Mike Phair


For two consecutive seasons, the Illinois defense has been, statistically, one of the Big Ten’s worst.


Improvement has not come quickly at Illinois, nor has it come dramatically. But make no mistake, it has come.


The Illini are trying to inject some life into what's been a poorly performing defense over the past couple seasons, and they're going with a former Bears assistant to do it.


More than a few players were upset to varying degrees in early 2013 when Lovie Smith was dismissed as Bears head coach.