Zook With The Media

Read here for the latest quotes from Illini head Coach Ron Zook as he starts the 2006-07 season. The team appears to be just as excited as their second year coach.

Opening statements:

"It's hard to believe we are back here already, and in the same breath I am excited to be back. I said it earlier to my wife that I was looking more forward to camp this year than any other year I can remember. It was a productive camp, and the second time you go through anything, again, it is more productive, as you know the players and they know you."

"I really like the attitude of this team. I think they are a very competitive bunch, and they are looking forward to the challenge of the season, starting this Saturday against Eastern Illinois. We have to go out and play our game because this team is going to come out here and be ready to go."

"We aren't where we have to be, but we are much improved, and I can't wait until Saturday just to see where we are."

...on Illinois preparedness for season out of camp:

"The second time you're able to install more and install faster. Knowing what your players can and can't do is important. I've said that coaching is putting you players in where they will be successful, and when you know your players best and their abilities, that is when that works out best. We are much further ahead than where we were last year (at this time)."

...on Brasic today vs. Brasic last season:

"We've told Tim that a quarterback has to spend more time on football than we are allowed to spend with him; it's just the nature of the position. Tim has done that this summer and you can tell. He is more confident, knows where he wants to go with the ball, and, from that standpoint, is much improved."

...on the offensive line:

"The offensive line is the one area that is most improved from last year. It's the one area we knew we had to improve after last season. I really believe that if we do our job right and do what we're supposed to be doing, we'll improve as the year goes on."

...on having multiple running backs:

"We need all of them and we will need all of them during the course of the year. This team is unselfish; we have three veterans now, and we're really proud of them. E.B. and Pierre, we know what they can do and just want to make sure we get them enough carries. They are better in pass protection and we need all of them."

...on Pierre Thomas:

"He is hard to tackle. He is tough and just goes ahead to get those extra yards. He's not a break-away runner or a lightening-speed guy, but he is a tough, hard-nosed runner that gets the yards he needs."

...on the need to rush effectively this season:

"In this league you have to be able to run the football. If not, it falls on the quarterback, and if you can't protect the quarterback, then you can't get those yards. We feel we're going in and going to be able to run the football better."

...on the defense:

"We have to cut down big plays and turnovers. Tackling goes hand in hand with two things- athleticism and emotion."

"We're a little undersized, but (DE Will) Davis, can come off the corner and Derrick Walker is really smooth. He is what a guy in the Big Ten is supposed to look like. Remond Willis can come off the edge. We have young guys that can do that, so it should help us be able to keep guys fresh."

...on the punting game:

"I feel a good about it. We've made a few changes in protection, and when you have more athletes you will be better on your special teams. I feel good about Kyle, he's improved, not 100% consistent, but you're spoiled when you got a guy like Steve (Weatherford). But he's going to be able to handle it."

...on Eastern Illinois:

"Were in a situation where we have to take care of ourselves. We do have to worry about Eastern Illinois, they are a good football team. They will compete and play hard. They have some big guys, but we just have to make sure that we play the way we can play."

...on the Illinois receivers:

"I feel much better about the depth of the position. Tim (Brasic) is getting the ball out on time and you have guys like Jody Ellis who is really coming on and doing what he needs to do. Jacob Willis has come on and been a pleasant surprise for us. (He is) a guy who has really done a nice job of not just receiving, but has been tough blocking and on special teams."

...on the QB position:

"Isiah (Juice Williams) will get snaps and Eddie (McGee) as well. The only way to get better is to play and get experience. Isiah has been running second team, and is one play away form being in. We have go to get him in there."

...on potential redshirts:

"I think at this point in time, if it was a perfect world we'd redshirt one of them (McGee or Williams). I don't think it is time to talk about redshirting any of the freshmen, but there are a bunch that could play."

Courtesy of the U of I press release.

Illini Inquirer Top Stories