With oppressive heat comes the doldrums of the MLS season, with teams slogging through the humid air and attempting to stay playoff eligible. Baseball is just not on the Beemsville menu, but the Illini are always on our minds. After a crazy-active off-season in which the three major sports all replaced their head coaches, it’s mostly quiet on the orange & blue front. But, hey, look! A blue helmet!
Yes, Coach Beckman has been implementing his changes, including COMPETING! for everything and anything. And, hey, if teams like Oregon and Boise State and Oklahoma State can have multiple uniform-helmet combos and score lots and lots of points, why not Illinois?
This design will look good with the orange or white shirts. It’s pretty basic, pretty similar to the Bears helmet, and also signals a logo/branding shift Illini fans are just going to have to accept. Athletic Director Mike Thomas has spoken about the importance of marketing/branding in college sports, how it builds familiarity, opens doors, sells shirts, etc. And since the Chief was taken from us (and even before that as they moved away from that symbol), the Block I has pretty much become the symbol and logo. Thomas has stated he wants to reinvigorate from a marketing/branding standpoint, so we should expect some kind of new variation on the Block I as an official logo. How much can you really do with a Block I? You don’t want it in italics. You can’t add a bunch of bling. They’re probably afraid to add any flourishes like feathers that might offend sensitivities of the anti-Illini crowd. At least we’re pretty much the only ‘I’ team in orange and blue.
Football has been picking up steam in recruiting, no doubt about it. Coach Beckman went out to COMPETE! and landed Bolingbrook Quarterback, Aaron Bailey, who will be great in the spread and is considered one of the nation’s top dual-threat QBs. The Illini have also added a number of defensive lineman and defensive backs, some O-lineman, and running backs. It’s a nice turn-around from the flailing about that marked then end of the Zook tenure, and people who know recruiting seem encouraged. Continue reading