Special teams coach Tim Salem and defensive line coach Greg Colby were not retained for next year's Illini football staff, according to a press release from the university. Here's more on the background of each coach, directly from the press release:
Salem, the Illini special teams coordinator in 2014, joined the Illini staff in 2012, coaching running backs during his first two seasons, in addition to his special teams duties.
Colby served as the Illini defensive line coach the last two seasons, which was his second stint on the Illinois staff. He was a defensive coach for John Mackovic and Lou Tepper from 1988-95. A native of Danville, Colby is a 1975 graduate of the UI who lettered in both football and baseball.
For both coaches, this was probably about a lack of recruiting prowess more than anything. However, the on-field work by each was nothing to write home about. Tim Salem brought positive changes to the special teams unit last year, but they regressed in every single category this season and the place kicking was often horrifying. They weren't as bad as the Zook-era special teams this season, but just about any unit in the country was better than Zook's.
As for Colby, I don't have to tell you that the defensive line has struggled the last two years. They haven't seen much of an influx of talent on that end at all, aside from Jihad Ward and Paul James, the latter of whom has yet to see the field in a significant capacity. There's been a constant lack of pressure from that unit and it's led to record futility in both pass and run defense. Some of that is coaching, some of that is recruiting, but it comes down on one man and that's Greg Colby.
Ideally, Illinois will hire at least one outstanding recruiter to replace these two. Having an Alex Golesh-type stud for the defensive side would be a huge boost to the team. Typically aggressive recruiting is the role of the special teams coordinator (because it's not exactly a necessary position to have on staff), so look out for whomever fills that role. Also, somebody recruit a damn good kicker already.
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