Thursday, November 15, 2007

Illini should thank Ron Turner

If I had a dime for every time someone said Gator fans should thank Ron Zook because he recruited the players that were largely responsible for the BCS title last year, I'd be blogging from the south of France.

But let's take that logic a little further. The last Illinois head coach before Ron Zook was Ron Turner (What's with the Rons? Their athletic director is named Ron too.). Anyway Turner, who is currently the offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears is much maligned by Illini fans. They felt he was a decent Xs and Os guy but to borrow a Zookism he didn't recruit enough Jessies and Joes.

So here we are in Zook's 3rd season as Illinois head coach and the Illini are cause celebre. But shouldn't Zook share the credit with Ron Turner. Let's take a look at the Illinois depth chart and find out (if that depth chart is not up to date, take it up with and save yourself the email and the comments).

Ron Zook was hired by Illinois at the end of 2004 so the first recruiting class he was responsible for was the 2005 class.

On the Illini offense there are 4 starters that were recruited prior to Zook's tenure, all on the offensive line.

But the real story is on defense where the Illini defense sports 6 starters from recruiting classes before Ron Zook arrived including their standout lineback J Lehman.

So from now on, if you are going to say Zook gets credit for UF's success last year then you must give Ron Turner credit for Illinois' success this year. At least 45% of the credit since that's how much of Zook's team was recruited by his predecessor.


Anonymous said...

I have come to the conclusion that Ron Zook is one of the perfect embodiments of America's current twisted society that rewards badness in all its forms, much like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, and will thus always be celebrated by the media until the end of his days. It's the only explanation I can come up with as to why his many colossal failures are always ignored and his few shining moments hailed as signs of sheer genius.

Anonymous said...

If I had a dime for every time this blog complained about what pundits say about Ron Zook . . .

Get over it. Talk about the game, not the people that talk about the game.

Henry Gomez said...

Don't like what's on? Change the channel. When you get your own blog you can post whatever you want.

JJ Gator said...

Anon#1, much of the media, especially those sympathetic to Zook, are trying to portray him as a victim of circumstances and a martyr, especially after big, bad Florida fired him in 2004. Naturally the sportswriters are going to accentuate the positives and overlook the negatives as far as he's concerned; they could care less about the circumstances that cost him his job at UF and his other faux-pas he committed during his days as one of Spurrier's assistants.

With very few exceptions, the sports media doesn't seem to like the Florida Gators at all, and as far as I'm concerned I don't give a shit whether they like us or not. Given that fact though they'll glorify anything Zook seems to do lately. BUT - if the Illini lose to Northwestern this weekend, how will they see that?

You have a good point, though. Just like Britney and Paris Hilton gained notoriety in the media with all their various antics, the Zooker gained his own by what took place in late 2004. To the media he's a lovable loser.