Loren Tate

Loren Tate

Tate | Illini suffer another tough loss at Soldier Field

CHICAGO— Illinois has five consecutive home football dates in distant 2022.

If, as might happen, someone brainstorms the idea of moving the Sept. 10 Virginia game — or any game — to Soldier Field, please, Josh Whitman, decline ... don't answer the phone ... quench the temptation. Stay home.

Tate | Illini, Buckeyes exist in different football worlds these days

Where once Illinois-Ohio State was a raging football rivalry, the goings-on in Buckeyeland aren't exactly front-line concerns here anymore.

History shows these two clashed in 100 of 103 seasons through last year. The string reached 88 consecutive seasons through 2002, the year Illinois took OSU's national championship team into overtime.

Mary Henson on 'Honorary I': 'Just amazing'

As part of Varsity I weekend at the University of Illinois, Mary Henson will be honored as an "Honorary I" recipient tonight at Colonnades Club inside Memorial Stadium.

Tate: We've seen this before

There’s good reason why Lovie Smith closed Illini practices the last few weeks.

He had a great deal to keep a lid on.

Like the status of key defensive backs Bennett Williams and Nate Hobbs.

Those two absentees, plus an injured Tony Adams, necessitated the use of three freshmen in an area where experience is critical.

UI looks for sophomores to revitalize program

College football demands are too complex for one class of students to carry the load alone.

But Lovie Smith's sophomores are going to make a run at it. They've grown from 25 scholarship freshmen a year ago to a muscle-flexing 33 (with the help of redshirts and transfers).

Tate | Transfer QBs searching for right fit at right time

Why would Lovie Smith approve bringing in a transfer quarterback this summer when the Illini already had three quality freshmen on the way?

Answer: Because Lovie, riding a 10-game spiral, recognizes that freshmen are seldom ready at that position, and he needs to win football games NOW.

So here we are.

Tate | Coaches skirt line of truth with the media

Buzzzzz. Blink. Blink!

That was the lie detector going off during Urban Meyer's response to the media at the Big Ten football kickoff in Chicago on July 24.

Within seconds, in denying knowledge of a 2015 abuse allegation involving assistant coach Zach Smith, Meyer found his coaching status at Ohio State in jeopardy.

Tate | Implicated programs resume roles at the top

Has anything changed? Generally speaking, haven't most of the FBI-targeted basketball programs gotten better?

The bombshell that rocked the sport by implicating numerous college teams and players 10 months ago has become a mere whisper as the underground economy rolls merrily along.

Tate | Power-packed Big Ten its own worst enemy

In the history of Big Ten football, the conference has never been this good.

That's a projection. Not exactly good news for the also-rans.

Tate | Illini's success hinges on the 'Big Uglies'

Football is a violent game. Block and tackle. Overpower. Intimidate.

Disadvantaged coaches employ spread alignments in the hope of finessing it, but that usually fails. The "big uglies" routinely batter down the walls and decide the issue.