It is once again time. For you Rock M veterans out there, you know that, once we're within earshot of the upcoming Mizzou football season, we spend a week previewing each FBS opponent on the schedule ... and we are officially within earshot of the 2010 season. First up, as always (well, until next year anyway): Illinois. Today we'll walk through what's gone on in Champaign since the end of the 2009 season and what the main storylines have been. Tomorrow, we dig into the numbers. To the links!
We at Rock M Nation tended not to believe the Illinois hype last offseason, but we still didn't predict a 3-9 season. And we REALLY didn't predict Ron Zook keeping his job after a 3-9 season.
- FightingIllini.com: 2009 Schedule & Results
- FightingIllini.com: 2009 Statistics
- College Football News: Illinois Offseason Lookback & Lookaheads
Hail to the Orange: The Zook abides: How to outlast your peers in college football
Hail to the Orange: Despite all rumors to the contrary, Zook to be back in 2010
Illinois' offseason took shape a lot like the 1999-00 offseason did for Larry Smith at Mizzou -- you're allowed to stay, but you have to more or less revamp your staff. A Petrino brother comes to town to run the offense, a Brohm brother comes in to teach the quarterbacks, and K-State defensive coordinator Vic Koenning was brought on to lead the defense despite, you know, the fact that K-State's defense wasn't very good last year. He was a solid defensive coach at Clemson, and he can't be blamed for not being able to do much in his first year with a relatively untalented group of players at K-State (thanks again, Ron Prince), but it was still not quite as impressive as the offensive hires.
FightingIllini.com: Petrino Named Offensive Coordinator
Hail to the Orange: Paul Petrino leaves Arkansas for Illinois, what it may mean
Hail to the Orange: Petrino questions answered from Arkansas Expats
Champaign News-Gazette: Illinois hiring Paul Petrino as offensive coordinator
Champaign News-Gazette: Paul Petrino hire: What it means
FightingIllini.com: Fighting Illini Hire Brohm and Nord to Football Coaching Staff
FightingIllini.com: Koenning Named Defensive Coordinator
Hail to the Orange: Illinois finally hires Koenning as Defensive Coordinator
Champaign News-Gazette: Koenning to spearhead Illinois' defense
FightingIllini.com: West Completes Illini Football Staff
Spring Practice Links
With new coordinators and a new quarterback, Zook had to treat this spring like a building experience ... even if he might not have much time to do any building. Zook should be commended for not pulling a Ron Prince and signing 22 JUCO players to try to save the sinking ship. If this is indeed his final season, he will leave his successor with a reasonably decent situation for building.
- FightingIllini.com: 2010 Illinois Spring Guide (pdf)
- College Football News: Spring Preview 2010 - Big Ten
FightingIllini.com: Orange Dominates Second Half to Defeat Blue, 24-6
FightingIllini.com: Orange Defeats Blue, 24-6
Champaign News-Gazette: Spring Recap: What went right & wrong
Champaign News-Gazette: Spring notes: Leshoure, Jenkins stand out
Champaign News-Gazette: Not good enough
- Champaign News-Gazette: Equipped for a bright future
- Champaign News-Gazette: Illinois releases two-deep
Scheelhaase is The Man
Former Mizzou target Nathan Scheelhaase has officially been named starting QB for Illinois in 2010. Again, that means good things for 2011-13, but that could make 2010 that much more difficult. (Then again, it could mean good things for Illinois against Mizzou, just judging by how past QB newcomers have fared in this series recently.)
- FightingIllini.com: Scheelhaase Named Starting Quarterback for Fighting Illini
- Chicago Tribune: Nathan Scheelhaase anointed starting quarterback
- FightingIllini.com: Scheelhaase Family Calls Illinois Home
- Champaign News-Gazette: Scheelhaase era under way
Champaign News-Gazette: A rookie at QB? Good luck
- Champaign News-Gazette: Scheelhaase: The Missouri take
- Champaign News-Gazette: Scheelhaase: It's been done before
- Champaign News-Gazette: Getting to know ... Nathan Scheelhaase
Eddie McGee Has a Blog!
Eddie McGee has a blog! Not sure if there's any other explanation needed.