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Zook stinks, which may be why Larry Johnson turned down Illinois

September 7, 2009 - Cory Giger
Ron Zook is a horrible gameday coach. Just awful.
He had all that talent at Florida, yet his teams underachieved.
He's a great recruiter at Illinois, yet his teams underachieve. The 2007 Rose Bowl season and win over Ohio State that year were impressive, but the Illini fell apart last year and did so again in their opener this season.
Missouri bashed Illinois, 37-9, on Saturday. Really, Illini? Nine points in your opener with an offense everyone raved about all summer. Sure, Arrelious Benn got hurt early, but nine points is embarrassing for Juice Williams and Co.
It seemed odd that Penn State defensive line coach extraordinaire Larry Johnson turned down an alleged huge pay raise to become Illinois' defensive coordinator earlier this year. That would appear to be a great job and big stepping stone to a head coaching position somewhere.
But what if Zook gets fired? That's certainly possible if the Illini struggle for another year or two, and if it happens, Johnson may have been out the door, as well.
Everybody enjoys job security, and Johnson has as much of it at Penn State as he could get anywhere. Had he gone to Illinois, he would have had to rely on Zook to help protect his job.
That should be a scary thought to any assistant coach.

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