3rd would also help. The recruits we had QB situation the last 2 years, is telling. Year 1 of good QBs is starting, and freshmen continue to play BECAUSE WE ARE GETTING QUALITY GUYS...
Plus, this is year 1 of 4 game redshirts, so I will believe they have a plan. And Robert's old paradigm is still to change... I am sure it will. These frosh shouldn't play vs. good B1G teams, but if needed for a game or 2, having the first one against WIU is preferred... kinda like Eastern on the basketball side LY. And holding guys accountable is a long term play with a huge group of freshmen and sophomores... Go Lovie!

Now strategy on the game clock, can't say Robert is over reacting there..

Go Illini

illiniranger on September 09 @ 10:28 AM CDT

My thoughts align with Robert’s. Not seeing it.

Out policy for a failed recreational drug test should be “coaches discretion.” It’s 2018, we shouldn’t suspend guys a quarter of the season for weed. Hell, we shouldn’t even be testing for it if we aren’t forced to.

jdapisa on September 09 @ 10:38 AM CDT

I agree we shouldn't. But why are we criticizing Lovie when he has no control of the situation?

larue on September 09 @ 10:59 AM CDT

The NCAA does some random drug testing during the season, and I believe their penalties for a failed test are pretty harsh. So if you don't test guys are probably more likely to fail those tests, though certainly less likely to be tested.

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