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Can't Wait For Saturday | Hiring ex-Illini Scheelhaase shows the Rams know what they are doing

Feb. 20—Sign up for our daily Illini football newsletter here

Greetings from "Can't Wait For Saturday," your morning morsel of college football, courtesy of longtime Illini beat writer, AP Top 25 voter and Heisman state rep Bob Asmussen. He'll give you his views each day on the game he loves.

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The least surprising coaching news in a long time is that Nate Scheelhaase is moving up in his chosen profession.

Most recently the Iowa State offensive coordinator, Scheelhaase is going to the NFL's Los Angeles Rams as pass game specialist.

At age 33, one of the top quarterbacks in Illinois football history is a step closer to running his own program.

As Scheelhaase climbed in Matt Campbell's organization at Iowa State, I always figured that would be in college. But now, working with Super Bowl champion Sean McVay makes me think the NFL is a head coach option too.

McVay, who is just 5 years older than Scheelhaase, will be a tremendous mentor.

Of course, the team needs to win. And the passing game must pile up the yards and points.

Scheelhaase will work with one of the best in the NFL, Matthew Stafford. While Scheelhaase earned MVP honors at the 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Stafford was in his third season with the Detroit Lions. Not the "just-missed the Super Bowl" Lions of today. Instead, the can't block or catch version.

The Lions traded Stafford to the Rams, who thrived and led the team to a Super Bowl win.

Stafford will teach Scheelhaase, help him get better and set him up for the next gig.

No question Scheelhaase will be helped in the NFL by his personality. Friendly and kind the first time I met him when he was in high school, he didn't change a bit in his time with the Illini. He went through some rough seasons and stayed positive.

In my 35 years covering Illinois football, he is one of the best I got to know.

I didn't have a favorite NFL team, but I do now. Don't tell my wife's St. Louis-area family, but I am rooting for the Rams.