The Fighting Illini produced a two-sided poster this year. The top image is the front of the poster, showing Memorial Stadium and the 2009 schedule. The back shows the 15 members of the senior class. Thanks to Victor!
"I was surprised to see that, once again, five years later, we're blamed for something else at Florida," Zook said. "But by now I guess I shouldn't be. This one was most disappointing because it implies we didn't look out for our players. From someone who wasn't there at the time.
"I can assure you I've never, ever been accused of that. I thought I was too much of a players' coach. The implication is incorrect — there is no place for hazing in college football and we've put a stop to that if we've ever seen it.
"I applaud Florida for fostering what they say is a wonderful family atmosphere. I would invite anyone to talk to any of our players here at Illinois and, although we don't look for media opportunities to brag about it, it is a wonderful family atmosphere.''
Urban Meyer has had little to complain about since becoming Florida's coach in 2005. He has won two Bowl Championship Series titles, including one with a roster stacked with veteran players recruited by his predecessor, Ron Zook.
But on Friday, Meyer — without mentioning Zook by name — appeared to take a shot at the Illinois coach.
David Jones of Florida Today writes that Meyer was asked a question about how he handles players having arguments on the field and in the locker room.
"When we first got here five years ago, they had freshmen in a separate locker room and it was a bunch of tin lockers over there and they weren't allowed to walk [into the regular locker room]. Think about this for a minute: this is a big-time college football program and we had some fights because they treat their freshman like they were non-people," Meyer said.
" 'Don't walk through here, we'll kick your tail, we'll shave your eyebrows.' It took us awhile to break that great culture we had here. That was tremendous. You don't win many games, but you beat up freshmen and shave eyebrows. Absolutely unbelievable."
Illinois is coming off a surprising 9-4 season that included a trip to the Rose Bowl, but can the Zooker keep it rolling? Consider that the Fighting Illini, who lost running back Rashard Mendenhall, haven't put together back-to-back winning seasons since 1989-90. Defenses will be loading up to stop quarterback Juice Williams, who will have to develop a passing touch. Illinois opens Aug. 30 against Missouri in the Arch Rivalry game in St. Louis. Thanks to Victor.