CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Position battles are getting more intense, with the Illini two weeks through training camp. At Illinois Football Media Day, Bielema didn’t give many details about the depth chart, but said certain position groups have more intense battles than others.
Especially with groups like wide receiver, running back, and tight end, Bielema says the depth chart is changing daily. While other spots like the offensive line, and quarterback there are more clear-cut starters.
“Every head coach hopes that you have as much similarity between you’re starter and you’re backup, but at certain positions it’s paramount that there’s balance,” says head coach Bret Bielema. “I always think about this, there’s one quarterback on the field, there’s one tailback. For the guys that play one position, there’s only one of them out there at a time, you hope there’s as much balance as you could possibly have.”
Returner Brandon Peters seems to be the obvious QB1, although his understudy brings plenty of experience to the room as well. Art Sitkowski is going through his first training camp with the Illini after transferring from Rutgers. The New Jersey native started as a true freshman with the Scarlet Knights, throwing four touchdowns and completing 49% of his passes his first season. While the quarterback has plenty of QB experience in he Big Ten, he’s embracing his new role on the offense.
“Do whatever I can to help the team. If that’s help [Brandon Peters], then help BP. If that go and win football games, then go and win football games,” says Sitkowski. “Whatever Coach B and Coach Petersen decide I’m going to give it all. Whatever they tell me to do, I’m doing it. Whatever it is, I’m doing what’s best for this football team to help us win football games.”
“Art’s a great addition, you got a guy that’s played and started in the big ten, as soon as he steps in the huddle,” says offensive coordinator Tony Petersen. “He brings the presence of a quarterback that’s started in the Big Ten, he knows how to handle a huddle right there, he brings a lot to the table, and we’re excited about Art.”