There is a certain amount of hype surrounding the QB controversy between true freshman Isiah Williams and senior Tim Brasic. With this being Brasic's last go around in an Illini uniform, he doesn't seem to be worried about whether he starts the game. "Right now we're just looking forward to playing Iowa and opening up the Big Ten season. It's nice to be playing at home. I remember going to Iowa last year; it was one of the loudest places. Right now I'm planning on getting about the same time. Juice and I both are getting a lot of reps in practice. Coach's plan is we're both going to get some time out there," said Brasic.
Regardless which QB takes the job, it's going to be a lot different. No disrespect to Eastern Illinois, Rutgers and Syracuse, but the Iowa defense will be a major challenge, which is one of the reasons Zook is hesitant on starting Williams.
During last week's game the Illini had 106 yards in penalties, some of which could be attributed to starting the different signal callers. WR DaJuan Warren feels that Williams throws the ball a little harder but they just have to catch it. "I mean, he throws harder and we have to focus a little more because it's coming out of his hand a little harder. Juice works really hard. He knew a lot about the offense before he came in, and he stayed after practice with coach a lot. He's growing each week and I think he will continue to grow," Warren said.
In the end, Zook will have the final say which player will get the nod. Zook was very pleased at the intensity level of practice yesterday. "We're excited about the Big Ten. We have eight big-time opponents and we're just really excited about playing. Iowa has a great program; Kirk has done a great job with it. Obviously that's what we're trying to get done here at Illinois," Zook said.
Regarding the quarterback situation Zook added, "Right now we all want what's best for our team and what's best for our program. I think people forget Tim did engineer fifteen play drives; that's hard to do. He also missed some receivers, but those are things we have to get corrected. Last Saturday's game came down to two plays - the fumbles they got."
Last week it was tough trying to put a finger on it. Could it be a dark cloud hanging over the Illini football program or just bad luck in general? If Illinois wants to change from clouds to sun, these things must happen: the penalties must stop; no dropped passes when they are wide-open; the offensive line must protect the QB; they can't give up the big play on defense each game; and last but not least, they must know they can win before the game starts.