As I went over in The Day After on Sunday, this Illinois offense is not just a clusterfuck on the field, but in the coaches box as well. The role of both our offensive coordinators was revealed over the weekend, as we found out that Chris Beatty calls plays for first and second down while Billy Gonzalez handles third.
So, obviously, the only next logical step that can be taken is to throw another coach into the play-calling stew. A dash of Tim Beckman for flavor!
Illinois coach Tim Beckman already meets regularly with the offensive staff, but after the Illini's 17-3 loss to Minnesota, he said Saturday that he needs to spend even more time with the unit and make stronger suggestions.
"I just give them what I see," he said Monday as the Illini prepared to host Purdue in the home finale. "I've been doing more and more of that. I just got done meeting with them this afternoon. We just talked a little bit about some short-yardage plays."
Beckman also gave a little more detail on the way it works, saying that Gonzalez calls third and medium and third and long plays. Meaning that Chris Beatty is calling plays on third and short. Maybe we should complicate it even further by having Beatty call plays on third and odds while Gonzalez takes third and evens.
Or maybe we shouldn't tinker with the formula at all. I mean, it's obviously working really well, what with the Illini converting 32.45% (49 for 151) of their third downs this season. That's good enough for dead last in the conference and 111th nationally.
Though that number does improve to 27.78% in conference play! Though, in this case, improve means declines even further. But it's higher than I thought it was, so it seems like an improvement.
As for how to solve all this, it's simple. Screw the coaching and play-calling. I think the only possible solution to our third down problems is to never have a third down. At least then we'd only have one person calling the plays.