Your ILLINI preview is provided by Alma Mater of Illini Talk. At no point does he mention text messaging or Gil Thorp.
ILLINOIS PREVIEW by Illini Talk
It's a Brand New Ballgame in Champaign. Cautious optimism surrounds Illini fooball as we head into the 2007 season. Admittedly a work in progress for the past couple years, the pieces are beginning to fall into place for a respectable Big Ten football team at Illinois:
- QB Isaiah "Juice" Williams now has college experience. Accuracy is still a challenge, but he continues to improve, he's got a rocket-launcher arm, and he's fun to watch.
- The improving defense is built around Big Ten tackle leader, senior linebacker J Leman (who is recovering from off-season surgery).
- Recruiting master Ron Zook has brought competitive athletes to town -- including 5-star wide reciever Regis Benn, another fun one to watch. Benn started classes in Januray, and during spring practices and scrimmages, he proved that he can both catch and earn YACs. Look for the ball to go his direction often.
- Rashad Mendenhall will carry much of the Illini ground game.
- One point of interest in the defensive secondary: 23-year-old freshman Bo Flowers has spent the past 4 years playing minor league baseball in the Detriot and Cubs systems. And his D is respectable.
- A facelift at Memorial Stadium adds to the enthusiasm in Champaign, and Hawkeye fans will get to see the finished product when they next visit (2008).
I expect a .500 record this year -- a major improvement -- and even more competitive games than 2006 (note that only Michigan and Florida played Ohio State better than the Illini last season). A road win in Iowa City would be a bonus this year , but don't count us out (Ed. note: Only if you get Jon Beutjer a ninth year of eligibility).
Alma Mater (www.illinitalk.blogspot.com)