Random Thoughts: On Correctable Mistakes

When your team isn't winning, its easy to use the "talent" argument to both dismiss the criticism and point to next year. One of the Chicago reporters has essentially done that writing about Northwestern's Big 10 neighbors, Illinois and Indiana...

Herb Gould, a staff reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times is certainly
taking on the Illini...

Writing about the Indiana-Illinois game this weekend, he somewhat dismisses Illinois as "a team that makes too many correctible [sic] mistakes because it doesn't have enough talent to overcome them." [Sun-Times Oct 6]

Its an interesting comment because while Illinois has lost a lot of super prospects to other teams both in state and out, they still have recruited several top athletes in the past, including a couple of top performers from NU's back yard.

But as NU fans know, you can take a team with less than stellar talent, and get to the Rose Bowl, beat all of the other teams in the Big 10, and even do well on the road, in fact, Randy Walker, and before him Gary Barnett, are great at somehow inspiring kids who were overlooked by the "big boys" into playing hard and winning.

The Wildcat teams of the past 10 years have made mistakes, but those players were able find something within themselves that allowed them to play with and beat teams with supposed superior talent.

Herb points out that both coaches in the Indy-Illinois game can't talk about their present talent level without "disrespecting" those youngsters who are out there for their team. But Illinois and Indiana already possess players who were highly sought after during the last two recruiting years, many who were rated by Scout.com and others as higher that some of the kids playing and starting on the present NU team.

Unfortunately, the back side of winning and losing on the field is how those wins and losses reflect on signing day. Northwestern now offers and competes for a higher level of player than in the past because they go after players who would have ignored NU even 3 years ago.

Illinois Coach Ron Zook, and probably Terry Hoeppner are also going to start fighting for those kids. I've read stories where the Illini talk about "defending their turf" and keeping those Illinois hosses in state.

Zook is also going change the time worn strategy of showing off your winning seasons since he's having such a bad one this year. "I'm going to separate recruiting from football, - Ron Zook Sun-Times

Zook, and maybe even Hoeppner's problem in recruiting kids in Chicago is that a Div I prospect with grades can look up to Evanston, and the Wildcats as a better place to play, even closer to home, and after this year, maybe also play early.

And the education isn't half-bad either...
-- da Coach

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