The staff of Writing Illini takes a look at the Illinois Fighting Illini’s Week Two match-up with the Cincinnati Bearcats. In this roundtable, the guys discuss who the most important Illini is heading into this weekend.
Rees: Donovonn Young is the most important heading into week two. Clock control will be big against this up-tempo type of offense. Young needs to get the running game going so Illinois can control the game. If Illinois can play their game and not stray away from the game plan, then they will be successful. Young will be the key to the game.
Ricky: There is no one answer to this question. For me, I say the whole entire defense is the most important in week two against Cincinnati. Last week against SIU, the Illini defense had a gaping hole in the middle of their defense and the Bearcats will actually make them pay if it’s there again.
Illinois did a nice job of defending the run game in week one, but Cincinnati has a better run game then SIU and has two quarterbacks that can torch Illinois over the middle of the field.
Austin: The most important Illini heading in to week two are TWO Illini: Donovon Young and Josh Ferguson. With the recent dismissal of Ayoola, the running back position is a bit thin. These two will need to stay healthy and put up numbers that make Cincinnati respect the run game, after they showed against Purdue that they can put up points. If the running game does not gain traction early in the game, and Nathan Scheelhaase is forced to pass much of the game, he will need to be quick on his feet to avoid the pass rush, as the offensive line is still working to shore up the holes.
Ryan: I have a feeling most would select a player such as Nathan Scheelhaase as the answer to this question, but I think the most important Illini headed into this weekend’s matchup with Cincinnati will be DC Tim Banks. The Illini D gave up 341 yards passing against SIU, but was rock solid against the run surrendering only 66 yards. In their game against Purdue, Cincinnati showcased total balance, rushing for 221 yards on 47 carries and passing for 204 yards on 17-25 passing. If the Bearcats had not been throttling the Boilermakers, I suspect it’s very possible their passing yardage may have been much higher.
As it is, Tim Banks gets my nod for most important Illini this week because he is going to have to get the mistakes corrected in the secondary that led to surrendering 341 yards against an FCS team, and also come up with a rock solid game plan in order for the Illini D to stop the Bearcats enough for the offense to outscore them and secure the victory.
What do you think, Illini Nation? Who is the most important Illini heading into week two?
The Writing Illini staff includes lead editor Ricky Widmer along with staff writers, Austin Jabs, Rees Woodcock, and Ryan Kraemer.
Follow Ricky on Twitter @RickyWidmer.
Follow Austin on Twitter @AustinJabs85.
Follow Ryan on Twitter @RPKraemer.
Follow Rees on Twitter @ReesISMe.