Illini Football Media Day highlights


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 get much needed boost to the return game in NIU transfer


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

illini logo

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.


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?


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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New 2012 Illini Football slogan unveiled


Illinois football coach Tim Beckman revealed the 2012 Illinois “Loyal-Tee” shirt design Tuesday in front of Foellinger Auditorium in Champaign. 

The winning design, featured on the front of the shirt, was voted on by thousands of Illini fans out of four designs based on the winning fan-submitted slogan, “A New Era BECKons.”

Get it? Cuz of Tim Beckman, beckons…”STEAKS AND CAKES!”


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Illini Coach Tim Beckman: motivation through food



There’s food on the line yet again surrounding Illini football.

Earlier this week it was announced that this Illinois football spring game would have a couple culinary twists. Newly installed coach Tim Beckman decided that the losing team would have to eat frank and beans as their postgame meal.

Not sure what the winners got, but I’m assuming it’s real food.

‘‘This is a competition,’’ Beckman said. ‘‘The winner will be rewarded. The loser will get their beans and weenies. That’s the way it is. That’s life — that’s the game of football.’’

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


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!


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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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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Illinois Football Has 5 National Titles, Yes Really


When you look at the record of the current Illini head coach Ron Zook (34-45, midway through his seventh season in Champaign) and his two predecessors (Ron Turner 32-49, 8 years) and Lou Tepper (25-31-2 in 5 years), you may not think that it’s a program that can boast of multiple national titles.

The fact that those three men kept their jobs as long as they did, despite that sub .500 performance only verifies your assumption that it’s not a national championship program. However, you couldn’t be more wrong. Illinois football has five, yes FIVE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS.

Of course, these were all in the days long before the polls, the Harris interactive, and the BcS, so the term national title had a slightly different meaning.

The last one was in 1951, when the orange and blue went 9-0-1, 5-0-1 in the Big Ten. This is relevant today, because the 6-0 Illini are off to their first 6-0 start since that magical season.

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Strong Illini OL Led By NFL Prospect, Tackle Jeff Allen

Since Ron Zook took over in 2005, the Illinois Fighting Illini are first in the Big Ten in rushing, not the Wisconsin Badgers (who are second). It’s a surprising stat, but a truthful one.

Senior weakside tackle Jeff Allen is yet another in a great line of OLs to come from Champaign to the NFL (Tony Pashos, David Diehl, Jon Asamoah, Brad Hopkins, Brandon Moore, J.P. Machado, and Allen’s case we’ll see if he makes the leap this April). The Illini switch guards and tackles given the play call. So there is no true right/left guards and tackles. This versatility will serves Illini OL well for the next level.

They all have experience playing multiple positions.

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Illini Receiver A.J. Jenkins: Probably Best WR Weapon in Big Ten

Earlier this college football season, University of Illinois senior wide receiver A.J. Jenkins made some comments that proclaimed himself the best wide receiver in the Big Ten.

He has since backed off from those remarks, and now maintains a more standard, PR-friendly, humble and some could say vanilla manner in his on-the-record comments to the media. But his play on the field (third in the nation, first in the Big Ten in receiving yards) is making a loud and powerful statement.

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