Experience helping Illini offensive line learn new system

Sports

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — There is always a learning curve with a new coaching staff and it’s no different for the Illini this spring. Four practices in and the players are still learning exactly what Bret Beilema and his staff are looking for. That will continue through throughout the team’s workouts this spring, as they install a new playbook.

On the offensive line, that process has been expedited by all the returning players. Four out of five starters are returning, with a combined 131 starts in that group. That doesn’t include Wofford transfer Blake Jeresaty, who started 29 games for the Terriers before coming to Champaign. He sat out last season with an injury but is expected to compete for a starting job.

“You know I think just them having the understanding of the position on a very generic level, right, and a very base level, just gives you a foundation to build off of,” Illinois offensive line coach Bart Miller said. “They understand how this process needs to happen.”

“You know there’s definitely differences,” Illinois center Doug Kramer said. “You know Coach Smith and Coach Bielema have completely different personalities. Since Coach B got here he’s put a massive emphasis on communication, building relationships between the guys.”

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