Letter rip

We asked our online readers if given a choice, would you rather see Illinois host NCAA postseason events or retire the Chief? Some of the many responses:

Who's that Illini?

I own the top five performances in women's pole vault history at Illinois. Four of the five came in the 2001 season, topped by a 12-foot, 4-inch effort. I didn't win a Big Ten title or earn All-America honors, but only one UI vaulter has come within 2 feet of my record.

Notre Dame lands Illinois quarterback

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Quarterback Demetrius Jones of Chicago's Morgan Park High School - orally committed to Notre Dame, giving the Irish 11 recruits, including two quarterbacks, for the Class of 2006.

Jones, ranked No. 33 among recruits nationwide by analyst Tom Lemming, threw for nearly 2,200 yards and 17 touchdowns last year. He rushed for 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Tate: Offensive line needs to get its act together – and quickly

RANTOUL – OK, so it was the fourth day in full pads, they're still in the learning stages of a diversified new offense, and their legs are frazzled from two-a-days in the August heat.

But tell me, has the Illini defensive front really improved that much, or was the Illini pass protection that bad?

Illinois storms back to tie

CHAMPAIGN – Jessica Bayne and Urbana product Ella Masar scored as Illinois rallied to tie the Central Illinois Select Under-16 team 2-2 in an exhibition scrimmage Saturday.

Tough day at office for Small

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. – Mike Small doesn't know if he'll try to return to the PGA Tour on a full-time basis.

On Saturday night in his hotel room, the Illinois golf coach was leaning toward keeping his day job.

'D' earns a passing grade

RANTOUL – If they had kept score – and they didn't – the defense would have won. Just like it is supposed to do in the first scrimmage of training camp.

There were a few high-fives and pats on the back between the Illinois defensive players at their annual Rantoul High workout. But nobody was razzing the offense. The players know better.

Who's that Illini?

I am one of three Illini men's golfers to earn All-Big Ten honors more than twice. I was an all-league pick from 1971 through '73. In 1972, I was an honorable mention All-American. That same year I shot a 289 at the Big Ten tournament, still among the lowest 72-hole scores in Illini history. My love of the game was passed along to my children. My daughter, Elizabeth, played golf for the Northwestern Wildcats from 1999 to 2002. Her sister, Casey, is approaching her second season with the Illini women's team.

Bob's random thoughts

Rain and lightning could have created a disaster at the first week of Camp Rantoul. But somehow, the schedule has worked so the Illini have just been finishing up when the nasty weather hits. Coincidence? I think not.

Camp Rantoul practice report

Two days into his new position, Jody Ellis has made a quick adjustment. A defensive back for most of his Illinois career, Ellis is playing receiver.

"It's going pretty good right now," Ellis said. "Coach (Ron) Zook asked me if I wanted to make the change over, and I said, 'Yeah, I'll do anything to help the team right now.' At first, I didn't want to leave the guys on defense, but then I was like, 'I've got to help the team. I've got to do whatever.' "