Mon Oct 10 11:48am EDT
Illinois coach Ron Zook has been the butt of jokes the past couple years thanks to his team's lack of success. And now that the Illini are 6-0 — one win away from matching the 1951 team for the best start in school history — Zook still can't get out of his own way.
During Saturday's 41-20 win over Indiana, Zook made a play-calling gaffe that, while it didn't directly affect the outcome of the game, left a lot of people scratching their heads. With about 7 minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Illini scored a touchdown to put them up 20-13. Instead of kicking the PAT to go up eight, Zook decided to go for two. His reasoning? He thought his team was down five.
"We were down five, right? Up five, I mean," Zook said after the game.
After some clarification: "It was 20-13? Up seven?
"Maybe I didn't know what the score was. That's happened to me before. It's usually when we're behind. [This will] give you something to pound us about."
Um, yeah, especially since Illinois failed to covert the two-point play.
I get that coaches tell their players to ignore the score and always play like it's 0-0, but how difficult would it have been to look at one of the many scoreboards in the stadium and realize the score? How many staff and personnel people are on the sideline? Didn't one of them think, "Wait, what are we doing?"
Or maybe it was Zook being Zook so no one thought to say anything? Heck, Zook's gotten the Illini this far this season, why mess with a good thing?