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#pounditFriday, December 3, 2021

Bret Bielema rips Illinois roster, previous regime

Bret Bielema

Bret Bielema inherited an Illinois football program that has not posted a winning record in a decade, and things are not looking better for the Illini this season. The head coach wanted to make it clear this week that he does not believe that is his fault.

Bielema was shockingly candid while talking about the Illinois roster on Monday. He also criticized the program’s previous regime and said they did a poor job of recruiting, particularly with the offensive line.

“To win a derby you’ve got to have the right horse. I think our players are going to be a reflection of what our program stands for,” Bielema said. “I stood at the front of the room last year when I took over and said everybody’s invited back because of COVID. But as this roster continues to transition, I’ve got to make tough decisions and players have got to make tough decisions. The roster is gonna have to change to get to where we want to be to win a championship.”

Former Illinois offensive lineman Jeff Allen, who played eight seasons in the NFL, was among those who criticized Bielema for showing poor leadership.

Even if the things Bielema said are true, it’s a horrible look for him to say them publicly. He’s essentially taking zero accountability for Illinois’ 2-5 record. He also showed players that he is not opposed to throwing them under the bus amid adversity.

Fans seemed excited about the Bielema era after the coach won his first game with the program earlier this year. It has been all downhill since, and Bielema has now resorted to pointing the finger at others. That seems like a poor approach.

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