Illini announce new OC, 10 members of incoming class enrolling early

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Illinois football announced Bill Cubit as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach following an eight-year stint as head coach at Western Michigan. Cubit led WMU to a 51-47 overall record and three bowls during his tenure with the Broncos.

With the hiring, Billy Gonzales will be re-assigned as wide receivers coach after serving as co-offensive coordinator in 2012. The other co-offensive coordinator was fired; thank goodness. You remember how atrocious the Illini were on offense in 2012, ranking 12th (dead last) in the Big Ten in most major categories and close to the bottom nationally.

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Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase tries to hi five referee, fails (video)

Early in the Illini Badgers game Saturday, Illinois had a lead. It didn’t last long as the Illini lost 31-14. But after scoring, Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase tries to actually hi five the referee. The zebra knows better than to do something showing allegiance like that, and Scheelhaase stumbles as the ref leaves him hanging.
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Illini coach Tim Beckman caught chewing on sidelines; NCAA violation

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Here’s a multi-media gaffe for you. Getting caught by television cameras with chewing tobacco when you’re a college football coach. And chew at practices and games is a NCAA violation for  players and coaches.

That’s what happened with Illini coach Tim Beckman, who apologized for it after his team got destroyed by the Wisconsin Badgers 31-14 Saturday.

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Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Wisconsin Badgers: Brutally Honest Preview

The Illinois Fighting Illini and Wisconsin Badgers have a lot in common in 2012 and it’s not a good thing. Most notably is the unexpected and disappointing starts  for both teams. Neither team looked half-decent against non-conference foes and both lost their Big Ten openers.

The Illini’s new head coach Tim Beckman could already be on the hot-seat and the Wisconsin Badgers are without any kind of identity on the offensive side of the ball.

Let the battle of the Big Ten’s Legends Division begin.

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Illini win Tim Beckman’s debut convincingly

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One thing is for sure- this Illinois Fighting Illini team can play some defense.

With starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase injured, safety Ashante Williams returned an interception 60 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown to help Illinois and new coach Tim Beckman hang on for a 24-7 win Saturday over Western Michigan in the season opener for both teams.

The Illini opened up a 17-0 lead but their offense stalled when Scheelhaase left the game with an ankle injury late in the third quarter.

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Illini Football Media Day highlights

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New Illinois football head coach Tim Beckman takes over for the fired Ron Zook. The rookie head coach (on a Big Ten level) from Toledo addressed the media yesterday (Here is the link to the 25 minute video) after a week at Camp Rantoul; the Illini train on the former Chanute air force base.

Here are some of the highlights of what he had to say

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#54 Illinois Fighting Illini: College Football 77 in 77

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The Illini started to get defensive, real defensive in the 2010 Texas Bowl. In that 38-14 trouncing of Robert Griffin III and Baylor, they held RG3 and the Bears in check.

The man who would win the Heisman trophy and become the #2 overall pick in the NFL Draft the very next season was out of rhythm, out of sync versus the Illini in Houston. And that D carried over into 2011, when they Illini had a top 10 national defense.

A lot of that was the personnel, a lot of it was coordinator Vic Koenning, who unfortunately had to move on when Ron Zook was replaced by Tim Beckman.

Can they keep it going this fall, despite the coaching changes?

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Can Tim Beckman keep Illini Defensive Dominance going?

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The Illini started to get defensive, real defensive in the 2010 Texas Bowl. In that 38-14 trouncing of Robert Griffin III and Baylor, they held RG3 and the Bears in check.

The man who would win the Heisman trophy and become the #2 overall pick in the NFL Draft the very next season was out of rhythm, out of sync versus the Illini in Houston. And that D carried over into 2011, when they Illini had a top 10 national defense.

A lot of that was the personnel, a lot of it was coordinator Vic Koenning, who unfortunately had to move on when Ron Zook was replaced by Tim Beckman.

Can they keep it going this fall, despite the coaching changes?

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Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase: should he keep his job?

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In the 2012 Illini spring game, they seemed to have the same exact issue that they have during the final seven games of 2011- throwing the ball forward.

Perhaps part of the spring scrimmage m.o. was to hold back that part of the offense, but then again it’s a preseason exhibition why wouldn’t you let it fly?
Unless it’s simply because you can’t?

And the statistics for starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase were extremely putrid that rainy Saturday, continuing the regression that he showed the final seven games of 2011.

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Illini Coach Tim Beckman: motivation through food

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STEAKS AND CAKES!!!

There’s food on the line yet again surrounding Illini football.

Earlier this week it was announced that this Illinois football spring game would have a couple culinary twists. Newly installed coach Tim Beckman decided that the losing team would have to eat frank and beans as their postgame meal.

Not sure what the winners got, but I’m assuming it’s real food.

‘‘This is a competition,’’ Beckman said. ‘‘The winner will be rewarded. The loser will get their beans and weenies. That’s the way it is. That’s life — that’s the game of football.’’

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Illini Hire Tim Beckman From Toledo: Very Underwhelming on Paper

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Ohio State hiring Urban Meyer this was not. Utah hiring Urban Meyer this could possibly be.

Even though it’s not official yet, conventional wisdom, the status quo and 4 out of 5 dentists agree: Toledo Rockets head Coach Tim Beckman will soon become the successor to Ron Zook at Illinois. This Illini head coaching hire has far less pizazz and excitement than any hire in recent memory. And that could be bad.

Then again the Zook hire had plenty of hoopla, and much of it was for the wrong reasons, so maybe going vanilla and “meh” is the right thing this time around?

I’m glad Illinois Athletic Director took some big swings, even if he whiffed on all of them.

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Top Immediate Priorities for New Illini Football Coach

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Ron Zook is gone. However, he was only one part of a larger college football problem in Champaign-Urbana. Zook “made history,” by becoming the first coach in FBS history to “accomplish” this feat- starting 6-0, finishing 6-6. But Zook wasn’t that much worse than Lou Tepper or Ron Zook, they all won only about a 1/3 of their Big Ten games.

So this needs to be a revolutionary hire for Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas. It needs to be a total sea change for Illini football; here’s a few hows and whys.

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