For the quite some time now we have come to know Illinois Football as a failure. They have completely embarrassed themselves in the worst ways possible. Even when we saw a glimmer of hope when they reached the Rose Bowl, they followed it up with a devastating year, missing out on a bowl game completely.
Yet, it seems as if we are left with something to keep us interested year after year. The last few years it has been the magnificent recruiting that Zook has been able to put together.
This year he did not bring in the recruits we are used to seeing Zook bring in. The Illinois Football program left us with something different to hope upon this year.
New coaches. Ron Zook is not gone, but every other coach was basically fired. We let go of the OC, DC, QB coach, and TE coach.
The ones that have been chosen to replace the fired coaches are very intriguing, and that is exactly what is keeping the Illini fans on their toes.
Will these new coaches finally be the key to success?
I am convinced that these incoming coaches can be the people who getting this program in the right direction. They are experienced, talented coaches who know how to make a football team play at it's best level possible.
The new coach who sticks out to me the most is Paul Petrino. He has been working under his brother, Bobby Petrino, for several years now. I believe his experience with a top-notch coach will help him be the coach we are looking for.
He is coach who brings some energy to the table. Those of us who suffered watching this football team last year realize energy is something that they lacked.
The thing that intrigues me the most about Petrino is, he is bringing a new style of offense to this team. We will no longer run the spread. We are converting to a "pro-style" offense, which I think fits the quarterbacks we have.
We will also have to keep an eye on the DC, Vic Koenning. The defense was Illinois' weakest spot last year. I think that Koenning has the attitude and knowledge to turn the defense around.
The last thing that sticks out to me about this team is the competition we currently have for the QB position. It is a race between Jacob Charest, Chandler Whitmer, and Nathan Scheelhaase.
As of right now, it appears that Charest is the leading candidate. This comes as no surprise, because he has some experience in games. That is a main component for winning out a starting position such as this.
I am very interested in Whitmer, though. I have looked over his comments about Illinois and how he wants to turn this program around. He is the type of player that you want to be a leader of your program.
He not only has the talent to succeed as a QB, but he has the right mindset at well. He is determined to become a key asset on this team, and this is the type of attitude that Illinois Football has been longing to see.
Only time will tell how the Illinois will manage this year, but please do not give up on them. They have lost some key players, but that does not mean they will fail. They still have plenty of talent left over from last season. All they will need is a solid work ethic, and they will have the intangibles to have a great season.
I wish Zook and his team the best of luck, because if he does not succeed, this may be the end of the road for him.