Bret Bielema’s Illinois program entered 2023 with increased expectations after the performance a season ago. Unfortunately, the Illini have been up-and-down to start the season and that culminated with a 44-19 blowout loss to Purdue on Saturday.

Illinois is now 2-3 on the season and 0-2 in B1G play after struggling to string together consistent drives on the road. While Bielema noted he likes a lot about his team, there is a need to have hard conversations and investigate a number of potential changes.

“I think we’ve got to have some hard conversations with the coaches. We can decide all we want, I’ve tried to put it in their hands, but as a head coach I’ve gotta decide what our identity is and force it that way,” said Bielema. “I know that we’re short a little bit in certain positions but I like our RB corps, I like our WR corps, I like our TEs where they’re at. We gotta give our QB a chance.”

Bielema specifically noted what the team is asking the offensive line to do isn’t working through 5 games of the season:

“I think what we can do is look at what we’re doing offensive line wise, look at what we’re asking those guys to do,” Bielema said. “I know what we want to do but sometimes you’ve got to make a decision, is it something we ask our guys to do, and if they can’t do it do we eliminate it and find another option because obviously, the one we’re trying to use isn’t working.”

Illinois has given up at least 30 points in all 3 losses this season. On the other side of the ball, the Illini have not eclipsed 23 points in the past 4 games.