Rumor has it Co-DC Tim Banks might be Illinois-bound. My initial reaction to this is encouraging. When coaches move on to other positions it typically means they’re getting a raise and more responsibilities at their new position because they did so well previously. That’s what you see when most coaches move on to other positions and most UC fans can relate to this (Dantonio, Kelly). They’ve made their mark on a program and are now getting opportunities with a bigger title elsewhere. If you were in the same position, wouldn’t you do the same thing? It’s human nature.
But this move, if it happens, is encouraging for another reason. While Banks by the numbers appeared to do a decent job in the 2011 season, there were major flaws in how he ran his schemes. All too often the Bearcats would drop into a shell defense in which UC would rely on pressure from their defensive line, dropping 7 or 8 into a deep zone. It also seemed that when a certain defense stopped working, the staff wouldn’t make the necessary changes to try and find what would work (i.e. blitz more/less, bring strongside/weakside pressure, confuse the QB with zone blitzes, etc.). Keep in mind, while John Jancek is listed as the other co-defensive coordinator, Banks called the plays during games and anything that happened out there in those 60 minutes are almost entirely on him. Also, even though his defenses some years were pretty good (2011, 2009 namely), they were giant sieves against the pass:
- 2011: 20.3 ppg (20th) – 261 passing yards per game (99th)
- 2010: 28.0 ppg (68th) – 234 passing yards per game (88th)
- 2009: 18.9 ppg (19th) – 221 passing yards per game (66th)
- 2008: 30.2 ppg (90th) – 287 passing yards per game (119th)
- 2007: 36.9 ppg (110th) – 303 passing yards per game (118th)
Against the pass, Banks’ defenses since 2007 ranked 99th, 88th, 66th, 119th, and 118th nationally. Stellar. Again, that’s attributed to how ‘soft’ Banks’ defenses truly were. The fact is, I haven’t been confident in whoever was running the Cincinnati defense since Joe Tresey *”left” for South Florida after the 2008 season. Tresey’s defenses were just insane. Not only were they benefited with talented players like Haruki Nakamura, Connor Barwin, and Mike Mickens, his philosophy was to bring pressure from all kinds of angles and continuously rattle the quarterback. Not Banks who seemed to prefer to use sheer numbers in the secondary to stop a quarterback while sacrificing pressure. In this day-and-age, quarterbacks are Peyton Manningesq without fear of a pass rush and that was evident numerous times in the past two years at Cincinnati.
*Tresey may or may not have been run out of town by Mr. Narcissist Brian Kelly
Plus, the whole co-defensive coordinator set-up never made sense to me. One calls the plays, the other preps the team? What?! With John Jancek hopefully elevated to full-time DC duties, we’ll see a more consistent defense in the future. A little more pressure on that side of the ball would also be nice. With this move, the Bearcats will also have to fine a replacement to coach the linebackers as Jancek will have too much on his plate coaching the defense. Overall, if true, it could open up the door for some much needed change on the defensive side of the ball.
1.15.12 EDIT: According to this, Banks to Illinois is official.