In 2016 Illini football finally has something that they haven’t had since the early to mid ‘90s- a true identity. In the days of Kevin Hardy, Simeon Rice and Dana Howard, Illini football was essentially Linebacker U. Light. Although 2001 and 2007 were special seasons, they seem too fluky now in retrospect and hence don’t help to figure an identity.
In the 1980s Illini football was a quarterback factory, but most of you reading this would regard that as ancient history. In Lovie Smith, they now have an identity, and that identity is defense.