CHAMPAIGN – As a group, there''s a way to go to reach the heralded foursome of Brandon Lloyd, Walter Young, Greg Lewis and Aaron Moorehead, all of whom were on NFL rosters last season.
In time, however, the Illinois football team is hoping Ade Adeyemo, Lonnie Hurst, Kendrick Jones and DaJuan Warren stack up favorably.
CHAMPAIGN – The quarterback returning from back surgery is getting the bulk of the attention. And that makes perfect sense. Jon Beutjer is a high-profile player whose comeback is considered vital for the Illinois football team.
Just like Beutjer, offensive guard Bryan Koch spent a tense few hours last season on a hospital operating table. And just like Beutjer, Koch''s injury had an impact on his life both in and out of football.
News-Gazette staff writer Brett Dawson''s weekly take on college basketball''s offseason comings and goings:
CHAMPAIGN – Football defense isn''t based on a special player or three.
It''s one of those boring "team" things, where all gaps must be filled, all assignments carried out. If you have a weakness, the opposition will find it.
A break in the weather allowed top-ranked Illinois a chance to prep for the upcoming Big Ten men''s tennis tournament.
The Illini on Saturday beat Michigan State 6-1 in a match played outdoors. Those same courts – refurbished last summer – will be the site of the Big Ten tournament April 29-May 2.
URBANA – Bar none, it was the worst day of Eva Choe''s tennis career.
While the Illinois women''s team was absorbing a 5-2 whipping at Michigan, Choe''s left knee was taking an even worse beating. After whacking an overhead winner during the second set, Choe landed awkwardly on her left leg. At that point, her match ended. So did her season, the victim of a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
URBANA – Sean Bubin remembers running around his parents'' restaurant in Rantoul as a 5-year-old. He would watch his father, Barry, cook and he was pretty good as an unofficial taster.
By the time he was in high school at Rantoul, his parents had opened Miko Restaurant in Urbana. As guests dined on sushi and steaks, Bubin scrubbed dishes.
CHAMPAIGN – Cindy Dallas figured the highlight of her Saturday would be volunteer work at the Champaign County Humane Society, walking dogs and playing with cats.
She thought wrong.
CHAMPAIGN – For the first time in spring game history, the fans at Illinois actually might root for no touchdowns. Or big gains. Or first downs.
"Including me," Illinois coach Ron Turner said. "We''ve had a lot of scrimmages I''ve told Coach (Mike Mallory), ''I hope we rush 20 times for 10 yards.'' "
CHAMPAIGN – A year ago, he was competing in the spring practice as an early-enrolled freshman. But Jay Ramshaw won''t be on the field today. And hasn''t been with the team during March and April workouts.
The redshirt freshman defensive end is "taking care of some personal things," Illinois coach Ron Turner said. "We''ll go from there."