Dickinson Suffers Season Ending Injury

CHAMPAIGN – Sophomore linebacker Henry Dickinson will miss the season after breaking his leg and ankle, coach Tim Beckman said Monday.

The 6-4, 230-pound native of Memphis, Tenn. figured to be a key contributor from his weakside spot in 2012. He must now redshirt while he's rehabilitating from the devastating injury, suffered in a scrimmage last Tuesday.

"He was doing a great job, he really was," Beckman said. "It was unfortunate, there's no question about it."

Beckman pointed to a number of players when asked who will fill the void at the position.

Sophomore Houston Bates was the listed starter entering fall camp. He'll be joined in the fight for playing time by sophomore Ralph Cooper and redshirt freshman Zeph Grimes. A trio of freshmen, Mason Monheim, T.J. Neal and Mike Svetina, will be counted on to provide depth, Beckman said.

While he's out for the immediate future, Beckman was sure to note that Dickinson would be back in the mix next year.

"Henry will bounce back because Henry's a great person and a great football player," he said.

New position? No problem

Another day, another offensive lineman position mastered by senior standout Graham Pocic.

The 6-7, 310-pound Pocic spent most of Monday's practice at right tackle and proved to the coaching staff he could man the spot if necessary.

He's now practiced with the first team offense at center, guard and tackle in camp and Beckman says he would feel comfortable playing Pocic at any five of the o-line positions.

"Today we put him at right tackle," Beckman said. "He's been on the left side of our offensive line all camp other than (Monday)."

Beckman's preference is to keep Pocic at guard or center, where he started every game in 2011. But injuries in camp have dictated moving him around.

Fellow senior Hugh Thornton, who was limited Monday with an undisclosed minor injury, said it doesn't matter where Pocic is called to play.

"As seniors, we've got to step up and show all the guys how it's done," he said. "Me and Graham together have a good idea of what it takes."

While the line isn't set in stone, junior Jake Feldmeyer (C), sophomores Michael Heitz (LT) and Alex Hill (LG) and redshirt freshman Ted Karras (RG) joined Pocic on the first unit Monday.

One last time

The Illini will hold their last planned scrimmage Tuesday, as preparations for the season-opener against Western Michigan continue to take shape.

"Yeah I've always done one (scrimmage) 12 or 13 days prior to the first game, so not a full scrimmage by any means but it will put them in some situations," Beckman said.

With the first game week nearing, players say they're anxious to finish off the camp portion of August strong.

"We've been waiting a long time," redshirt freshman Josh Ferguson said. "We haven't played football in a long time. 12 days (until the opener) – can't wait."

This and that…

Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase said talk of cornerback Terry Hawthorne playing offense this season persists. "Trying to work him out there… I wouldn't be surprised to see him out there," Scheelhaase said. … Beckman said kicker Nick Immekus and punter Justin DuVernois, both sophomores, have "had a good camp." … When asked which defensive players have stood out, Beckman said junior linebacker Jonathan Brown "has done an exceptional job."

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