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Say There, Lovie Smith, What The Fuck Do You Think You’re Doing?

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Lovie hires an assistant coach.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Football Media Day
Check your voicemail
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Hey there, Lovie. How ya doin? When we last checked in, you were feeling down in the dumps after producing the worst defense in Illinois history, getting shut out 63-0 by Iowa and having your future questioned in the media. I bet that wasn’t too fun. It probably didn’t help that your DB coach bailed in September, and your hand-picked defensive coordinator stepped down after a different 63-point performance.

Someone believes in you though! Look at this! Your boss has your back, and he’s ready to tell the whole world! Come on, Lovie, here’s unequivocal support for a crucial offseason; you have another chance! Let’s go get ‘em!

Hey, sounds like you have some recruits coming on board. Fewer than 10 current players bailed after the season this year! That’s definite progress! Imagine the momentum when you bring in, say, a big-time recruiter like a Larry Johnson, or a respected scheme guy with recruiting chops like Les Steckel! This offseason is gonna go some places!

Some Time Later

Hey Lovie. I see your young guys have been out on the road putting in closing work on recruits. Good stuff! How are you doing though? I noticed you still haven’t filled those two defensive assistant spots. One of them is “Defensive Coordinator.” You know, you’re asking a bunch of kids to sign on not knowing who their position coach is going to be. Think that’s wise? Bowls are starting, and coaches have been hired and put together entire staffs. I hope the delay is because you’re waiting to announce these coaches out of respect for their current commitments, or you’re trying to make sure we can pony up the cash. Either way, recruiting never sleeps, so I’m sure you see the importance of this, right? Alright, alright, I’ll check in later. Good luck!

A Considerable Length Of Time Later

Happy New Year, Lovie! I hope you and your family had a pleasant holiday season. I’m just following up on that open issue with the defensive coaches. You know we’re in a recruiting period, right? I admire how low-key you’ve been; you really have a handle on how to run a program, given that no leaks are coming out about all the candidates you’ve been in contact with. I assume that’s what’s happening, given that you had more than a month’s head start on the rest of the field. The pool of candidates is growing smaller...But I get that 2019 didn’t have a lot of open spots anyway, so let’s get focused for the 2019 season and future recruiting!

Even Later Still

Hey Lovie, it’s me again. Sorry about the Jeff Thomas thing; that’s unfortunate, but you did the best you could in that situation. Speaking of which, I just want to make sure you’re aware that you’re allowed to hire two more assistants. Not only are you allowed to, I highly encourage it. There’s no reason to play the coaching game down two players, right? Most teams are eliminated from the NFL playoffs at this point, but I’m also hoping you understand the importance of college recruiting experience, especially given how young the defensive coaches you have on staff right now are. I don’t doubt your coaching acumen, but surely you’d like another experienced figure, maybe as your defensive coordinator, to set the tone and focus this young staff?

...OK, one more small thing. I know this is probably me worrying about nothing, and I even feel silly asking about this, but you wouldn’t be considering promoting your son Miles to one of these positions, would you? Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he’s a great kid, but his only experience at this level is the season he just spent as interim DB coach, and I know the whole defense struggled and was young but I didn’t see any improvement from last year in any of those players, and Miles hasn’t really added to recruiting...Again, I don’t know why I’m even bringing this up, because if you were going to do this you’d have just taken the interim tag off him during the season, or announced it right after the season ended. Come to think of it, yeah, that’s dumb, I’m sorry I even brought it up.

Somehow, Even Later...

Excuse me, Lovie? We’ve now been without a defensive coordinator for longer than the reigns of 27 Roman Emperors, and what I’ve heard lately is that you’re going to name yourself the defensive coordinator. That’s cool, provided you have big name recruiters, but then I heard that you’re actually considering hiring Miles.

You understand that you can’t do that, right? There’s an anti-nepotism law on the books for Illinois state employees, and I know it’s not really enforced, but it’s still a law...You know that, right? I guess bending the rules is OK. That’s not what I’m concerned about. What bothers me is that we were led to believe Illinois football was going big, and instead you’re honestly considering taking a page out of the Bill Cubit playbook and promoting your son?

Hey, if this was a stable, winning program, this would be A-OK. I’m all for developing talent, whether it be players or coaches. But surely you understand that now’s not the time for this, right? Hey, he can have a place on this program. Keep him on as an analyst or a quality control coach or something, but you have to understand that you’re 9-27 with an awful defense and that this is the time to make a statement, and hiring Miles wouldn’t be the kind of statement you’d want to make.

Whew, that was nerve-wracking. Hopefully those reports that people within the program are unhappy about this rumor are totally false.

February 7th

Did you not get my voicemails? We went over, in excruciating detail, why you shouldn’t do this and yet you’ve done it anyway?

Just who the fuck do you think you are?

I guess this is my mistake for making the assumption that you were making an honest, good-faith effort to build a winning football program at Illinois. Keynodo Hudson was a good enough hire at DB coach that I suspect it wasn’t your decision. Congratulations on adding two coaches to replace the ones you lost during the season; I guess you’d better get crackin’ on replacing the FOUR COACHES THAT HAVE LEFT IN THE LAST WEEK AND A HALF.

Better yet, don’t. Delegate that to Rod Smith so that he can get a head start on his audition for the 2020 head coaching job that’ll happen when your defense inevitably loses a 67-65 shootout with the UConn Huskies.

Our offensive line coach, an Illinois alumnus whose last name is BUTKUS, left to take the same job he vacated to come to Illinois within a day of the Miles Smith announcement! That’s an important position, one of the few bright spots for the 2018 team!

It’s not even that you hired Miles Smith, it’s that you went through an entire recruiting cycle supposedly conducting a search for the most qualified candidate for a make-or-break season and THEN hired Miles Smith. Hey, to an extent, I feel bad for him. He didn’t ask for this.

When I say that, I don’t just mean “he didn’t ask to be put under a microscope like this,” I literally mean he didn’t ask for the job and in no way pursued it. His words, not mine.

...This is still Lovie Smith’s voicemail, right?