Senior Illig believes 2010 will be different for Terriers

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  1. cowboyjoe

    cowboyjoe Well-Known Member

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    Senior Illig believes 2010 will be different for Terriers
    Lineman says he'll be one to step up and be leader Wofford needs

    Wofford offensive lineman Pat Illig (78) blocks for Michael Scott during last year’s game against Georgia Southern.

    By Todd Shanesy

    Wofford practiceSunday — Players report at 1 p.m. for physicals, team meetings at 8 p.m.
    Monday — First practice at 6:15 p.m.

    Terriers O-line
    Projected depth chart
    First team
    LT Calvin Cantrell (6-4, 288, So.)
    LG Pat Illig (6-5, 320, Sr.)
    C Trey Johnson (6-2, 272, Sr.)
    RG Ben Wilmoth (6-0, 278, Sr.)
    RT Clark Bishop (6-2, 288, Sr.)
    Second team
    LT Tymeco Gregory (6-2, 293, Fr.-2)
    LG Martin Padgett (6-3, 269, Sr.)
    C Joey Ready (6-2, 265, So.) or Jared Singleton (6-2, 330, Fr.-2)
    RG Nate Page (6-2, 292, Jr.)
    RT Jake Miles (6-2, 161, So.)

    Even before Wofford’s football team hits the field to practice for the upcoming season, the change in attitude is already obvious.

    All-Southern conference offensive lineman Pat Illig promised things are going to be different for the Terriers, who went 3-8 last season, 2-6 in the league for their first losing campaign since 2001.

    Illig, a fifth-year senior left guard (6-foot-5, 320 pounds) and an NFL prospect, put much of the responsibility squarely on his own shoulder pads.

    “One of the main things we were missing last year was a team leader,” said the Pittsburgh native. “There were people who stepped up and people who talked. That’s not necessarily being a leader. I should have been in that role. I wasn’t. And that’s not going to happen again. This year, I’m going to step and I’m going to be the leader that this team deserves.”

    So why didn’t he do that in 2009?

    “Honestly, I couldn’t tell you,” Illig said. “Maybe I was worried that I wasn’t good enough. But I tell you what. That’s all in the past. That’s not going to happen anymore. The team deserved for me to be there for them last year and maybe I let them down a little bit. Luckily, I have a fifth year. I have another chance.”

    Head coach Mike Ayers said he is counting on Illig to pave the way for what happens this season.

    “Pat has been paying a bunch of football for us and he’s come into his own,” Ayers said. “I think he’s a well-respected lineman in our conference.”

    Illig will be part of a veteran line returning four starters from a squad that led the Southern Conference in rushing last season and ranked fourth in overall offense.

    Senior Clark Bishop is the right tackle, with either senior Ben Wilmoth or junior Nate Page at right guard, and senior Trey Johnson at center. The newcomer looks to be sophomore Calvin Cantrell at left tackle. But he’ll be pushed in preseason by second-year freshman Tymeco Gregory from Greer High School.

    “I think we’ll be a lot better than last year just because everybody has finally gotten to play,” Illig said. “(Last year) was Clark’s first real year of playing time. Ben and Nate have played really well at the other guard position. Trey Johnson is good. Ty and Jared (Singleton, second-year freshman at backup center) have really been coming up. I’m excited.”

    Bishop might be one of the most underrated players in the league. He was named second-team all-conference this preseason and Wofford’s offensive lineman of the year in 2009.

    “He’s definitely overlooked,” Illig said. “The only reason he didn’t get to play a lot earlier is because he had a ton of guys in front of him, guys like Derek Wooten and Ben Quick. … Clark is always going to make the block. … In my opinion, he’s the best offensive lineman we have.”

    The offseason conditioning seems to have helped the offensive linemen, in particular, get ready for the season.

    “It went well,” Illig said. “I’m in fantastic shape, as is everybody else.”

    “Our strength program since January has really affected those kids,” Ayers said, “as far as trimming them down and getting them a little bit quicker and little bit stronger.”

    For most, it meant trimming down. In Johnson’s case, it meant bulking up.

    “Trey has put on a little weight, which is a good thing,” Illig said. “He’s gotten back his size from his redshirt sophomore year. I’m eager to see how he does.”

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