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Q & A with Bill Mallory

He was there on the sideline for some of Indiana''s biggest wins, so it''s only fitting that Bill Mallory would be in the house for the program''s most recent upset. The father of Illinois defensive coordinator Mike Mallory has been serving as a liaison between the football program and the athletic director''s office in Bloomington, and he sat in a box at Oregon''s Autzen Stadium last Saturday to watch the program he still loves shockthe then-24th-ranked Ducks 30-24. A few days later, still beaming with pride, Mallory took some time to talk about football, his family and a certain rock-and-roll singer:

Mid-American teams struggling to repeat feat

They got everybody''s attention a year ago.

Maryland felt the sting. So did Alabama. And Purdue. And Kansas State. And Pitt. And Iowa State. All teams from BCS leagues. All lost to MAC schools in 2003.

Final answer: Bower starting

CHAMPAIGN – If you watched the Illinois football team practice this week, you already knew the answer to the question, "Who is starting at quarterback?"

Illinois coach Ron Turner made it official Thursday, naming redshirt freshman Brad Bower as a replacement for injured Jon Beutjer against Western Michigan.

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.

Illini Insider

One to watch

Women''s Soccer

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.