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Potluck: How would YOU fix Illinois Football?

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Plus, we draft Mountain West teams, for some reason. We don’t know, either.

STL Post-Dispatch

Hi! Are you enjoying Illinois Week? No? Well, like the weather in [insert your city here], give it 10 minutes.

We haven’t done a potluck yet, and I’ll be honest: That’s a damn shame. Potlucks are a B1G 201x institution here at Off Tackle Empire, and they’re a chance to get staff input on each team, hear readers’ thoughts, and inject a little whimsy into Thump screaming into the void.

We love you, buddy. We’re here for you.

So I’d like to organize a little impromptu potluck here. This came out of a couple Slack DMs Thump sent me this morning, in which he continued his excellent rant on Illinois’ uniforms:

the worst part is that there’s supposed to be basketball uniforms too.

which means they might take away our throwbacks on the grounds of “you guys haven’t made the tournament in 5 years, you have to look like a mountain west team now”

And, well, that inspired me.

Actually, it inspired me to talk about Mountain West football, but I figured we’d class up the proceedings by riffing off this morning’s piece and ask a couple questions of the OTE staff. No food choice today, because I’m too lazy:

(1) You have been appointed the Illinois AD. Our condolences. What is the one thing--besides winning--you would do for the Illinois football program to return it to the glory of...John Mackovic, I guess?
Would you clean house? Give the team a fresh new look for the millennials? Hire Dave Brandon? Give us your one-fix solution for Illinois football’s woes.

BigRedTwice: I’d move Illinois to Chicago. I am told that youths like cities.

LGHF: I was always taught that running a sweet, niche offense is the best way to a) bridge a talent gap, which will always exist between Illinois and their opponents and b) get the kids excited.

I would run the first triple option spread offense. Follow me on this. Think Army combined with Washington State. Either we’re running a dive, pitch, counter, or a five yard out to Dudek. Don’t ask me about formations or blocking. Just make it happen. Become a story. Do something different, don’t just be an orange lost cause in the middle of cornfields, like a felon escaping from a prison in the middle of nowhere.

BRT: “Don’t just be an orange lost cause in the middle of cornfields, like a felon escaping from a prison in the middle of nowhere.”

This is a very excellent description.

Stewmonkey13: Fix: commitment. That means resources: money, time, admittance, etc. Having a thought out plan, getting buy-in from the ammunition and coaching staff, sticking to it for at least 4 years (pending obvious faults).

Boilerman31: At this point, burn it down and start afresh. You’re basically Purdue two years ago.

Find a young up-and-comer with an innovative offensive scheme. Something to inject some excitement into an otherwise blah product. Get someone who excites the fanbase and isn’t afraid to scrap with Northwestern for that Chicago talent.

(2) In the spirit of “you have to look like a Mountain West team now,” IMPROMPTU MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE DRAFT! I gave Thump the first pick.

Thump: i think i might go san diego state

-unique team name
-consistent identity in football, usually not terrible, occasionally trolls p5 teams
-basketball’s been dece
-home games in goddamn san diego

MNW: I DRAFT WYOMING:

-SNOW FOOTBALL A MILE HIGH
-brown and yellow...aren’t the worst color-combination ever? padres throwbacks are pretty sweet
-craig bohl
-best fight song in college football.

BRT: I draft Air Force. Colorado is an excellent state. Uniforms are an beautiful shade of blue in which I look amazing. Hockey. Fit young men in uniform. Also AMERICA.

WhiteSpeedReceiver: Hawaii, because I’d bring June Jones and a felon QB and we’d go nuts again.

(Also, I’m mad about BRT taking Air Force because I wanted the joy of drafting a team full of people who get to fly yet aren’t allowed to leave the ground while playing football.)

BRT: Also, brown and yellow IS the worst color combo, by like 1000 miles. What the hell is wrong with you, MNW?

MNW: I humbly submit Bowling Green as evidence that it can, in fact, get worse.

If brown and yellow are good enough for Dwight K. Schrute, they are good enough for me.

LGHF: I’m drafting UNLV.
- Vegas
- Larry Johnson
- Gray as a main color

Stew: Dammit, Air Force and San Diego were my top two picks. So I’ll take San Jose State. Great location, and the blue and yellow combo is kinda unique, while also not being super ugly.

Boilerman31: I hereby draft Boise State with the condition that Illinois must adopt the Smurf-turf in orange. If you’re going for competitive advantage, why not blind your opponents, right?


Well...there you have it? No one wants Fresno State (B1G solidarity behind Illinois, no doubt), Illinois needs to hire [/flips coin] Blake Anderson, and Wyoming has the best fight song in the world.

We hope you’ve learned something.