Illinois hopes to improve on a discouraging 2-10 campaign in Beckman's first season

Expectations are low at Illinois after a 2-10 performance in head coach Tim Beckman's first season.

That doesn't surprise linebacker Jonathan Brown, He says the team has been written off before.

But Brown and the rest of the Illinois linebackers could be a bright spot as Illinois tries to improve. Brown is healthy after a season of injury.

Other things to watch as the Illini get ready for their Aug. 31 opener against Southern Illinois include new offensive coordinator Bill Cubit. He was hired to rev up one of the Big Ten's worst offenses.

Senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (SHEEL'-hows) is the starter. He struggled with injuries last fall and had more interceptions than touchdowns.

But Beckman has also said he's been impressed early by freshman quarterback Aaron Bailey.