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Former Illinois Football Defensive Coordinator Loses in Head Coaching Debut



Former Illinois Football Defensive Coordinator Loses in Head Coaching Debut
Purdue Boilermakers head coach Ryan Walters leads the Boilermakers onto the field during the NCAA football game against the Fresno State Bulldogs, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind.

Former Illinois Defensive Coordinator Loses in Head Coaching Debut

Oof. Though Illinois Football is not in the clear, I think it is notable to point out the news. Former Illinois Defensive Coordinator, Ryan Walters, made his head coaching debut today. Walters’ Purdue team fell in a home game against Fresno State. Walters was the head of a revolutionary Illinois defense and earned a big time head coaching position. Ryan Walters was loved by Illinois, and did not leave on bad terms. He was always respectful of his time in Champaign and has been very vocal of his gratitude towards Bret Bielema. Unfortunately, the young head coach took a job in the same conference.

This has led to some animosity amongst fans. In addition, Walters took Kevin Kane and Cory Patterson from the Illinois staff. Though this is no dirty move, Illinois Football fans are truly one of a kind. Purdue also recruited Hudson Card, a player Illinois Football was heavily after. They also took a commitment from JUCO WR, Jayden Dixon-Veal, who was supposedly heading to Illinois before Purdue jumped in.

What happened?

Walters certainly carried over the tradition at Purdue. That tradition of heavy offense and rather absent defense was a theme under Jeff Brohm. Though that led to some impressive wins over Ohio State and Tennessee, it also led to some rather disappointing losses. Purdue dropped their home opener to Fresno State, 38-35. As one can tell by the score, defense was probably not required. There is no shame in this loss. This is the first game of the season under a new head coach and rather new roster. Bret Bielema won his first game against Nebraska but then lost at home to UTSA. Later on, he got molly-whopped by Virginia on the road in rather embarrassing fashion. Walters will have work to do, however he took over a different scenario than Bielema

Different Programs

Walters took over a program where the coach left for a bigger and better job. Purdue most recently won the Big Ten West and made a Bowl game. He is trying to continue success. Bret Bielema took over a senior-ledteam that went 2-6. Long story short, Bret Bielema was trying to create success.

Illinois has a tough matchup tonight against Toledo and need to be on their best to win. Hence, my mouth is shut. However, until then, Boiler Up!

Alex is the Owner of, your go-to source for in depth coverage of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Alex is also the lead content creator and lead editor of all articles on Armchair Illini. He has had articles featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, YardBarker, Verbal Commits, CBS Sports and more.