The Day After: It Can't Get Any Worse, Can It?

Reid Compton-US PRESSWIRE

Breaking down yesterday's loss while counting down the days until basketball season.

So in These Four Things on Friday I listed the four things -- what a coincidence! -- that I thought the Illini had to do to beat Indiana on Saturday. Those four things were

1. Score first - Check!

2. Run the ball - 196 yards on 55 carries, not great, but effective enough. Check!

3. Limit turnovers - Well, there were 2 turnovers, but Indiana had 1 as well, so it wasn't that bad. Still, no check here.

4. Organization on defense - On a whole the defense played well when it wasn't committing incredibly dumb penalties to keep Indiana drives alive. So a half-check.

Unfortunately I forgot to list "keep a team that has had only 12 sacks on the season from sacking your quarterback 7 times." Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.

Honestly, there are a lot of problems with this Illinois team this season, but yesterday's game brought the biggest one to the forefront. This offensive line is terrible. I haven't gone over a replay of the game yet, but I'm terrified of what I'm going to see from this offensive line.

There is simply no stunt a defense can run that we can block. Nathan Scheelhaase was just a tackling dummy on Saturday, and after taking shot after shot from Indiana defenders all day, he broke. Not physically, but mentally. It felt like every time he dropped back to pass in the fourth quarter he wasn't looking for a receiver as much as he was looking for a blitzer and just waiting to be hit.

Which is why I wish the Illini had run the ball more often. I get why they couldn't late when trailing by two scores, but there were more than a few situations when Whoever It Is That's Calling The Plays made some truly baffling decisions.

I'd name just one play in particular, but the truth is there were just too many. Things like going with an empty backfield on third and 2 when you've been picking up chunks of yards on the ground. Shit that just doesn't make any sense.

"But they think we're going to run!"

So what? Execute and it doesn't matter.

And not to pile on Tim Beckman, who is going to have the heat turned up on him even more this week, all the problems this team is experiencing scream coaching to me. It's not just the play-calling.

The lack of discipline on defense with the personal fouls killed the Illini yesterday. Of Indiana's four touchdown drives, two were helped by personal fouls -- Terry Hawthorne's moved the Hoosiers to the Illinois 23-yard line, and Justin Staples' late hit gave Indiana a first down.

Then there was the offensive line which looks like it hasn't actually been taught anything about pass-blocking. It surely couldn't have just been a talent mismatch. Or maybe it is. I mean, this is a team that's not allowed 35 sacks in eight games. That's 4.375 sacks allowed per game.

So maybe the entire offensive line is just absolutely terrible and there's nothing Luke Butkus can do about it. Of course, if that's actually the case, then the play-calling has to be adjusted further. You can't just keep calling the same plays hoping the line will get things right that time.

Next week, of course, the Illini travel to Columbus to take on an Ohio State team that's 9-0. That should be fun. Not only will it be our offensive line against the Buckeyes front seven, but it will be Beckman and Co. against Urban Meyer and Co.

Should be a blast.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Champaign Room

You must be a member of The Champaign Room to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Champaign Room. You should read them.

Join The Champaign Room

You must be a member of The Champaign Room to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Champaign Room. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker