One Perspective on Illinois Going Into Spring Football

Illinois remains a work in progress under Lovie Smith, as the first two seasons with Smith haven’t brought much success. In fact, things got worse last season. Smith debuted with a 3-9 record (2-7 Big Ten) in 2016. Last season, the Fighting Illini went 2-10 (0-9).

via Big Ten Spring Football Preview: Illinois Fighting Illini — Big Ten Network


More Observations on the Illini

Many issues plague the Fighting Illini, who need better play in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Here are some fun takes from Tuesday’s practice.

via Football tour notebook: Fun takes from Illinois fall practice — Big Ten Network

Lovie Smith Begins Second “Spring Practice”at Illinois

On February 14, Lovie Smith will begin his second “spring practice” since his arrival as head coach at Illinois last March. Last year, the sessions were hurriedly put together with the coaching staff being hired a short time before the practice began. The players and coaches were strangers to one another. But this year the situation is different. Lovie Smith and eight of his coaches have been through a whole season of football together with most of these players. There is an empty spot on the staff left when Tim McGarigle departed the team for a job with the Green Bay Packers (he’ll be replaced by Donnie Abraham), and there are four players from the 2017 recruiting class participating in spring ball. But the point is, that the players and coaches now have had a whole year to get know the offensive and defensive systems and get to know one another. That knowledge and experience will allow Smith and his staff to build a better football team at Illinois. A more stable and cohesive team will result. And don’t forget, that this fall will be the first time that the Illinois seniors will begin the season the same head coach two years in a row. Lovie Smith now knows his players, and the players know what expect from him, so the end should be a better Illinois football team in 2017.

Four Football Recruits Enroll Early At Illinois

The University of Illinois announced today the early enrollment of four members of the 2017 recruiting class. Three of them are early high school graduates, the fourth is a junior college transfer. Below is a list of the four players and information about them:

Lovie Smith a Strong Leader For Illini

Lovie Smith is beginning his second week of games as head coach for  University of Illinois football. His first win came over Murray State, a score of 52-3. But this week Smith’s focus is on North Carolina and his own team. The new coach talks about his team improving each week as the season progresses. Smith has a cool confidence that I have never seen in an Illini football coach. He believes in his team, and wants them to play to the best of their ability. I see a leader here. A man who knows where he wants his team to go, and will do everything he can to get them there. It will be interesting to see how far he can take them.