Today’s column from CBS Chicago …
(CBS) If Tim Beckman’s coaching career at Illinois really does go from knocking on death’s door to cracking – or even kicking – it open for his return in 2014, he’ll probably be able to thank heavens for one person.
Namely, Bill Cubit.
Through two games (and wins) this season, Cubit, the former Western Michigan head coach, has helped Illinois pile up 97 points as the team’s new offensive coordinator. With the Illini preparing to face No, 19 Washington (1-0) at Soldier Field this Saturday, the offense looks like a completely different unit than the one that averaged only 16.7 points per game during Beckman’s sadsack 2-10 debut in 2012.
Also looking completely different is fifth-year quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who under Cubit’s tutelage has torched opposing defenses for 364 yards per game and a 74 percent completion percentage – both best among Big Ten signal-callers. So far, Scheelhaase much more resembles the QB who as a redshirt freshman outplayed Robert Griffin III in the 2010 Texas Bowl than the guy who threw just four TDs (and eight INTs) last year.
Illinois, of course, is yet to get into its Big Ten schedule this season (in 2012 it averaged only 11.8 points while going winless in conference). But following last week’s shocking 45-17 rout of Cincinnati, hope is percolating across the prairie that the Illini might actually be able to contend for an unexpected bowl berth this season.
And perhaps the most powerful fact fueling such hopes?
It’s that Tim Beckman, as overwhelmed as he’s looked in Champaign, actually can win games with a great offensive coordinator. We know that, because it’s happened before.
Continue reading at CBSChicago.com …