What went right ... and wrong

What went right ... and wrong

Our take from Saturday's Orange and Blue game at Memorial Stadium:


Sackmaster general

Michael Buchanan picked up where Whitney Mercilus left off in 2011, recording 4.5 sacks and spending the bulk of the day bothering the Blue quarterbacks. Buchanan had the most overlooked 6.5 sacks in school history last season because of Mercilus. Now, he will be the one trying to win the Hendricks Award as the nation's top defensive end.

Just Joshing

With Donovonn Young missing a chunk of the spring (injury), redshirt freshman Josh Ferguson has taken advantage. He gained 150 yards Saturday, including a 68-yard burst. It took the fastest guy on the team, Justin Green, to chase him down. Ferguson earned the most improved offensive player for the spring and will battle Young for playing time in the fall.


The coaches promised Miles Osei and Terry Hawthorne would play multiple positions. Osei hit 8 of 12 passes for 115 yards, ran seven times and caught four passes. Besides recording five tackles at cornerback, Hawthorne scored the lone Blue TD on a 29-yard pass from Reilly O'Toole. Hawthorne will be on both sides of the ball in 2012.


Where's Dimke?

Actually, Derek was at the stadium Saturday, but not on the field. And you could tell when the Illini tried field goals. Three players made four three-pointers. But they missed three and clanked an extra point off the goal post. Ryan Frain will have a good chance to become the starter when he arrives on campus later in the spring.

No holds barred

The two lines gave up a combined nine sacks. Sure, the starters were split between teams, cutting into cohesiveness. But there were still too many open runs at the quarterbacks by the defensive ends and tackles. If it doesn't get tightened up by the time the season starts, the Illini are going to have a major problem protecting the quarterbacks.

Weather or not

Did the rain and cooler temperatures limit the crowd to the listed 3,000? Or would that have been the number regardless? Rain forced most of the fans under the East stadium overhang. And it didn't help the play on the field. Passes were dropped. Balls were fumbled. Kicks were missed.

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports
Tags (1):Spring Game


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D0ubtingTh0mas wrote on April 15, 2012 at 1:04 am

Wait 'til you see how empty the stadium looks for regular season games.

We're talking Fresno State empty for most of the next few years.

Bwp 5P wrote on April 15, 2012 at 9:04 am

You just can't say anything positive about any of the teams can you Tommy?

dave1956 wrote on April 15, 2012 at 11:04 am

be quiet. The PROPHET OF DOOM Doubting Thomas has spoke.

urbanaman wrote on April 15, 2012 at 11:04 am

You really believe that?!

If so, there definitely is something empty - the space between your ears, D0ubting...

D0ubtingTh0mas wrote on April 15, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Well, I know of 10 season ticket cancels already from my small group. These are all people who had been going for at least 5 years.

Firing Zook to bring in a guy who seems like a less experienced version of Zook with fewer recruiting ties is not the way to fire up a fanbase.

Matt wrote on April 15, 2012 at 8:04 pm

We need all the fans we can get, so I won't say we are better off without you and your front running band wagon crew. The good news is that the atmosphere in the stadium will be better due to there being less people of low character to deal with.


D0ubtingTh0mas wrote on April 16, 2012 at 1:04 pm


I'm low character because I want Illinois to reward HC jobs based on merit instead of "fit" when "fit" is code word for discriminatory hires.


Front-running? Are you kidding me? I've gone to nearly every home game since 1986. The team went 43-61 in Big Ten home games during that span. I've watched home losses to teams like San Jose St. I sat there with 12k other brave souls as Fresno State lucked a 2pt conversion. I was there at the very end of 1997 which was probably the lowest point for Illinois. I went through all of the Mackovic, Tepper, Turner, and Zook years. The last thing you can call me is a front-runner. 

However, I refuse to compromise my morals. Hiring Beckman was a low character move by Mike Thomas. Mike Thomas' moves are not based on merit but discrimination. I refuse to support a program headed by Mike Thomas. Mike Thomas' new hires shows Thomas discriminates in his coaching searches.

tunacommander wrote on April 16, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I do not agree or condone the idea that Mike Thomas is a bigot. I think he has a certain bias, not unlike most new AD's that are trying to make their "mark" on a program. He certainly has under-whelmed with his first set of coaching choices. But the verdict is still out and will be until this time next year. I think that since his choices indicate that he has basically abandoned/gifted the Chicago area to more elite programs, he needs to force the new guys to really work the ghetto areas of Peoria and Decatur and maybe Springfield. St. Louis is owned by Missouri, as it should be.