And the new head coach of the Illinois Fighting Illini football team is….

Tim Beckman, that’s right Tim Beckman. For those of you who don’t know who he is, I will give you some background. For the last three seasons (2009-2011), Beckman was the head coach for the University Of Toledo. There he lead the Rockets to back to back 8 win seasons in 2010 and 2011. They also made back to back bowl game appearances during that span.

They lost the 2010 Little Ceasars {Motor City} Bowl, and this season he led Toledo to the Military Bowl. Beckman was unable to coach the game because of his hiring at Illinois, but Toledo defeated Air Force 42-41. Beckman’s first year at Toledo wasn’t so great though, the Rockets only went 5-7 in 2009. But Beckman has proven he can turn a program around.

When Tim Beckman took over the Toledo program, he replaced long time Rockets head coach Tom Amstutz. Amstutz did take the program to glory by leading them to two Mid American Conference championships and 4 MAC West Division championships between 2001 and 2005. The Rockets also went 2-2 in 4 bowl games during that span.

The Rockets were one of the best offensive teams in college football during that time. They’re power running attack produced NFL running backs like former Chicago Bear Chester Taylor. But rumors of recruiting violations and three straight losing seasons from 2006-2009 led to his demise. Tim Beckman was brought in from Oklahoma State where he was the defensive coordinator.

Under his leadership not only did Toledo’s defense improve, but they also changed the face of the offensive identity of the Rockets by bringing in the spread offense. Tim Beckman’s Rockets were one of the best scoring offenses in the Mid American Conference. The Illini already run a form of the spread led by Nathan Scheelhasse.

But defense was Illinois biggest weakness during the 2011 season. While Beckman may improve the Illini when it comes to X’s and O’s, the bigger question is whether or not Beckman will be able to recruit in Big Ten territory. For the immediate future, The Fighting Illini already have some pieces in place.

But in the long term, Tim Beckman will need to make some noise in the recruiting department in order to be successful at Illinois. But the Illini have already set the wheels in motion in a positive direction by defeating UCLA in the Kraft Fight Hunger bowl on New Years Eve. We can only hope and pray that better days are on the horizon for the Fighting Illini football team.

The Bears season may be over but the offseason is just getting started. After 10 years the powers that be at Halas Hall have finally pulled the plug on Jerry Angelo. He was fired from his general manager position on Monday. Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz and Quarterbacks Coach Shane Day will be leaving as well.

But Lovie Smith will remain the Head Coach of the Bears and now the search is on for a new general manager. Despite all that the Bears accomplished under Angelo, he hasn’t always made the best decisions. Before Jay Cutler, Angelo had paraded in some of the worst quarterbacks in NFL history. He wasn’t the best draft guy, and on many occasions he failed to land big free agents.

The Bears are still looking for that elusive super bowl title, and hopefully a new general manager with a fresh perspective can help the Bears finally get over the hump. And lastly we have a Terrell Owens update. There is both good news and bad. The good news is that he may finally have a team to play for in 2012.

It’s not an NFL team, instead it’s the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League located in suburban Dallas, Texas. Although nothing has been made official yet, reports are that the deal is worth six figures ranging from $250,000 to $500,000. But again nothing has been finalized and we will keep you updated.

As for the bad news, on Tuesday night T.O. used his Twitter account to announce the death of the grandmother whom he affectionately referred too as “Grandmama”. As documented on his VH1 reality show, she had been battling Alzheimers for many years. We here at Q101 send our thoughts and prayers with Terell and the Owens family.

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