Tate: Tackling still a challenge for Illinois

Tackling seems to be the culprit. Forget all the other stuff ... the borderline calls ... the schemes ... the quarterback uncertainties. If you can''t bring down the other guy, you''re toast.

It''s like hitting a curve in baseball. Or shooting a 15-footer in basketball. If you can''t, if you have a fundamental weakness, you''ll be exposed. Practice helps but, then, everybody practices. What we''re talking about is innate, inherent ability ... speed and strength ... you can or you can''t.

Q & A with Kelly Campbell

She''s one of the anchors of the undefeated soccer team''s vaunted defense. A junior from Gaithersburg, Md., Campbell was the Big Ten tournament''s defensive MVP last fall and helped establish school records for consecutive shutouts and consecutive scoreless minutes. She has started on defense for all but one match of her UI career.

Illinois football practice report

No decision

Illinois quarterback Jon Beutjer threw passes on the sidelines and ran a bit during Wednesday''s workout.

"Jon was a little better today," Illinois coach Ron Turner said. "He didn''t get any of the team work or any of that."

Illini Insider

One to watch

Women''s Soccer

Bower''s change could start paying off

CHAMPAIGN – On Saturday, he spent part of the afternoon dodging UCLA tacklers.

Take another sports career path and he could have been 1,000 miles away in Flushing, N.Y., swapping shots with Roger Federer.

Illinois in perfect spot as Big Ten play approaches

CHAMPAIGN – Tara Hurless and her Illinois teammates don''t usually pay attention to the national polls. And their coach, Janet Rayfield, rarely talks about the rankings.

So it didn''t take long to figure out how important Tuesday''s rare midday match with Kansas was when Rayfield started running down the numbers.

Illinois football practice report

Western Michigan understands what it''s like to not know if its quarterback will play or not. Like Illinois, the Broncos face a week with a quarterback trying to recover from a nasty hit.

Tate: Illini teams aren''t fishing for success

Took out my fishing pole once as a kid. Got bored. Never saw the point.

Went boating in high waves off the coast of Florida about 35 years ago. Spent the day face down. Turned green. Never again.

Tried soccer Tuesday. Been avoiding it ever since Walt Cresap kicked me in the shins in the third grade. Tuesday''s running clock drew my approval, but forgot to bring something to read. Might do it again if they''d remove the person blocking the net.

Two-game hole too big for UI

Illinois volleyball coach Don Hardin was apprehensive heading into Tuesday night''s road match against Loyola. After all, the Ramblers had knocked off the Illini in each of Illinois'' last two visits.

As it turned out, Hardin''s fears were genuine, the ninth-ranked Illini dropping the five-game match 30-25, 30-24, 26-30, 28-30, 15-13.

Area participants in 2004 Paralympics

The 2004 Paralympics begins a 12-day run on Friday, and the University of Illinois will be well represented. A total of 28 current and former Illini – as well as three coaches – will be in Athens for the quadrennial event. Here''s the lineup: