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.

[Read more…]

Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase Candidate for Maxwell Award (Nation’s Best Player)

scheelhaase

University of Illinois Fighting Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase has been named to the 65-man watch list for the Maxwell Award, given annually to the nation’s best college football player.

Scheelhaase is one of only 11 underclassmen on the 65-man list and is one of 10 Big Ten players recognized. The sophomore quarterback threw for 1,825 yards and rushed for an Illini freshman record and UI quarterback record 868 yards in 2010 as a redshirt freshman.

[Read more…]

2010 Illinois Football Season: the Official Exit Interview

mikel-leshoure

Back in June I gave an interview to collegefootballzealots.com previewing the upcoming University of Illinois college football season. I was pretty negative and pessimistic.

And it takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong. So I guess that makes me roughly the size of Jon Asamoah then because I was wrong about a few things. But fresh off a return from the Texas Bowl victory, here’s my exit interview for the same site; recapping the season.

By Paul M. Banks

[Read more…]

Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year comes down to Scheelhaase and White


Four weeks ago, The Sports Bank’s founder and senior writer Paul Banks named Illini freshman QB Nathan Scheelhaase the most likely candidate to win 2010 Freshman of the Year. Deservedly so, as Scheelhaase grabbed Big Ten Offensive Player and Freshman of the week after a magnificent win over Purdue where he went for 118 on the ground and tossed four touchdowns through the air.

But, that was all before the Wisconsin Badgers took off as one of the hottest teams in the country behind one of the most potent rushing attacks in all of college football. An instrumental piece of the Badgers’ rushing attack is freshman RB James White who has run for 1,029 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Together, Scheelhaase and White have combined for nine of the twelve Big Ten Freshman of the Week Honors given out throughout the season. When the Big Ten Freshman of the Year Award is given out Monday night, one of these guys will surely be the recipient. The question is, which one?

By: Nick Grays

[Read more…]

Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase Likely has Big 10 Frosh Award Locked Up

illinois

Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase earned a pair of Big Ten honors for his performance against Purdue on Saturday, as the conference announced Monday that Scheelhaase was named the Big Ten Offensive Player and Freshman of the Week. It is Scheelhaase’s first Offensive Player of the Week honor and fourth time this season that he’s been named the Freshman of the Week.

It’s safe to say (If I may paraphrase Milhouse Van Houten from The Simpsons) “everything’s coming up Scheelhaase!” or “the haase always wins.” He seems to have the Big Ten Freshman of the year award sewn up now. Although he will certainly get some stiff competition from the Wisconsin Badgers tailback James White.

[Read more…]

Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase needs to start making Plays with his Arm

illini-scheelhaase

Entering last Saturday, one of the keys to an Illinois upset over #2 Ohio State was for the Illini to attack the Buckeyes defense through the air. Sure, it’s the weakest part of this Illini team, but the Buckeyes are so stout against the run that making plays in the passing game was critical.

The Illini hung with ’em for all but the last couple minutes, but ultimately failed in their upset bid. They made some plays in the vertical passing game during the first quarter, but their final box score showed less than 140 yards passing for the game. And they enter this Saturday’s matchup with Penn State just 113/120 teams in all of FBS in passing offense.

We know that redshirt freshman QB Nathan Scheelhaase has a great arm. We now need to see him use it. We’ve seen him beat people on the ground, now we need to see Scheelhaase do it through the air.

By Paul M. Banks

[Read more…]

Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase: Early Season Progress Report

scheelhaase

Illinois Fighting Illini starting QB Nathan Scheelhaase was asked all the typical scouting report questions at Illini Media Day; but only now, after seeing him in action for two games, do we have a better appreciation of his responses to those queries.

“Definitely have to say that speed is my strength, I’m not a slow guy. Coach (Paul) Petrino (Offensive Coordinator) and Coach (Jeff) Brohm (Illini quarterbacks coach) that’s the thing they love about me, but it’s also what they get on me most about- is when I don’t use my strength enough,” Scheelhaase said.

By Paul M. Banks

[Read more…]

Nathan Scheelhaase named Juice’s successor at Illinois QB

nathan_scheelhaase

Illinois football coach Ron Zook today announced that Nathan Scheelhaase will enter the 2010 season as the Fighting Illini’s starting quarterback. One of the biggest questions entering the 2010 season was “who will replace Juice Williams?” Old #7 had a very disappointing senior season, but he still departed UI the school’s all-time leader in total offense.

By Paul M. Banks

[Read more…]