And now fall sets in for real….talking about frigid temperatures for the Fighting Illini’s game in Happy Valley! JoPa, though, has warm thoughts for the Zook led Illini.
If the sequence of Illinois’ wins and losses was rearranged, so would its current psyche. But that’s not the way a season ever works. And the fact is, the Fighting Illini, though 6-2, stagger into what will be a raw-cold Beaver Stadium on Saturday desperate for a win. [...] So, the Illinois team that Penn State faces will be either infused with urgency or despondent and ready to cave depending on how the always vibrating Ron Zook and his staff can get them mentally prepared.
We are, in fact, still 6-2. Jones makes a good point about the sequence of those wins and losses. This is a crucial game for the Illini, but we are still bowl eligible. This game will be part of the difference between a good season, and a barely acceptable one.
Coach Zook says Illinois doesn’t need serious changes after back-to-back losses
Zook said that, aside from facing stiff defenses, he isn’t sure just what changed.
“If I had an answer we wouldn’t be shut out,” he said, adding that he doesn’t feel the need to make major changes in Illinois’ approach. “You just don’t get bad, you just don’t become a bad coach. It doesn’t happen. You work through those things and you keep going.”
But I suppose it’s possible that you can “just become” unlucky, after a magnanimous run of luck through the first six games.
The tweaks Illinois plans at Penn State on Saturday include relying more on tailback Jason Ford, the senior bruiser, while giving young players such as backup QB Reilly O’Toole and receiver Darius Millines (foot) more opportunity.
Gloomy as it looks for the Illini, a win at Penn State would put them back in the hunt for a pretty good season.
I’m not too sure about relying more on Ford. Sure, he finally had a strong game against Purdue, but I get the feeling that the Illini’s failure to use their speed is what has been costing them. I will reiterate my call for More Young! Also not sure how Reilly will bring more to the table. He looked ok against Purdue, but his completions were all short, and the interception was what coaches call a Bad Decision. Still think you stick with Nate.
Paterno has been known to sling heaps of praise at undeserving opponents. He’s broken out the crying towel in recent seasons before the Lions went out and pancaked such overmatched teams as Indiana State, Eastern Illinois, Coastal Carolina, Florida International and Akron. JoePa’s comments usually suggest that the designated victims are ready to become the mice that roared.
His stated high opinion of Illinois, however, appears to be genuine and deserved.
JoPa thinks we’re a better team than Ohio State. Hmmmmm. I’m thinking he has a vested interest in making sure 2ook stays as coach. I think we can be a better team that Ohio State. We just haven’t done that yet.
On another note, I’ll be providing full coverage of B1G basketball media day tomorrow, as well as an extensive review of individual performance in the Orange and Blue Scrimmage.