Pentagram: Final Arch Rivalry

The series is over.  The Fighting Illini are 0-fer.  Missouri can look forward to a couple of cupcakes and then the final version of the complete Big 12 North, and most likely another bowl game.  Meanwhile, Illinois has a couple of dogfights on the horizon with the two state directional schools you don’t want to see this year.  SIU is Top 5 in 1AA, while Northern has been gradually improving for a decade.  I’d rather be playing EIU, WIU, or ISU.

Mizzou football is where Illinois should be.  We should be able to compete for conference championships more than once a decade and we should be in decent bowls more often than not.  But we aren’t, which is why Ronnie the G continues to take heat despite his many other victories as an AD.  At least we can move on to a softer schedule the next few years in an attempt to rediscover early season momentum.  We won’t see the Tiggers for many a moon barring some weird post-season pairing, and that’s fine by me.  Here’s your final Arch Rivalry pentagram…

  • Scheelhaase played like a freshman QB.  He made a few decent plays – mostly with his scrambling – but turned it over way too many times.  The last pick was a back-breaker and just a poorly thrown ball.  We’ve heard he’s smart and accurate.  I hope we see it in coming weeks.  What I saw was a struggling young quarterback with a marginal arm.  He floated some balls and had a tough time picking up the blitzes in the second half.  In other words, it looked like Juice without the long ball threat.  He’s got to be better for the Illini to have any chance.
  • O-line looked pretty poor – especially in the second half.  They were disorganized and slow to react.  They didn’t open much up for Leshoure and company.  This was a hallmark of last year’s team also, probably not helping that they’re still absorbing the non-spread schemes.  Since Mizzou’s d-line isn’t supposed to be all that, this was less than encouraging.
  • The defense looked much better overall.  Yeah, they were obviously worn out in th 4th but still managed some stops.  And we saw a lot better tackling (especially in one-on-one situations) and good pursuit to the ball.  Would like to see more pressure – we dropped eight into coverage too much for my taste – but it’s a good start.  If you had Terry Hawthorne and Josh Brent out there you might have something.
  • Petrino’s play-calling was solid but safe – The strategy involved grinding it out, holding onto the ball, and keeping Mizzou’s offense off the field.  Worked pretty well for a half.  Then they figured out our option draw play, stacked the box, and shut us down.  That would have been a great time for play action, but either the O-line couldn’t give Nate time or he doesn’t have the arm to throw it deep.  Petrino is probably only running at half-strength, but we’ll need to see some variations or ensuing opponents will crowd the box and sell-out on stopping Leshoure and Ford.  Not a lot of motion by receivers.  No wildcat with McGee.  Didn’t look like we were running that many different plays.
  • This series has been murder, especially when you consider how teams like OSU and Iowa routinely open with a nice fat cupcake.  But unlike last year, I don’t feel like the team’s confidence has taken a hit.  We hung with Mizzou for most of the game and might’ve had a chance with another break or two.  Now we just have to avoid a letdown against two straight in-state schools thinking they can make a name for themselves.

2 thoughts on “Pentagram: Final Arch Rivalry

  1. Illinois has been shockingly bad to me. I really thought Zook was the right hire. The amount of work that needs to be done to be competitive in the Big Ten is HUGE.

  2. NIU and SIU are playing in their Rosebowls when they play us. Don’t kid yourselves, they’ll be up. Problem is, The Rube’s not sure they have the atheletes to compete. Expect a sound thrasing by the Illini the next two weeks. Now on to the Pentagram….

    The Rube fully agrees Schitehouse played like a freshmen QB. I was almost ready to start calling him by his real name after the first half. However, the second half was as frustrating as most all of the last two seasons with Pulp Williams at the helm. Nate is supposedly our most accurate QB which brings to mind how bad are the others? Hate to say this as it was only one game and his first on the field, but man he’s got to throw the ball better, bottom line. Granted A.J.”Stonehands” Jenkins didn’t help much dropping at least 4 (probably 6) passes that were catchable for certain, the third down drop was crucial. However, The Rube’s not sure he remembers seeing a pass go to a TE or even a bubble screen to a RB or some short things in the flats to get some confidence for our fledgling signal caller. Those things aside, I’m willing to give Schitickhose another three or four weeks before I start calling for Osei or Whitmer. I’m not going to give him too much credit for whatever he does against the sisters of the poor the next two weeks, but he better be able to shred them or we’re screwed. No his next real test fair or not will be tOSU, yeah I know their #2 and probably better at every single position than us, but Shitowski better have his stuff together by then.

    O-Line was pourous, not just poor. Here’s the real noggin’ knocker? According to our coaching staff our O-Line graded “well” for the Misery game! The unit graded “well????” WTF??? The coaches said that there were some plays that there was an error by one guy which makes everyone look bad….well duuuuh! Here’s the other ting tha makes The Rube shall we say curious?!?! The coaching staff said it wasn’t just one guy that everyone was making mistakes and thats a good thing! No seriously thats what I heard on a WDWS interview earlier this week. Now The Rube is no Ara Parsegian or Urban Meyer, but wouldn’t it be better if just one guy didn’t know what the flock he was doing so he could be replaced, vs. everyone being cornfused at one point in time or another. Also, I’d like a complete overhaul done on the grading system if the O-Line received a passing grade vs. the Tiggers.

    The defense was one of the bright spots as far as The Rube is concerned! They looked very good. Gabbard made some great plays (the first TD especially). On that first play I’m not sure how long the DB’s are expected to cover that many WR’s? Especially since two of them were playing DB for the first time since probably Pop Warner league! No, The Rube was pretty happy overall with the Defense, other than a last minute field posession FG the Defense kept us in the game within one score up until the final minutes and had a takeaway to boot. I’d love to see Martez move to the Bandit spot, move Ian Thomas to Mike and bring Gress or Frierson out to play the other LB spot. The Rube thinks Tez would be very tough for other teams as the Bandit, but as The Rube stated already, he’s no Buddy Ryan or Brian Boitano!

    Petrino’s play calling was the same only different than the play calling the last several years. We were playing not to lose in the 2nd half. First play of the 2nd half hsould’ve been play action crossing route deep or something to show that “yep we ran it all over you in the second half, but we might try to throw it some here in the 2nd so you better not put 9 guys in the box!” In an interview earlier this week also on DWS Petrino said he went away from some things that worked in the first half because they stopped us the first time or two we ran them in the 2nd. He also said he wouldn’t have changed any of his thrid down calls but one the entire game…..really…..oh no wait I see what you did there….if you say your happy, then maybe people will believe you know what you’re doing. I’m still not sold on this cat! While The Rube appreciates the new offense etc., for it to actually be NEW, we’d have to run some NEW plays and that doesn’t mean calling the QB option draw…..fiddlesticks instead of rumplestiltskin! Its still the same damn play even if you call it by a different limerick! Grow some sack Petrino and let Schtudebaker loose so we can see if he can throw or not. I don’t care how fast they’re getting in there ought to be some plays in that big brain of his to offset a quick pass rush, otherwise we can go back to the old Sega Genesis days and just run it every time…oh wait….

    This series hasn’t been like murder. Murder is quick and can only happen to the victim once. This is more like Chris Walkens speech in Pulp Fiction about Butch’s dads watch. Its been more like being held in a prison camp for years with something up your backside that you swore you’d pass on to your buddy’s kid. The Rube is ready to take on the Tapioca School for the Blind in our opener next year. Lets just hope the coaching staff doesn’t use a time piece thats been up someones butt in order to decide who should play QB!

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