Two players, tailback Mikel Leshoure and defensive back Ashante Williams, have been given one-game suspension for violating team rules, coach Ron Zook said Tuesday. Obviously unhappy with the play of his receivers, notably Jeff Cumberland and A.J. Jenkins, who both made critical mistakes vs. Missouri, Zook also said sophomore wideouts Cordale Scott and Fred Sykes, and junior Chris James will have expanded roles. Cumberland and Jenkins will continue to have opportunities, though.
Zook also said he'll look at shaking up his secondary, with true freshmen Walter Aikens and Terry Hawthorne, a converted receiver, getting chances at safety after Donsay Hardeman's tough game vs. Missouri. In addition, cornerback Dere Hicks could see time at nickelback as the Illini try to bounce back from their troubling 37-9 loss to Mizzou.
``I don't want to push the panic button, but we have to play better,'' Zook said. ``We understand that the Illini Nation's upset, and they should be. I don't blame them. They deserve better.''