Brumby's Daily Column: October 26, 2005

Brumby looks at some of the news articles that are revolving around college athletics for the day and provides some thoughts on them and the world of Illini sports.

Ahh, basketball recruiting is such a fun thing to follow isn't it?

Eric Gordon has been in Champaign for the past two weekends on campus visits, and he has had great things to say about the Illini, including naming them his leader, a statement he has made for the better part of this summer. Today, there was a new article on Eric Gordon from Jeff Goodman of that had Gordon still favoring the Illini, but with a recent recruiting nemesis, Duke, right on their tails.

Just what I need for my sanity, another prolonged recruiting battle between Illinois and Duke for a top-ranked prospect. I can go back in the history book and see how this normally turns out for the Illini, and it is not something I want to see. Luckily, Coach Weber has been recruiting Eric since the eighth grade and already has a rapport with the talented guard from Indianapolis, but as an Illinois fan it is not like I can be overconfident in a player selecting Illinois over Duke, mainly because it has not happened since Jerrod "Don't Call me Jerry" Gee selected Illinois over Minnesota and Duke when Lou Henson was still roaming the sidelines in his orange blazer.

According to Dave Telep, Illinois is now looking at PG Eugene Harvey from Brooklyn in the Class of 2006. Other schools that have shown interest include Rutgers, USC, and UConn.

In Tuesday's Chicago Tribune, Neil Milbert reported that four Illini players are out for the season: Jody Ellis, Xavier Fulton, James Cooper, and Martin O'Donnell. Of these players, only Jody Ellis was making a visible impact on the field. There was a lot of hop for both O'Donnell and Fulton, but neither have shown that they will live up to the potential they were thought to have coming out of high school.

Also, Monday was the one-year anniversary of Florida firing Ron Zook, enabling him to be hired by Illinois. Zook has a lot of work to do on the recruiting trail to get Illinois where he, and the Illini fans want the team to be, but remember he has not even been on the job for a full season yet.

If you are a Big Ten player, and you want to get a Big Ten Player of the Week Award, all you need to do is line up against the Fighting Illini this season, or so it would seem.
Penn State's Michael Robinson became the third Illinois opponent in five games to receive a Big Ten player of the week award. He passed for four touchdowns and ran for two, all in the first half of the Nittany Lions' 63-10 victory.

Robinson follows Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton, who threw a school-record five touchdown passes against the Illini, and Iowa linebacker Abdul Hodge, who had a career-high 18 tackles.
My guess is Wisconsin's Brian Calhoun will be the fourth in six games.

The Kansas City Star's, Jason Fatlock, err Whitlock, puts down the Gates barbecue long enough to give a warning to the Missouri Administration to not look too kindly on the record Gary Pinkel's Tigers have amassed thanks in large part to a very easy schedule through the Big XII North. What does this warning have to do with Illinois football? Oh, the example he used was Ron Turner's leading the Fighting Illini to the 2001 Big Ten Championship and an appearance in the Sugar Bowl.
Ron Turner led Illinois to a 10-2 record and Sugar Bowl appearance in 2001 and lost his job three years later. Turner rode senior quarterback Kurt Kittner and receiver Brandon Lloyd to 10 victories, and then the wheels fell off. In Turner's final two seasons - 2003 and 2004 - Illinois won four games, beating Illinois State, Florida A&M, Western Michigan and Indiana.

My point? Things are falling into place nicely for Pinkel … this year. It will be interesting to see how Pinkel performs without Brad Smith, the most taken-for-granted, record-setting quarterback in the history of football.
There are occasionally times when Fatlock can make a coherent thought, and actually write it down on paper, and this is one of those times. Missouri should realize that their record is not due to Pinkel's outstanding coaching, but is more due to the schedule they have played so far. Now, as an Illinois fan, I would have no problem if Missouri decided to extend Pinkel in a long term contract, but that is because I like it when Missouri sucks, and doing that would help ensure it.

If you have inquired about writing for within the past week, I will be responding to you within the next few days. I am attempting to formulate a plan before sending out a message to every one. Sorry for the delay.

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