Let's Not Read Too Much Into One Scrimmage


Did you know the Illini have the greatest offense in the history of football? It's true.

On Monday night the Illini played a scrimmage in Rantoul. It was the only scrimmage that will be made public, so as you'd expect the entirety of the populace known as ILLINI MEDIA as well as plenty of fans were in attendance. All of whom basically had the same reaction to what they saw.


Seriously, just look at what was written about it afterward.

Mark Tupper wrote about it in the Herald-Review.

Matt Daniels wrote about it in the News-Gazette.

Steve Greenberg wrote about Nathan Scheelhaase's laser-rocket arm in the Sun-Times.

Vaughn McClure wrote about Donovonn Young and Josh Ferguson in the Tribune.

Robert from Illiniboard is pretty much convinced that Aaron Bailey is Cam Newton, Tim Tebow and Braxton Miller all combined into one super-quarterback after seeing him live and in person.


I'm thinking everybody needs to calm the hell down.

Listen, I'm not going to knock the offense's performance as a unit last night, nor am I going to say that Aaron Bailey can't throw. You'll remember months ago that I was the one writing that Bailey does have a good arm from what I've seen in his high school film, he was just so rarely asked to use it, and he could use some coaching on his footwork and all that other stuff.

But there's one key thing we need to realize before raving about the Illini offense in Monday night's scrimmage, and that's who they were facing.

The Illini defense.

While I've maintained that I think the Illini offense will improve this season under Bill Cubit, my concern all along has been the defense. The defense is what is going to keep the Illini out of a bowl game in 2013. It's important to remember that this was a unit in 2012 that was one of the worst in the conference and would have been the worst if not for Indiana. Now take that unit that finished at the bottom of the Big Ten last season and then remove guys like Ashante Williams, Akeem Spence, Michael Buchanan and Terry Hawthorne.

It's not just the Illini offense that's going to be able to put points on the board against this defense in 2013.

And I'm not trying to sound overtly harsh about the defense, but I am trying to be realistic here. Only four starters return on the unit, there isn't a lot of depth and what depth it has is inexperienced.

Yes, Nathan Scheelhaase, Aaron Bailey and Reilly O'Toole all looked good throwing the rock last night, but they were doing so against a very inexperienced secondary. It won't be quite as easy against Ohio State.

Again, I'm not saying you shouldn't be excited about what the offense showed in the spring game and last night in Rantoul. We're Illini football fans here, and given the way things have worked out around here lately, we're going to get excited about anything we can get excited about. We are starving people who were just tossed a can of Spam.

But man cannot live on Spam alone, nor should we expect people to keep tossing cans of it our way.

So be excited about the improved offense, but try not to forget the bigger picture here.

Follow The Champaign Room on Twitter at @Champaign_Room and Like us on Facebook. You can follow Tom Fornelli on Twitter at @TomFornelli.

More from The Champaign Room:

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Champaign Room

You must be a member of The Champaign Room to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Champaign Room. You should read them.

Join The Champaign Room

You must be a member of The Champaign Room to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Champaign Room. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.