UNC Football: Q&A With Rees Woodcock of Writing Illini


Keeping It Heel talked to Rees Woodcock, the editor of Writing Illini, FanSided’s Illinois website, about this weekend’s game between UNC and Illinois. Check out the questions and answers below…

Q: Illinois fired their head coach Tim Beckman right before the season started, yet it looks like his sudden departure hasn’t had a major effect on the on-field performance of the team. Why has Illinois been able to have a successful start to the season despite the adversity?

A: I feel that there are many factors to why Illinois has started well this season. They haven’t exactly played the cream of the crop talent wise. Their first victory was against Kent State and their other win was Western Illinois. With that being said, they have played really well in those two games. Another reason Beckman’s departure hasn’t hindered Illinois’ success is because he was probably one of the things holding the team back. There is a lot of talent on this team and now it feels like they are finally being a cohesive unit. The final major factor in why Illinois has been able to keep the ship afloat is because Bill Cubit is awesome. It seems like the players really warm up to him as a coach.

Q:  What has quarterback Wes Lunt done well and poorly so far this season?

A: Wes Lunt is probably one of the best, if not the best, quarterback Illinois has every had behind center. Let’s start with what he has done poorly this season.

There really isn’t anything poor Lunt has done this season. I know that sounds like a homer thing to say, but it is true. He has a 67% completion rate and has thrown for 5 touchdowns. I guess the one thing he has done wrong this season is throw that one interception against Western Illinois.

Lunt has done many things well thus far, but the one thing that sticks out to me is his ball distribution. He
gets his all of his wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs involved in the passing attack so you don’t know where they will strike next. This has enabled the offense to be so dynamic.

Q: Illinois has given up just three points so far this season. What do you attribute the success of the defense to?

A: There are multiple factors this question as well. It helps the teams really aren’t great. This gives Illinois confidence heading into the game against the Tar Heels.

The main factor the defense has been so successful is because they are experienced and have played together for a while now. Majority of this squad returned from last season. There are a few NFL draft picks on this defense, they have just been hiding.

Q: Do you think the players expect to win on Saturday, despite being a heavy underdog according to Vegas? And is this a game that the fanbase expects the team to win after playing so well the first two weeks of the season?

A: I have no doubt that the players expect to win this game against North Carolina. They have a confidence that I haven’t seen in many years. They are playing great right now and have the fire power to beat a lot of teams in college football.

I have seen Illinois as worse as 10-point underdog but now I am seeing 7.5. No matter what the lines say, and here comes another homer statement, I look for Illinois to really compete with North Carolina and win. They have the offense to do so, but I worry mostly about stopping Hood. It will be an interesting game for sure.

Q: What is your prediction for the game?

A: I think this game is going to be high scoring and close. I see Illinois emerging victorious 45-38.


Thanks to Rees for answering our questions. Go check out writingillini.com for more coverage of the game!