Cubit relishes reclamation project at Illinois


Cubit relishes reclamation project at Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Bill Cubit says he enjoys a reclamation project, and has made much of his career as a football coach out of them.

``I enjoy seeing kids who maybe have not been successful and giving them a plan and all the sudden they're successful,'' the new Illinois offensive coordinator said Wednesday, two days after being hired. ``That's kind of been my whole career.''

The former Western Michigan head coach takes over an offense at Illinois where not much went right last season. The Illini were 2-10 (0-8 in the Big Ten), lost their last eight games and scored 16.7 points a game, last in the conference.

Cubit said he has met with some of his players, including his quarterbacks. His message? You don't want to live through that again.

``Hey look, you went through that last year, it's gone, it's over, but you know, you never want to go back,'' he said. ``So how do you go to the next level? You've got to give every ounce of your energy.''

Cubit is still figuring out what kind of offense he'll run but expects to be more balanced than the generally pass-heavy teams he had at Western Michigan. He sees promise in Illinois' running backs, who include Donovonn Young and Josh Ferguson. They combined for 883 yards on 206 carries last season.

Cubit also likes the no-huddle offense he used with the Broncos, something Illinois fans often saw under former coach Ron Zook. It could be summer before Cubit chooses a starting quarterback between Nathan Scheelhaase and Reilly O'Toole. Both started games last fall.

Illinois coach Tim Beckman hired Cubit to take over the offensive after co-coordinator Chris Beatty was fired. Billy Gonzales, who shared the coordinator duties, will coach wide receivers.

The Broncos fired Cubit after they finished 4-8 last season.


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Oklahoma star freshman Trae Young to enter NBA Draft

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Oklahoma star freshman Trae Young to enter NBA Draft

After a sensational freshman season at the University of Oklahoma, point guard Trae Young plans to enter the 2018 NBA Draft, according to a report by ESPN.

Young will be one of the most fascinating prospects in this class given the extreme highs and lows of his one college season. He vaulted into the top 10 in most mock drafts after beginning his freshman year on fire, but then began to slip over the final months as his shooting percentage dropped.


Right now the Wizards are lined up to be in the late teens, so it's unlikely he falls to their range. But at this point it's difficult to predict where he will go, whether that is top five or later in the lottery.

It really could go either way. Some teams may see him as a Steph Curry-like scorer who can hit shots from unusually deep range. There were certainly times where Young backed up those comparisons.

Teams could see his flaws as a result of opposing defenses honing in on him because they could at the college level. In the NBA he may have more space and therefore be able to play to his strengths.


Or, teams could look at the fact he shot 36.1 percent from three on a whopping 10.2 attempts per game as a sign he is a chucker. He also led the nation in turnovers, commiting 24 more than the next guy. Young averaged 5.2 giveaways per game.

While Curry is the best-case scenario, Jimmer Fredette may be the worst-case. Fredette was the 10th overall pick in 2011 and now plays in China. 

Young will be an intriguing prospect in the draft because the ceiling is high and the basement is low. 

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Redskins bring in another defensive lineman for free agency visit, per source


Redskins bring in another defensive lineman for free agency visit, per source

The Redskins hosted Sylvester Williams for a free agency visit on Tuesday morning, per a source with knowledge of the situation. 

Williams played in 2017 with the Titans, logging 20 tackles in 11 starts. Tennessee released Williams this offseason, just one year into a three-year, $16 million deal. 

Drafted in the first round by the Broncos in 2013, the 6-foot-3, 313 lbs. Williams' stat line has never really popped. That isn't uncommon for a nose tackle though, as the job is less about tackles than it is holding leverage against the interior of an offensive line. 


Should the Redskins sign 29-year-old Williams, it would represent the first true nose tackle free agency addition since Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton joined the team in 2015 from Denver. In an ironic twist, Williams took over at nose in Denver when Knighton left for Washington, and posted his best season as a Bronco. 

Washington restructured its deal with Terrell McClain, reported first by ESPN, which could allow more flexibility to add another defensive lineman. That could come in the draft, but the club has been very active talking with free agents to play on the defensive front. 

On Monday, Johnathan Hankins and Pernell McPhee visited with Redskins officials in Ashburn. Hankins would carry the heaviest price tag, but his past performance would also indicate the most promise. 

McPhee is an edge rusher with enough bulk to play against the run as well. Williams compares more with Hankins, and could be seen as the secondary option.

Among 79 nose tackles Pro Football Focus graded, Williams ranked 36th. For comparison, Bengals star Geno Atkins ranked No. 1, Dontari Poe ranked 26th, former Redskin Chris Baker ranked 65th and current Redskin Ziggy Hood ranked 79th. 

It's also worth noting that since the Titans released Williams, should the Redskins sign the nose tackle, his contract would not count towards the NFL compensatory pick formula. 

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