Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Illinois Football - The Zook Era Is Upon Us

This U of I football season is the start of the Ron Zook era, as I'm guessing almost everyone in a 30 mile radius is aware of. Being an Illinois football fan is not easy, however, being slightly buzzed on Miller Light and satiated by various grilled meats, one could easily get past the haze of interceptions and 4th down frustrations until at least the the middle of the third quarter. After all, Illinois tail gates are not currently for celebrating the tradition of great football. Sure, there've been a few great years, even as recent as 2001, but a tradition of greatness would be, unfortunately, vastly overstated. No, Illinois tail gates these days are about getting yourself comfortably numb enough to deal with something less than mediocrity. And this season will most likely not be any different. The team is thin at wide receiver (Derrick McPhearson is out for 4 games, and Kendrick Jones the only experienced starter), Tim Brasic is serviceable in the spread attack, and Pierre Thomas will most likely not get the number of carries neccessary to be the threat he *could* be with this offense. Perhaps E.B. Halsey will be the pass-catching half-back the offense caters to. Five-star recruit Rashard Mendenhall will be the third option, and will likely be a contributor on special teams barring any significant injuries. Don't get me started on the defense. Morris Virgil is the only real talent, and he's a converted running back. Ismail Abdunafi was a short-lived dream on the D-line. And with so much youth, and new schemes, it's going to be a challenge.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. With Zook in the fold, recruiting has already taken a turn for the better. The 2006 recruiting class has quarterback Isaiah "Juice" Williams, a nationally recognized talent, and wideouts Marques Wilkins and Chris James to invigorate Zooks passing attack. Experience will yield results, and this years team will progress, but not without adversity. No one said being a fan was easy, but that's part of the unspoken agreement; you've got to take the bad with the good. I'll be out there rooting them on like always, and a win would only make the fresh grilled beer brats even sweeter. Go Illinois!

Illinois Head Coach Ron Zook is the lovechild of actor
Gary Cole and Utah Jazz Head Coach Jerry Sloan.


At 11:01 PM, August 30, 2008, Blogger Steve said...

I'm watching the Illinois-Mizzou game right now and thought "Zook looks a lot like Gary Cole..." I Googled the comparison and this post came up. Happy to see that I'm not the only one who made the connection.

Good call on Jerry Sloan, too!


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