Slapdash May 25, 2012
I’ve always wanted a title for these posts. “Randomness” just didn’t seem to work. I wanted something to put in the subject line that would say “I’m going to write about a bunch of random subjects with no central theme, and I’ll haphazardly put it together, but it will all make sense”. You know, the “I want to be formal, but I’m here to party” of blog posts.
slapdash (SLAP-dash) -adj 1. Hasty and careless; offhand: a slapdash answer.
And there you go. When you flip past ALE, or you see a tweet pointing to a new post, and it simply says “Slapdash”, you now know what to expect. Randomness.
please be healthy please be healthy please be healthy
Can Darius Millines be the top wide receiver in the Big Ten?
Yeah, you heard me. Next year. Can Darius Millines be the top wide receiver in the conference?
“But Robert he only has 21 catches in his career.”
I’ll ask again. Can Darius Millines be the top wide receiver in the Big Ten? Here’s what led me to this. I looked through Phil Steele’s preseason All Big Ten teams. Here’s the receivers on the first, second, and third team:
Keenan Davis (Iowa)
Roy Roundtree (Michigan)
Jared Abbrederis (Wisconsin)
Kenny Bell (Nebraska)
Demetrius Fields (Northwestern)
Antavian Edison (Purdue)
Kofi Hughes (Indiana)
Justin Brown (Penn State)
Tony Lippett (Michigan State)
Who? Roundtree is good, and I love Abbrederis, so I think they’re totally deserving of preseason first team honors. But after that, it’s a guessing game as to which receivers will probably be the top targets at each school. There’s really no clear cut first team guys to be found outside of Roundtree and Abbrederis, and neither of those guys is a lock for the first team.
So can Darius Millines be the top wide receiver in the Big Ten? I’ll say this: I thought he was much better than AJ Jenkins last summer in Rantoul. And I wasn’t the only one.
Leading receiver A.J. Jenkins is considered the team’s No. 1 receiver. For now.
“I don’t know if I’d say he’s ahead of everybody,” offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said. “Darius Millines right now is probably playing better than he is. I told A.J. if you want the ball, you better start playing better than Darius. Last year, he was head and shoulders above everyone else. Right now he has to battle.”
And in the first game, Petrino looked prophetic. Millines had 5 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown in the against Arkansas State. And he followed that up with 3 catches for 38 yards the next game before getting injured. He played sparingly in the next two games, sat out for six games, and then returned against Wisconsin and Minnesota (although I don’t think he was 100% until the bowl game).
And this is where my little theory hits a snag. Millines injured his foot during his true freshman season. He spent Spring of 2011 in a walking boot. He re-injured his foot during his sophomore season (described above), and then missed most of this spring with, you guessed it, a foot injury. So will he ever be healthy? It’s certainly a big question. I might spend all these words on Millines being the top Big Ten receiver and then watch him miss seven games again (and hobble through the rest).
But if he plays and he’s healthy? From what I’ve seen in practice and in games, I think he can be a star. He’s really, really talented. And the Big Ten receivers are, for the most part, a giant question mark.
Please be healthy.
A butcher, a baker, a (play)maker
As of right now, the 2013/14 basketball team has 10 scholarships filled: Bertrand, Rice, Abrams, Henry, Shaw, Djimde, Egwu, Langford, James, and Hill. Which leaves us three that we can give out before signing day in November. There’s a chance we only give out two – with Joe Bertrand being the only senior on that team, we’d be left with only one scholarship to give in the 2014 class if we filled all of our 2013 rides. So we might roll one over. Or we might plug three holes.
I think those three holes are point guard, big man, and, well, I’m torn between a second big and a pure shooter. That team has lots of wings (Bertrand, Rice, Henry, Langford, Hill), but none of them qualify as a pure shooter (hey walkon Mike LaTulip – keep shootin’ pal). So while I’d like to add a second big in that class, maybe a shooter makes more sense. OK, fine, just give me Jabari Parker and he can play all five positions (because he can honestly probably play all five positions).
But I want to put together a realistic wish list here, so I’m going with a shooter for now. Here’s the three players I think we can realistically land to combine with the ten listed above:
Kendrick Nunn 2G (Chicago Simeon)
Gavin Schilling PF (Chicago DeLaSalle)
Demetrius Jackson PG (Mishwaka, IN)
Hmmm… that doesn’t look very much like a “realistic” list. Well, I did just say that Darius Millines can be the top wide receiver in the Big Ten, so maybe “slapdash” really means “Kool-Aid”. So yes, Nunn, Schilling, and Jackson will close out the class and give us a shooter, and big man’s big, and a point guard to go with our other point guard (James) and wing guard (Hill).
OK fine just give me Jabari Parker.
I Got 99 Problems
As in 99 days until the first football game. Yes, Illini Football in 99 days. Why, that feels like I need to make a list of 9 things we need to figure out before we can be confident in a solid Illini team this fall.
1. Can we find an OL that works? Will we have to move Pocic or Thornton to do that? Are the sophomore tackles ready to start?
2. Will we have depth in the secondary? I feel great about the starters in the secondary. But three of them will be seniors, and the top back-ups at corner and safety are both seniors. We must find depth.
3. Can Nate regain his first-half-of-2011 form? After six games Nathan Scheelhaase, was 5th in the nation in passing efficiency. He finished 53rd. If we’re going to improve, he has to improve.
4. CAN DARIUS MILLINES BE THE TOP WIDE RECEIVER IN THE BIG TEN??
5. Speaking of receivers, who are the go-to guys (besides Millines, of course)?
6. Is Josh Ferguson the real deal? He certainly looked like it in the Spring Game, and he’s the perfect size/speed for this spread. Can he take the job and run with it?
7. Will we find a kicker? Dimke is gone, and no kickers have shown themselves as a clear frontrunner. Ryan Frain arrives (on scholarship) this summer, but I’m still a Zalweski guy.
8. Can Special Teams be fixed immediately? Beckman said he will be playing every starter on special teams this year. Will this fix the multitude of problems?
9. Can they coach?
Slapdash. You’ll get used to the name.