Illinois football’s defense has been atrocious all season, including Saturday against Maryland. The Terps offense racked up 712 yards in a 63-33 win, its most in a game since 1982, and their 63 points were their most ever in a conference game and most against an FBS opponent since 1954.
The loss was the last game for Illinois defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson, who resigned after the loss. He informed head coach Lovie Smith of his resignation Sunday, and the team announced it Monday. Nickerson had been the defensive coordinator since March 2016, struggling to get the team’s defense off the ground during his brief tenure. Illinois’ defense finished a respectable 59th in defensive S&P+ during Nickerson’s first year, but fell to 89th last year and has plummeted to 118th this season.
Smith will take over defensive playcalling the rest of the year, and will try to inspire the same magic that got the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl with Rex Grossman under center.
Usually, the rest of this space would discuss how a wildly inconsistent Maryland offense somehow led to an opposing defensive coordinator getting fired, but these aren’t normal circumstances. Nickerson said in a press release he’s stepping away due to “personal health reasons.” Let’s hope he gets better soon.
In other news
It could be decision day for the Board of Regents. The group was supposed to meet but then cancelled meetings with Wallace Loh, Damon Evans and DJ Durkin, before meeting yesterday afternoon via conference call.
Former athletic director Kevin Anderson released a statement on the report.
Kevin Anderson's full note in Maryland's investigative report doesn't mention the reasons for his departure, but does say:— Ryan Connors (@RyanConnors_) October 29, 2018
"I believe there was and continues to be a calculated and orchestrated effort to damage my character and marginalize my leadership." pic.twitter.com/UtdCO13OSK
Thomas has some perspective on Maryland’s weekend offensive explosion.
Javon Leake was named Big Ten Offensive Player and Special Teams Player of the Week after scoring four touchdowns on Saturday.
Here’s The Diamondback on how Durkin, Loh and Evans’s actions speak louder than their words.
In non-football news, Maryland men’s basketball starts its season tonight with an exhibition against Lynn. You can stream the game with a BTN Plus subscription, or listen to the game on the Maryland Sports Radio Network or WMUC Sports.
Two days after the scrimmage, the team will hold an open practice for students.