FightingIllini.com
 Coach Ron Zook will announce the sixth recruiting class of his tenure at Illinois this Wednesday.
Illinois Football Coach Ron Zook will be in the chat room starting at 9 a.m. CT on Wednesday, Feb. 3, which is national signing day. Hear the latest on the 2010 Fighting Illini recruiting class, straight from the head man. Send in your questions today.
Moderator: Coach Zook will be joining us in a few minutes, so keep those great questions coming!

Charley (Bellingham): What kind of impact do you anticipate from this recruiting class on the 2010 team? Who are the sleepers of the class?
Coach Ron Zook: Charley, it's hard to say who the sleepers are going to be right now and hopefully we're getting to the point where we aren't depending so heavily on our freshmen. But we're excited about our class and we feel like they all will have an impact on our future.

todd (atlanta): did coach koenning help out with getting any defensive players once he arrived at Illinois? i know here in atlanta, they were upset that he spurned the bulldogs and took the same position at Illinois.
Coach Ron Zook: Todd, Coach Vic was very instrumental not only on defensive players but all of them. I think it's remarkable that he made up a year's worth of recruiting in just over a month. We're very fortunate that he's part of our staff!

bryan d. galesburg il.: hey coach, I cannot wait till are first game this year, do not have a question for you just wanted to wish the team good luck this year. go illinois, go zook!!!
Coach Ron Zook: Thanks, Bryan, we appreciate your support!

Beth - Tallahassee: Hey Coach...I hope you keep signing those players out of Tallahassee; there will be a booster bus heading to CU before you know it! Congrats to you and all your coaches/staff. My question is: Has a date been set for the spring game? You know we're looking forward to seeing a certain redshirt freshman hit the field!!
Coach Ron Zook: Thanks, Beth! The Spring Game is going to be April 24 and I'm sure it's going to be a beautiful day. We hope everybody can make it!

mikewebster (champaign): Have you noticed an increase in the negative recruiting against the illini due to the type of season we had or is it just a staple of high major recruiting?
Coach Ron Zook: Mike, I would say it was probably worse this year, but it's just part of the business.

Rudy (Chicago): What's the status on an early signing period?
Coach Ron Zook: Rudy, it's still in the discussion stage. Until it becomes unanimous, I don't think it'll happen.

Charley (Bellingham): When is your next (mini) vacation? Plan to water ski soon? You did a great job with this class with all the adversity you faced this year.
Coach Ron Zook: Charley, I haven't planned it yet but I can't wait until I get back on the water. I wish I could take the boat out tonight but there's more to do!

Nick (Lynchburg, VA): Coach Zook, you have a lot of talent at the RB position this year. Do you think you have a QB and O-line that can turn that talent into a dominant force?
Coach Ron Zook: Nick, we're very excited about our offense and the new scheme that we're implementing. I don't think you can ever have too many running backs. The great thing about this system is that we will utilize everyone's talents!

Ryan (pontiac): What positive aspects can these new coaches bring to the program? GO ILLINI!
Coach Ron Zook: Besides having great pedigrees, they're great people and great coaches.

Gary, Naperville: What effect has the hiring of Petrino and Koenning had on signings? Did it effect some of the people we went after? I am excited about both and wixh them success.
Coach Ron Zook: Gary, it had a great effect because of the things they have accomplished in their careers.

Derek (st. louis): Coach, in your opinion what is the easiest and hardest issues involved with recruiting 18yr old kids?
Coach Ron Zook: Derek, I don't know that there's anything easy, but one of the hardest things is that many of them are making decisions based on feelings and it's hard for them to see the future.

BM (Chicago): Coach, First, I'll state that I am a biased U of I alum and fan, and as such will always support the University. While the record hasn't been as good as anyone would like, I have faith in you and believe that you have represented the University very well. My question is regarding a fraction of U of I fans who have taken to blasting the University and you individually on message boards and other media as well as the 'fans' who were telling recruits at games to go to other schools - has this had any/much impact on recruiting decisions this year? Thanks for your efforts - they are appreciated
Coach Ron Zook: BM, great question! It has definitely had an impact on recruiting, but we believe there's no reason why our football program shouldn't be as good as anyone else's and until we get to that point, that's one of the things we're going to have to deal with.

James (Chicago): Coach Zook, What do you feel is the biggest area of improvement needed for next year, i.e. secondary, OL, etc?? Also, anyone stand out in off season workouts thus far? Thanks for your time and your effort. Go Illini, prove all the doubters wrong.
Coach Ron Zook: James, the biggest improvement we need to make is consistency on both sides of the football. And it will be imperative that we play as a team. If we accomplish these things, we feel that we can reach our goals.

Jason (Pekin): Nice pick up in Millines! Will he be our KR and PR this season perhaps?
Coach Ron Zook: Jason, thanks! He absolutely has an opportunity to be a return guy for us. He's a very explosive athlete who is great with the ball in his hands!

Ralph (Chicago): Congrats on the recruiting class. These young men will represent the University well. As long time Illini fan, I really want to see the Defense get after people and be more of a dictating defense as opposed to getting dictated to. With saying can we expect more press coverage by our DB's? Also can we see more run blitzes on first downs? And my last question or better yet a suggestion. Maybe putting the first team defense against the first team offense can spark better preparation and better competition in practice. What are you thoughts on that?
Coach Ron Zook: Ralph, we actually do put the first unit offense against the No. 1 defense fairly often. But I do agree with you that it's important for competition. The defensive scheme will implement press coverage, as the scheme we used before did. But it still comes down to situation and personnel.

Joe Larucci (Plainfield): Is there any freshman in the 2010 class that will see playing time?
Coach Ron Zook: Joe, that's hard to say on signing day. As the last couple of years' classes have seen fewer freshman play, you're hoping you get to that point where you don't have to play many freshman. But at the same time, we want all of them to expect to come in and play.

Jason (Pekin): Thomas looks like one heck of a player at Safety. Could we see him compete for some starters minutes in VK's new defense?
Coach Ron Zook: Earnest has a lot of talent and with his athleticism, he'll have an opportunity to be used in many different situations.

Jimmy (Chicago): How is Martez Wilson progressing? Is he back to football related activities?
Coach Ron Zook: Jimmy, Martez is doing great! He's back to everything except full contact and we expect that by springtime.

Tom (Columbus): As an Illini grad living in the heart of Buckeye land, I just want to wish you and the new coaches the best. Lets beat the Buckeyes on Oct 2nd!
Coach Ron Zook: Thanks, Tom, we always look forward to the OSU game!

Ray(Bennettsville): Hey Coach, its Dr. Stroup just wanted to thank you for all the hard work and wish the Illini well. Pulling for you hard from down here in SC.
Coach Ron Zook: Thanks, Doc, look forward to seeing you when you come back home! Hope all is well in South Carolina!

ryan (pontiac): I've seen highlights of Ryan Lankford. What is the most effective way he can be used? Thanks, Coach.
Coach Ron Zook: Ryan, I think he can be used in a lot of ways. Our plans are for him to be on offense, but he's a very versatile athlete and does a lot of great things when he has the ball in his hands.

Jarrett (Farmington): With Chandler Whitmer already on campus and going through Spring Practice, is it possible that we could see him starting as a true freshman against Missouri?
Coach Ron Zook: Jarrett, with the departure of Juice and Eddie working at wide receiver and quarterback, it's too early to tell who will be the starting quarterback for the Missouri game. That's one of the exciting things about our spring practice this year - seeing how that race develops!
Moderator: That's all the time Coach Zook has today. Thanks for stopping by, everybody! Keep up with our signing day coverage on http://www.fightingillini.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/020110aad.html!