Two Steps Forward.......Three Steps Back.

Two Steps Forward.......Three Steps Back.
The rebuild of the Illinois football program continues as they drop a tough 34-31 loss in overtime to Purdue.

Friday, October 12, 2007

High Times in Champaign-Urbana

It's great to be an Illini fan these days. Everywhere you go around town or campus, people are talking about Ron Zook and the football team, or starting talk about Bruce Weber and the basketball team, which begins practice on Friday night with their "Basketball Madness". Ever wonder what a giant eye with pink-eye looks like? Well, head over to the Assembly Hall and see for yourself, or better yet, if you can get it, watch on the Big Ten Network to catch it as well. Bruce Weber, for years a Coaches vs. Cancer backer, has organized a unique promotion to help fight this debilitating disease. He has organized the "pink out", where admission to the event is a pink t-shirt. $2 from every t-shirt sold will go towards "Coaches vs. Cancer". This should be quite a sight to behold, as the Hall will tun pink for one night from its traditional orange, and hopefully make a statement nationwide. Speaking of statements made, if you haven't caught the news yet, Coach Weber has landed some verbal commitments for the 2009 recruiting class. On Thursday morning, it was announced that guard D. J. Richardson of Peoria Central would be playing for the Illini and within hours after that announcement, guard Brandon Paul of Warren Township also announced for the Orange and Blue. Given the spate of good news in such a short time frame, you would think that was the end of the favorable fodder. Well, good things come in threes, and late on Thursday night, Joseph Bertrand of Sterling High School also picked the Illini as his team of choice. Call it anything that you want, but it seems that the arrival of Jerrance Howard as an assistant coach has really sparked recruiting for Weber and his gang. It was just a few short weeks ago that many people were calling Weber under the bus for the lack of his snagging the big name recruits such as Mario Little, Derrick Rose and Eric Gordon. But, this recent run may be the tide that turns the ship around in the right direction. Oh sure, you say, these guys are only juniors and people have said they were coming to Illinois, only to renege and change alliances due to coaching switches (gee, wonder who I'm referring to here?). I've said all along that Weber just needed the right fit in as an assistant coach, because we all know that the man can coach with lesser talent than those other guys, it's just you need a great recruiting system to bring the big boys in. Apparently, Tracy Webster, who went to Kentucky to be on Billy Gillispie's staff and apparently took a recruit with him, wasn't the answer after all. But with Jerrance, it's much different. He's a local guy that has played for the Illini, so selling his alma mater is much easier than Webster, who played at Wisconsin. I'm not going to analyze the apples to apples debate between the two, it's just I feel we got the better of the two on the staff at Illinois. So, go ahead Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, Indiana and whoever else wants to wander into our recruiting territory; there's a new boy in town, and I think he means business. I'd be curious to know what everyone has to weigh in on regarding recruiting. Let me know! But now, I feel a little pink inside..............

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