��� 2014 ILLINOIS FOOTBALL PREVIEW | INDIANA SPORTS PAGE Football | iHigh.com

CONTENTS

SPORTS

OTHER

MEDIA

IHIGH LINKS

Home » Football News

2014 ILLINOIS FOOTBALL PREVIEW

June 25, 2014
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



2014 Illinois Fighting Illini football preview 

Illinois Fighting Illini (1989 - 2004)

Illinois suffered through a one in seven Big Ten season for many reasons but perhaps the biggest was their lack of defense. Illinois gave up 35.4 points per game which ranked 104th in the country and they gave up 481.5 yards per game in total offense which ranked 110th. Coach Tim Beckman and his staff feel they have upgraded that defense with more speed strength and playmakers. In 2013, one of the reasons they struggled was their lack of experience and their lack of strength. Getting into the weight room in the off-season and adding speed during the spring should make Illinois better. One of the big changes was moving Ernest Thomas from strong safety to linebacker. Thomas had 101 tackles last season. Two starters return on the defense of line including Austin Telsma and Teko Powell. They will be joined by Kenny Nelson Paul James and Jihad Ward. With Thomas moving to linebacker he’ll be joined by TJ Neil and Mason Monheim.  The secondary returns to starters including Zane Petty and V’Angelo Bentley. True sophomore Caleb Day was a nice surprise during the spring as he will step in at starting cornerback.

 Illinois Fighting Illini (2014 - Pres)Offensive coordinator Bill Cubit returns for his second season after inheriting a team that was one of the nations’ worst in points scored yards gained and first downs. His quick read passing attack turn things around in 2013. The offense will have to retool after losing their starting quarterback and their top three receivers. Oklahoma State transfer Wes Lunt, senior Reilly O’Toole and sophomore Aaron Bailey are battling it out for the starting spot going into the fall at quarterback. Running back Josh Ferguson averaged 5.5 yards per carry and scored seven touchdowns last year and also caught 50 passes and four touchdowns out of the backfield. The wide receiver slots will be filled by Geronimo Allison, Mike Dudek and Martize Barr. The offensive line returns four starters including left guard Alex Hill, right guard Ted Karras and right tackle Michael Heltz. 

Illinois opens the season against two winnable opponents in Youngstown State and Western Kentucky before traveling to Washington on September 13. The Big Ten opener will be September 27 at Nebraska and Illinois has tough road trips in the conference to Wisconsin and Ohio State. Winning those games early should give Illinois confidence going into the Big Ten season.

Illinois Fighting Illini (2014 - Pres)

2013 Record: (4-8, 1-7)
2013 Bowl: None
Coach: Tim Beckman (6-18 at Illinois, 27-34 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Bill Cubit
Defensive Coordinator: Tim Banks

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Josh Ferguson, RB, 779 yards
Passing: Reilly O’Toole, QB, 141 yards
Receiving: Josh Ferguson, RB, 535 yards
Tackles: Ernest Thomas III, LB, 101
Sacks: Mason Monheim, LB, 1.0; Teko Powell, DL, 1.0; Dawuane Smoot, DL, 1.0
Interceptions: Taylor Barton, DB, 1; V’Angelo Bentley, DB, 1

Other Key Returnees: RB Donovonn Young, WR Martize Barr, DB Zane Petty, OL Ted Karras

Key Losses: QB Nathan Scheelhaase, WR Steve Hull, WR Miles Osei, WR Spencer Harris, LB Jonathan Brown

Illinois Fighting Illini (2014 - Pres)

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 139.0 (92nd in nation, 10th in conference)
Passing Offense: 287.7 (22, 2)
Total Offense: 426.7 (46, 5)
Scoring Offense: 29.7 (61, 6)
Rushing Defense: 238.6 (116, 12)
Pass Defense: 242.9 (81, 9)
Total Defense: 481.5 (110, 11)
Scoring Defense: 35.4 (104, 10)
Turnover Margin: -0.8 (112, 11)
Sacks:  1.25 (112, 11)
Sacks Allowed: 2.50 (93, 9)


Tags INDIANA SPORTS PAGE • Publisher
Rate This Article
Thanks for rating this article!
Share This Article  
Facebook
Google
» Be the first to leave a comment
Comments (0)

Announcements

Partner


Partner