Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Illinois
Posted on: March 7, 2012 6:42 pm
 

Tim Beckman treats his players to porridge

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If you were wondering what Illinois football would be like under new head coach Tim Beckman, it seems the program has taken on a bit of a "Goldilocks and The Three Bears" feel.

As part of Illinois' "All-In Banquet" this week, players who had followed Beckman's rules this semester were treated to a nice meal of steak and eggs. Those players who weren't showing up to all their classes ten minutes early or missed a rep during winter workouts were given porridge.

Some players complained the porridge were too hot, others said it was too cold, but Beckman felt it was just right.

"I think it was a little bit of an eye-opening experience for some of them," Beckman told the Chicago Tribune. "We ask our players to be above and beyond … and compete at a level that we think is a championship level." 

Now, it's important to point out that Beckman holds himself to the same standard that he does his players. Since he missed a winter workout while attending an alumni event, he joined the Illini players who found themselves with a bowl of porridge placed in front of them. In all, 21 Illini players were treated to the steak and eggs.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook 
Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:10 am
Edited on: March 7, 2012 11:13 am
 

Illinois' Justin Staples to be suspended

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Following a DUI arrest on campus on February 9, in which he was found to have a blood-alcohol level of .157, Illinois defensive lineman Justin Staples was suspended from winter workouts for two weeks.

If Staples thought that would be the extent of his punishment, he was wrong.

Staples will be allowed to participate in spring practice with the Illini, which starts Wednesday, but he'll be missing some time this fall when the games begin.

New head coach Tim Beckman said that Staples will "miss some game time" but did not go into specifics into how much game time that is exactly. It could be a half, a game, or a number of games.

Staples started only one game as a redshirt junior in 2011, but played in all 13 games, recording 16 tackles and a sack.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook
Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:42 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Illinois



Posted by Tom Fornelli


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Illinois.

Spring Practice Starts: Wednesday, March 7

Spring Game: Saturday, April 14

Returning Starters: Six on offense, seven on defense, one specialist

Three Things To Watch For:

1. A brand new coaching staff. Ron Zook and just about his entire coaching staff is gone (defensive line coach Keith Gilmore returns) and Tim Beckman is now the man in charge of Illinois football. Which means that not only will spring practice be the first chance for Beckman and his coaching staff to see his new team at work, but also the time to begin implementing a new system on both sides of the ball. There's no way the team will learn everything over the course of a few weeks, but the process begins now.

2. The quarterback battle. Odds are Illinois won't know who its starting quarterback is until the end of the summer, but the battle will begin this spring. Nathan Scheelhaase has been the starter the last two seasons, but he regressed a bit in 2011, and now that there's a new playbook, he isn't guaranteed to retain his starting job. Scheelhaase will be competing with Reilly O'Toole for the job, though if Tim Beckman's time at Toledo teaches us anything, it's that he's not afraid to go with two quarterbacks if needed.

3. The Star Position. Tim Beckman brought in Tim Banks as his defensive coordinator, and Illinois will be running a 4-2-5 defense that includes the "Star" position. Which is a hybrid of a linebacker and a safety. It'll be an interesting battle to see who claims the position, though outside linebacker Ashante Williams is probably the favorite. Williams may get some competition from safety Supo Sanni and incoming freshman TaJarvis Fuller, a playmaker out of Florida. Those two would be well-served to make an early impression over the next few weeks.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook   
Posted on: February 16, 2012 3:48 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2012 2:58 pm
 

Spring Practice Dates

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Hard to believe but it is indeed time for Spring Practice to begin. It was not too long ago that Alabama hoisted up the crystal ball in New Orleans but as of now, all 120 FBS teams are equal with a 0-0 record and only themselves to face. Here's a list of notable dates for every school this spring and, as they become available on the blog, links to Spring Practice Primers (click here to see them all). Be sure and check out Dennis Dodd's preseason top 25 as well.

Spring Practice Dates
ACC First Practice Spring Game
Boston College February 18
Spring Primer 
March 31
Clemson March 7
Spring Primer 
April 14
Duke February 22
Spring Primer 
March 31
Florida State March 19
Spring Primer 
April 14
Georgia Tech March 26 April 20
Maryland March 10
Spring Primer 
April 21
Miami March 3
Spring Primer 
April 14
North Carolina March 14
Spring Primer 
April 14
N.C. State March 23 April 21
Virginia March 19
Spring Primer 
April 14
Virginia Tech March 28 April 21
Wake Forest March 1
Spring Primer 
April 14
Big East First Practice Spring Game
Cincinnati March 1
Spring Primer 
April 14
Louisville March 21 April 14
Pittsburgh March 15
Spring Primer 
April 14
Rutgers March 27 April 28
Syracuse March 20
Spring Primer 
April 21
Connecticut March 20
Spring Primer 
April 21
South Florida March 21 April 2, April 9
Big Ten First Practice Spring Game
Illinois March 7
Spring Primer 
April 14
Indiana March 3
Spring Primer 
April 14
Iowa March 24 April 14
Michigan March 17 April 14
Michigan State March 27 April 28
Minnesota March 24 April 21
Nebraska March 10
Spring Primer 
April 14
Northwestern March 3
Spring Primer 
April 14
Ohio State March 28 April 21
Penn State March 26 April 21
Purdue March 7
Spring Primer 
April 14
Wisconsin March 22 April 28
Big 12 First Practice Spring Game
Baylor March 19 April 14
Iowa State March 20 April 14
Kansas March 27 April 28
Kansas State April 4 April 28
Oklahoma March 5
Spring Primer 
April 14
Oklahoma State March 12 April 21
TCU February 25
Spring Primer 
April 5
Texas February 23
Spring Primer
April 1
Texas Tech February 17
Spring Primer
March 24
West Virginia March 11 April 21
Pac-12 First Practice Spring Game
Arizona March 5
Spring Primer 
April 14
Arizona State March 13 April 21
California March 13 None
Colorado March 10
Spring Primer 
April 14
Oregon April 3 April 28
Oregon State April 3 April 28
Stanford March 27
Spring Primer
April 14
UCLA April 3 May 5
USC March 6 April 14
Utah March 21 April 21
Washington April 2 April 28
Washington State March 22 April 21
SEC First Practice Spring Game
Alabama March 9
Spring Primer 
April 14
Arkansas March 14 April 21
Auburn March 21 April 14
Florida
March 14 April 7
Georgia March 20 April 14
Kentucky March 21 April 21
LSU March 1
Spring Primer 
March 31
Mississippi State March 21 April 20
Ole Miss March 23 April 21
Missouri March 6
Spring Primer 
April 14
South Carolina March 12 April 14
Tennessee March 26 April 21
Texas A&M March 31 April 28
Vanderbilt March 16 April 14
Others First Practice Spring Game
Notre Dame March 21 April 21
Boise State March 12
Spring Primer 
April 14
BYU March 5 March 30
Air Force February 24 None
Army February 13 March 9
Navy March 19 April 14

Posted on: February 1, 2012 8:31 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 9:58 pm
 

National Signing Day Winners and Losers: Big Ten



Posted by Tom Fornelli


Breaking down who won and who lost in the Big Ten on National Signing Day

WINNER: The Recruiting Machine Known To Mankind As Urban Meyer

Scholarship limits, postseason bans, these things matter not to the one known as Urban Meyer. They will not keep him out of your high school classrooms where he's stealing your recruits. Since the day Meyer first set foot in Columbus as its new Caesar, high schoolers have flocked to the Buckeyes, previous commitments be damned. What was already a solid class was boosted on Wednesday by the addition of offensive lineman Kyle Dodson, who had previously committed to Wisconsin. Then there's the work Meyer did on the defensive line, closing on players like Noah Spence, Tommy Schutt, Se'von Pittman and Adolphus Washington, and it's no wonder this class is ranked third in the CBS Sports National Signing Day Top 25. Making matters even scarier for the rest of the Big Ten, Meyer's already locked up two top recruits in the 2013 class. The man -- machine? -- just cannot be stopped. 

LOSER: The Bottom Of The Legends And Leaders

Minnesota, Northwestern, Illinois and Indiana all managed to finish at the bottom of their respective divisions in 2011, and nothing in their 2012 recruiting classes makes you think any of the four will be climbing the standings anytime soon. Particularly when you compare their classes to the teams above them. Only two 4-star recruits signed with any of them, and both of those players are on their way to Northwestern: defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo and defensive tackle Greg Kuhar.

WINNER: Fans Of The Old Big Ten

Remember the long, long ago of the late 20th and early 21st centuries when the Big Ten was dominated by Ohio State and Michigan? Yes, well, it appears those days may be upon us again. While we already went over Ohio State's impressive haul, the work put in at Michigan by Brady Hoke and his staff shouldn't be ignored. The Wolverines put together the fourth ranked class in the CBS Sports National Signing Day Top 25 thanks to signings like offensive lineman Kyle Kalis and defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins. Brady Hoke put a lot of emphasis on the offensive line and the defense in this class, and it could go a long way to ensuring that "Ohio" and "That School Up North" play twice a season for the next few years. For more on Michigan's 2012 class, you can watch Brady Hoke talk about his newest players here.

LOSER: Wisconsin

This isn't a knock on Wisconsin's class, though it is the smallest of any class in the Big Ten with only 12 commits. No, it's more a representation of the fact that Ohio State and Michigan seem to be back on their way to national prominence. The Badgers enjoyed the last few years and the struggles of the Wolverines and Buckeyes, taking advantage of their problems with two straight conference titles and Rose Bowl trips. This isn't to say that the Badgers won't win the Big Ten again anytime soon, but it just got a lot harder to do so.

WINNER: Penn State

You're not used to seeing the term "winner" in relation to Penn State's football program lately, are you? Well, when you consider all that has gone on in Happy Valley over the last six months, combined with the fact the team's new head coach is still busy trying to win a Super Bowl, you have to be impressed with what the Nittany Lions did on Wednesday. No, the 19 players that committed to Penn State won't blow you away as a whole, but it's a class that will ensure there's still talent at Penn State as the program tries to transition to a new era of Nittany Lions football.

LOSER: The Lack Of Attention Paid To Purdue's Class

You're probably confused right now, and I apologize for that. What I'm trying to say here is that while you weren't paying any attention, Purdue and Danny Hope went out and put together a pretty nice class in West Lafayette. Athlete Carlos Carvajal -- all 6 feet and 7 inches of him -- and defensive end Ryan Watson are probably the most intriguing prospects, but from top to bottom, this whole class is pretty solid. Especially considering Purdue's recent troubles on the gridiron. What's more surprising is how this class is spread across the country. While 4 of the 25 signees are from Indiana, the rest come from all four corners of the country, including New York, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Ohio and California. Depending on how quickly these players can contribute, the Boilermakers may catch some people by surprise in the next couple of years.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook
Posted on: January 30, 2012 4:05 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 4:24 pm
 

Illinois considering new helmets for 2012



Posted by Tom Fornelli


Illinois will take to the football field with a new head coach in Tim Beckman next season, but could the Illini be sporting some new headgear as well?

As the Big Ten Network's Brent Yarina informs us, the school is displaying three new helmets for recruits as they visit the Illinois campus. Though Illinois SID Derek Neal says that just because the helmets are on display, that doesn't mean the school is ready to make the change.

“While our coaches have been displaying those for recruits, those are just options we’ve been exploring for new helmets,” Neal told BTN.com. “No decisions have been made yet on helmet, uniform changes, or if there will even be a change.” 

If Illinois does in fact go through with the change, I'd like to put in a vote for the matte blue helmets with the block "I." Of the three pictured, that one is far and away my favorite.

Photo courtesy of IllinoisLoyalty.com

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get CBSSports.com College Football updates on Facebook
Posted on: January 18, 2012 2:13 pm
 

Illinois FB Jay Prosch to transfer to Auburn

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

We mentioned in the wake of Barrett Trotter's departure from the Auburn football program that Gene Chizik appeared to be looking to move in a pro-style direction with his new offensive coordinator hire--a decision that looks even more likely with the delay in replacing Gus Malzahn rumored to be due to Chizik interviewing candidates still involved in the NFL playoffs. But the arrival of a new transfer from Illinois now makes that philosophical shift look more likely than ever.

That player is Illini fullback Jay Prosch, a Mobile (Ala.) native who will be transferring to Auburn in order to be closer to his ailing mother, who is battling cancer. New Illinois head coach Tim Beckman announced Prosch's decision in a statement Wednesday.

"Jay Prosch has decided to transfer to Auburn and will be there for the current semester," Beckman said. "He will have an opportunity to be much closer to his mother, who continues to face health issues. We wish Jay the best as he makes this move."

Prosch could be available for the Tigers as soon as the 2012 season, if the NCAA approves a hardship waiver due to his mother's health; if not, he will redshirt during his transfer year and return with two years of eligibility remaining in 2013.

Though the transfer of few fullbacks would make headlines, Prosch isn't any ordinary fullback. He was named a first-team All-American by Pro Football Weeklyan honor that essentially amounts to the publication naming the sophomore the FBS's top pro prospect at the position. Prosch became the Illini's starting lead blocker as a true freshman and helped the team to an 11th-place finish in rushing in 2010, thanks in large part to his workout-warrior strength and devotion to the weight room.

Prosch recently admitted to the Mobile Press-Register that he may have considered staying in Champaign if not for the Illini's head coaching change, which will see the team move to a spread system that doesn't utilize fullbacks; Beckman reportedly told Prosch he would be used as either an H-back or tight end, and with Prosch claiming he's "never been trained in running pass routes," a diminishing role appeared to be a certainty.

But this begs the question: why transfer to Auburn, whose offense under Malzahn also rarely (if ever) used a traditional fullback? Prosch said he had been cleared to talk to 11 of the 12 SEC schools (the Illini prohibited him from following ex-Illini assistant and newly-hired coordinator Paul Petrino to Arkansas), many of which already employ pro-style offenses and use Prosch-like fullbacks far more regularly than the Tigers.

The answer is very, very likely to be that Auburn is about to become the sort of team that regularly uses a fullback. And fortunately for Chizik, his team stands poised to start by using one of the nation's best.

For daily real-time updates on Auburn or Illinois football, follow our Tiger CBSSports.com RapidReports by Jay Tate here or Cody Westerlund's Illini RapidReports here. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 18, 2012 1:57 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 1:59 pm
 

Illinois hires Tim Banks as defensive coordinator

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Tim Beckman has finished filling out his staff at Illinois. The school announced on Wednesday that it had hired Tim Banks to be its defensive coordinator.

"Tim Banks is a great fit for the University of Illinois," said Beckman in a release. "He led an outstanding defense at Central Michigan and made a great improvement at Cincinnati this past season. Tim and I worked together at Bowling Green and I consider him one of the brightest young coaches in the nation. Tim will run a very aggressive defensive system that will work very well with our personnel."

Banks has spent the last five years of his career as a co-defensive coordinator, with the last two coming at Cincinnati and the previous three at Central Michigan. He helped turn around a Cincinnati defense that had a lot to do with the Bearcats success in 2011.

The Bearcats defense finished the season rated 42nd in total defense, but it was ranked 6th against the run, allowing only 96 yards per game. The unit also led the country in tackles for loss with 111 and finished 2nd in sacks with 45.

A trend Tim Beckman and Illinois would like to see continue. While Illinois struggled on offense over the last half of the 2011 season, its defense remained one of the best in the country. If Banks is able to keep the defense on the same level, it will make the transition on offense that much easier.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com