Opposing Big Ten Coaches Give Anonymous Thoughts On Illinois

USA TODAY Sports

Find out what opposing coaches think of the Illini.

So Athlon Sports asked Big Ten coaches to give their opinions on the other schools in the conference, and allowed them to do so anonymously. By not attaching a name to the comments it allows coaches to step outside of the typical coach-speak and actually tell you what they think.

So what did they think about the Illini?

Well, while nobody said anything mean about the team, nobody sounds all that worried about it either.

"I don't think Ron Zook left the cupboard bare there. Tim Beckman had some players to work with. They just need some time to understand what it takes to win." ...

"It's obviously a big year for Tim. Look for them to try to establish a toughness all the way around, because they didn't really have anything to hang their hat on offensively or defensively. They struggled in a lot of areas." ...

"These kids are going through another offense. Football is still football, but they have four quarterbacks, and those guys have had to learn several different offenses over the last few years. There's only so much you can install during the spring when you have a new offense like that." ...

"They have some talent. To sit here and say (4-star quarterback recruit Aaron) Bailey can come in and start, there's no book written on that. There are so many variables." ...

"At the running back position, they are focused on being a more downhill, north-south running team - get yourself a 4-yard gain, don't worry so much about an 8-yard gain."

I pretty much agree with everything that was said, but if there was one thing I'd nitpick it's the very first comment about Ron Zook not leaving the cupboard bare. It's such a misleading statement because it makes it sound as though the coach left a ton of talent behind.

And while this team still had some good talent left on the roster when Beckman took over, the cupboards weren't exactly full either. I mean, if I have a couple cans of soup in my cupboard the cupboard isn't bare, but it's still just a couple cans of soup.

Also, the comment about there being no book written on a  four-star quarterback coming in and starting right away, that's not exactly true. Nathan Scheelhaase was a four-star quarterback when he came to Champaign in 2010 and he started. He'd rack up 2,693 yards and 22 total touchdowns while doing so, ending the season with a 38-14 win over Baylor -- remember when the Illini beat RG3!? -- in the Texas Bowl to end the season while doing so as well.

Still, by and large, just about everything the coaches said is true.

Follow The Champaign Room on Twitter at @Champaign_Room and Like us on Facebook. You can follow Tom Fornelli on Twitter at @TomFornelli.

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