The 5'10", 194-pound Randle El, who over the last three seasons threw for 5,805 yards and 33 touchdowns and rushed for another 2,931 yards and 36 scores for the Hoosiers, is only the second Division I-A quarterback to throw for 200 points and rush for 200 points. Now he'll be Indiana's No. 1 wideout and its primary punt returner, and he'll still see action at quarterback, mostly inside the red zone. The change will also get promising junior quarterback Tommy Jones on the field.
In the Hoosiers' spring game last Saturday, Randle El caught five passes for 37 yards, rushed four times for 36 yards and returned one punt for 22 yards. With his Red team trailing Jones's White squad 21-7 in the fourth quarter, Randle El lined up at quarterback and led two scoring drives. Jones completed 15 of 25 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns in the 21-21 tie.
"I got the sense of how it's going to be. I'll play some quarterback and some receiver," says Randle El. "I'm doing this to help the team. Spring ball wasn't about convincing anyone that this is the right thing to do. I had to trust in Coach Cam and my teammates. We're trying to impress each other."
Bowl Rout Drives Wildcats
No, coach Randy Walker says, "we don't have any signs that say REMEMBER THE ALAMO!" The Wildcats, who tied Purdue and Michigan for the Big Ten title, don't need the reminder. How could they forget after they were humiliated 66-17 by Nebraska in the Alamo Bowl? "In the back of everybody's mind, that' s what's driving us," says junior center Austin King. "As well as we did last year, we learned where we were compared with Nebraska."
Maybe not as far away as the Wildcats think. Now that quarterback Drew Henson has bailed out on Michigan for a $17 million contract with the New York Yankees, and Drew Brees has used up his eligibility at Purdue, and Wisconsin is regrouping, Northwestern is the Big Ten favorite. The Wildcats have 17 starters coming back, including senior Damien Anderson, the nation's leading returning rusher, and will get a break from the league's rotating schedule. Northwestern won't face Michigan and Wisconsin this season; instead, it picks up Penn State and Ohio State, both of which are trying to rebuild.
Walker says now isn't the time for the Wildcats to rest on their laurels. Following a lackadaisical showing by his defense one afternoon a few weeks ago, he lectured his defensive players and sent them off to run gassers. "I have a real sense of urgency," he says. "I realize how little time you have to play the game."
Illini Tandem Is Clicking Again
Illinois fell from 8-4 in 1999 to 5-6 last season in part because quarterback Kurt Kittner's favorite deep threat, sophomore Brandon Lloyd, stepped off a curb last July, broke his leg and missed the season. On the first play of the Illini's spring game last Saturday, Kittner threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Lloyd....
By agreeing to move the Civil War from Nov. 17 to Dec. 1 so it can be televised nationally by ABC, Oregon and Oregon State gave themselves three weeks to prepare for each other....