Illinois Football Daily Bullets

Illinois Basketball Daily Bullets

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.