It probably shapes up as one of college football's toughest jobs. But Bill Cubit sounds confident he can perk up Illinois' listless offense.
Introduced Wednesday, Illinois' new offensive coordinator said he believes a unit that finished last in the Big Ten in scoring (16.7 ppg) and yards (296.7) can be molded into a successful group.
``I'm looking for a long, long time here and a lot of winning,'' said Cubit, who's made a quick film study since Tim Beckman hired him. ``There is talent here. I think they all can play. You just have to put them in the right spots.''
Cubit, 59, was hired officially at Illinois on Monday, but apparently has been surveying his new assignment since early January, when he reportedly signed on.
He was fired in November after eight years at Western Michigan, where he was 51-47 but fashioned some potent offenses. He also has been an offensive coordinator at Missouri (2000), Rutgers (2001-02) and Stanford (2003-04), during a coaching career that began in 1975.
``The evaluation process for me is, `What can we do to get a good offense in here?' '' said the Sharon, Pa., native, adding that he'll run an offense that's tailored to his players' strengths. ``In this league, you have to be balanced, and you have to spread them out, too--because the talent level is not going to be up to par vs. some of the teams we play. You have to find a way. That's what we've always done.''
Cubit said he's liked Beckman's approach since their Mid-American Conference days. He had other offers, but Illinois ``was a no-brainer,'' he said, because of his belief in Beckman and his fondness for the Big Ten's tradition.
``I have a lot of respect for coach Beck,'' Cubit said. ``He's given me free rein. This is what I want to do. Everywhere I've been, it's been a reclamation project. I kind of like that. I enjoying giving kids a plan and all of a sudden you're pretty successful. That's been my whole career. That's what I want to do.''