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A Change Needs To Be Made On Defense

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There's only one more guaranteed week left in the Illini football season and the defense is no better than it was last year. Something has to give.

Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

The Illinois Fighting Illini currently sit at 5-6. It's not hyperbole to say that this weekend's game against Northwestern might literally be the most important game of Tim Beckman's coaching career. If the Illini win, AD Mike Thomas will have a difficult time firing Beckman. If the Wildcats win, the decision is a little easier but still not an enjoyable experience for either man.

I've already written an article about replacing Tim Beckman, so I'd suggest reading that instead of me retyping it. No, today's article is suggesting something else entirely. No matter what the result of Saturday's game, defensive coordinator Tim Banks needs to be replaced.

Banks has been the defensive coordinator throughout the entire tenure of the Beckman years. That's three years to build a consistent system, to recruit your own athletes that will fit into your schemes. Over those three years, the Illini defense has been putrid. The defensive backs take bizarre angles to the ball. The defensive line fails to be disruptive. No one can tackle. This is how Banks units have ranked since 2012.

2012 2013 2014

Yards Allowed

Per Game

55th 113th 115th

Rushing Yards Allowed

Per Game

97th 119th 123rd

Yards Allowed

Per Play

86th 114th 108th

Points Allowed

Per Game

95th 106th 105th

Opponent's 3rd Down

Conversion Rate

24th 107th 112th

Or maybe you prefer advanced stats. I'll accommodate you folks as well.

2012 2013 2014
Defensive FEI 56th 102nd 94th

Defensive

S&P

88th 103rd 89th

Holy crap, those numbers are bad. The 2012 defense could be called mediocre, if you're feeling charitable. Subpar feels a bit more accurate. But scroll back up and look at how bad those 2013 and 2014 numbers are. Only in the advanced stats do we not rate in the bottom 20% of all FBS teams. I will repeat that: ONLY IN THE ADVANCED STATS DO WE NOT RATE IN THE BOTTOM 20% OF ALL FBS TEAMS.

The offense was horrible in 2012 and both offensive coordinators were replaced. For whatever reason, Tim Banks managed to keep his job after last season despite a complete cratering of his unit. This is now consecutive years of absolutely abysmal defensive production. That's unacceptable. No matter what happens Saturday, a change needs to be made at defensive coordinator this winter.

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