The Illinois Fighting Illini finished the 2011 college football reguale season with an 0-6 stretch that undid their undefeated start to the season and led to the firing of head coach Ron Zook. Now, with former Toledo Rockets coach Tim Beckman taking his place last December, the team hopes to build on the 2011 Kraft Bowl win and return to their winning ways.
Stewart Mandel of the SI.com suggests the regime change in Illinois will be the biggest question mark heading into the 2012 NCAA football season:
Illinois: Is Beckman the right man for the Illini?
Answering that will admittedly take longer than one spring. Still, the Illini's new coach, who spent the past three seasons at Toledo, is a bit of an enigma. He didn't come in and set the Big Ten on fire like Meyer or Hoke. He has a defensive background, but his Toledo teams were known for their prolific offenses. In Champaign, Beckman inherits talented junior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, but faces an immediate challenge upgrading Illinois' rushing attack. Perhaps rising sophomore tailback Donovonn Young will benefit from Beckman's spread attack...
Illini fans will get their first look at the upcoming team on April 4th, when the team hosts their annual Orange and Blue Spring Game at Memorial Stadium.
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