Chicago Bears Kelvin Hayden: out for season

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Update: Chicago Bears nickelback Kelvin Hayden has been ruled out for the season with a torn hamstring, the team announced Wednesday.

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Illini win Tim Beckman’s debut convincingly

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One thing is for sure- this Illinois Fighting Illini team can play some defense.

With starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase injured, safety Ashante Williams returned an interception 60 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown to help Illinois and new coach Tim Beckman hang on for a 24-7 win Saturday over Western Michigan in the season opener for both teams.

The Illini opened up a 17-0 lead but their offense stalled when Scheelhaase left the game with an ankle injury late in the third quarter.

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Illini Football Media Day highlights

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New Illinois football head coach Tim Beckman takes over for the fired Ron Zook. The rookie head coach (on a Big Ten level) from Toledo addressed the media yesterday (Here is the link to the 25 minute video) after a week at Camp Rantoul; the Illini train on the former Chanute air force base.

Here are some of the highlights of what he had to say

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Illini Coach Tim Beckman addresses issue of recruiting Penn State players

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Newly minted Illini head Coach Tim Beckman addressed the issue of the day surrounding his program, and the Big Ten conference in general, the Penn State football roster being re-opened for recruiting.

Beckman took the topic head on with the opening statement in his time at the podium:

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Illini get much needed boost to the return game in NIU transfer

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Illini Coach Tim Beckman landed a pretty important although bound to be somewhat overlooked recruit today. It’s the ultimate needs-based pick up. Yuo can easily say without hyperbole that Illinois had the worst special teams in all of college football last year. Aside from the placekicking, it was all around atrocious and cost them a win at Penn State, and probably another two games as well.

The return game was stunningly bad, but it got a nice boost in defensive back and kick returner Tommy Davis, who will transfer to Illinois for the 2012 season after spending the last four years at Northern Illinois University.

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Illinois Alumni Association takes shot at Northwestern marketing slogan

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I received a mass email today from the Illinois Alumni Association.

The subject heading: ILLINOIS: Chicago’s Big Ten University

The message content:

Illinois alumni don’t need an expensive roadside billboard to let people know we’re the best public Big Ten university in Chicago!

Instead, make your case in your office space by displaying your loyalty for everyone to see. As we welcome 7,000 new graduates to the alumni family, we know that, together, we can uphold the greatness of our Alma Mater.

DOWNLOAD OFFICIAL ILLINOIS WALLPAPER

Yes another shot is fired across the bow. Hatfield vs. McCoys, Mozart vs. Salieri, Illini vs. Northwestern.

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Can Tim Beckman keep Illini Defensive Dominance going?

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The Illini started to get defensive, real defensive in the 2010 Texas Bowl. In that 38-14 trouncing of Robert Griffin III and Baylor, they held RG3 and the Bears in check.

The man who would win the Heisman trophy and become the #2 overall pick in the NFL Draft the very next season was out of rhythm, out of sync versus the Illini in Houston. And that D carried over into 2011, when they Illini had a top 10 national defense.

A lot of that was the personnel, a lot of it was coordinator Vic Koenning, who unfortunately had to move on when Ron Zook was replaced by Tim Beckman.

Can they keep it going this fall, despite the coaching changes?

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Auburn Gets All-American Transfer from Illinois; Fullback Jay Prosch

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It’s certainly transfer season in college football, kind of like a mini NFL free agent signing period. Notre Dame landed the top QB recruit in Gunner Kiel yesterday, and Illinois sophomore Jay Prosch transferred to the Auburn Tigers.

Prosch is ranked among the top fullback prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft class. The move that will allow Prosch to be closer to his family in the Mobile, Ala., area, including his ailing mother. Prosch was named a first-team All-American by Pro Football Weekly on Dec. 12 and was an Academic All-Big Ten honoree this year.

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Illinois Linebacker to Play in Bowl Game Just 6 Weeks After Getting Shot!

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This has got to be one of the most inspiring stories of the college football bowl season. This is more than a comeback. University of Illinois senior linebacker Trulon Henry was injured in a off-campus shooting November 13th. Henry, a two-year starter for the Illini (he moved from safety to linebacker this year) was shot in the hand and underwent surgery.

He missed the final two games of the season, both losses, to the Gophers and Badgers.

Henry, who was not originally at the party where the shooting occurred, was called by a teammate to help encourage players at the party to leave. Unfortunately, Henry was one of the three people shot at the gathering. The bullet exited through his forearm, and he suffered a broken bone.

But he’s going to suit up on New Year’s Eve versus UCLA in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

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Illini Hire Tim Beckman From Toledo: Very Underwhelming on Paper

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Ohio State hiring Urban Meyer this was not. Utah hiring Urban Meyer this could possibly be.

Even though it’s not official yet, conventional wisdom, the status quo and 4 out of 5 dentists agree: Toledo Rockets head Coach Tim Beckman will soon become the successor to Ron Zook at Illinois. This Illini head coaching hire has far less pizazz and excitement than any hire in recent memory. And that could be bad.

Then again the Zook hire had plenty of hoopla, and much of it was for the wrong reasons, so maybe going vanilla and “meh” is the right thing this time around?

I’m glad Illinois Athletic Director took some big swings, even if he whiffed on all of them.

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Next Illini Head Coach: Houston’s Kevin Sumlin?

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Word is Illini Athletic Director Mike Thomas could introduce the new Illinois Head football coach any day now. He said he would move fast; and he seems to be doing it.

Most of what we’ve being hearing in the media involves guys saying they haven’t been contacted by the University of Illinois. That includes Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who seems very interested in the gig- and a perfect fit.

But Monken claims they haven’t been in touch. If the job is his, he would become the fifth OSU OC among the last 6 to later get a head job.

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Illinois Linebacker Trulon Henry Injured in Shooting

University of Illinois senior linebacker Trulon Henry was injured in a off-campus shooting early Sunday morning in Urbana. Henry, a two-year starter for the Illini (he moved from safety to linebacker this year) was shot in the hand and underwent surgery.

He will miss the remainder of the regular season, and his status for a possible bowl appearance is unknown. The Illini have six wins; and are currently bowl eligible. However, the Big Ten has 8 bowl eligible teams, and could end up with 10, so where Illinois lands is truly up in the air.

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