For the past week, I have been getting multiple emails asking me who is officially part of the new Illinois football coaching staff. To help answer those questions, I have put together a quick list of new head coach Tim Beckman's current staff, as well as links to their personal biographies:
Head Coach: *Tim Beckman
Co-offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks coach: Chris Beatty
Co-offensive Coordinator/Receivers coach: Billy Gonzales
Offensive Line Coach: Luke Butkus
Defensive Line Coach: Keith Gilmore
Recruiting Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach: Alex Golesh
Running Backs Coach/Special Teams Coordinator: Tim Salem
Secondary Coach: *Steve Clinkscale
Inside Linebackers Coach: TBD
Outside Linebackers Coach: TBD
Strength and Conditioning Coach: TBD
To the eye of the average fan, this staff seems to have some bright spots with real potential, but I just don’t see the “big league” experience necessary to produce in the Big Ten.
Many of them are following Beckman from Toledo to Illinois, and that worries me.
The MAC has been known for poor defense, high-scoring games and middle of the road talent in its players… a far cry from today’s Big Ten.
Illini Nation will need these coaches to adapt to life in the Big Ten quickly, or Illinois will take a serious step back in the coming years.
It is also worrisome that neither of the co-offensive coordinators has experience calling plays full time. One of them will need to take the reins and put his own personal stamp on the Illini offense, or it will struggle with identity in 2012.
There are highlights in this staff, though.
Beckman is a true head coach, not some glorified assistant or coordinator, which is something the Illini have lacked of late.
Luke Butkus, former Illini player and the nephew of Illini great Dick Butkus, is a high energy, detail-oriented coach who should do well developing and improving the O-line.
The lone remaining member of Ron Zook’s staff, Keith Gilmore, has done a great job developing talent on the defensive line (think Corey Leguit, Clay Nurse and Whitney Mercilus) and he should continue to do so as a part of this new staff.
One of the brightest spots in this staff is its diversity. There are coaches from West Virginia, Ohio, Florida and Kentucky. This should allow Illinois to open up some new recruiting pipelines in areas that have not been tapped yet (namely the high-talent areas in Ohio and SEC country).
In fact, Chris Beatty has already caused one recruit to reopen his recruitment (with Illinois as a new suitor) due to Beatty's shift from Vandy to Illinois.
So for Illini fans out there, be patient and see what this staff can do with the talented roster it has. There is potential here, it will just be a matter of how quickly the coaches can transition to the Big Ten culture and how quickly the current players will buy into these new coaching philosophies.
*Beckman has not yet named a defensive coordinator. He has alluded to personally calling the defensive plays, but he will still hire a coach to hold the title of DC.
*Steve Clinkscale's position has not been officially revealed, but he worked as the secondary coach for Beckman at Toledo, so he will probably be doing to the same work in Champaign.
Preston Brown is a Contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand