March 25 Bob Asmussen chat

March 25 Bob Asmussen chat

Monday, March 25, 2019 - 11:00am

Who will win the quarterback battle in the spring? What are other key position fights? How will the new coaches perform?
For the answers to these questions, check in with our longtime Illinois football beat writer.

Bob Asmussen wrote on March 25, 2019 at 11:03 am
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Welcome back to another Bob Asmussen chat. I will be here for about an hour.

Hope everyone had a great weekend. I was in beautiful Des Moines, Iowa for the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament. It's an annual trip I take with my family. I started it with my son back in 2008 and it is a lot of fun.

I got to see three Big Ten teams play and two of them moved to the Sweet 16. Michigan State got pushed a bit by Bradley in the opener, but dominated Minnnesota in the second round. Michigan looked really good in lopsided wins against Montana and Florida.

My pretournament pick Kentucky survived. Not easily. Same for Duke, which almost got beat by UCF on Sunday night. The Blue Devils might get inspired by the close call and roll the rest of the way. We will see.

Illinois spring football practice starts Tuesday. I'm looking forward to seeing all the new coaches work.

Enough stalling, time to get to your questions. As always, thanks for your participation.



Illini Football Fan wrote on March 25, 2019 at 11:03 am

Bob -

Do you know which football players made the biggest transformations results-wise in the off-season? This involves the strengths and conditioning aspects and among those, who do you expect to make the biggest leap in football performance from last season to this season?

Thanks for all you  do with the N-G.

Bob Asmussen wrote on March 25, 2019 at 11:03 am
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Illini Football Fan,

Great to hear from you and thanks for the kind words.

Lou Hernandez is in charge now, so there will be gains across the board. Strength will be the first thing that impoves because that is a big deal for him. But speed is important too.

I think you will see the bigger guys, like Verderian Lowe, slim down a bit. He will improve athletically without sacrificing any of his power.

I think the biggest gains will be on the offensive line, followed by the defensive line.

My memory of the Hernandez during his earlier time here was the guys made quick jumps in terms of performance. No surprise there. But the really impressive part was the fact that the guys continued to get better each year. By Year 3, the guys were playing at a high level. That can happen again.

The difference between weight training now and in 2008 is the advances in technology. While Lou Hernandez is an old-school guy, he is also smart enough to use every tool available to him.

I also remember some grumbling by the guys Hernandez inherited. Until they started to see it pay off on the field. Then, they became believers. That will likely happen again.

I will check with the players this week to see how it is going.

One goal for Hernandez with the team is to improve the overall health. That will help cut down on injuries, which have been an issue in recent seasons..



Bob Asmussen wrote on March 25, 2019 at 12:03 pm
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Wow, you took it easy on me. I am going to close the chat for today.

I will be back next Monday at the same time. If you have any questions between now and then, feel free to email me at

If you are in downtown Champaign tonight. stop by The Esquire at 5 for our weekly radio show. Illinois men's basketball coach Brad Underwood will be our guest. Hope to see you there.

Have a great week everybody. Enjoy the tournaments.