A chill is preparing to descend over the Midwest, as we finally begin the inevitable slide towards winter. But, Illini basketball season is just beginning to heat up!
Who’s hot, who’s not
Sophomore Joe Bertrand. He entered the season considered an athlete with a need to improve his skill. Evidently, he’s done that. Bertrand is one of the better pull-up jump shooters in the lineup, said teammate D.J. Ridchardson, and Bertrand is valuable in the open floor. The Sterling graduate seems to be gaining ground on the rest of the team’s best players.
Well, you ain’t a kiddin’, John. The rise of Bertrand and the surprising readiness of Abrams has left Weber with one of those good problems-what to do with all those players.
Petrino looked prophetic through the first six games, as Illinois averaged 34.7 points and 447.7 yards. The Illini recorded 32 plays of 20 yards or longer. Scheelhaase and wide receiver A.J. Jenkins formed the Big Ten’s most dangerous passing connection, as Jenkins soared to the top of the national receiving chart with 815 yards and seven touchdowns.
And then, reality happened. The Fighting Illini football team faced stiffer competition over the next few games. We have a chance to get well (offensively) against Michigan, whose dynamic offense has masked some defensive shortcomings.
In the 10-7 loss at Penn State, Illinois’ first 12 plays resulted in 17 yards, three plays that lost yardage, a penalty, a sack, not one first down and four punts.
This is an excellent observation. The play scripting has been a failure lately, perhaps because defenses are giving different looks than expected. The variance in defensive looks is a response to one of the offense’s biggest assets: Scheelhaase’s running ability. Petrino: tear up the script!
UI women sloppy in exhibition
“We had a closed scrimmage against a ranked team two days ago, and I saw a totally different team,” Law said. “Today we were just a little slow reacting, not calling out screens. We’ll take the positives, but I’m not really happy with our performance tonight.”
Kind of a different picture when you look at Law’s reaction relative to Weber’s reaction to their exhibitions. Maybe it’s Law’s Karisma.