Illinois' next coach?

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Mike Leach of Texas Tech would be my choice to be the next head coach in the Big 10. There are at least two coaches on the hot seat at the moment, at Illinois and Wisconsin, and although Illini athletic director Ron Guenther is standing behind Ron Zook through the 2010 season, alumni aren't too happy about what is happening in Champaign.

Leach brings an exciting, innovative offense to college football. He is quirky but intelligent and seems to be one step ahead of everyone else offensively. He has proven to be a good recruiter but hasn't been able to beat Texas head-to-head, although he has begun to land blue-chippers because of the high-profile games he has won.

Here is a man who has a reputation as a players' coach, a good recruiter and a good evaluator of talent but, most of all, a good teacher of the offense he has invented.

You've probably seen him doing interviews on ESPN. He is personable and outgoing and maybe a bit on the over-the-top side. He is a media darling, no doubt about that. But coaching in Lubbock, which is akin to Iowa City or Madison or Champaign or West Lafayette or Bloomington, he has proven to be competitive with some of the elite programs in the country.

I haven't seen anyone like him in all my 30 years of evaluating high school players. He could stay in the Big 12. His rising popularity probably would allow him to recruit well in Texas, where there is enough talent to go around. But the Big 10 would be another world to conquer and he might be ready for the challenge.

Look around you, Big 10 fans. There is no prolific offense in the conference. Ohio State and Terrelle Pryor aren't what they were supposed to be, not yet. Zook arrived at Illinois with much fanfare and struck gold in one Rose Bowl appearance--but he has faded quickly and badly. Kirk Ferentz seems to have regained some magic at Iowa. But how long will it last? Will Rich Rodriguez turn Michigan around?

Leach doesn't have super talent at Texas Tech--Michael Crabtrees come along only once in a decade--but if he was able to recruit where he doesn't have to compete with Texas or Oklahoma, there could be no stopping him.

And wouldn't you love to see his offense in the Big 10?

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He may well be available after today's comments, but I think he's damaged goods and Illinois wouldn't go after him.

Hire Brian Kelly immediately!!!!!!!!!

Follow where I am going with this. 1st off, let me state that I love the Big 10 and as a SEC fan but a true College football fan, I think college football is better overall when the BIG 10 is a national factor. 2nd, The SEC up and until about 5 years ago was the 2nd or 3rd best top to bottom conference. With the Big 10 and 12 generally rotating. For majority of the late 80's-early 2000's we were a 3 team conference. But over the last few years due to the fall of FSU and Miami the SEC has started to get the all around talent in the south, specifically south florida. And the talent that used to go to those 2 institutions were going to SEC schools. If you don't believe me, count how many times from the Mid/early 90's - the early 2000's that both of those programs were ranked in top 4 when they played each other. If you need more evidence check the record FSU & Miami had against the SEC at that time.

Which brings me to my point. Now those two teams are back on the rise. And over the last 2 or 3 years talent has started going back to those schools over your top/mid tier SEC schools hence why the SEC is truthfully only a two team conference this year (LSU Didn't play any good teams yet..the only team that was good they lost too, check their offensive stats-some of the worst in the nation). Now couple that with USF becoming one of the best Teams in the Big East and soon U of F Gators will have to recruit nationally to maintain there success..and in the recent recruiting rankings they have been falling the last two years. No longer having to 3 recruiting classes.

So, with aforementioned schools rise and other recruiting hurdles(location, Gainesville is not near any water) So, they would loose out to Southern Cal in recruiting an athlete 8 times out of 10 that was from a state not in UF's region.)! The Florida Gators have and will continue to have to deal with these circumstances which means falling from there perch. And for that reason is why it is the perfect time to go after U of Florida's Defensive Coordinator Charlie Strong. Not only is he widely respected as one of the nation's best DC's, he's also an awesome recruiter and developer of athlete's into great defensive football player's.

The fact that Charlie Strong is an African American coach in the SEC plays to Illinois's favor. He has been a legit candidate for multiple Head coaching position's in the SEC and time and time again he has either not been interviewed or passed over for less proven or resume impressive candidate, who were white. He has been on several championship caliber coaching staff. And he has worked with a lot of great assistant coaches. So, he would know how, have the wisdom and has the connection to interview and hire awesome assistant coaches.

I mean can you imagine Charlie in a athlete rich state like Illinois. I mean Illinois had the most players in the NBA per capita a couple years ago..so, you know there is a lot of top athletes in state. Most of them play two sports, the other being Football. So, the guys who are good hoopers who get recruited to the MAC or Missouri Valley..if they played football he would get them to play football for the Illini. Also, as an African American coach he could lock up athletes in the Chicago area. And the states top player would start going to U of I instead of OSU, Arizona, ND and now USC. Zook, has been so worried about tapping into other states for talent that he hasn't locked up his own. I mean ND has taken top talent the last few years, Minnesota stole Brandon Green. U guys have the top receiver in the country and thinking about going to Cali. Even when Zook was getting great players from the DC area they have not been able to with stand the BIG 10 brand of football night in and night out, year in and year out. I mean look at the successful coaches in the SEC Meyer, Saban and Miles..they play power run, tuff defense ball..and it works. That's why you don't ever see SEC teams play BIG 10 teams in non conference but especially not mid season, to physical! Charlie Strong prides himself in a Tough Physical athletic defensive! Remember defensive wins national championship.

Trust me he would run to a tradition rich Big 10, because bottom line the SEC is not going to do another Ethnic Head Coach experiment for a while after Sylvester Croom. Especially not at one of the high profile schools in the SEC. It's a shame but point proof Auburn Hiring a Gene Chizik who had a horrible record at Iowa State over the African American Coach from Buffalo who won a conference Championship!

KEEP RON ZOOK, DON'T FORGET THE ROSE BOWL TWO YEARS AGO!
AFTER WHAT TERRY HAWTHORNE DID LAST SATURDAY, I HAVE A FEELING THAT OLD ILLINI SPIRIT IS BACK ON CAMPUS, GIVE THE MAN A CHANCE TO GET THE TRAIN BACK ON THE TRACK!
LETS RUN THE TABLE GENTLEMEN AND PROVE THAT THE FIGHTING ILLINI DOESN'T TAKE ANY PRISONERS!
KEEP RON ZOOK TODAY, TOMORROW, AND FOREVER!

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This page contains a single entry by Second Season published on October 29, 2009 2:29 PM.

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