WCIA — Illinois running back Chase Brown broke out in 2021, going for more than 1,000 yards on the season and being named to the All-Big Ten Third Team.

But the running game was about the only thing the Illini had going on offense a season ago, with the passing game coming in last in the Big Ten. New offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. is hoping to reverse that trend in his first season in Champaign, and he already has his star back believing he can.

“He’s doing things to get people open, you guys can go back and look what he did at UTSA,” Brown said. “He’s a creative mind, he’s always looking for new plays to the point where we’re not just going to rely on the run game, we’re going to be a balanced offense. Where, as lethal as we were on the ground, we’re going to be as lethal in the air. And that’s what I look forward to.”

Brown has already been named to Athlon’s All-Big Ten Preseason Second Team.