Daily Illini Sports Podcast: Episode 52; Virginia Beats Writer Dedicated to Illini Winning
Josh Pietsch and Carson Gourdie met with Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter Mike Barber to discuss what Illini should expect from Tony Elliott’s Virginia show.
Virginia beat Illinois 42-14 at home last season. But while the Illini seek revenge on the Cavaliers, it looks like they’re facing an entirely new team.
Head coach Bronko Mendenhall left the program and was replaced by Tony Elliott. Virginia has virtually replaced the entire offensive line, and the offensive scheme that Virginia runs has been tweaked.
Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter Mike Barber, who has covered Virginia’s football program for six seasons, discussed what to expect from the Illini on Saturday and even leaned into the Illini’s victory.
Brennan Armstrong is one of the most established and productive quarterbacks in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Armstrong, who finished the season pitching with 31 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions, was one of the most prolific Cavalier offenses in school history despite the fact that Virginia finished 6-6 last season. produced.
Last season, however, Armstrong successfully tested the vertical in the secondary, but Barber believes Elliott wants his veteran quarterback to be more of a game manager.
“It’s a very different offense than last year,” Barber said. “(Armstrong) is a better player, he goes through his progress and reads faster. (But) they’re not going to ask him to throw 50 times.
Barber claimed Armstrong was critical of his performance against Virginia last week, claiming that “he’s still stuck in last year’s mindset.” I want to convert to the route below instead.
Barber believes that “there were times last year when they were forced to[throw deep passes],” but thanks to the wide receiver manpower, they were able to get through it. Losing a good pass catcher and returning one of the worst defenses in the ACC will force Armstrong to put an end to his explosive play.
Virginia’s defense struggled last season, allowing about 32 points and 225 rushing yards per game. Barber doesn’t expect Virginia’s defense to be more talented, but believes the scheme better suits their needs.
Barber argues that Virginia will play a very conservative defensive style, choosing not to pressure the Illini with too many blitzes. We believe it’s built to “bend and not break.” That means giving up a lot of yards while limiting explosive plays.
Against Richmond, Virginia limited big plays, with a maximum pass gain of just 17 yards. There were also occasional blitzkrieg from The secondary plays “three-quarters deep” defense and passes his catchers from going past corners, helping to ensure the safety of big plays. But Barber doesn’t think Virginia’s run defense can keep up with the Illini.
“If you’re Chase Brown and you’re watching Richmond’s opener against Virginia, you’re licking your lips.
The Richmond Spiders ran over 170 yards against the Cavaliers. Barber believes that someone with Big His Ten offensive his line and Brown’s ability could possibly score a “devastating run.”
Like Indiana, who gave up over 500 yards of offense to the Illini but held it to 20 points, the Illini have an opportunity to convert in the red zone but need to clean up penalties and turnovers.
Barber doesn’t think Virginia will win outright, but he hopes to cover the 4-point spread. Offensively his lines and wide Concerns about the lack of depth in his receivers and shaky defense Combined with Brown’s ability to run the ball over his lines, Barber was able to ensure that the Illini could pull away at home. I think we can.
But Barber thinks this could be a wide-open game if Armstrong can pull off the secondary well with intermediate and short passes and keep Brown off the field.