Here are my observations from Friday night’s Illinois spring game, as Tim Beckman moves toward his second season leading the Fighting Illini coming off a 2-10 season. There were 40 players going through their first spring game, showing the youth of this squad.
Friday night’s Illinois’ Orange & Blue Spring Game was played under the lights at Memorial Stadium and on BTN/BTN2Go. Watch all the game’s best plays and other notable moments in this post. Remember: All of our Spring Football video clips can be found in our BTN.com video vault.
Danny Hope guided Purdue to back-to-back bowl games the past two seasons, but there was little momentum behind the program. That’s why Hope was shown the door after going 22-27 overall and 13-19 in the Big Ten in four seasons in West Lafayette and Darrell Hazell was brought in.
Year One under Tim Beckman was difficult. A lack of depth was a major issue in the transition from the Ron Zook era. But, Beckman didn’t stand pat, making wholesale staff changes that include a new offensive coordinator along with new offensive and defensive line coaches. This spring has been about developing chemistry, improving horrid special teams and developing a winning attitude—among other things–as Beckman continues to put his stamp on the team.
Hopes are high in Evanston. Northwestern is coming off its first bowl victory since toppling Cal in the Rose Bowl after the 1948 season, winning 10 games for just the third time in school annals and first since the 1995 Rose Bowl squad. Now, the possibilities seem endless for what could be Pat Fitzgerald’s most talented team yet at his alma mater. NU has been to a bowl each of the last five seasons and has a legit chance to win the Legends Division if the defense continues to make strides this spring.
How far does Urban Meyer think his front seven has come on defense? What challenges are on the horizon for Penn State’s Bill O’Brien and his offense? Want to hear Purdue’s Darrell Hazell describe how his staff has come together? Listen to the latest Big Ten Conference teleconferences as each of the 12 Big Ten football coach and a selected player answer questions from the reporters covering their teams as the spring football season rolls on.