Nov 2, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Tim Beckman walks on the field prior to the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

Illinois Fighting Illini Football: Tim Beckman Puts A Number On Progress


In a recent article by Chris Johnson on SportsIllustrated.com, Illinois Fighting Illini Football Head Coach Tim Beckman ventured in to territory that could prove problematic for the third year Head Coach if things don’t go the way Beckman, Athletic Director Mike Thomas, and the fans expect them to in Champaign-Urbana this fall.

The majority of the article was fairly benign, covering topics that most hardcore Illini fans are already in tune to, but the real gem came in the final sentence when Beckman provided the following quote:

“I want this program to get better,” Beckman said. “That’s the bottom line. And that means five or six wins.”

Five or six wins.

Suddenly, progress is defined, but let’s be honest here. Without flat out saying as much, Mike Thomas has already made comments in the media previously that bowl eligibility should be the goal heading in to this season and that means six wins.

You just can’t gain bowl eligibility with five wins, and that’s the worst possible target that this version of the Illini could hope to shoot for during the upcoming campaign. It’s football purgatory. Close enough you can taste the Bowl Game swag package, but left standing outside the gate without so much as a ticket stub in hand.

I love seeing that the focus has shifted from overall program progress to on field progress, but I am left to wonder why Beckman felt the need to even put a number on it in the first place. We all know there has to be improvement on the field. It’s what everyone wants.

The only question I have is what happens if those publicly outlined goals are not reached?

My hope is that all this becomes a moot point, and Illinois takes the next step in their progression towards becoming a winning program on a year in, year out basis, but what if the unthinkable happens and they don’t?

You can follow Ryan on Twitter @RPKraemer.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Illinois Fighting Illini Tim Beckman

  • dave_hanna

    Problematic is 5 wins versus 6? Lets call progress a couple of conference wins and go from there. Big Ten football right now is almost on par with the SEC, this is some deep water for a program like U-I’s, where they are rebuilding.

    • @RPKraemer

      Problematic is that he even felt the need to put a number on it in the first place. Most fans would expect the progress arc to include a couple more wins and a bowl game, but by putting a number on it he has now given grounds for his termination should he fail to meet those targets.

      Anyway – thanks for reading, and thanks for the comments.

      • dave_hanna

        Something humorous in continuing the conversation on April Fools day….

        • @RPKraemer

          Life’s all about timing…

        • @RPKraemer

          My apologies for taking so long to respond too. I’ve been extremely busy this past week. I truly do appreciate you reading and then taking the time to comment.

  • Jim Fritch

    Tim Banks is not a good fit for the team.Those JC guys are a good start.Now that you may have a real QB there you will win a few games.Beckman is a good proven winner but I really feel that the “D” is going to ruin another season and Beckmans future there.

    • @RPKraemer

      I’m leaning towards agreeing with you on your first point, but with the secondary youth a season ago I am willing to see if there are any improvements made this year. The JC guys were an absolute need, particularly Ward.

      Thanks for the thoughts!