His status is on everyone's mind.
It had been a long weekend for Illinois football coach Ron Zook, and he still was trying to shake it off Monday night. That's what happens when you lose four straight games, see the public opinion turn strongly against you, a player ends up hospitalized with a gunshot wound and everyone wonders what the new athletic director will do. In his seventh year as coach, Zook didn't want to talk about his future, but it's hard to avoid the question. "I'm not going to get into it,'' he said. "My issues are these last two weeks and this football team. They'll do what they want to do. "If they want me, I want to stay. If they don't, we'll go do something else. This isn't the time to get into all that.'' Illinois (6-4 overall, 2-4 in the Big Ten) hosts No. 15 Wisconsin (8-2, 4-2) Saturday (11 a.m., ESPN2). There was a lot of drama this weekend. Senior safety Trulon Henry remained hospitalized following surgery to repair a finger damaged by a gunshot. Two freshmen, Kenneth Knight and Jordan Frysinger, were also arrested in a separate incident. Zook spoke with athletic director Mike Thomas Sunday night. "I was just keeping him abreast of what happened,'' Zook said. "What was I supposed to do? What am I supposed to tell these guys? You can't go anywhere in this town? "This community has more issues than the football coach, I promise you.'' Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase said Monday night he wouldn't be slowed by the sprained left ankle suffered early in the 31-14 loss to Michigan last weekend. He played on it most of the game, and he entered a meeting with the media without the walking boot he wore following the game Saturday. By later Saturday night, he'd already disgarded the boot. The offense hasn't scored a point in the first half of any of the losses in the four-game slide, but offensive coordinator Paul Petrino wasn't going to lose his confidence, he said. "I believe in myself,'' Petrino said. "I've been in this thing why whole life. All I've ever done is gone to football practice, coach football and play football. I'm always going to believe in what the roots are. Having a passion, coaching as hard as you can. "My dad told me a long time ago, if you show up and work as hard as you can everyday, you can look in the mirror and say you gave it everything you had. Keep your head up high, your chest up and keep believing in yourself. I can look anyone in the eye and say I've worked by (butt) off. My confidence is great.'' FOOTBALL: Senior A.J. Jenkins was named a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation’s top receiver. Jenkins leads the Big Ten and ranks sixth in the nation with 1,133 receiving yards. Illinois' regular-season finale at Minnesota on Nov. 26 has been set for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff with broadcast on BTN. SOCCER: With a 1-0 win over defending NCAA champion Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday in Urbana, the Illini advanced to meet No. 4 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., on Friday. The Illini (17-4-2) also set a school record for wins in a season. Illinois is 11-0-1 in its last 12 games and hasn't lost since September. Niki Read scored the only goal Sunday, just 5 minutes into the second half. With a 35 mile-per-hour wind to her back, she kicked a rocket that soared over the Irish goalie and just under the crossbar. John Supinie can be rached at Johnsupinie@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnSupinie.