2007 Illinois Football Preview
2007 Illinois Fighting Illini football preview
2006 Record: 2-10, 1-7
2007 Illinois Offensive Outlook:
The Illini return nine starters to the offensive side of the ball in 2007. Sophomore QB Isiah “Juice” Williams enters this season as the clear-cut starter. Williams gained valuable experience by seeing action in 12 games as a freshman and proved to be a major threat to run the ball. His playmaking ability is outstanding, but he needs to improve his passing. The receivers could help the passing game by hanging on to the ball. Dropped passes added to a low completion percentage (39.5%) for Williams. Kyle Hudson returns after leading the Illini in receptions in 2006 and should get plenty of help from top recruit Arrelious Benn. Benn possesses size and speed (4.5, 40-yard dash) to become an instant playmaker to open the field for the Illini. TE Jeff Cumberland snagged 16 passes as a freshman and should improve in his second season.
The running game should be solid despite the loss of starter Pierre Thomas. Rashard Mendenhall averaged 8.2 yards-per-carry last season, and the offensive line returns four starters. Mendenhall has size to pound the ball at 6’0”, 225 and highlighted his speed with an 86 yard touchdown run against Northwestern last season. The lone senior lineman, Martin O’Donnell, is a four-year starter who will lead a line that should not have trouble opening holes for the running game. The key for the offense in 2007 is finding a balance of passing to accompany the running game.
This preview looks a lot like the 2006 preview. Zook has large number of starters returning on both sides of the ball. His 2007 recruiting class received high rankings. Now it is time for the Illini to produce on the field. Five wins this season would be a nice building block for a number of young players.
Illinois Fighting Illini 2007 Football Schedule
September 1 - Missouri
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