Illini Nation: It's Time to Come Together

<p>The state of Illini Nation is quickly becoming like the movie "Ghostbusters" with all the negative slime covering the city. The question is - how do we stop that slime from spreading?

Let me make sure I get all the facts here before I try to understand some members of Illini Nation:

1. Athletic Director Ron Guenther rushed the hiring process with Bruce Weber and could have found someone better.

2. The current team has no leader.

3. Coach Weber should bench all the starters.

4. Weber just stands on the sidelines and doesn't say anything.

5. The tallest player in Illini history is a cancer - kick him off the team.

6. Bruce Weber is a young version of former coach Lou Henson.

7. All three kids involved in the off-court problems should be kicked off the team.

8. Can Weber and his staff recruit?

9. Bill Self wouldn't have done this to us.

10. Motion offense doesn't work for this group.

Please forgive me if I left out a few, but there are enough here to get my story finished this morning.

We wait all summer for Illini athletics to start. We love college football; but there's nothing like Illinois basketball. It doesn't matter what unofficial college site you look at, Illinois basketball appears to dominate the message boards. Why? Because it's a way of life and basketball in Illinois is big.

It's mind-boggling why some feel Weber should be fired already, or wishing players would leave because they haven't met "their" expectations. Sure you have a right to disagree with a coaching move, people do that all the time, but the constant slamming of players and coaches is WRONG!

Make no mistake about this - I don't like losing at all, but I also know sometimes things just don't go as planned. Right now, if you took a "fan" survey on whether or not football coach Ron Turner should keep his job, I'd bet 75% of you would say, "see ya". But if he could manufacture eight wins next year, then the number may shrink to 45-50%.

This is not the NBA or NFL where if players get hurt or don't perform you can put them on the DL or trade them. In college, who you recruit is all you have for that year. Dee Brown is struggling - maybe coach Weber should call Bo Ryan and ask for a trade. "How about we give you Nick Smith, Jerrance Howard and a player to be named later for Mike Wilkinson?" That would solve all your low-post problems. Hey, here's a better one. Since everyone knows that MSU needs a good point guard, how would you like to see him deal Dee Brown for Kelvin Tolbert?

Most coaches are judged on their NCAA tournament performances. Bruce Weber has yet to coach one for Illinois and some fans are trying to figure out how to get a new coach. During my Radio show people used to call in and criticize the Iowa fans when they lost. It was a running joke to count how many "fire the coach" calls would come in that night. Now they are making fun of Illinois fans because that's what they are doing.

The true fan will go to dinner or a local convenient store after an Illini loss and still wear his/her gear. If I had a dollar for every fan that said to me after an Illinois loss "man you have a lot of nerve to wear that in here," I could retire tomorrow.

The season is not over; I've waited too long for these games. There will come a time when everything starts to click and all the "fire Weber" people will rest easy at night.

Ladies and gentlemen, the slime has covered our nation. Please bring back the positive energy we once had. The question remains - how do we stop it from spreading? It's easy. Support our boys; let them know that you are behind them. Support and believe in our athletic Department. If you take a step back and look around - Illinois has had success.

My favorite MLB team is the Chicago Cubs, and we are known for the "wait till next year" line. With Illini basketball I could never say that.

Brad Kahler/The Daily Illini Photo

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