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HOW TO ASSEMBLE A COACHING STAFF FOR JUST 24 DOLLARS

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IT CAN BE DONE, ILLINOIS. LET US SHOW YOU HOW.

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One time the Washington Post challenged legendary French chef Jacques Pepin to cook a meal for six on as little money as possible. He did not order a pizza, and for just $24 turned out a delicious five course meal he scraped out of the bargain bins of the local Giant supermarket. Jacques Pepin did this in forty-five minutes, because he is Jacques Pepin and you are not.

Congratulations, Lovie Smith! You have to do the same thing, though with a substantially larger budget, but comparatively less time given that you are dealing with people and their complex, often foolishly arranged lives. Assembling a coaching staff this fast is a challenge anyway, but doing it at Illinois-- not exactly a source of guaranteed job stability or success, historically speaking--is even harder. (Oh, and Smith hasn't coached at the college level since 1995. That's neat, too!)

Still, it's possible to put together a filling, nutritious coaching staff at the last second-- especially if, like a savvy chef with a nose for savings, you're not afraid of pulling the wilted leaves off a few heads of neglected but still quality cabbages.

Offensive line/recruiting: Mike Sherman. This is actually a real consideration for Illinois, and a good one because holy shit, can Mike Sherman find and coach an offensive line. Other things, not so much, but the evaluating linemen and putting them in the right place? That's a real thing. We're accidentally making a real list here and that's definitely not the point and we apologize immediately. We'll stop that right now.

Offensive coordinator: John Donovan. Whew, that feels better.

TE/Morale coach: Houston Nutt. Just lock him up somewhere until you need an upset, and then immediately return him to his enclosure. Also: might attempt a coup on you? Like most Houston Nutt quirks, it is both a feature and a bug.

RB coach/Really just a recruiter: Trooper Taylor. Okay he's technically employed at Arkansas State to coach [POSITION GOES HERE.] But we can't be too loyal to the rules, particularly rules that would keep Trooper from horrifying the Big Ten with his enthusiastic towel-waving.

WR coach: Bill Cubit. He's not busy and already knows where everything is.

Defensive coordinator: Monte Kiffin. 76 years young and ready.

LB coach: JOE LEE DUNN. AGAIN WE JUST CAME UP WITH A BRILLIANT AND TERRIBLE IDEA WE KIND OF WANT TO REALLY HAPPEN.

DL coach: Dan McCarney. Actually a good idea, so don't do this.

DB coach: Don't even hire one. The ultimate display of confidence, and progressive since you'll be the first team to open-source coach their DBs ever. (This is a lie: Kansas has done this several times over the past ten years, but will get no credit for it.)

Strength Coach: That basketball guy Memphis fired for refusing to back off leg day. Listen, you cannot skip leg day, even if you're playing a sport that relies primarily on the legs. You hire a strength coach to instill not just physical strength, but a standard of toughness and a commitment to principle. And nothing says principles like looking down after a twenty point loss, staring at your massive and utterly smoked quads, and thinking: lost the game, but won these burly sex hams, son.