The 90 Illini – 75 to 71

As we get close to the 60’s we start to leave the “will likely redshirt” group and begin to look at players who might make a small contribution. In other words, the days of me writing “he’ll redshirt, lift, and we’ll see what we have in a few years” for every player might be over. [Read more…]

Back & Forth – Football Recruiting

Steve and I exchanged some emails this last week – mostly regarding football recruiting.  I figured I’d share.  That was the whole genesis behind B&F posts anyway.  I’m constantly emailing and texting about all things Illini – why not publish some of those conversations? Here’s some football talk. [Read more…]

The 90 Illini – 85 to 81

I believe most of the freshmen are due on campus today. Which means we should get a roster update soon. Which means we’ll probably learn of a freshman who didn’t make it past admissions (or a walkon who left the team) very soon. Still, The 90 Illini march along (soon to be reduced to 88 or something). Next up: 85 through 81. [Read more…]

The 90 Illini – 90 to 86

The return. Not only of The 90 Illini, but also my return from my yearly May swoon.  Each year, I take May as a recharge month and write at about a third of my normal pace. Thought I might break the record this year (only 11 posts in May of 2013), but I landed on 13 posts.  Now, it’s June, so it’s time to crank it up. Starting with the 90i. [Read more…]

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…]