SOC – Charleston Southern September 14, 2012
I’m a bit distracted tonight by basketball recruiting buzz. Top-25 guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes from Canada announced his top-3 of Illinois, UConn, and Florida State. Top-50 guard Kendrick Nunn from Simeon is on campus right now for his official visit. Rumors that we’re the leader for top-25 guard Demetrius Jackson. It feels like we’re teetering on the edge of “weeeee’re baaaaack” and I don’t want to miss it if it starts to happen.
So you’ll forgive me if during this Stream Of Consciousness I bounce back and forth between football and basketball. These are supposed to be about what’s on my mind, right? Well, Kendrick Nunn is on my mind. We have lots of guards but no pure shooters. Kendrick Nunn is a shooter. We need Kendrick Nunn.
We also need a win in Memorial Stadium tomorrow. And with reports today that Nathan won’t play for the second consecutive game, I’ve been gripped with a certain fear this evening – a close game into the third quarter.
We will win. Charleston Southern is not only an FCS school, they’re a bad FCS school. 14 game losing streak. There are probably lots of Division II schools that would beat Charleston Southern. Hmmm… I paused when typing this, thinking it might be an exaggeration. So I looked at their schedule. Charleston Southern played Division III Wesley College last year. And lost. So we’re pretty much playing a team that would lose to Milliken or MacMurray. We’ll win.
But I’m frightened it will be close. I’m frightened of that feeling where it’s 7-3 in the second quarter and the whole stadium is uneasy. Because when Memorial Stadium gets uneasy, we’re all about a half second from curling up in the fetal position.
It usually works like this, at least for me. After a blowout loss like the Arizona State loss, we’re all uneasy. But there’s enough excuses out there – in the desert, late at night, their co-defensive coordinator who was our linebackers coach last year told their offensive coaches just how to beat our defensive players – that we can chalk it up to one bad loss. But if it’s 7-3 in the second quarter tomorrow, thoughts of “we might go back there again” will hit. There being 2-30 in the Big Ten over four seasons. Yes, that really happened. All within the last 10 years, too.
I don’t think any of us can handle another there. But if it’s 7-3 in the second quarter tomorrow and we keep punting, even without Nathan, I’ll be having a panic attack. “Arizona State wasn’t just one bad game – it was a blueprint. We might only have one or two more wins in us this year. OH GOD IS IT 2009 AGAIN?” That kind of stuff.
Thankfully, Nathan or no Nathan, I think we roll tomorrow. We should be able to get the running game going, and the defense should be able to force six or seven three-and-outs. Put this one away by halftime and then let’s see what the young kids can do in the second half.
Here’s hoping Miles Osei’s ankle is fully healed and we can go with two quarterbacks. I’d love to see Reilly settle down and get in a passing rhythm, and I’m hoping to see Miles break at least one long run. This is the game where we need to find our rhythm. Because Louisiana Tech is no joke next Saturday. There’s a chance they’ll be favored.
But that’s for next week. This week, we roll. And Kendrick Nunn is so impressed that he verbals.
Illinois 48, Charleston Southern 6