Three crack junior college receivers are on the way, and a diminutive Californian – Terrance Smalls – is already making his presence felt (he had a 45-yard reverse and three catches Saturday afternoon).
But there were no concession speeches by Illini veterans Michael Dean, Rob Majoy, Lenny Willis and George McDonald-Ashford.
Illinois left no doubt who's the team to beat at next week's Big Ten men's tennis championships in Urbana.
A 6-1 win at Michigan on Saturday gave the Illini the No. 1 seed and left them one victory away from their first unbeaten Big Ten season.
It'll cost you a few bucks but might be worth it. Take a checklist to today's spring football game (2 p.m. start, no TV or radio) and see how the Illini grade out.
A starter's manual, free of charge:
CHAMPAIGN – The linebackers are penciled in. So are the safeties. And the offensive tackles.
Four weeks of spring practice have helped to define most positions on the Illinois football team. Except for the most important one: Quarterback.
CHAMPAIGN – All signs pointed to this one being in a viselike grip of the pitchers.
For Illinois, there was Brett Weber – 4-0 in Big Ten action. Owner of the No. 2 earned run average in league games. Ditto for his ranking in opposing batting average.
For Iowa, there was Jeremy Meccage – 3-0 in the conference. Third in Big Ten ERA, a scant 0.04 behind Weber's 1.44. Right behind Weber, too, in the league's batting average off him.
Like so many other top seniors coming out of college this spring, Ashley Berggren was ready to cast her lot in women's professional basketball with the Women's National Basketball Association.
CHAMPAIGN – Will the Big Ten baseball series that never was help or haunt Illinois? Are fewer conference games better or worse for the Illini as they duel co-leader Ohio State and others for the regular season title?
For the answers to these and other questions, don't ask Itch Jones. The UI coach knows only time will tell.
Former Illinois linebacker David James is putting his speech communication degree to use this summer.
News and notes on Illini sports:
We still don't know whether Frank Williams will be in uniform on Nov. 10, if Lon Kruger needs to go shopping for a new assistant or what Illinois will get Tom Davis for a retirement gift.
But a lot's happened around here, and the rest of the college basketball world, since Tubby Smith and the Kentucky Wildcats cut down the nets last month in San Antonio.