As we're all well aware, injuries to the Illinois offensive line like the injuries we saw last season could quickly derail the entire 2013 campaign. Which is why the health of the offensive line will be one of the most important aspects of the upcoming season.
So of course it looks like we're going to be down a lineman for the opener.
Illinois will start the season at least one man down on the offensive line.
Starting right guard Ted Karras is expected to miss Saturday's opener against Southern Illinois with a left ankle injury. His status isn't a surprise, considering Karras has been in a walking boot since last Tuesday.
"We'll definitely miss Teddy's toughness,'' quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase said. "He will still be playing a huge role with what he's able to tell those guys from the sideline. There's no doubt we'll miss him and be excited to have him back, when he's back.''
Now, the good news is that if the Illini are going to be missing starters from their offensive line this season, the opener against Southern Illinois is the best time to do it. I mean, no matter what, this is still Southern Illinois the Illini are playing, so they should -- and I stress SHOULD -- win this contest easily.
However, should Karras not be back in time to face Cincinnati next week, things could get a bit ugly.
Joe Spencer, a redshirt freshman, will replace Karras and play right guard.