Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Work in Progress

That's my take on the 2007 Illini football team. Their spring practice scrimmage in Chicago offered Illini fans a taste of real football weather and the team's future. There are reasons for cautious optimism next fall, but this is still a young team, and it showed.

After fumbling the opening kickoff, Regis Benn made some nice catches and showed that he can run the ball. He will be exciting to watch. Juice had both solid and shaky moments. Rashard Mendenhall made a reasonable case for handling much of the ground yardage, with some encouraging runs. The defense had some solid hits and stops, but they also allowed big plays. There's plenty of time for improvement, and I'm confident that we do have a program on the rise -- it will just take a bit of time.

Chicago area fans, friends and family enjoyed the chance to analyze the team, and the comments I overheard expressed hope. (Although I didn't need to overhear a scouting report on LSU -- I was trying to focus on the Illini.) With the recruiting class Zook has arriving in Champaign next fall, the Illini should be able to take a step past competitive to putting a few more marks in the win column.

Go Illini!


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