July 16, 2010

Inside The Bloggers Unwashed, Unshaven, Studio: Illinois Edition

DID YOU KNOW? Moses was an Illinois alum. In fact, Illinois and Northwestern once comprised of the same school before he parted them one night in a fit of drunken rage.

Apologies for the delay this week. I know how bummed you all were when you clicked on your RSS feed this past Wednesday and the latest ITBUUS was nowhere to be found. Well, fret not, because here she is in all of her partially-censored glory.

Joe Kustunis of the popular Illinois blog Hail To The Orange was kind enough to answer a few questions for us, except for one involving a particular Indian Chief whose mentioning still causes Illini fans to strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger. You'll see what I mean...

LBU: I'm not gonna lie: It's rather strange to see any word other than "Lion" or "Victors" following the words "Hail To The." Unless of course, Illinois has a song of a similar name which none of us non-Illini fans are aware of...How did you come up with the blog title? What helped you decide that broadcasting your thoughts over the Internets was such a good idea?

HTTO: Well as far as the blog title goes it is the opening line of our school's alma mater so yes, it comes from a song. However my original blogspot from a couple years back had a much better name Paint the Town Orange. Unfortunately when I made the jump to SBN we couldn't use it cause someone was squatting on the domain rights. (Jerks)

As for why I started blogging? Well I thought I had a lot of good thoughts and ideas about Illini football and basketball, but no real way to vent them. I am used to writing my thoughts out in a semi coherent manner so I figured, what the hell. Things just kind of developed from there.

LBU: I've always theorized that the inability to find a running back who can come close to replacing Rashard Mendenhall's production is the biggest reason why the Illini have slipped back to irrelevancy in the Big Ten. Am I on the right track with my sentiments, or is it also a matter of playing under the right system such as the one Paul Petrino is installing?

HTTO: With Rashard Mendenhall Juice Williams had the best decoy/work horse behind him that he could have ever asked for. Once he was gone, there was no clear back that could take on the work load that Shard did, so Juice was forced to carry much more of the load himself. That meant more passing, and running by #7, a strategy that more or less worked in 2008, at least as far as offensive yardage numbers are concerned. Having a Big Ten offensive player of the year running back never, ever hurts to have on a team, but the loss of Rashard should not have resulted in last years 3 win season.

With Mike Locksley, we had at least a spread option OC who understood his players skills and deficiencies, something that Mike Schultz never really could do in his one year in Champaign. With Juice gone, the biggest reason to have a spread option offense has also left, so taking a chance on Paul Petrino's pro-style isn't nearly as difficult as it could have been. We now hopefully have in Mikel LeShoure the same sort of explosiveness we once saw in Mendenhall, and with a similarly young and inexperienced QB I hope we will have similar results.

LBU: Does Talor Battle still have a Freddy Kruger-like affect on Illini fans' sleeping habits?

HTTO: I will say the Mike Davis missed free throw to Talor Battle lay up is one of my all time most soul destroying moments in Illini sports. When he nearly did it to us again this year I just about vomited on the Assembly Hall floor. True Story.

Talor Battle is #1 on the list of "Things That Make Illinois Fans Vomit"

LBU: [QUESTION REDACTED. Apparently, discussing Chief Illiniwek on a blog is akin to drawing pictures of the prophet Muhammed. We here at LBU are not interested in receiving scores of death threats from angry Illini fans. Moving on now...]

LBU: What will Ron Zook's occupation be six months from now?

HTTO: Mark my words, unless some serious Mangino level digressions come to light, or the University some how climbs its way out of the budget crisis, he will be coaching the Illini, there is too much money left on his contract and no place to draw from to pay it off. Zook is here for this season and next, guaranteed. Of course he could take us to a bowl, and make all of this moot.

Good news Big Ten fans: The Zooker is here to stay for the forseeable future.

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