I have recently caught a fair amount of flack from people I know here for my lack of any coverage of Illinois football. I pointed to this post, in which I showed my utter distain for discussed the tailgate culture here, and this post with a small snarky comment about SEC Zook.
Ok, so I never said it would be an Illini football blog. However, to show I am a good sport, I posting a little something here about them.
- I didn’t actaully write this substantive part of the review. The Mayor did.
- I cannot verify the accuracy of anything contained therein.
- My general knowledge of Illinois football begins with the location and name of the stadium (Memorial, at the corner of Kirby and 4th in Champaign), the name of the coach and its most famous alumni players (Grange and Butkus).
- I took some artistic liberties, since, you know, I could.
- The spring game was yesterday, so I am told.
“My two cents on Illini FB: Ford and Pollard will be fine in the backfield if we can step up the O line this year. Both guys are quick and, when healthy, can take a hit and keep the feet moving. But the O line was brutal last year. That was what really cost us on offense last year. You can’t bust open the spread running game if the opponent is playing in your backfield. Fayson and Benn could be the most productive receivers we’ve had at receiver since the “Fab 4” under Turner. They’re exactly why we hired Zook – SEC-caliber athletes that force the other team downfield. The staff is placing a major emphasis on the O line this spring because that, in my opinion, will be the key to the season. I have no concerns at all about Juice – I love having a senior QB.
On defense, I’m worried about linebacker. I think they’ll have plenty of big, athletic guys on the line, I’m not worried about stopping the run and our DBs are fast and athletic. At Illinois, the worst situation for us has always been when the other team faces 3rd and 6 or 3rd and 8. We’re too slow at LB. Our linebackers two years ago were quick enough to make plays in the passing game and, as a result, we were able to significantly increase our positive turnover margin. Last year was a much different story. If we can’t find 3 quick linebackers, we’ll give up lots of points.
Kickers and punters are goofy. Just like left-handed pitchers. Just find that one guy at each position this fall that has his head screwed on straight and let him play. Just give me 70% on field goals and a 35-yard net on punts with enough hang time to limit touchdowns and we’re fine. Remember, Lou Holtz found Reggie Ho on a soccer field.”