Check out video highlights of Saturday's scrimmage here.
It was the last Rantoul High School scrimmage of his career. JUICE WILLIAMS feigned disappointment.
“Unfortunate,” Williams said.
The senior quarterback said the scrimmage showed “we’re not quite ready for game day yet. The good thing about it is we’ve still got three weeks to go out there and get prepared.”
Williams was part of the biggest play of the scrimmage, a 91-yard touchdown pass to JEFF CUMBERLAND. The senior receiver went over the defensive back and pulled the ball away.
There were other long gains, including an 80-yard touchdown run by DANIEL DUFRENE on the first play of the scrimmage. Despite big numbers, Williams wasn’t bragging about the performance by the offense.
“The offense is OK,” Williams said. “We haven’t really hit full stride. There’s still a lot of things we need to clean up, fumbling the ball, having turnovers in unnecessary situations.”
Williams wasn’t able to use half of his game Saturday. When a defender touched him, the play was called dead. In game situations, Williams might have broken the tackle.
“Having this red dress on is always frustrating,” Williams said. “But I know it’s for the good, it’s trying to protect me for the season. I’m going to take my share of hits during the year.”
Cumberland finished the night with three catches for 151 yards. His effort didn’t surprise Williams.
“That’s a compliment to all the hard work he’s put in,” Williams said. “We worked on him going up in traffic, getting the ball over those guys, all summer.”
The converted tight end isn’t the first option on offense. That role belongs to ARRELIOUS BENN. And JARRED FAYSON has gained plenty of attention with his work at Illinois since transferring from Florida. Fine with Cumberland.
“I can be a sleeper,” Cumberland said. “Guys saw what I could do last year, but they didn’t see the full potential of what I can do. This year, I plan to go out and do what I did today, make plays.”
On a touchdown run during the scrimmage, quarterback EDDIE McGEE pointed at the defender on the way to the end zone. The officials called him for unsportsmanlike conduct, forcing the extra point to be tried from the 35.
During practices, RON ZOOK allows the players to celebrate. But he had warned the Illini before the scrimmage that the calls would be game-like. McGee’s taunting would have been called.
“I want them to have fun, but not at the expense of our football team,” Zook said.
“I’m not mad at Eddie. Eddie will learn from that and be fine. The football team will learn from that and be fine. I feel bad that it had to be Eddie because I love him. That could be something that could help us win.”
NO ACHES, PAINS
The most important statistic from the scrimmage to Zook: No major injuries.
“NICK (RICHEY, the team’s trainer) gave me about four Pepto Bismol tablets before the scrimmage,” Zook said. “That’s the thing you worry about.”