The BTN bus heads to beautiful Champaign, Ill., next to watch Tim Beckman’s first edition of the Illini. Check out the Illinois Preview Show at 10 p.m. ET Saturday on BTN/BTN2Go.
Not sure what to expect, as Beckman has kept a tight lid on things with limited access in camp. But the offense will command much of my attention. I think quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase is a nice fit for the new spread scheme. But I have questions about the line, receivers and running backs. The line is especially worrisome, as shuffling continues with Luke Butkus still looking for the right combination.
I expect to see a very fast and physical defense. In fact, it could be one of the better defenses in the Big Ten. End Michael Buchanan is a beast and may be the Illini’s top pass rusher. And Jonathan Brown will be one of the top linebackers in the Big Ten. I can’t wait to watch cornerback Terry Hawthorne, an electric athlete who also is supposed to get reps at receiver.
Speaking of versatility, Illinois also figures to use quarterback Miles Osei in a variety of capacities as a thrower, receiver and runner.
[BTN.com: Nathan Scheelhaase signs the BTN tour bus]
Bottom line: We may begin to unravel the mystery that is Illinois football under Beckman.
BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, all of his work is at btn.com/tomdienhart, and you can subscribe to it via his RSS feed. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below.
And if you want to leave a comment on this post, use the box below. All comments need to be approved by a moderator.