OT: Illinois Week - Zook Factor

Submitted by MGoBlueMyself on October 17th, 2016 at 3:02 PM

Found this in the annals of MGoBlog history. Poor guy went from some genuinely positive takes by Brian to an analytical qualifier for opposing coaches and came to define "stupid coaching decisions that fly in the face of game theory." 

Zook to the Illini

 
By Brian — December 7th, 2004 at 10:14 AM — 29 comments
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Ron Zook has taken the Illinois job.

Thoughts: good move for the Illini. Zook obviously connected quite strongly with his players at UF, even though he didn't win as much as they would have liked. For all the kvetching from UF fans, Chris Leak was a freshman last year, a sophomore this year. it's really tough to win with a young QB under center. Zook brought in a couple monster classes as Florida head coach and he's got name recognition. If he can turn UI into the natural destination for the Chicagoland area he can make UI a winner.

Comments

Ali G Bomaye

October 17th, 2016 at 3:09 PM ^

That take on Zook's hiring arguably ended up being pretty accurate. Zook did recruit better at Illinois than anyone had done in a while, getting top recruits like Rashard Mendenhall, Juice Williams, Arrelious Benn, Cory Liuget, and Martez Wilson. And he had brief success with those recruits, taking the Illini to a Rose Bowl in 2007. But he was definitely limited by his stupid coaching decisions.

HarbaughsLeftElbow

October 17th, 2016 at 3:45 PM ^

Exactly. People act like Zook was a terrible coach overall. In reality he was churning out NFL talent at a pretty high level and his teams were at least mediocre in any given year. He was definitely better than Beckman and I suspect he will end up with a better tenure than Smith as well (failed career NFL coaches are generally not great in college). 

jmblue

October 18th, 2016 at 8:53 AM ^

It's a little different though.

In 2006 we were clearly the next-best team in the Big Ten and #3 in the nation going into the bowl season.  We were the obvious choice for the Rose Bowl.

In 2007, Illinois finished tied for second in the league with Michigan, and we beat them head-to-head.  They really shouldn't have been chosen, but either because they had a better overall record or BCS ranking (I forget), they were.  (Was the Rose Bowl bound to choose a Big Ten team?  I forget.)  They should have been more like an Outback Bowl team.

 

mGrowOld

October 17th, 2016 at 3:15 PM ^

Meaning punting from your opponent's 35 yard line on a 4th and 3 instead of going for it as every statisical analytic says you should if you dont have a great kicker.

What's funny about that is that while both he and Frenz were the WORST at doing this in every game except one.  Against us these two became analyitcal wonderchild going for it every chance they had and throwing caution to the wind.

umchicago

October 17th, 2016 at 4:33 PM ^

or just didn't care when at illini.  i saw a video clip of him at practice during the season where he was calling out to one of his players...by his number.  he didn't even know his name.  that is someone who doesn't care...or is stupid.

DPUblue

October 17th, 2016 at 5:08 PM ^

As much as I want to pile on the Zooker, this is pretty common. I've been watch the FSU series on Showtime (for the schadenfraude), and Jimbo routinely calls his players by numbers....cmon #4 (Dalvin Cook)...I think Jimbo knows who Dalvin Cook is.

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