Illini to face triple option against Miami (Ohio)

While the Illini had an extra week to prepare for their next opponent, the extra time might be needed to scout an unusual offensive scheme.

Against Miami (Ohio), the Illini will be facing a triple-option, read-option attack that rewinds the game back before the revolution of the spread offense. Many formations feature three backs and two wide receivers in the slot area, which presents many different options for misdirection in the backfield.

The Redhawks have thrown just 53 times in their three contests, and are not much of a threat through the air, but have had 11 different players record a carry this season. While the offensive scheme is different, Miami’s execution has been subpar as they average only 1.7 yards per rush on the season.

“It’s pretty different,” Illinois defensive coordinator Tim Banks said. “They do a lot of different spread options kind of stuff. ... Guys need to be fundamentally sound and prepare for all of the cut blocking you’re going to see.”

Miami has struggled for much of the year on both sides of the ball, resulting in an 0-3 record thus far.The Redhawks have been statistically one of the worst teams in the FBS, ranking 120th out of 123 teams in total defense and dead last in total offense averaging just 149.3 yards per game.

Miami played former Illini opponent Cincinnati last Saturday and lost 14-0.The game was held scoreless for the first 55 minutes before Cincinnati put up two touchdowns in 2 minutes and 50 seconds to put the game out of reach.

Depth chart changes

A few changes were made to the team’s depth chart during the bye week. Offensive linemen Dallas Hinkhouse and Christian DiLauro were moved from offensive line to defense, with Hinkhouse being third at defensive end behind Tim Kynard and Kenny Nelson. DiLauro is practicing with the interior defense linemen at nose and defensive tackle.

The change for Hinkhouse is only temporary, however, as Illinois’ head coach Tim Beckman said he would be eventually moving back to offensive line, “the position that suits him.”

On defense, freshman Jarrod Clements moved from defensive end to defensive tackle. Beckman said he needed more depth on the inside of the line because starters Austin Teitsma and Jake Howe were carrying too much of the weight. In addition, at the STAR position, a linebacker/safety hybrid, sophomore Mike Svetina was named the lone starter over Eric Finney. The duo had been listed as costarters much of the season.

Redshirt candidates

While this Illini team is extremely young and has been playing many of its freshmen, there are still some players who are still eligible for redshirts.

Hinkhouse and DiLauro both have not seen game action along the lines, as well as wide receiver Marchie Murdock. On defense, STAR James Crawford and safety Darwyn Kelly have yet to see the field and are prospects to save their eligibility this season.

“They’re still practicing with us and they’re making all the trips with us,” Beckman said. “If they can help us on offense, defense or special teams, they’re going to play, but we’re not going to waste a year on them if they’re not going to play a significant amount.”

Stephen can be reached at and @steve_bourbon.

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