Juice to the Bench: What does it Mean?
Ron Zook called QB Eddie McGee into his office of intensity on Sunday night and told the junior that he would be starting for the Illini Saturday against Michigan State. The move will end a streak of 38 straight starts for Juice Williams and is something Zook hopes will spark the Illini after their 1-3 start.
Juice was mentioned in the preseason as a possible Big Ten Offensive POY and in just four games he has been sent to the pine and given the clipboard. McGee has seen plenty of action in his career filling in for Juice and while he’ll certainly have some butterflies, you wouldn’t think he’d be scared to perform.
The change comes at a critical time for Illinois, with plenty of winnable games left on the schedule. After a tough game against the Spartans Saturday, Illinois plays Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, Minnesota, and Northwestern. If Zook’s move pays off, the season is savable.
I can see it doing just that. McGee is good enough to allow the Illini to compete with anyone in the Big Ten. The offense is still filled with talent and has its explosive playmaker at wide receiver in Benn. While optimism isn’t something easy to find in Illini fans and replacing a somewhat proven QB with a very similar type player who hadn’t shown himself to be better doesn’t seem like a great idea, this thing can work out in a couple of ways. McGee could step up and prove that he can lead this team and ignite something and get them rolling for an easy stretch of schedule. Or, this could serve to motivate Williams and he could take over sometime in the game Saturday and return to his form of two years ago.
Don’t count Juice out yet. This is the same guy that led Illinois to a win in Columbus two years ago and you’d think he has en0ugh pride to earn this job back in his final year.
Nonetheless, it’s the Eddie McGee show on Saturday and it should be exciting to watch (11am ct. on BTN). Key to the game? Get Benn the ball early and often. He has ten catches this year and should double that total after Saturday.