Check out this article from ESPN! Wow, Pat Forde doesn't pull any punches does he? Illinois is just going to have to start winning, consistently, to erase stories like this from the popular media. We really should be a winning program, though! I can't argue with Pat on that one.
He brings up some really good points in the article-- read it and digest it Illini fans!
May this season be the turning point!
Illinois Football Daily Bullets
Illinois Basketball Daily Bullets
Friday, August 31, 2007
Illini Fans! First game of the year tomorrow! And it's on a huge stage-- the RCA Dome in St. Louis against Mizzou. The St. Louis Post Dispatch is quoting Ron Zook as admitting that it's not an ideal opener for his young, still-developing team. That'll make an upset that much more satisfying Ron!
On paper, Illinois looks like a two-touchdown dog to us. But something tells me you can throw out the "on paper" analysis on this one. The one intangible for Illinois is that they have big play potential now, in the Juice Williams-Aurelious Benn connection. If that connection lights it up tomorrow, Illinois could pull off the huge upset.
We'll have to see. Here are the three keys to the game for Illinois:
1. Defensive secondary play
2. Offensive line play
3. Juice Williams' ability to throw the ball
If they're a "GO" on the above three, there's a chance for Illinois to win the game. I can't wait to watch it!
Monday, August 27, 2007
Sports Illustrated is predicting that Illinois will finish 6th in the Big Ten with a 7-5 record, and that they will play Kansas State in the Insight Bowl. Sweet. The Insight Bowl, by the way, is played in Tempe, Arizona at SunDevil Stadium on December 31st 2007. That would be an awesome way to spend New Year's Eve wouldn't it? It's really amazing how Zook's recruiting success is snowballing into legitimate media hype by big time outlets like SI.
Let's hope we can beat Missouri, so that it turns from a snowball into an avalanche!
Friday, August 24, 2007
It's always fun to follow and watch Illinois alums in the pros. Dee Brown now has his own website, and it contains a link to his very own blog. So if you're wondering what's up with Dee, all you have to do is check it out.
In his latest post, Dee tells us that he's currently in Chicago, chilling out with friends and family. He's been making a workout video that he's going to release soon, which was filmed in various locations around the Chicago area. As you can see, he's fully embraced the "One Man Fastbreak" nickname.
So where will he be executing these breaks next year? Dee's not 100% sure where he'll be playing next year, but he knows things will work out for him. Also, he plans on coming to Champaign for some games this year. He will always bleed Orange and Blue!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
The Orlando media isn't exactly up there with Chicago or New York, but nevertheless.......
The Orlando Sentinel puts Juice Williams at #34 when stacked up against the rest of the nation's QB's. That's definitely a potential pick right there.....cause Juice didn't have the numbers last year to earn a top 40 selection. The article describes him as "great athlete" but with "poor decision-making". I guess that's an accurate description of his freshman season.
Mike Locksley was disappointed with Juice's performance at Camp Rantoul-- but Zook feels like he's ready to have a break-out year. It remains to be seen. There's no doubt that Juice is one of the most gifted athletes to stand behind center at Illinois in the school's history. But athleticism alone doesn't make you a great quarterback. I think the only thing potentially holding Juice back from greatness is his passing touch and accuracy.
It'll be interesting to see how he plays against Missouri-- a very tough opening test.
Wow. Several news reports today about the whole Jamar Smith debacle revealed that he was drinking tequila 4 nights a week last year. That explains a lot about why he was playing so poorly......no one could figure out why he was mired in such a horrible shooting slump. It's amazing that he could play as well as he did! Your average person wouldn't be able to go to class after a night of tequila shots, let alone play big time college basketball! The picture above is a sobering reminder of what happens when alcohol and driving are combined. Best of luck to Jamar as he rehabs and gets ready for next season-- I definitely still think the kid deserves another chance at Illinois.
Well, it appears that Quinton Watkins has some unfinished academic business to tend to from high school before the NCAA will clear him to play. Undoubtedly, this will cause great outcry from all the "Debbie Downers" within IlliniNation. Don't worry, Illini fans, the world's not going to end! The Orange and Blue will be okay. Here's how I see the starting five shaping up as of today:
PG - Chester Frazier
SG - Demetri McCamey
SF - Rodney Alexander
PF - Brian Randle
C - Sean Pruitt
Not entirely sure about Rodney Alexander. Calvin Brock could easily fill that slot if he outplays Alexander during the pre-season. It should be an exciting year. I don't see this as a re-building year-- we have a core group of players (Frazier, Randle, Pruitt) who know the Weber system inside and out. It's early, but I'm predicting a strong showing in the Big Ten, and a trip to the Sweet 16 in March.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Mike Nadel, the chicago sports columnist and blowhard, absolutely laughs at the prospect of a winning season for the Illini. He thinks 5-7 would be absolutely amazing! Now, this guy's not the most knowledgeable sportswriter in the world....but is there a chance he's right on this one? SI is predicting a bowl bid.......but the jury's still out. Especially with the Chicago media! We'll know a lot more after the Missouri game, though.
The Associated Press is reporting that Illinois is forcing Jamar Smith to redshirt the upcoming season. This should restore Illini Nation's faith in Bruce Weber. Jamar has A LOT he has to deal with in the next year. This will allow him to meet his obligations, get himself into a healthy physical and mental condition, and prove to everyone that he is serious about being a scholarship student-athlete. Jamar-- we don't feel the least bit sorry for you, but we do wish you the best of luck.