Blowout Loss Sparks Concerns About Illini, Beckman

My Sept. 11 column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) When it comes to Illinois football, I’m not hitting the panic button just yet – even though the Illini themselves apparently were this past Saturday night.

“Guys were panicking, everybody yelling, trying to get the (play) call,” Illinois junior defensive tackle Akeem Spence told the Associated Press on Monday as he recalled the confusion that reigned during the Illini’s 45-14 disaster in the desert at Arizona State.

“I had to ask guys what the call was, you know, and they’re yelling all over the place,” Spence continued. “We can’t do that as a defense. I mean, we’re supposed to be the strength of the team.”

Yeah, that’s what the rest of us thought, too.

However, while getting roasted by the Sun Devils out in Tempe, the Illini – without injured QB Nathan Scheelhaase – didn’t really show any strengths at all, only weaknesses. So, while I’m not hitting that orange-and-blue panic button just yet, my finger is twitching atop it for a variety of reasons, which I’ll explain.

On Monday, though, I was wondering what Illini Nation was feeling and decided to check its pulse via Twitter by asking just how concerned Illinois fans were about the team after the ASU debacle.

To continue reading, visit