CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — The Illini have arrived on campus for the first day of fall training camp, with the team set to take the field on Monday. It’s the first training camp under new head coach Bret Bielema.
The team has already gone through 15 practices in with their new head coach, getting the opportunity for a spring season along with a spring game in April. A lot has changed since he took over the program nine months ago, the team says the biggest difference is with the culture.
“They talk about being tough, smart, and dependable,” says Illini senior Doug Kramer. “Those are three characteristics that have nothing to do with athleticism, it’s all about what’s upstairs in your brain, and are you willing to battle through adversity. So that’s what we’ve been focusing on during the offseason, and we’ll continue to focus on that until we get up to week zero.”
“I like the accountability that they’ve shown away from the game,” says Bielema. “How do they eat? How do they sleep? How do they rest? How do they recover? All of this accountability that I don’t think they ever really thought about, all that stuff has been really positive.”
The Illini will have their first padded practice on Saturday, and their first scrimmage will be a week from Monday. Training camp isn’t open to the public this season, and media will have limited availability. The Illini will kick off the season with a Week 0 game on August 28th against Nebraska.