Football assistants Salem, Colby will not return in 2015

Illinois%27+defensive+coach+Greg+Colby+before+the+game+against+Texas+State+at+Memorial+Stadium+on+Sept.+20.+Colby+and+special+teams+coordinator+Tim+Salem+will+not+return+to+head+coach+Tim+Beckman%27s+staff+in+2015.
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Football assistants Salem, Colby will not return in 2015

Illinois' defensive coach Greg Colby before the game against Texas State at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 20. Colby and special teams coordinator Tim Salem will not return to head coach Tim Beckman's staff in 2015.

Illinois' defensive coach Greg Colby before the game against Texas State at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 20. Colby and special teams coordinator Tim Salem will not return to head coach Tim Beckman's staff in 2015.

Illinois' defensive coach Greg Colby before the game against Texas State at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 20. Colby and special teams coordinator Tim Salem will not return to head coach Tim Beckman's staff in 2015.

Illinois' defensive coach Greg Colby before the game against Texas State at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 20. Colby and special teams coordinator Tim Salem will not return to head coach Tim Beckman's staff in 2015.

By Sean Neumann

Illinois football coach Tim Beckman announced Thursday afternoon that special teams coordinator Tim Salem and defensive line coach Greg Colby would not return to the team next season.

The pair of coaches was fired following a 6-7 season that saw the Illini reach their first bowl game since 2011.

Both Tim and Greg are very good coaches, but I felt we needed to make these changes to help our football program move forward,” Beckman said in a press release. 

The head coach also said the program will hire replacements as soon as possible.

Salem had been with Illinois since 2012, while Colby — an Illinois graduate — had been with the team since 2013, his second stint with the program.

Illinois’ special teams was one of the worst ranked units in the conference, despite a record season from punter Justin DuVernois. The Illini ranked 121st in the country in point-after-attempt percentage (90.5), missing four throughout the season. The special teams unit was also 123rd in the country in field goal percentage, going 9-for-17 on the year.

The defensive line was another consistent problem for the Illini in 2014, ranking last in the Big Ten and 123rd in the country in rushing defense.

The two coaching moves are the first of Beckman’s off-season preparations heading into 2015, for which he was retained to coach after Illinois won three out of its four final games to end the regular season at 6-6.

Sean can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @Neumannthehuman.