Offensive Guard Jon Asamoah Looks To Iowa

One reason Illinois lost at Madison last week was penalties by the offensive line. Observers scratched their heads in disbelief on some. Others were deserved, and junior guard Jon Asamoah faced the media this week to accept responsibility and promise improvement.

"We had six penalties," Asamoah reminded, "and that killed us. Those are the little things we can't have, and we're going to correct them."

Three linemen shared the six penalties. Asamoah described them.

"On the false starts, the guy across from them kind of jumped. On a couple others they lined up too deep. Jeff (Allen) got caught out of position on the holding call. At the end of the game, we were trying to hurry up to make a call, and the guy just flinched. It's little things we've got to fix ourselves."

There is a rule stating that if a defensive lineman jumps and causes an offensive lineman to jump simultaneously, the penalty should be assessed to the defense. Asamoah wouldn't discuss whether his line buddies were drawn off. But he was quick to praise his running mate at right tackle Jeff Allen, a true freshman, who was one of those guilt of infractions.

"We prepare during the week. Jeff knows what's going on and he's into it. During the game, I give him the calls. He knows what to do, and I trust him just like anyone else. As a freshman, Jeff is one of the tougher kids I've seen. Not a lot phases him. He's an amazing freshman. He's doing something none of us could do as freshmen."

Jon Asamoah answered questions about quarterback Juice Williams' frame of mind after the game, but he preferred to discuss the importance of going beyond the Wisconsin game and preparing for Iowa.

"We're just a unit. Each piece depends on the other piece. Without the o-line, the quarterback can't do anything, the running backs can't do anything or the receivers. Juice might have had a tough one, but we rally around him whether he had a great week or a tough one.

"Everybody was down after the last game, and he wanted to win just like the rest of us. We're just gonna move past it and get ready for Iowa."

Asamoah knows Iowa has an outstanding defense. He remembers how they stopped the Illini's vaunted running game last year.

"They were able to shut down our running game. They put a lot of guys in the box and kind of got us on the perimeter with our blocks."

Jon must face off against two of the best defensive tackles in the league in Mitch King and Matt Kroul. He has tremendous respect for them.

"The two defensive tackles will be running at me, and they do some really unique things and have endless motors, so it will be a tough challenge. It's one of the tougher to get ready for.

"I've played against the two inside guys before, and they have motors like few guys I've seen before. They're real consistent, and the linebackers are real consistent on where they're gonna be. It's a game where you lay it on the line every play."

Asamoah realizes that bowl talk must be secondary to salvaging the rest of the season.

"We're just focused on one game at a time right now. All we're thinking about is Iowa. If we're caught thinking ahead, trying to get to a bowl game, they're gonna get us. So we're not thinking about that right now."

The game at Iowa City last year was Illinois' worst of the season, and the bitter memories remain intact.

"It's a tough rivalry, and we haven't beat Iowa in awhile. It's one we really want to get."

Illini Inquirer Top Stories