The Buckeyes travel to the Land of Lincoln on Saturday for what will no doubt be their most significant challenge to date on the season: A matchup with the #22-ranked Fighting Illini of Illinois. Having gone against some of the weaker teams thus far in Big Ten conference play, Ohio State will need to be at the top of their game to overcome the Illini on the road.
|School:||University of Illinois|
|Location:||Urbana and Champaign, Illinois|
|Conference:||Big Ten Conference|
|Head Coach:||Bruce Weber|
It wasn’t pretty, but the big wooden turtle comes back to Columbus:
Thanks again to Cole for taking the game’s pressure and turning it into a diamond.
This week in our coach’s profile we come across the first coach in our series who is clearly on the hot seat with his program: Illinois head coach Ron Zook. Currently in his sixth year with the Fighting Illini, Zook has thus far managed to post only one winning record, and has claimed victory in less than one-third of his Big Ten games. Boasting two wins on the season, the Illini have already matched their 2005 and 2006 performances, but it remains to be seen how things will shake out as we progress through the fall of 2010, and if Illinois Athletic Director Ron Guenther’s vote of confidence in retaining Zook after 2009 was a wise move.
Zook actually has some historical connection to the Buckeyes, having been a defensive backs coach for the Scarlet & Gray from 1988-1990. Zook left Columbus for the warmer climes of Florida, where he served as an assistant coach for the Gators throughout the first half of the 1990′s. The latter part of the decade was spent in the professional ranks, where Zook made a looping road trip of sorts through Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and New Orleans before returning to Florida and the college game. As a head coach, Zook posted winning records in all three of his seasons at UF, but the success of the program under Zook was relatively mediocre from a historical context, and in 2005 he moved on to begin his current stint in Champaign.