Everything I Know

So I kind of wrote a book. OK, it’s not a book, but it’s, like, A BOOK.  I wrote down every single thing I know about the 2014 Illini football team.  Emptied my brain.  Kept writing and writing until the needle was well past “E”.  It’s a lot. If this was a paperback book, it would be around 100 pages.  And now I’m going to sell it for $5. [Read more...]

Post-Rantoul Three-Deep

This one was pretty easy.  As far as competitions for starting spots go, there’s really only three open competitions right now: quarterback, of course (for a competition there wasn’t much competing), right tackle (Pat Flavin or Christian DiLauro), and Leo (DeJazz Woods or Dawuane Smoot).  The rest of the starters seem to be set in stone. [Read more...]

Rantoul 2014 XXV: Closing Thoughts

There’s still one more day of Camp Rantoul – today – but I will not be there.  I’ve left the magical land of Rantoul, walked back through the wardrobe, and emerged on the other side to find an office and a desk and responsibilities.  But I still had the chance to watch eight practices and interview some two dozen players and coaches, which left me with these 17 observations:

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Rantoul 2014 XXIV: Camp Superlatives

I used to just name “biggest surprise” and “camp MVP” and such, but last year I expanded that to this: Camp Superlatives.  Just like your high school yearbook, only with football.  Who looked the best?  Who’s the most talented?  I’ll try to break down the full camp tomorrow – my impressions from all eight practices – but for today, let’s just go through the superlatives.  Starting with the franchise: [Read more...]

Rantoul 2014 XXIII: Five Interviews From Friday

Given that it was my last practice, I tried to get in as many interviews as I could. I hadn’t talked to Jihad Ward yet, nor V’Angelo Bentley, and I really wanted to talk to Alex Hill. Tim Banks was one of the few coaches I hadn’t talked to, so I chatted with him as well. But you won’t care about that. You just want to hear from Manberg. [Read more...]

Rantoul 2014 XXII: The Good And The Bad

Every Camp Rantoul, no matter how good or bad a team looks, has the same conundrum: Does the offense look bad because the defense is solid? Is the only reason the defense looks so bad because this is an outstanding offense? Josh Ferguson untouched for the touchdown? Yay!! Boooo!!! In this post, I’ll attempt to sort through all of that.

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Rantoul 2014 XXI: Friday Morning Interviews And Videos

I always make this assumption that people follow both the blog and Twitter feed, so sometimes I’ll say something here but not say it there (and vice versa).  When I remember that’s not the case, I remember to link some of those Twitter things here.  Such as the Vine videos I took of the receivers fantastic morning at practice.  So here are two coach interviews and about six videos from this morning. [Read more...]

Rantoul 2014 XX: Change It Up

If there’s one thing you don’t want in Rantoul, it’s complacency. Winning college football teams require each player to get better each day of fall camp. It really is amazing how far players can come in 4/5 years. In 2010, Earnest Thomas looked completely lost out there. This week, he’s looked like a breakout star at Star. Every player gets better every day and you win. It’s simple. [Read more...]

Rantoul 2014 XIX: Austin Teitsma and Tim Clary After Practice

For tonight’s interviews, I decided to have some fun.  Austin Teitsma is always fun – not kidding, the kid never stops smiling – and Tim Clary is fun too.  So I decided to give Clary a hard time about tripping over the five yard line last year on the way to the endzone, and I decided to get Teitsma to answer questions like “which offensive lineman smells the worst” (I know, right? SMELLS the worst? Horrible questions.)  They’re both great sports though, so I was happy to get to chat with them.  Smiley and the walkon:

Austin Teitsma

Tim Clary

Rantoul 2014 XVIII: Mailbag 5

OK, so I asked for questions in the comments sections of the posts, and I haven’t answered any of those yet.  So now I have exactly 59 minutes before the Thursday practice starts.  How many can I answer in that time?  Five?  I think I can answer five.  (Acutally, this first question asks for six things, so that’s like six questions, so I’m going to answer five and then claim it was eleven.  Why am I still intro-ing I have 58 minutes left… [Read more...]