Attendance one part of Illinois' knotty problem
Apologies for giving an incorrect figure for Illinois' home attendance, which is 48,365 a game. Mistakes like that put a knot in my stomach.
It's especially unfortunate because it detracts from the discussion about why Illini fans seem circumspect in their support of this football team. Regardless of numbers, that discussion is going on among Illini media and fans--and, I would expect, within the athletic department.
I don't know what to make of it.
On one hand, it seems like fans ought to rally around coach Ron Zook for this success. I'd expect those who attribute the winning to the coaching staff to realize that things like this happen--that head coaches who compensate for their deficiencies by hiring assistants who fill in the gaps.
I also believe the people who would like to anoint offensive coordinator Paul Petrino don't necessarily see the whole picture. There are a lot of things involved in being a head coach. Paul certainly is positioning himself well, and I expect he'll be very successful. But the clamor reminds me of fans who want to see the backup quarterback, the one who hasn't played. They see only the upside.
On the other hand, popularity is not solely a product of winning. And Zook's game-day gaffes have really put off some Illini fans.
Where is this headed? Where should it be headed? Those questions are difficult to answer at this point.
That's the issue I wanted to raise.
Thanks for reading.
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