The University of Illinois announced today that it has extended the contract of its offensive coordinator Bill Cubit through the 2015 season after his first year with the Fighting Illini saw dramatic improvements on the offensive side of the ball.
In Cubit’s first year the Illinois offense improved across the board compared to the previous season. The Fighting Illini improved in first downs per game from 16.4 to 24, the passing yards per game more than doubled, the number of plays that went at least 20 yards increased from 34 to 64, the total offense increased by an average of 130 yards per game and the points per game average went up by nearly two touchdowns.
No one player benefited from Cubit’s coaching more than quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase this season. Scheelhaase’s passing efficiency increased by 27 points, and he led the Big 10 in passing yards per game, increasing from 136 to 272 yards per game. The increased production of the Illinois offense has brought increased revenue to the Cubit family budget.
Cubit’s one-year extension includes a raise to an annual salary of $500,000. If the Fighting Illini can use the improvements on offense to get to bowl eligibility it will have been money well spent. A bowl bid would bring millions of dollars in revenue to the University of Illinois.
In order to improve from this season’s record of 4-8 to at least 6-6 in the new Big 10 Western division, in which they will play current bowl teams Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin on a perennial basis, the defense will have to improve as much as the offense did this season. The Fighting Illini ranked 104th in the nation in scoring defense and 110th in total defense this past season.
If Illinois can find a way to improve its defense this offseason and maintain the same productivity on the offense, the future could be bright in Champaign.