Ron Zook was not happy with Ilinois’ eight penalties in the 27-17 loss at Wisconsin. But the Illinois coach also said there are penalties and there are penalties.
Just so the air is clear on this, Zook didn’t bring up penalties. Inquiring media minds did. Zook also stressed that “We didn’t lose that game because of the officials. We lost that game because of the way we played.”
Now, disclaimers aside, let’s proceed. . .
“Some of them were penalties and some of them weren’t,” Zook said. “Like I tell [Big Ten supervisor of officials’ Dave Parry all the time, I get judged on the number of penalties that are called, so people think we have an undisciplined team” if there are a lot of penalties. “Our team is as disciplined as anybody’s. But when you go on the road in the Big Ten, you have to be better than the team, better than the fans and better than the officials. That’s just the way it is.”
Translation: Zook is still sensitive about criticism that’s he can’t coach, even though that’s a bunch of Gator bait from his last job. But that’s a blog for another day.
And the bottom line is, the Illini thought a Badger defensive lineman was luring Illini tackle Xavier Fulton into false starts, which went unnoticed by the officials.
While not commenting on the officiating, which would be a breach, Zook gave this general rules clarification: “If a defensive lineman jumps and the offensive lineman reacts simultaneously, it’s on the defense, not on the offense.”
Was that happening? Yes.