I saw a quote from Zook a couple days ago (sorry, can't find the link) but basically that he wants to start new and from the beginning but sees alot of promise in the team. I take this as a good sign because he isn't sugar coating the situation that the team is in. I think a 5 or 6 win season should be considered as a "sucess" and contending 2 or 3 after that for the B10 tournament.
The Ron Zook era is starting at Illinois and I couldn't be more excited!
I don't think I'm quite ready for Illinois football just yet...
__________________ The waitress said, "We have stuffed mushrooms, veal-stuffed shells, white pizza, pasta, steamed mussels...." "Just keep it coming," Rick Majerus replied. "Would you like some veal parmesan?" "Yeah, we'll take five of those." The waitress walked away. "Does she know I'm not kidding?" Majerus said. "I hope she knows I'm not kidding."
[Sports Illustrated, 3/17/2000]
I am using Illini Football as part of my Illini Basketball mourning, but really, I can't wait, I think Zook will do great things for this program and when that happens, the AD should get a raise for everything that Illini athletics has done over the last couple of years.
The team was young and hit by injuries and inconsistent play over the last two years. Somehow, this is still a young team despite welcoming back 15 starters and both kickers. Pierre Thomas and E.B. Halsey are two good backs to work with and WR Kendrick Jones should put up decent numbers as the number one receiver in a good passing attack. The quarterback situation will sort itself out with Tim Brasic looking good this spring, and there's hope for improvement on defense with good safeties and decent pass rushing prospects. Now it's up to Ron Zook and his staff to upgrade energy and make the team a winner.
Relative strength: Running back
Relative Weakness: Linebacker
Star of the team: RB Pierre Thomas, Jr.
Key game: Sept. 24 vs. Michigan State
I think we can crack the top 30 this year. Zook is blowing minds with his recruiting lately, if you haven't been following the scout and rivals recruiting boards. We are getting some big-time players, and I see us in a BCS game in two years. Get on the bandwagon now while there is still room. I will have no patience for Noob fans when the we storm the top 10 again!
With the FOOTBALL season getting started, I (as well as everyone else) notices our players are young. Still, I feel that with Zook coaching them we will get more victories and get back to the top of the Big Ten.
"I'm very pleased by the number of new accounts that have come on board," said Johnson, an assistant athletics director. "Ron Zook has been a dynamic salesman for the program. When we needed a theme for this season, he came up with it. It's "I believe," and the idea is that I believe in the Illini football program and this coaching staff and what we're going to do to get it done. That logo is on everything we do - on schedule cards, posters and in our print, TV and radio ads.