Despite so many unknowns, WIU's Ratkovich prepares for final season

Despite so many unknowns, WIU's Ratkovich prepares for final season
Clint Ratkovich saw firsthand how fragile football can be last season as virtually all his running back teammates were felled by injuries and mishaps at one point or another. “It’s football, it’s part of the game,” Ratkovich told Prairie State Pigskin in February. “It’s terrible that it happened to some of the guys, that they had to... Read more »

State FCS coaches set sights on summer, beyond as best they can

State FCS coaches set sights on summer, beyond as best they can
Recent months have produced snow on Halloween, temperatures in the 60s on Christmas Day and more snow the week following Easter. Weather is just one aspect of college football that coaches can’t control. Injuries and the often unpredictable bounce of an oblong football are others. Yet, nothing comes remotely close to the unprecedented uncertainty of... Read more »

EIU video conferences a virtual who's who of football greatness

EIU video conferences a virtual who's who of football greatness
Eastern Illinois head coach Adam Cushing talks time and again about turning negatives into positives and adversity into opportunity. With an empty campus and spring practice wiped out by the shelter in place order as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the second-year Panther leader has found a way to practice what he preaches. “As... Read more »
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2020 NFL Draft Preview: Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois

2020 NFL Draft Preview: Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
At the beginning of March, Pro Football Focus projected Chinn as a sixth-round selection for the NFL Draft. Oh, how times have changed. Fueled by impressive performances in Senior Bowl workouts, at the NFL Scouting Combine and through interviews with prospective teams, Chinn has risen up draft boards. Dane Brugler of The Athletic has Chinn rated... Read more »

2020 NFL Draft Preview: James Robinson, RB, Illinois State

2020 NFL Draft Preview: James Robinson, RB, Illinois State
James Robinson left a legacy for both the Illinois State and the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The next question being pondered is the mark the Rockford native leaves in pro football. From all indications, Robinson will become the fifth Redbird drafted under head coach Brock Spack, who was hired by ISU in 2009. Robinson not... Read more »

ISU's Megginson playing a happier, healthier tune

ISU's Megginson playing a happier, healthier tune
While playing in only two games last season because of a back injury, Illinois State offensive lineman Gabe Megginson had plenty of newfound free time. On gamedays, he often sensed he was out of place on the sidelines. “I felt so lazy,” he joked. “I’m just sitting there watching everybody, in sweats, drinking coffee.” Away... Read more »
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With no spring practices to run, state FCS staffs turn attention toward recruiting

With no spring practices to run, state FCS staffs turn attention toward recruiting
With spring practices officially cancelled and so many unanswered questions hovering in the air, the four Illinois Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) programs have found a silver lining in the dark clouds of the unknown. The impact of COVID-19 has left staffs scrambling to meet the needs of its players, keep track of academic performances, set... Read more »

Moving the Chains with . . . Omar Akil Solomon, EIU Admissions

Moving the Chains with . . . Omar Akil Solomon, EIU Admissions
Prairie State Pigskin began its Moving the Chains Q&A feature in Sept. 2016 with Illinois State and future Chicago Bears offensive lineman Cameron Lee. Since that time we have profiled 48 players and one coach across all four Illinois FCS schools during the football season. So, for our milestone 50th Moving the Chains, we have a... Read more »

State FCS programs soldier on as COVID-19 alters spring

State FCS programs soldier on as COVID-19 alters spring
Published in the early 1960s, Silent Spring was Rachel Carson’s landmark book documenting the adverse environmental effects caused by the indiscriminate use of pesticides. That same title could also easily be used to describe our current COVID-19 pandemic landscape. Although Southern Illinois was able to open spring ball Feb. 26 and hold five team workouts, spring football practices... Read more »
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Spring football certainly in jeopardy for state's FCS programs

Spring football certainly in jeopardy for state's FCS programs
As with all aspects of daily life, the prospects of spring football practice for the four Illinois Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) programs are very much up in the air because of COVID-19. Last Friday, the Missouri Valley Conference announced that all intercollegiate competitions, including MVC championships, have been canceled through the end of the 2019-20 academic year.... Read more »