Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Heading to Camp

Although Rashard Mendenhall was the lone name from the Illini that came off the board during the draft, several more are headed to training camps with free agent deals:

The talking heads and columnists gave the Steelers relatively high marks for picking Mendenhall. I realize that the draft is all hype, but I'll take positive coverage for our boys any day. All the best to these boys as they compete for NFL roster spots.

And, all the best to Good Hope Orange and family on the arrival of a healthy baby boy Sunday, April 27. I'm sure he's already getting ready to cheer on the Illini this fall...

Labels: ,


Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Steal?

Did the Steelers get a steal with Rashard Mendenhall at #23 in the first round? Only time will tell, but the talking heads had lots of positives on Rashard -- like that he has lots of football ahead of him, he's a workhorse who gets north and south, and he can run between the tackles. Always nice to hear positives on our boys. Although he went later than some expected, it's been a long, long time since the Illini have had players go in the first round, and that's just another sign of the changes in our program...

Enjoy Pittsburgh, Rashard! Hope you get quality carries from Ben...



Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Another Draft Note

Rashard Mendenhall says he's ready to go anywhere after next week, although his heart is in Chicago. But while he prepares to wait and see where he ends up, I found his mom's preparations for next week even more interesting. Sounds like Rashard is getting solid advice...



Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring Notes

The Illini football spring scrimmage was OK, with only one offensive score. But no one got hurt, and the defense looked strong. And the fact that more than 12,000 fans showed up to watch a scrimmage reinforces the excitement Zook and Company are building. We have plenty to look forward to this fall...

On another note, the NFL draft this weekend may very well have an Illini in the first round. And despite ankle surgery, J Leman believes a team should take a chance on him, too. The combination of Leman's size -- on the small side for an NFL linebacker -- and his inability to participate in spring workouts, make him a longshot to be picked in the draft. But his attitude and determination may help him earn a roster spot next fall. Good luck, J!

Labels: ,


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spring in the Air

The sun is shining a bit more often, it's getting a bit warmer, we're seeing lots more rain than snow, and baseball season is in full swing. Spring is finally here, and with it comes a variety of Illini tidbits.



And, a few former Illini will be playing in the NBA post-season -- likely against each other.

Labels: ,


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

NCAA Championship Game plus Martez Wilson

While I was not a fan of either team last night in the NCAA Title Game, it was a great and fun college basketball game to watch. I was a bit disappointed to see Memphis lose as I felt they outplayed Kansas for much of the game but missed free throws and mental mistakes catch up to you against great opponents. I felt like I was watching Illinois shoot free throws during those last few minutes.

I have to say that negotiation tactic or not, does it really surprise anyone that almost immediately after his team won the national championship, Bill Self leaves the door wide open with regards to the Oklahoma State job? That is who he is and it hasn't changed during the five years he has been at Kansas.

For those of you (Alma Mater) already looking forward to college football season, check out today's article in the Chicago Tribune about the Illini's Martez Wilson. He should be fun to watch over the next two to three years.

Until later, GO ILLINI!

Labels: , ,


Monday, April 07, 2008

A Slam Dunk

Congrats to Brian Randle on being selected to compete in the Slam Dunk Championship and All-Star Game surrounding the Final Four weekend. While his slam dunks in the competition weren't as impressive as many he threw down durin the season, I still appreciated seeing Illini orange on the court. Randle made up for that with a great highlight dunk duing the All-Star game.

Also, congrats to Chief and family on the birth of a healthy boy on Friday, April 4. He's a great looking kid, and I can already tell he will look good in orange! Good Hope Orange and family are expecting a new addition soon, as well... I love meeting the next generation of Illini fans...



Welcome to the Big Ten

Dear Tom,

Welcome to the Big Ten. Given your recent proximity and past ties, you should have a good feel for the league. You should be able to manage your transition from the Big East to the Big Ten fairly well. Yes, we have the reputation of being a physical, grind-it-out defensive league, but with so many fresh faces on the sidelines, we are constantly evolving.

You will find recruiting to be a challenge, with Painter and company building momentum to your north, Izzo maintaining a strong program a bit further up the road, and Matta and his NIT champions working toward building a consistant leading program to your east. To your west, you will find passionate fans (not-so) patiently waiting for in-state talent to show up in Champaign that will be able to close out the games they just missed against your new team this past season. And don't forget that your old neighbor Bo has consistently been at the top of this tough league.

But your biggest challenge will be the state of affairs in Bloomington. Just in case you missed it, the school has had a couple coaches with less-than-sterling reputations. Your predecessor is leaving you a tangled mess of violations, a late-season collapse and the hole left by a draft-bound leading scorer. Your new fan base has sky-high expectations, thanks to the reign of ESPN's newest basketball analyst. And they want to win -- no matter what.

I must say I was a bit surprised you took this job, but you say this was a decision of the heart. You will need heart to survive the year ahead, and avoid finding yourself in a situation similar to former Big Ten coach Munson. I just ask that you add respectability to the conference as a whole.

I would wish you well as you take on this new position, but you need to know that the rivarly between IU and U of I is intense, a bit heated even, so I just can't bring myself to go that far. We will see you next winter at Assembly Hall (either one), and we look forward to welcoming you to the league much the same way we welcomed Tubby this past season.

Alma Mater



This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?