Rod Smith says there’s “a lot of work to do” following the Orange and Blue Spring Game


(WCIA) — One year ago at the Spring Game, the Illini offense ran all over the defense–what a difference a year makes. Defense dominated in almost every facet on Saturday. So much so, it was hard for offensive coordinator Rod Smith to find many positives.

“Not a lot of positive in my mind. We got a lot of work to do,” says Smith. “There were some throws that we made that were okay, but there was a lot of stuff that we got to get cleaned up, and it ain’t just one position now. We got to get better at pass protection, we gotta get better at run blocking, we gotta get better at catching the football. Our whole offense is better than, I think, what we showed today.”

MJ Rivers and Matt Robinson seem to have the lead on the quarterback battle at the moment, but neither took control on Saturday. The only quarterback to account for a touchdown was Cam Miller.

“Trying to get in a rhythm was tough but we know that we can come back, make corrections and try and do better,” says Miller. 

“It’s kind of hard to really tell when they’re just tagging but I thought we moved the ball pretty well,” says Robinson. “Obviously, we’ve got to clean up some simple mistakes but other than that I thought it went pretty smooth.”

The QBs threw 3 interceptions in total. Nate Hobbs returned his for a pick six. He says the defense this year already has a different feel.

“We just switched our mentality,” says Nate Hobbs. “At first it was like we gonna come out here and play but now it’s we’re gonna come out and dominate. We don’t care who the competition is, we want to play the best of the best.”

The Illini have three more spring practices left before they call it quits until the summer when training camp rolls around. 

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