We’ve finally reached Fighting Illini game day! Unfortunately, though, we also received our first bit of injury news on Friday afternoon. Lovie Smith apparently told the Quarterback Club that senior center and team captain Joe Spencer (knee) is unlikely to play in the season opener against Murray State.
Sounds like Lovie told the QB Club that starting center Joe Spencer is unlikely to play tomorrow. Didn't practice Tuesday. Limited Wed.— Jeremy Werner (@JWernerScout) September 2, 2016
My guess is that this is a precautionary move by coaching staff. The Orange and Blue should be more than capable of dispatching their FCS opponent, so there’s no point in taking any risks with Spencer. I’m sure he’ll be back on the gridiron come Illinois’ big matchup against North Carolina next weekend.
But how will this impact the offensive line? Nick Allegretti should slide over to fill Spencer’s spot at center and, based on the team’s Week 1 depth chart, senior Connor Brennan is a likely candidate to step into the starting lineup at guard.
Illinois Fighting Illini Links
- Game Preview: Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Murray State Racers (TCR)
It's finally here. The 2016 college football season has kicked off and Illinois is set to take on the Murray State Racers Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. For all the turmoil that has occurred over the past calendar year, Illini fans can rejoice as they're finally able to witness Lovie Smith pacing the home sideline.
- NCAA Football ‘14 Simulation: Will Illinois start off with a victory? (TCR)
With the help of some passionate college football fans on the Internet, TCR will be simulating every Illinois football game this season using EA Sports' NCAA Football '14. We've downloaded updated rosters and the team depth charts will be changed on a week-by-week basis to reflect what we'll see on the field.
- Murray State Racers Scouting Report (Illini Board)
Murray State’s offensive scheme is battle-tested: head coach Mitch Stewart was a record-setting quarterback in a version of the offense at Valdosta State. About the same time he was lighting up the scoreboard in Georgia, Joe Tiller and Drew Brees were doing the same around the Big Ten running an extremely similar scheme.
- Illini Football has rare sense of calm, purpose in 2016 (Illini Inquirer)
"It feels different because throughout the offseason, just the impact that Coach Lovie has brought in, it just feels special," [Dawuane] Smoot said. "It feels like we're going to do a lot this season."
- What will Illinois’ players be doing before kickoff? (The News-Gazette)
The players have their pregame meal today at Ikenberry Commons. At noon, they will walk through Grange Grove to Memorial Stadium.