Thursday, August 27, 2009


The Illini should be able to score this season. My questions are focused on the other side of the ball. The defense left a little to be desired last season, and several of the best players from that team have moved on. That leaves several unknowns...

One big change is at the heart of the D. Martez Wilson, a natural athlete, is moving from outside to middle linebacker. Last spring, he still seemed to have a lot to learn. Wilson needs to adjust to his new spot and take over the leadership that has come from that position in the last couple years. The rest of the linebackers have limited experience, but they do have speed. They will need to learn quickly for the Illini to be able to hold their own in the Big Ten.

The D-line is another area where the Illini have limited experience. But they are bigger than they have been in the past. Tackles Josh Brent and Corey Liuget weigh in over 300 pounds. And most of the rest of the line has bulked up, as well. The question will be if they can contain Big Ten offenses...they have a lot to prove.

In the secondary, the Illini already lost Miami Thomas to injury at Camp Rantoul. Dere Hicks returns as a key for this group. But this is a group that allowed opposing offenses to pass fairly well. That will need to change this year for the Illini to move up in conference standings.

The Illini D will need to work hard and gel quickly to force opponents into giving the ball back to Juice's offense. If they can show marked improvement over last season, the whole season will improve compared to 2008.

So answer some of these questions, boys. Go Illini!

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