Illinois Football Daily Bullets

Illinois Basketball Daily Bullets

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Temporary Tattoos have become popular as gameday wear....

As you can see, temporary tattoos have become popular for some fans to add to their gameday costume. (pic courtesy of here)

The Tailgating Scene......

Here is an Illini fan wearing a shirt that has been popular amongst Illinois students in recent seems Michigan still dredges up strong emotions in Illini fans.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Did you like the throwback uniforms from last Saturday's game?

If you liked them, then you can bid on them here. The bidding goes thru September 15th.

Personally, I thought the uniforms were awesome. I'm not a big fan of the modern Illini uniforms....they look like a cross between the Denver Broncos and Old New York Giants. (Bronco uniforms and Giants' helmets that is). And that makes for a big UGGGGG combined with a huge LEEEEEEEEE!!!

I'd be all for keeping the throwback uniforms, to be honest. They were really cool.

Side note: As of the posting of this message, the Juice #7 throwback Jersey was already bid up to $970.00. Wow! The Benn #9 jersey was at $610.00. A comparative steal, I guess.....#9 has much more upside than #7.

ESPN previews saturday's game against the Ragin' Cajuns

ESPN's preview of saturday's game has been posted. Click here to check it out.

The biggest takeaways from the article:

1. Illinois gave up over 200 yards rushing last week against Eastern Illinois

2. Louisiana-Lafayette had the 7th ranked rushing attack in the nation last year, and they have a star running back on the roster (Tyrell Fenroy)

3. The Cajuns play a ball control offense

Overall, this should be a good test for the Illinois defense, which so far has been the big question mark for the Illini in the first two games.

Check out this Illini Football video set to Kidd Russell's 'Rush"

What do you think of it? Cool video.....not sure about the rhymes though.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Keys to Illinois Victory...

Ok folks, we're less than twenty-four hours away to the big kick-off to the 2008 Fighting Illini football season. #19 Illinois vs. #6 Missouri, can it get any better to quench our Illini thirst? Let's sit down together and do the necessary pre-game prognasticating.

Here are the keys to victory for the Illini:

1) The Illini defensive line must prove it is among the best in the country. They can count on playing against one of the best passing QBs in the nation. If the Illini D-line doesn't get to Chase Daniel early and often, the game is all but over. The Illini must not just only get sacks, but knock Daniel to the turf all night.

2) The Illini must show their running game can still go post-Mendenhall. All signs point up.

3) Moreso than the running game, Juice must prove he has improved as a passer. This game will not be won by the Illini without some accurate downfield passing. You're a known quantity now fellas, you ain't sneaking up on no one this year.

My call is Illinois 28, Missouri 24.

Go Illini!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thoughts prior to the spring game

According to the Coach Zook, it's been a productive spring practice period for the Illini. However, judging by the team scrimmage up in Chicagoland last week, there are some unanswered questions on offense. Here are the potential offensive issues--

quarterback -- Juice has only completed about half of his passes this spring. He doesn't appear to be improving his accuracy from last season. He just throws a very hard ball, and doesn't have much touch on the ball. Is passing the football kind of like shooting free throws? You know what I mean. Take Shaq. No matter how hard he tries or how much he practices, his free throws routinely clang of the rim like a ton of bricks dropping on pavement. I think it's the same for Juice when he passes. Ron Zook needs to seriously think about giving Eddie McGee a shot at the starting job during Camp Rantoul.

wide receiver -- Arrelious Benn had shoulder surgery, and has been wearing a no-contact red shirt during drills. He won't play in the spring game. Is he going to be able to overcome this injury? Or will it hamper him in a chronic way? Otherwise, Illinois has a lot of "potential" in their young talent at this position, but nothing proven. Jeff Cumberland has looked good in spring drills, though.

running back -- this is an area of weakness for the team. Who is going to fill Mendenhall's huge shoes? Troy Pollard is not in spring drills, and he's coming off of a knee injury. Daniel Dufrene showed flashes last year, but nothing this spring so far. Freshman Mikel Leshoure from Centennial is going to take time to develop. So, there's no star power at running back yet.

offensive line -- the unit's not in synch yet. Juice got "sacked" repeatedly during the Lemont Scrimmage. He had to run for his life. Good thing he was wearing the red jersey.

As you can see, offense is a big question mark. Lots of work to be done prior to the start of the season. Especially since Illinois is not a passing team at all.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The state of Illini Basketball after the Ohio St. loss at home

Well, I haven't devoted much thought to basketball on this site yet this year. I was trying to figure out where this lethargy was coming from about orange and blue hoops, and decided that it wasn't for any other reason than my brain was filled with thoughts of the Rose Bowl and Illini football. With the football season now over, let's take a look at Illini basketball.

It was a pre-big ten season that had very mixed results. Things started out well with the trip to Maui, with Illinois scoring victories over Hawaii, Az St., and Ok St. during that trip. They also played decently against Duke, though that ended up being an easy win for the Blue Devils. They followed that up with very close losses to both Maryland and Arizona, games that no one really thought Illinois would win. So, things were looking moderately good heading in to late December. Then, a loss at home to Miami of Ohio kind of woke everyone up. Uh oh, was the collective thought of everyone at the Assembly Hall that night. The offense was just anemic. Illinois bounced back with a win over Mizzou in the Braggin' Rights game, but then the wheels totally fell off with a loss at home to Tennessee St. in the last home game prior to the Big Ten opener. That's right folks-- TENNESSEE ST.!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was one heck of a shocking loss. After that game, Illini fans kind of took a deep breath and shuddered.

The Big Ten opener saw the Illini go down hard to a not very good Ohio St. team, once again at home. So, there's the summary so far of the big picture. Now, let's take a quick look at the players:

Chester Frazier - He's playing very poorly so far this season, and Illini fans are giving him absolute hell for it. A good number of fans cascaded venomous boos down on Chester when he left the game for the last time against Ohio St. That's the first time I can ever remember fans in the Assembly Hall booing the Illini. It truly was a sad day, to be honest. I'll never look around the Hall with the same kind of pride that I once did, that's for sure. Chester's playing hard, just not very well. His defense has been solid, if not spectacular. Jamar Butler torched him for 32 points in the Ohio St. game. Nevertheless, he's shown the ability to lock down a number of counterparts this season. His shortcoming comes on the offensive side of the ball. He has been playing horribly as the team's "quarterback". Indeed, his skill level has seemed to drop compared to last season. He tends to get in trouble when pressured hard on the dribble, and succumbs to the double team fairly frequently. Big problem there is he keeps his head down and picks up his dribble too soon when he's under solid pressure. Additionally, his passing has been poor, at best. He throws the ball away on lobs a lot, when he should either not pass it or should deliver a bounce pass. Another thing is that he has no confidence in his outside shot, and either airballs the 3 pointer or bricks it off the rim. This lack of confidence also causes him to pass up wide open shots. He tends to get out of control when he drives to the hoop, once again displaying a propensity to put his head down when in traffic. He doesn't move well in the motion offense. On top of this, his confidence is totally gone now. Positives? He is a good rebounder! I'm not sure what the answer is on Chester Frazier. I think Weber knows he has no choice but to keep working with him.

Demetri McCamey -- McCamey has played very poorly so far this season. He has shown flashes of talent, though. He can handle the ball better than Frazier in flashes, but he loses the ball off the dribble very frequently. He also tends to play with ihs head down, and has not shown very good court vision so far this season. He is a very poor outside shooter, and frequently airballs or bricks three pointers. He is a good passer, though. His defense is very poor. Overall, he is still somewhat of an unknown quantity. We need to see more of him before making any further judgments. A lot of fans want Weber to bench Frazier and to just go with McCamey. This is a case of fans having the "boo boo" face, however. He's not playing any better than Frazier, and his defense is much worse. Weber has been giving him more minutes as his effort and defense improve. I think Weber is handling things okay. Chester definitely should still start, however.

Trent Meacham - He has been Illinois' best guard so far this season. He had a couple of big games from the outside during the December run of games. He has shown the ability to consistently hit the 3 point shot--- but ONLY when he has his feet set and hits a spot up shot. He hasn't shown the ability to shoot off the dribble or to create his own shot so far this season. To be fair, teams really key on him since he is Illinois' only viable outside threat. His defense has been serviceable, but not spectacular. He has a tendency to get manhandled by bigger athletic guards, and he is slow. His effort has been outstanding, however. The big test for Trent will be this-- can he compete against a steady diet of big, phyical, athletic guards during the Big Ten season. He disappeared last year during the Big Ten. Let's hope he can make the adjustment this year.

Sean Pruitt - He plays solid defense, but he doesn have trouble defending against the more mobile big men (like Kosta Koufos). He has no shot outside of 5 ft. from the basket. He has shown good inside moves, though, and his rebounding has been outstanding. He still is not a good passer, and falls in to the double team trap very easily. Still, he's playing some pretty good ball for the Illini. His major huge weakness is free throw shooting. He missed two in a row at the end of the Tennessee St. game that surely led directly to the loss. He's hovering at or below the 50% mark from the charity stripe, I believe. Ouch.

Brian Randle - He's been very inconsistent so far, and has also suffered two separate injuries that have slowed him down a bit. He played fairly well against Ohio St., though. He once again has shown he's one of the better lock down defenders in the Big Ten. However, he has also once again shown the propensity to get into foul trouble early in the first half. He has spent many a first half this season primarily on the bench due to picking up two early fouls. Offensively, he doesn't move well in the motion offense, and his shooting has been absolutely atrocious. One three point shot he took in the season opener actually line drived and hit the shot clock, which is several feet ABOVE the backboard. Ugly. He should NOT take 3 pointers. Bruce Weber needs to flash him the red light on that. He has shown the ability to drive to the hoop, but most of the time he is pretty passive on offense. Finally, his free throw shooting has been absolutely atrocious. All in all, Randle's career is a pretty big disappointment so far. He needs to put all that behind him, and salvage something the rest of this season. One final note: Randle will not be playing in the NBA. He's not even close to being an NBA player. He might play in Europe, but his shooting is so poor that even that might be doubtful.

Well, as for the rest of the guys (Tisdale, Cole, Alexander, Davis, Semrau, Carlwell, Jordan, Hicks) we'll have to talk about them another time. They've shown some potential.

Tomorrow's game against Penn St. is a big one for this team. Whatever razor thin sliver of hope that they still have of making the NCAA tournament will be absolutely gone if they can't beat the Nittany Lions at home.

Go Illini!

One final note: Please don't boo the team at the Assembly Hall. They're trying the best they can.