The staff of Writing Illini takes a look at the Illinois Fighting Illini’s Week Three match-up with the Washington Huskies. In this roundtable, the guys discuss who the most important Illini is heading into this weekend.
Ricky: The special teams unit will be the most important Illini players when the Chicago Homecoming game kicks off this Saturday. Both offenses are going to come out swinging and the game is going to be an old-fashion shootout. The game changer is going to be the special teams unit. If they can get a punt or a kickoff to go for a touchdown, that just might give the Illini the edge to win the game.
Austin: Once again, as I said last week, Donovon Young and Josh Ferguson are the most important Illini heading in to the game against Washington. They are a pivitol force in allowing Scheelhaase to set up the passing game. If the Huskies know you can not run, or feel like you can not run, they are going to rush six every time, limiting the time Scheelhaase has to get set up in the pocket.
If they are able to run the ball well against this team, they will be able to allow the offense to continue the style of play they have been used to. I know that a lot of people are saying that the Illini are using the pass to set up the run, and while some aspects of that may be true, if the run never gets going, the Illini won’t be able to set up anything later in the game to push them in to victory.
Ryan: The most important Illini heading into this weekends tilt with Washington is the defensive front 7. The Huskies rushed for 268 yards in their opener against Boise St. on 54 carries. Only 6 of those 54 carries came from Keith Price.
Removing carries by the QB, either designed runs or scrambles, during the first 2 games of the season reveals that the Illinois front 7 has held up against the traditional run game quite well, allowing 58 yards on 22 carries against the trio of SIU running backs, and 93 yards on 18 carries last week against a trio of Cincinnati rushers.
For Illinois to have a legitimate shot at taking down the Huskies this Saturday, the front 7 will need to limit Bishop Sankey and the veteran Husky offensive line from having as much success as they had against the Broncos.
Rees: Most important Illini for week three has to be Nathan Sheelhaase. He is having a great season and clearly the Illini go as Sheelhaase goes right now.
What do you think, Illini Nation? Who is the most important Illini heading into week three?
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.