So there is still no official word from Illinois following Football Scoop's report last night that former Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit will be our new offensive coordinator, but Scott Powers from ESPN Chicago is also reporting that the hire will happen. So it looks like Bill Cubit will be our new offensive coordinator.
How should we feel about it?
Well, personally, I've wanted Illinois to adopt a style of offense similar to what we've seen at Wisconsin for the last 20 years and we see from Stanford and SEC schools. I just think that the talent in the area is better suited for this kind of offense. However, that's not the kind of offense Bill Cubit will be running, but that doesn't mean I'm against it either.
Last night I asked Matt Sussman of the Hustle Belt -- SB Nation's MAC blog -- for his thoughts on Cubit and he had positive things to say.
His Western Michigan teams were never terrible, they were never great either, but always scored; interceptions killed them this year. I like him as an offensive coordinator.
He also recruited Florida. Like, a lot. Look at the roster, more Florida than Michigan players.
And a quick look at Western Michigan's roster reveals 39 players from Florida. This is not a bad thing. Tim Beckman has already shown us an ability to recruit in Ohio, which is the most fertile recruiting ground in the Big Ten, and adding a guy like Cubit that's obviously had success in Florida is going to help us there.
But recruiting is only one aspect of what Cubit brings. He's going to be judged by what his offenses do on Saturdays during the fall, so I put together a table for you of Cubit's offenses while he was head coach at Western Michigan.
For comparison's sake, here's the Illinois offense since 2007.
So, as you can see, we're going to be passing a lot more often than we're used to. And while I prefer a power running game -- which there will be aspects of in Cubit's offense, even if it's not run-first -- all I truly care about is an offense that can put points on the board. Which Cubit has shown an ability to do.
No matter the system Cubit is going to run, what will determine his success will be the offensive line. There is no offensive system that would have worked last year with the offensive line we had. When that improves I'm guessing the offense will too.
The other factor will be how Cubit can adapt to our quarterbacks. While Nathan Scheelhaase had a bad season in 2012, his two seasons prior to that weren't terrible as a passer. He finished with efficiency ratings in the 130s while averaging over 7 yards per attempt.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it's not like Cubit was working with Andrew Luck at Western Michigan. His leading passers at WMU since 2005 were Tim Hiller, Ryan Cubit, Tyler Van Tubbergen and Alex Carder. Not exactly a murderer's row of quarterbacks.
The key will be how quickly Scheelhaase picks things up. There's still a chance that Aaron Bailey can come in and start right away next season, but given the offense he ran in high school, I'm thinking a redshirt year is the more likely possibility now. Bailey has a strong arm, but Cubit's offense is a complete 180 from what he's been working in.
In the end, I think what's truly important here as far as the football program is concerned is that Tim Beckman wasn't stubborn. He realized the way he and his staff did things last season did not work and that a change was needed, so he made that change. He also brought in a coach with plenty of experience.
So while I don't know whether this will end up being a success for Illinois or Tim Beckman, I do know that Beckman's doing the right things. Now I just hope they work.