Could the Illini be losing their edge?

Illinois Head Coach Ron Zook saw some of the same things other coaches, fans, alumni, and media members saw last Saturday as they took the field looking for their second win. Read here for more on Zook and his comments to the media after the 20-17 win over Louisiana-Lafayette.

Ron Zook:

"We left three touchdowns out there and it becomes a different game. Some penalties you can't have, some of them were penalties and maybe some of them weren't, but you can't have them. We just have to play more consistent. It's frustrating a little bit, but by the same token the good thing is now the defense is finally playing the way they're capable of playing. Now we still gave up a big play or two, but their QB is a good player, he took some shots and kept on coming. He can play on any school in the Big Ten."

What about the off week?

"This is a good time for the off week. We're going to get some work done; they're going to have an opportunity to get away from it for a little bit, which I think is good. And number two we're going to have a chance to get better. We're not just going to go out there and lolly gag around, we're going to go out there and get some work done. We need to make some improvements. Talking to the coaches, it's not like we can go out and get more players. I mean we have good enough players, we just have to get them playing the way they're capable of playing, part of it is us and part of it is them. The players have to play with the same intensity that they're capable of and the way they played last year."

Are there changes coming?

"I don't know, but there could be. If they don't want to do it the way we want them to then they won't be out there, I can assure you that. It's kind of like we lost the eye of the tiger a little bit. Not that the team hasn't worked hard because they have, but to consistently work hard the way we did last year. That's why it's so hard to repeat. You go back and look at any sport and look at how they repeat the years, that's why I have so much respect for the teams that do repeat. Usually it is a lot harder, that's where all your leadership has to come."

What about outside influences?

"I don't know about the Journey but yes since we've got back from the Rose Bowl everyone was excited. We just have to be like we were last year, you have to be hungry. We can't get caught, everyone is telling you this and that. But people telling you how good you are, it's like recruiting. I mean you begin to think you are, then you say I don't have to work that hard. The game of football is very hard. I mean you look at Ohio State, that's a pretty good football team, but so is Southern Cal. We saw they didn't play the way they're capable of playing. Football is an emotional game. How do you handle that? That's the job of the coaches to try and figure out."

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