"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
What's shocking to me is our inside running game is non-existent. I'm not sure what it is but for a coaching staff which preaches MANBALL, we are far away from it. I didn't see any production from Fitz or any of the other RBs against stout defenses.
Our playcalling has been dismal. This makes me wish for 3 yards and a cloud of dust all over again. It wasn't pretty but it worked.
Also, what will it take to not throw interceptions and lose fumbles. This game reminded me of the dark days.
With a fresh corp of OL next season, I'm very skeptical of where we will be at. No more Lewan who'll be drafted 1st round.
5-0, I love it! Spartie* also 5-0? Wow, couldn’t be better, this is going to be a great, great game. Some random thoughts:
What new wrinkles will be added this week? I absolutely love the new QB run/pass option, when Denard fakes a run left and throws on the run. That’s new from last year. I’m excited to see what else we have that will revealed this weekend. <s> Like the 3 QB backfield. </s> If I was a grad assistant I would suggest incorporating Hopkins using the read/option in the pistol formation (as has been discussed previously to serious rabbles rabbles), getting him going with a head of steam - seems ideal for a big back who takes time to accelerate. But I’m not, and what we’re doing seems to be working just fine thank-you-very-much (except for short-yardage situations), so whatever, I’ll just have to wait and see. But I know we have something new and that we’ll unveil it this weekend.
Our RB situation. The Indiana game featured a plateful of Vincent Smith at running back. I’m a big-time Smith supporter (I still can’t believe he’s our #1b back so soon after tearing his ACL, and I love seeing the dude block), but I was really, really surprised not to see anyone else showcase their abilities. I’m glad Shaw was rested and hope he will be good to go this week, as he gives us the most firepower. But it would have been nice to see another back play against Indiana – we do have a full stable of them, after all. (As an aside, who is next in line now? Against BG I seem to recall Hopkins getting first crack prior to Cox, before fumbling – is Cox ahead of Hopkins? Another aside, could you imagine if Fred Jackson were the position coach for Denard? “The vision of God with the speed of light.”). Anyway, it would have been nice to see some other backs play this past weekend to see what they could do. At this stage of his recovery, Smith is solid but not spectacular. At best we could have a situation like when Lewan came in for Huyge and ended up earning a starting job. But again, obviously I’m not the GA and the coaches are playing who they think gives them the best chance to win.
Beware the trickery. We seem to have a propensity to getting burned on special teams trick plays (like last year’s onside kick). State has shown they are willing to try them, and we all know Dantonio’s determination to win this game. Hope our boys are being told over and over this weekend to watch the trick plays, especially on special teams, and are being prepared. I like that 3 returner punt return formation, but it's exposing us to a fake punt try.
It’s going to be an amazing game. The atmosphere at the Big House is sure to be impressive and I can't wait to see this game. Go Blue!
* This spelling seems more approrpriate than Sparty. Seems much weaker.