Ron Zook has long been regarded as one of the premier recruiters in college football. But, he has also been labelled as a guy who can assemble talent, but not coach and develop it.
Well, with Illinois' fast start to this season and big win over Penn St. this Saturday past; Zook may be serving notice that all his detractors may well need to reevaluate their criticism of his coaching ability.
Certainly, the improved level of talent that Zook has brokered to Champaign-Urbana is in large part responsible for the on field improvement.
But, just as significant, has been Zook's game management strategy.
"The football was in the hands of Illinois backup quarterback Eddie McGee when the clock expired on the Illini's victory over Penn State. And it wasn't in a mop-up role for starter Juice Williams. McGee came off the bench to help seal the biggest win of the season in the fourth quarter Saturday and took a knee to end the game. Although coach Ron Zook said Williams remains the team's starter for Saturday's showdown with No. 5 Wisconsin, Zook said McGee could soon see more playing time.''
Certainly, Zook took notes on the two QB rotation used by Florida last year. And, he is probably watching closely what LSU is doing with their two talented QB's (although, admittedly, much of LSU's system is out of necessity because of injury).
But, while Zook certainly can't be given credit for coming up with the idea itself, he has taken it to the next level.
Florida and LSU both reached the top of the poll using one Negro QB in the rotation.
Zook, in his burgeoning genius, is using two Negro QB's.
There is no doubt that something special is brewing in Illini country. And, there is no doubt that Zook may finally have found the strategy to win with all that talent he is assembling.
#5 Wisconsin falls this week.
Mark it down.