Talking points: Scott Holland

Talking points: Scott Holland

How important is football at the school and on campus?

It's tough to say. The last few years Western has had pretty good teams, making the postseason twice in the last three years, but attendance has been a big issue among the student body and in the community. I don't want to say it's not important, however, because there is usually a big crowd at tailgating. Then, those who make it inside the stadium and hang around for four quarters are vocal.What's your early take on coach Jared Elliott?I think this is a good fit for WIU. Coach Elliott is young and very personable, so he meshes well with his players. He also has a young staff. There will be some growing pains, as evidenced late in the game last week, but this looks like a good hire by WIU.

What would a win against Illinois mean to the Leathernecks?

It would be a major boost to the program, for several reasons. The notoriety that comes with beating a Big Ten school definitely puts an FCS program like Western on the map and puts them back in the postseason discussion. A win would also bring some confidence to a team that let one get away last week and is a team many on the outside have projected to have a bad year.

Who is more popular at Western Illinois: Rodney Harrison, Don Beebe, Bryan Cox or Frank Winters

Bryan Cox, Don Beebe and Frank Winters have all come back to campus and town to talk with the team in the recent past. I know Winters has come multiple times, so among players, I would have to say him.

Who is one under-the-radar Western Illinois player Illinois fans should keep an eye on?

Steve McShane is Western's biggest playmaker, but WIU will try to get the ball to him in the running and passing games as well as in the return game. Someone else to watch is Tony Tate, another speedster WIU will get creative with and try to get in space. If the Leathernecks are going to get any big plays on offense or special teams, it mostly likely comes from these two.

Can you give us a score prediction with a brief explanation?

I'll take Illinois by two scores, 31-17. I think Western can hang around if it avoids the big mistakes, but eventually Illinois' size, speed, depth and athleticism helps the Illini pull away.