Illini wrap second week of spring ball with scrimmage, families allowed to attend


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois Football wrapped up it’s second week of spring ball, capping off the week with their first scrimmage.

Head coach Bret Bielema says he’s impressed with the special teams competition so far–especially James McCourt who went 7-for-7 on field goals yesterday. Bielema says at this point the defense is strides ahead of the offense–but there are plenty of improvements to be made across the board.
The quarterback room is dealing with the biggest learning curve right now, after putting the new system into action at the scrimmage.

“A lot of good and bad, I think the thing that we all know is the quarterback is the one guy that can touch the ball on every play,” says Bielema. “And if that’s going to be the case, they got to be able to protect the ball, so I think, part of this process is learning a new offense for all of these guys is understanding the nuances of playing good football.”

Bielema also allowed families to attend Saturday’s scrimmage. He’s been preaching a culture of family since he arrived on campus, and says having the family of players in the stands was a way to drive that message home. The Illini also celebrated Easter weekend with a team meal after practice.

“We talk a lot about family, I’ve been here since December, and I’ve added a few guys, but a lot of these kids and these parents I don’t know, and unfortunately I couldn’t go talk to them, because of COVID restrictions,” says Bielema. “But I’m going to always stress family, and there’s no better way to do that, than allow kids’ families to come here, and especially with Easter weekend.”

The Illini are now six practices through spring ball, they’ll be off on Monday and will return to the field on Tuesday morning.

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