The Extremely Blunt Fighting Illini Football Preview


erin andrews and ron zook

I’m just not a soccer guy. The World Cup is fine, but it’s not my thing. I just can’t wait for college football to get here. Therefore, when College Football Zealots asked me to do their preview of the Illinois Fighting Illini 2010 season for them. I jumped at the chance.

Here’s an excerpt:

What are the major strengths and biggest weaknesses of the team?

The running game- that’s about the only aspect of the team I’m optimistic about. Especially since 3/5 OL starters are back and RB Mikel LeShoure is the real deal. Jason Ford is a serviceable backup, sometimes. The front seven returns four starters, so there’s some hope there. The secondary will be anybody’s guess. It’s a crap shoot. The passing game could be a mess, it was an absolute train wreck last year, and that was with an experienced QB and WRs. And with everyone EXTREMELY HIGH on the receiving corps entering the season. Maybe it’s good we’re starting over here, especially with a new off coordinator.

I’m very high on Petrino, maybe he’ll improve the passing game from ’09.

Looking at the schedule who will be the first major test?

Mizzou right off the bat in St. Louis, they’ve owned us lately and have a 16-7 edge in the all time series.

What team on the schedule do you fear the most?

My first three years on campus we went 5-28, so I’ve been conditioned to fear everyone. The Ron Zook era has done little to nothing to alleviate that fear.

Who is the best player on your team that nobody talks about?

Maybe D lineman Cory Liuget. pronounced “legit.” Like Hammer “too legit to quit.”

Who is the best offensive player on the team?

Leading rusher LeShoure- he averaged close to seven yards a carry on the season, and finally seized the starting tailback position all to himself when it was previously a wide open derby, exactly like Rashard Mendenhall did in 07

Who is the most impactful defensive player on the team?

D lineman Clay Nurse who was all conference honorable mention last year. He should find the opponent’s backfield early and often this fall.

What player(s) needs to step up this year in order for the team to reach it’s full capability?

That’s 100% MLB Martez Wilson. Last summer, we were all talking about how he was moving over to the middle, and how the two guys that preceded him, Brit Miller, and J Leman led the conference in tackles. And it was his turn to finally live up to the huge billing that surrounded him as a recruit. He was right up there with Arrelious Benn and Vontae Davis. A fluke injury cut his 09 short, but now he has another year to step up

Read the whole preview here

Written by Paul M. Banks, President and CEO of The Sports , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox


  1. paulmbanks says

    4-8 4-8 4-8, yes, the program will be on the upswing in 2010

  2. Mike Collins says

    Time for Zook the crook to go!!

    The biting illini have not been relevant for years regarding football!

    Why is Zook still there?

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