DC Vic Koenning Leaving Illini; Headed to North Carolina? Auburn? Troy?

vic-koenning

Before Vic Koenning took over the Illini defense in 2010, the unit was among the worst in college football.  Under Koenning, the 2011 Illini finished second in the Big Ten and seventh nationally in total defense.

“Y’all know me,’’ Koenning said. “I’m only as good as the staff. The success we had this year was because of us. It was the defensive staff and the players.’

It’s a shame Vic has to go; it really is. New Head Coach Tim Beckman offered him the chance to keep the defensive coordinator job, but Koenning turned it down.

Nothing definite announced for Koenning‘s future job but he clearly has some options. According to Carolina Blue:

Sources close to the situation report that Illinois interim head coach and former defensive coordinator Vic Koenning is expected to join Larry Fedora’s staff at UNC.

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Ron Zook Fired! Illini A.D. Addresses Media (Video)

illinois-celebration

You look at the pic above and think “what does a celebration from the Illinois Fighting Illini 2004-05 college basketball season have to do with this?” The long overdue firing of the school’s college football coach Ron Zook.

Well, when I searched for google images of “Illini celebration,” it was all hoops images. (which says something about why the Zooker is being jettisoned. And, I needed an orange and blue celebration pic for a news like this.

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Which Illini Coordinator Gets Ron Zook’s (Interim) Job?

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In 2009, a very underachieving Illini football team finished 3-9. Picked as high as third by some Big Ten and college football pundits, the horrible record was nothing short of a catastrophe for the resume of Ron Zook and the Illinois program.

Or so I thought.

Logic dictated then Illinois Athletic Director Ron Guenther can Zook then and there. Unfortunately, Guenther had FOOLISHLY given Zook a big, expensive contract extension before that season, and buying him out would have been just about financially impossible.

So what did Guenther/Illinois do? They doubled down on a losing hand. Sort of.

They brought in two flashy, expensive coordinators to take as much responsibility off of Zook’s plate as possible. Vic Koenning for the defense, Paul Petrino for the offense.

So which one gets the gig now?

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Illinois Fighting Ilini Season Preview: Defense

If there’s one thing I know in life, it’s that Illinois college football never ever conforms to your expectations. No one saw their two BcS appearances coming (2001, 2007); and since they followed both seasons up with sub .500 choking, both these bowl appearances are now looked upon as fluky. Whenever Illinois has been predicted to do well (2000, 2002, 2008, 2009) they fell flat on their faces. And their bowl wins (last year, 1999) come in seasons when everyone predicts them to finish near the Big Ten basement.

And I know a lot about this stuff.

My first ever sports memory was their destruction at the hands of UCLA in the 1984 Rose Bowl. I attended my first Illini game in 1991. In addition to covering the team for the school paper when I was in school there, two of my older siblings went to UI. In other words, it’s “my team,” and one of the three teams I cover regularly.

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Illinois Fighting Illini Showing a VASTLY Improved Run Defense

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Through the first three games of the season, there’s one facet of the 2010 Illinois Fighting Illini football team that is GREATLY improved over the 2009 squad- run defense. The Illini were terrible against the run last year, finishing ninth in the Big Ten in rushing yards allowed per game, and within the bottom third nationally.

Through the first two games, the Illini ranked 12th in the nation with 72.0 yards allowed per game, and 22nd nationally in points allowed (13.0 per game) They did surrender 163 yards on the ground and 22 points to MAC foe NIU today, but the comparison over last year is still very favorable.

In 2010, the defense has yielded 48 points and 999 yards through the first three contests, while last year the Illini gave up 84 points and and 1,158 yards. That’s a difference of 12 points and 50+ yards per game.

And the change starts at the top, with new Defensive Coordinator Vic Koenning in place.

By Paul M. Banks

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