May 25, 2018

Western Illinois Preview: The New Era Begins

It’s time to hit somebody else!

And that unlucky somebody just happens to be the Western Illinois Leathernecks of the Missouri Valley Conference.  The game on Saturday marks the start of the Bobby Petrino Era at Arkansas.  And with the students back, Fayetteville is buzzing again.

WIUThe Leathernecks, located in Macomb, Illinois, come into the game ranked #25 in The Sports Network’s FCS Top 25 poll (that’s the Football Championship Subdivision…formerly Division I-AA).  For reference, our friends down in Conway — UCA — are ranked #22 in TSN’s poll.

WIU is led by Head Coach Don Patterson (61-42, 10th season).  Patterson, 57, won’t be on the sidelines though to start the season as he continues his battle with tonsillar cancer.  Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator Mark Hendrickson serves as interim head coach, and leads a team that returns 20 starters from last year’s 6-5 squad.

All-American tailback Herb Donaldson is the best player on either side of the ball for the Leathernecks.  Donaldson, a Walter Payton Award finalist from last season, will most likely break the WIU career rushing record (4,189) during the 2008 season.  Sophomore quarterback Matt Barr is a run-pass threat.

One of the members of the Western Illinois coaching staff is a familiar face in Fayetteville.  Monte Henderson, former graduate assistant at Arkansas (2003-05) is the WIU defensive backs coach.  Henderson, a high school All-American from Conway, played cornerback at UAPB for a few seasons before transferring to Arkansas.  He worked with current Razorback assistant Bobby Allen in the secondary before joining the Leathernecks staff in 2006.

Like many smaller colleges, Western Illinois has produced some outstanding football players over the years.  Current NFL players Rodney Harrison (New England) and Aaron Stecker (New Orleans) hail from WIU.  As do former NFL linebacker Bryan Cox and wide receiver Don Beebe.

All in all, it should be a fun way to get the 2008 season kicked off.  But for now, hold on to your score predictions.  As always, we’ll make them with you every Thursday.

  • GonzoHog

    This is a great Saturday to look forward to! I’m pumped!!! There’s lot’s of things to check out. 1. A balanced offense, wearing Hog uniforms. 2. Seeing how much Casey Dick has come along as a real QB, after being a “bus driver” for 3 years. 3. Seeing the TEs FINALLY being utilized into the offense. 4. Checking out all of the new talent we’ll be rooting for over the next 3 or 4 years. 5. and last, but certainly not the least, watching a professonal leader on the Hogs sideline, for the first time in 10 years. It’s going to be a great day for Hog fans. GO HOGS GO!!!!!

  • BlindHog

    Summed up very well Gonzo. It is going to be a great year.

    The leathernecks should provide a good first scrimmage. Our linebackers are going to get a workout, our recievers too, I hope.

  • HogBloggerJr

    Where is the weekly score prediction to win the coveted t-shirt? By the way I’m still waiting on mine from last year….

  • OwassoHog

    HogBloggerJr, did you not ready the last section? “All in all, it should be a fun way to get the 2008 season kicked off. But for now, hold on to your score predictions. As always, we’ll make them with you every Thursday.”

    It starts tomorrow! BTW – don’t worry about playing as I plan on winning again! 😉

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  • HogBloggerJr, HogBlogger must have absconded with your t-shirt from last year. He was to hand deliver it if memory serves me right. When you get as old as he is though, the mind starts to go and you forget stuff like that. 😉

    If you will e-mail me your mailing address and size (L,XL,XXL), I will make sure you get one to wear proudly across campus.

    e-mail: sunshine [AT]

  • Evan

    Hey everyone, I’m a WIU alum of a year. I think you guys will win, but we will put a dammn good fight. Our defense was one of the best in the nation and held Illinois to 7 points all the way through the 3rd quarter last year. Granted that is Big 10 and not SEC but don’t be surprised to see our D run with your SEC boys. Our offense is terrible and that is going to be the prob. You guys are going to load the box just like Illinois did. Still, will be a good game. LETS GO NECKS!

  • Evan

    By the way, we do have a pro player on our team. Mike McEachern #7 who will be playing saftey was drafted by the CFL last year by the BC Lions. Also #6 Jason Williams or “J-Will” is a great linebacker. Excpected to go in the 5th, 6th, or 7th round in the draft this year. If anyone wants to respond to me be nice here.

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