Get A Handle

I can’t figure it out. One morning I’ll wake up and think “this might be one of our best defensive lines… ever”.  The next morning: “the offensive scheme is so completely different that it might be October 1 before we have anything figured out on that side of the ball”. No matter how hard I try, I cannot get a handle on this season.  [Read more…]

Recruiting Anxiety

I wrote last week about the parallels between football recruiting and basketball recruiting. Both give me anxiety. Basketball is understandable – we have six to give and we have to land a top-10 class. But football, even with Lovie just getting started, gives me similar anxiety. Why? Here’s why.  [Read more…]

Post-Spring Three Deep

This the least accurate depth chart I’ll ever put together. We don’t fully know the schemes yet (and we won’t, really, until North Carolina), and we don’t know which players fit those schemes (at least in the eyes of the coaches). So here’s my post-spring depth chart… subject to 25 changes before September. [Read more…]

Looks Like University Of Illinois – Ricky Smalling

Let me just start with this. Using the composite rankings, the highest ranked player to pick Illinois last year was TE Zarrian Holcombe, who ranked #704 nationally. Ricky Smalling’s ranking on the composite list? #333. This is Lovie climbing up two or three rungs on the talent ladder. As it should be. [Read more…]

Spring Mailbag IV

I should add some teases to these before-the-jump intros so’s I can get me some CLICKS. You won’t believe what these Illini football players look like today – #6 WILL BLOW YOUR MIND! [Read more…]

Spring Mailbag III

More mailbaggery as spring ball winds to a close.  One more practice on Tuesday and then Lovie dives head first into recruiting recruiting recruiting. This first one is from an email: [Read more…]

Looks Like University Of Illinois – Hardy Nickerson Jr.

Easily the biggest Illini player personnel moment since Ke’Shawn Vaughn grabbed the Illini hat at that press conference.  Just a gigantic commitment. Yes, he’s a fifth year transfer, so he’ll only have one season, but still, there are going to be a lot of Tom Cruises at the bottom of this post. [Read more…]

Spring Mailbag II

I’m going to cheat and use a tweet about Dre Brown from last night as my first “mailbag” question. Because I need to talk about it. Because talking about it can bring healing. Maybe. [Read more…]

Spring Mailbag I

See, now this is making me sad because I usually only do two mailbags per year – Spring and Rantoul – and now the Rantoul mailbag won’t be named the Rantoul mailbag. I really need to get over this. It’s like Camp Rantoul was my child or something.

OK, on to the mailbag questions: [Read more…]

Starting From Scratch

I watch a lot of Illini football playing against Illini football.  Spring practices, Rantoul (*snif*), I’ve dedicated a lot of my life to watching the Illini play the Illini.  So when there’s a scrimmage like this, I usually go by general feel. My general feeling: we really are completely starting over. [Read more…]