Illini Football Has Strength in DL, Finally an Identity with Defense

dawuane-smoot

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.

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Ke’Shawn Vaughn to Get Illini Football “Off the Bus Running”

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“Off the bus running” is one of the two sayings most commonly associated with Illini football Coach Lovie Smith. “Rex is our quarterback” is the other, and he gave us that catch-phrase Sunday at Illini Media Day. It’s 2016 football talking season, and during it we’ve heard a huge emphasis on the running game.

Illinois QB Wes Lunt said at Big Ten Media Day that this will be a run first offense.

“We’re committed to the running game, in training camp that’s really all you can really say,” Lovie said at Illini Media Day.

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Illini Football: Wide Receivers Team’s Biggest Question Mark

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In just his second practice back from a torn right ACL, Illinois wide receiver Mike Dudek tore the ligament again.  It’s the same exact injury that kept him out of the entire 2015 season. Some say he could be lost for the entire 2016 season too; while others say he might return some time during conference play.

Either way, his absence means that the receiving corps is quite possibly the biggest question mark on this Illini football team.

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Chicago Bears Past Makes Presence at First Lovie Smith Illini Media Day

lovie smith

“Past is prologue,” Shakespeare once said.

To see where you’re going, you have to first know from whence you came. This was a significant theme at 2016 Illini football Media Day; the very first of the Lovie Smith era. Yes, there was plenty of talk about Illinois football depth charts, recruiting, position battles, strengths, weaknesses and all the other topics that you usually find at every team’s preseason media day.

Lots of industry standard discussion during this session, but what made today’s press conference unique were all the allusions to Lovie’s Chicago Bears past. We cover some of the more interesting news and notes, nuggets and tidbits from Smith’s Media press conference below.

Also you can watch the video in full if you so desire:

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Illini QB Wes Lunt Had a Bad Parody Twitter Account Experience

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University of Illinois QB1 Wes Lunt is aware of his parody Twitter account (@WesLunt12), but he does not follow it, as the quarterback does not have Twitter. For many, like this author for instance, having a parody Twitter account would be considered a compliment.

Provided of course, the account was clever, funny, and kept things above board. The previous Wes Lunt parody account, in operation while the signal caller was at Oklahoma State, didn’t play nice.

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Illini QB Wes Lunt Aspires to be an Athletic Director Someday

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They say offense, most specifically passing offense, is what truly sells tickets.

It’s not just a cliche. Look at how the NFL has completely rewritten its rule book in order to facilitate new and bigger passing record milestones. The principle holds at the college level too, who doesn’t love watching those late night Pac 12 games, or the afternoon Big 12 contests where the QBs light up the scoreboard?

If you’re an Illinois Fighting Illini fan who bought tickets fir this fall, you no doubt hope that QB Wes Lunt will come up huge his senior year.

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Before USWNT, Jill Ellis Built Illini Soccer From Ground Up

jill ellis

By the time you read this, United States Women’s National Team Coach Jill Ellis will be taking her team through the final preparations for the USWNT’s first match in Olympic group play. They’ll take on New Zealand tomorrow night at Mineirão Stadium Belo Horizonte, Brazil (7 p.m. local / 6 p.m. ET) This all hinges of course, on the reality that no more Olympic sized calamities occur in Rio between now and then, and thus cancel the games

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Lovie Smith, Lunt, Smoot, Vaughn: Illini Football B1G Media Day Audio

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Illini football Head Coach Lovie Smith was the first to speak at the podium on the second Big Ten Media Day this week, and his remarks brimmed with optimism. They were the type of remarks that you would expect a head coach to make on dais, during a media session broadcast live on BTN.

Media Days aren’t about news. It’s rare that actual news is made or released.

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All B1G Teams as Simpsons characters: Michigan Wolverines =Mr. Burns

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Today kicks off B1G Media Days and your Michigan Wolverines are now deemed the league favorite. Actually, some sports books have ascribed UM the National Championship favorite. Ok, that’s a bit presumptive! Yes, we know that the media fawns over Jim Harbaugh more than they fawn over any other individual, but I still don’t know how we really got here on that one.

Of course, I also have no idea how a casino magnate with three wives and a disturbing tendency to publicly lust over his own daughter became the Presidential nominee of the political party dominated by the religious right, as 2016 is truly bizarro world.

How did we get here? The last time the Michigan Wolverines were last nationally relevant in 2006 and their most recent title came in 1997.

michigan wolverines basketball

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2017 Illini Basketball Could Honestly Be For Real

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University of Illinois sports fans have a very natural state- terrified!

As soon as you think everything is going alright, the other shoe dangles in the air ready for gravity to decide its fate. Thus the verbal commitment of 5-star center Jeremiah Tilmon on Monday, and the celebration that ensued, still invites much trepidation. It’s believed that Tilmon’s commitment precipitates the commitment of Jordan Goodwin, and thus you have Illini basketball trending upward again finally.

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Illini Basketball: John Groce Has Talent, Now Will He Win with it?

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Quoting Chicago based ’90s alternative tour de force Smashing Pumpkins, “today is the greatest, day I’ve ever known.” If 1.) you’ve only known of days since March 2013 and more importantly 2.) the greatness of your days are only measured in relation to Illinois Fighting Illini basketball.

Yes, five-star big man Jeremiah Tilmon announced on Twitter that he is indeed joining the Illini basketball program. It’s a much bigger get than Damonte Williams (who was a huge get in itself) and the best moment for the program since their first round victory over Colorado in the 2013 NCAA Tournament in Austin, Texas.

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College Football Award Watch Lists: Just Please Stop Already!

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Yesterday kicked off, as the great Elvis Costello sang, “the other side of summer.” That’s because Tuesday July 5th initiated the evil scourge that is College Football Award Watch List Season. These pointless press releases are sent out as breaking “news.”

Not only does the journalist receive the email blasts from the award and college football organization themselves, every single school sends out their own individual email blast themselves. Now you cannot blame the SIDs for this. It’s not their fault and don’t shoot the messenger.

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