Despite Evan Royster’s struggles this season, Illinois coach Ron Zook believes this Saturday, Royster will be the best tailback the Fighting Illini have faced this year.
“It’s going to definitely be another stern test for our defense,” Zook said.
With a struggling offensive line, Penn State may find the Illinois defense focusing more on Penn State freshman quarterback Rob Bolden.
But Zook said his game plan won’t change much based on the Nittany Lions quarterback.
The Illinois coach wouldn’t say whether the Fighting Illini would be more or less aggressive with Bolden come Saturday.
“I think the No. 1 thing is you want to take away the things that he’s shown in the first part of the season here to be successful,” Zook said.“And try to force him to do some things maybe that he hasn’t done.”
One thing Bolden hasn’t done much this season is allow his running abilities to take center stage.
Zook and Illinois will transition from playing Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, known for his ability to run outside the pocket, to Bolden, who has the ability to run but more commonly known to drop back and pass.
Zook said the challenge of going up against a quarterback such as Pryor and Michigan’s Denard Robinson is knowing when and when not to pressure a running quarterback.
Bolden hasn’t shown he is of the same running caliber as the other two, but with a line still learning to jell, it’s hard seeing the Lions quarterback experiencing extended time in the pocket.
Dantonio returning to box
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said he’ll probably coach from the press box this Saturday against Michigan, but he plans to reevaluate the circumstance later in the week.
“I think as long as I don’t have a setback, that’s where I’ll be,” Dantonio said.
Dantonio said he plans to listen to his doctor’s orders concerning where he will coach from this Saturday against Michigan. Dantonio suffered from a heart attack after beating Notre Dame on Sept. 18 but found out he had a blood clot in his leg before this past weekend’s Wisconsin game, forcing him to watch the game from the hospital. Michigan State’s win against Wisconsin this past Saturday was more than pleasing for the Spartans coach.
“Probably the most satisfying moment I’ve had as a head football coach,” Dantonio said. “And one of the biggest wins even though I was not there.”
The new Badger back
Wisconsin true freshman running back James White has been a revelation to people unfamiliar with the Badgers’ program.
But the tailback has also impressed Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema.
White won the previous two Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors and has been splitting reps with last season’s Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, junior John Clay.
Bielema remembered watching White on a recruiting trip last season during Wisconsin’s bye week and recalled White’s ability to effectively change directions.
White’s effectiveness means the Badgers won’t be changing directions in game-planning any time soon.
“James’ contribution has increased as well as his reps as well as his production,” Bielema said. “And there’s no reason to think that won’t continue.”