A few of the best anecdotes from Monday night’s Illini scrimmage follow.
What he said: “We’re the reason you scored.” —OT Corey Lewis
What he meant: Lewis had just watched running back Donovann Young — who had a spectacular night — blast in for a touchdown, climb to his feet, hold up the ball for show and actually slap five with athletic director Mike Thomas. Apparently, it was all a bit much for the sixth-year senior.
Lewis and his fellow first-team linemates were surprisingly good throughout the scrimmage. Their backups had a forgettable outing, but so what? The starters resembled a unit that might actually hang in there on Saturdays to come. Young had nothing but daylight on that scoring play. He owed thanks to the big fellas in front of him, and Lewis let him know that as they trotted off the field.
What he said: “It’s a feast! It’s a feast!” — WR Marchie Murdock
What he meant: Well, it was a feast. Illinois’ wideouts ate up the secondary. This particular quote came after Justin Hardee’s two-point conversion grab on the final play of the scrimmage, which came during an overtime drill. It happened to be one of backup quarterback Reilly O’Toole’s few good moments all night, but it was a fitting way to end things. The offense feasted overall.
What he said: “None.” — defensive coordinator Tim Banks
What he meant: No one on the defense deserved to be “de-striped.” Tim Beckman has instituted a tradition whereby newcomers to the program have a stripe taped to their helmets; it comes off only when veteran players and coaches deem it should.
Most days of training camp, someone is de-striped; often, someone on each side of the ball gets the honor.
After the scrimmage, Hardee was de-striped. When Beckman asked Banks, with the entire team gathered, which defensive player would be de-striped … well, you get the rest.