Big Ten

Could ex-Packers coach Mike Sherman join Lovie Smith's Illini staff?

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Could ex-Packers coach Mike Sherman join Lovie Smith's Illini staff?

The Illini have a former Bears head coach running the show now in Champaign. So why not add a former Green Bay Packers head coach to the mix?

According to a report from Fox Sports' Alex Marvez, new Illinois head coach Lovie Smith is targeting Mike Sherman to be his offensive coordinator.

Sherman most notably was the head coach of the Packers from 2000 to 2005. He also was the head coach at Texas A&M from 2008 to 2011. But he's had myriad other coaching jobs at the college and pro levels, also the high school level, as his current gig is as the head coach at a Massachusetts high school. Sherman has been the offensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins, and he's been a college assistant Pittsburgh, Tulane, Texas A&M and UCLA.

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Sherman's Texas A&M teams could really move the ball through the air, in line with the rest of the pass-happy Big 12 during those years. From 2008 to 2011, Texas A&M ranked 39th, 17th, 17th and 16th in the country in passing yardage. The 2010 team tied for the Big 12 championship

During his time leading the Packers, the team made four playoff appearances and won three consecutive division titles with Brett Favre at quarterback.

Smith's tenure with the Bears and Sherman's tenure with the Packers overlapped by two seasons. The Bears went 3-1 against the Packers in 2004 and 2005.

The other two assistants mentioned in Marvez's report have ties to Smith, too. Holt was Smith's offensive line coach with the Bears during the 2012 season. Hayes-Stoker was Smith's wide receivers coach last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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USA TODAY

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

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USA TODAY

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.