Chandler Whitmer Excited About New Offense

The Fighting Illini football team hosted a good-looking group of football prospects on campus last weekend. There are a lot of changes taking place on the coaching staff that affect recruits. Quarterback Chandler Whitmer was pleased with the weekend, and he is excited to hear about the hiring of offensive coordinator Paul Petrino.

Downers Grove South quarterback is still firmly committed to Illinois. He had his official visit last weekend, and it reconfirmed his feelings. He looks forward to starting school in January.

"It was great. There were a lot of events set up for us. I had a chance to hang out with the other recruits and future teammates. It was a good review for what it's gonna be like next month."

Were the coaching changes a source of any problems during the weekend?

"It really wasn't. Coach Zook still made us all feel at home, and the other coaches who are there already. Everybody thought it was a great weekend. You never would have noticed that anything had happened. Coach (Ron) Zook was upbeat as he always is."

Whitmer had heard about the hiring of Paul Petrino as offensive coordinator.

"I heard that. I don't know much about him. I can't wait to talk to him. Coach Zook was getting on a flight at 4:00pm, so he'll probably give me a call about the coach coming in, and he'll talk to me a little bit so I can get to know him. I look forward to that."

Did Zook forewarn him about a change to a more pro style offense?

"I was. I went to his office today to talk with him. He told me I would like what I heard and who the guy was since he hadn't been officially announced yet. He told me I'd be happy, and he's very excited. He looks forward to it."

The entire offense will be new to everyone. Whitmer will be getting in on the ground floor this winter and spring learning its intricacies.

"Right. It will kind of even the playing field a little bit. We will all have to learn a new offense. It'll be different. You won't have somebody who is older to help you out, but we'll be able to help each other out. It'll be fun. I can't wait."

A new quarterback coach has yet to be hired, but Whitmer is optimistic about the prospects.

"That's what Coach Zook said, that we'll all be happy with the new changes. He said we are right there, and we're about to get this thing going and turned around. He sounded real upbeat."

Petrino has a reputation as an outstanding receiver coach. Quarterbacks love to see their receivers operating at peak efficiency.

"Definitely. When quarterbacks and receivers are on the same page, that's what you want. I understand he is a good receivers coach, so that's good also. Hopefully, we can get this program where it needs to be."

Whitmer shared more details about the other recruits in attendance last weekend. He is hopeful the Illini can still salvage a good recruiting class.

"I think there were around 11-12 recruits there. All the commits except for Andy (Gallik, who decommitted for Boston College) and Mark Wilson. It was a good weekend. We all hung out together and had a good time. A lot of people were telling me they felt like they were at home. It was a good thing to hear.

"I think everybody's still pretty much committed. Of course, they're also looking out for #1 in case something happens to head coaches. I think things will start to fall in place soon, and we'll put together a good class."

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