The new guy always wants to be popular, especially right at the start.
So it''s no wonder that, with roughly 20 days to spend with his team in August, first-year Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber wanted to focus on the fun stuff.
Just because Bill Self called his preseason conditioning drills "Boot Camp" doesn''t mean they were any tougher than the next guy''s.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – In practices leading up to Saturday''s game at Purdue, Illinois assistant coach Greg McMahon told E.B. Halsey he''d return a punt for a touchdown.
"He actually said that," Halsey said, "and I believed him."
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Ron Turner now is operating with one hand tied behind his back.
When you''re playing national champion Ohio State into overtime and coming within a whisker against Missouri and UCLA, there is reason to feel good about the future.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The fans have given up. The media has given up. Two months after a training camp full of promise, the Illinois football team finds itself in another huge hole.
The latest spade of dirt came courtesy of No. 22 Purdue, which celebrated homecoming Saturday with a 43-10 lambasting of the Illini, who had about as much chance as one of those toilet paper-filled floats in a hurricane.
1983: A 20th anniversary perspective on the Illini''s Rose Bowl season:
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue has what Illinois wants. A six-year bowl run? Sure. But also a state-of-the-art press box with another luxury suite to satisfy all the bigwigs.
As part of a $70 million upgrade to Ross-Ade Stadium, the school put in a seven-story facility that rivals any in the country. This isn''t your father''s press box. In fact, the media has the worst view in the place with all 160 seats between outside the 20-yard line.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – In the realm of Big Ten football, everyone is born to suffer.
That''s the nature of things. Illinois, by no means the Lone Ranger, has enjoyed moments of glory but has struggled to keep its helmet above water for as long as anyone can remember – and will continue in that fashion for the lifetime of our infant population.
John Mackovic will get his money. Trust me. Smart coaches like Mackovic don''t sign a deal without covering the worst-case scenario.
Of course, nobody would have dreamed it would be five games into a season. But Arizona ended the Mackovic era before he reached 2 seasons at the school. Those years of success at Illinois and Texas don''t mean much when your team revolts and your defense gives up.
Wisconsin ended Illinois'' shutout streak early in their Big Ten soccer match Friday night in Madison, Wis., but coach Janet Rayfield''s club refused to lose.
UI senior Tiffani Walker and freshman Jessica Bayne scored, leading the Illini to a 2-1 victory.