The Illinois football team has lost a former starting Wide Receiver, and a potential starting Defensive End today with the departures of senior Darius Millines and sophomore Darrius Caldwell per Matt Daniels of the Champaign News-Gazette.
Daniels stated in his brief article that Head Coach Tim Beckman cited a violation of team policies as the reason behind their exodus.
What does it mean for Illinois?
Regarding Millines, it means Illinois loses some depth and experience at a position it didn’t have much depth and experience at in the first place.
While it’s true starters Ryan Lankford and Spencer Harris return, the Illini also had to go the JUCO route to bring in Martize Barr this season. They also fully converted Miles Osei to WR, and it appears that is where he’s going to get playing time for the rest of his career with the Orange and Blue.
Millines was also a frustrating player during his time in Champaign-Urbana because he showed flashes of the talent, but spent six games during the past two years on the sidelines with various injuries. In three years, he provided a total of 53 catches for 579 yards including two touchdowns.
As for Caldwell, the Fighting Illini will lose a guy that was going to compete with Houston Bates for a starting position on this season’s defense, but according to Beckman, Bates was going to win that battle anyways based off what he saw in the spring. So, Beckman is minimizing this loss in the media based off his comments in the aforementioned Daniels article.
The important part of his departure, however, is once again depth at the DE position. If he was good enough to compete for a starting job, then he was likely good enough to see the field and spell Bates when he needed a breather.
Time and again last season, Beckman cited depth as a concern for the Illini so I find it strange that he minimized it in this fashion with today’s comments regarding Caldwell.
In the end, it appears Beckman is once again sticking to his guns and enforcing the policies he has laid out for this team to continue building a successful culture. Here’s hoping the rest of the squad pays attention and does right by the program. The Illini can’t afford to lose any more talent before the season even starts.
What do you think Illini Nation? How big are the losses of Millines and Caldwell to this year’s Illini football team?
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