Vote for Lovie Smith’s defense’s new name


Karolina Marczewski

Illinois’ football headcoach Lovie Smith obverses the players running drills during the first spring practice on Friday, April 1, 2016.

By Kevin McCarthy, Illini columnist

Lovie Smith will be proud of us.

I guess I didn’t really do anything. It was actually all you guys — for that, a sincere “thank you” is in order. I really appreciate all of your responses to last week’s column. Your emails, tweets and text messages provided plenty of laughs. I was disappointed that none of you sent a message via carrier pigeon — I guess that makes me old school.

I’ve decided to make a top-10 list. Lovie, feel free to choose your favorite and let us know.

10. Four Score

Since Illinois is “The Land of Lincoln,” there are four quarters in a football game and Lovie wants his defense to score touchdowns — this makes for a great name. Ol’ Abe Lincoln — you know, that guy who kept the Union in tact — would be proud.

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9. The Nicker Knockers

I have to thank my beautiful mother for this entry. While it may not instill fear in Illini opponents, it’s certainly a clever riff off of new defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson’s name. MG It could also leave Big Ten foes with their trousers in a bunch. That’s the expression, right?

8. The Denying Illini

There’s just no denying that this was a nice submission, well done.

7. The Champaign Show

This has an unconventional alliterative flare. It really rolls right off the tongue. This was also my nickname in high school, but that was spelled a little different. Obviously.

6. The Orange Crushers

This is a perfect spin off the famous soda-pop — I used “soda-pop” to make both midwesterners and north easterners happy. To all the southern belles who read my column, I’m sorry. I’m not calling it a “coke.”

5. The Hardy Boys

New Defensive Coordinator Hardy Nickerson ought to like this one, too. If you don’t understand the reference here — it was a mystery to me — Google it. Everything will make sense after you do.

4. Orange and Glue

A defense needs to stick together. Lovie’s Tampa 2 defense can’t work unless all 11 guys RBare on the same page — they have to be like glue. This catchy twist on the Illini colors could really stick. Can you see what I did there?

3. Monsters of Memorial

This name is glorious. Lovie coached “The Monsters of the Midway” RBwhen he was in Chicago, so this name is particularly fitting.

2. Hardy’s Hitmen

Another great shout out to the team’s new defensive coordinator. Spectacular name, just not No. 1.

1. The ‘Paign Gang

Need I say more? This earned itself the top spot on my list for a reason.

A closing word…

The funniest submission I received will only pertain to University of Illinois students. One reader sent in, “The UGL Doors.” He added, “Nothing stops people in their tracks like poorly designed, heavy doors, and that’s how our defense should operate.”

If you’re an undergraduate student here, you know exactly what this reader is talking about. The library doors are nearly impossible to walk through. They make me feel like an idiot every time.

But trust me, I don’t need a door to remind me of that. My friends tell me all the time.

Lastly, I have a few words for our new fearless leader, Lovie Smith. I hope that we have made you proud. When you decide to put one of these catchy names on a bunch of merchandise, I’ll take a cut of the check.

Make it out to my accountant — Elizabeth (my mother). Like Madonna, she goes by one name.

Kevin is a sophomore in Media.

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