Junior running back Jason Ford says he was just kidding around. And while Ron Zook said Tuesday he was shocked, it appears that no harm was done by Ford's grumbling Tweets about leaving the Illinois program because he's unhappy with his playing time.
Saying he isn't even certain Ford did the Tweeting, Zook added that there's a greater menace to college football programs.
``If there was one thing I'd like to take away, it would be the mopeds,'' said the coach, concerned about the perils of his players' scooters. ``That to me is dangerous. These guys have to be smart. We talk to them and educate them. But the mopeds scare me more than the social networks.''
That said, Ford, from Belleville, clearly has taken a backseat to starter Mikel Leshoure. Ford has gained 138 yards on 38 carries, and is averaging 27.6 yards a game. Leshoure, is averaging 119.4 yards (104 rushes for 597 yards).
Whether it was Ford, or someone who got a hold of his Twitter account, as Zook suggested, the message was clear.
``Givin up on everything. Jus want to go home to my daughter,'' Ford tweeted on Monday. ``Tired of workin hard and not gettin nothin out of it! Bout to say (heck with) it!''
By Tuesday morning, the Tweets were gone.
``I was just trying to fool around with people,'' Ford told a Downstate GateHouse News Service reporter. ``People try to get us against each other. I don't have any problems. I'm cool with my role. I don't have any problems with my role.''
Running behind Leshoure, who rushed for 119 yards on a career-high 27 carries in Illinois' 33-13 win at Penn State, Ford had 47 yards on nine carries. Third option Troy Pollard had 55 yards on eight carries.
``We talked to Jason and his mother [Monday] night. Jason's fine,'' Zook said. ``I was a little shocked by it. I'm still not sure Jason posted it. The guy is practicing his tail off. He's doing everything that's asked of him. He's running pretty hard.''