It's tough to watch this program flounder like this week in, week out.
Maryland is a talented football team, no question. However, again, they should not be a team that takes whatever it wants against a Lovie Smith defense in year three.
Maybe that's the biggest myth, that Smith is some kind of defensive savior who can immediately turn that side of the ball around. If anything, we have regressed horribly from season to season. In three years at Illinois, he's shown little propensity for altering the losing mentality of this football program.
College football is not that hard. You see teams like Syracuse, Virginia, Purdue, Iowa State and Arizona State (who also hired a former NFL head coach, with markedly different results), who don't have illustrious football backgrounds to lean on competing with and beating traditional powers. As I write this, the TV just flashed that Kentucky(!) is ranked 12th in the country.
And here's Illinois, who got absolutely owned by a mediocre Maryland team that ranks 125th in the country in passing offense. Who were shut out last week with 115 yards of offense to show for it. It's embarrassing and there should rightfully be a call for sweeping changes from this fanbase.
They deserve better.
On to the takeaways.
You know what, there's nothing positive to take away from this.
Everything else, from defense to wide receivers, to special teams was a disaster. MJ Rivers looks like he could be solid, but he was injured late in the first half and his receivers did him no favors. Trenard Davis, who has been consistently solid this year, leads the receivers, averaging less than 40 yards receiving per game. That's not great. The drops. The drops. One after another. It was hard to watch.
Prospective recruits talk about Illinois not getting 60 balled. Well, that just happened, as Maryland made it 63-33 with over 700 yards of offense. My eyes are bleeding. I can't unsee these putrid numbers.
Remember how I wrote that Josh Whitman should have a list compiled of potential coaching candidates ready by the end of 2019? I think it's time to ramp up that timeframe significantly.
There are four games left on the schedule for 2018. Right now I wouldn't count any of them as even being competitive. Against 4-4 Minnesota. 2-6 Nebraska. An up and down Northwestern team that almost lost to Rutgers but beat Wisconsin. And Iowa, whoo boy. Shouldn't that be the biggest indictment of the Lovie Smith era? That we can't even compete against that?
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