Ralph Cooper’s spring football log: Looking for consistency before Spring Game


Illinois’ Donovonn Young runs the ball during the game against Purdue on Nov. 23.

By Ralph Cooper

Editor’s note: Ralph Cooper is a member of the Illinois football team and has been keeping a regular football log for The Daily Illini throughout the spring practice season.

With the annual Orange and Blue spring game only a few days away, this year’s spring practices have been very productive. We have been making strides toward becoming one of the best teams in the Big Ten and the team we know we are capable of being. 

This past Friday, spring practice No. 10 was held in the capital, Springfield, Ill. We had the opportunity to practice at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School and its state of the art facilities. 

Just like at our practice at Gately Stadium in Chicago, before we began practice we were addressed by former Illini. The enthusiasm and passion that alumni express about being a part of the Illini family always makes you want to go out and play that much harder, because you know that one day you’ll have to hang your cleats up.  

Once the scrimmage began, the offense came out firing on all cylinders. The connection between quarterback Wes Lunt and receiver Geronimo Allison was like poetry in motion and is something I look forward to seeing a lot this season. The flow of the offense is continuing to gain momentum under the guidance of seniors Reilly O’Toole, Donovonn Young, Martize Barr and Simon Cvijanovic. 

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Offensive coordinator Bill Cubit is an offensive mastermind. He always has something up his sleeves that can catch the defense off guard. With all of the weapons we have on the offensive side of the ball, there should be big plays all over the field this season. 

As for the defense, we have increased the intensity of our play, but we still have not fulfilled our full potential. One of the guys who had a great time getting to the ball and making plays was sophomore Dillan Cazley. He’s one of the many young guys that we are depending on to make plays for us throughout the course of the season.  

There were sparks of brilliant defense during the scrimmage, but there were also those times when a missed assignment here or there allowed for a big play. The main goal for us as a defense is becoming consistent and not allowing big plays to occur because of minor mistakes. 

This year’s spring game will be the last of my career here at Illinois, but it will be the start to a great senior season. We are going into the game as if were a Saturday afternoon in the fall. Each team gets prepared in separate locker rooms. This game will have a lot of big plays and will be a great preview of what to expect from Illinois football this season. We look forward to having a big crowd and full support from Illini nation.

Ralph is a senior in Media. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @RalphCooper42.