Tatelines: Illini fans try to get answers

Monday night on the Internet was a 90-question workout that served to remind what the fans really care about: like Brian Cook's playing time, Ron Turner's recruiting accomplishments and a never-will-happen Illini-DePaul basketball matchup.

Q. What is the UI's position with former Proviso East star Phil Macklin, and what is the reaction to Turner taking four wide receivers?

UI football commitments

UI football commitments

According to The News-Gazette's count, UI coach Ron Turner has 19 commitments in his latest football recruiting class:

Tatelines: Guenther deserves a holiday

Send Ron Guenther a happy-face Christmas card. Really. And tell the Illini athletic director to take some holiday time off.

It is the complicated nature of his job that he deals with bowl (and band) trips one minute and golf course management the next, that he greets prospective recruits during one hour and completes another endowment (for Lon Kruger's salary) the next.

Illini's audition smooth

CHAMPAIGN – Tauja Catchings has worn out a path to Theresa Grentz's office lately. If there's a person who can instill some much-needed confidence in Catchings, it's the Illinois women's basketball coach.

Catchings found a better remedy Sunday, and Grentz knew it. While the U.S. National Team did its thing in a 73-49 exhibition victory against the Illini before 8,309 at the Assembly Hall, Catchings was giving her confidence and her WNBA chances a serious boost.

Joliet Catholic star picks Illini

Another weekend, another Joliet Catholic standout deciding to play football at Illinois.

On Dec. 4, it was linebacker Lee Sicinski who picked the Illini. On Saturday, defensive end Mike Maloney agreed to join Ron Turner's team.

Illini put on second-half exhibition

CHAMPAIGN – For the first 13 minutes, it was a close game. But it was the last 20 minutes that put a smile on Theresa Grentz's face.

The Illinois coach watched her team play evenly with the U.S. National Team in the second half of Sunday's exhibition, the Americans outscoring the UI 29-27 after intermission.

Exhibition Box Score

U. S. National Team 73, Illinois 49

Transfer the call

CHAMPAIGN – The late-night phone calls from California had turned pretty routine for Illinois wrestling coach Mark Johnson.

Either Steve Tirapelle couldn't figure out the time difference or he didn't care. Whatever the reason, Johnson wasn't getting much sleep.

No mercy

CHAMPAIGN – Kansas State gave Lon Kruger a free education, a head coaching job and three Porky Morgan Most Inspirational Player awards.

And what did the Wildcats get in return?

Illinois shining light on classroom, field work

   CHAMPAIGN  Their fellow students filled the libraries and dorm rooms, hunkered down with giant cups of coffee and cracked open the books during the weekend.

   For the first time in five years, the Illinois football players couldn''t just worry about final exams.