Smith takes over cornerbacks after Abraham resigns


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — The timing couldn’t be much worse for the Illinois football team but head coach Lovie Smith insists there’s no adjustment for the Illini after cornerbacks coach Donnie Abraham resigned Tuesday.

“We run drills, we come to practice and we meet,” Smith said. “We’ve been doing this for awhile and done a lot of things together. We’re just getting the guys better with what we have right now and that’s more than enough.”

Smith takes over the position group for Abraham, who only spent one year with the team. Safeties coach Gill Byrd will also play a bigger role in coaching the entire unit until a permanent replacement is named. Smith did not name a time frame for when he hopes to have someone in place.

“You know how you have a football team?” Smtih said. “You have starters and then you have a backup plan in case something happens. That’s what you have on your coaching staff. We’ll be able to absorb it and go.”

“I’m not the only DB coach here,” Byrd said. “I mean, you have Lovie Smith, who’s coached every position in the secondary. So, it’s just going to be a combined effort to take up the slack.”

Illinois has closed practice to the public and media on Thursday, meaning there are only two more chances to see the Illini before the season opener on Sept. 1. The team will workout at the Campus Rec Fields on Friday from 9-11 a.m. before going to Memorial Stadium on Saturday from 3-5 p.m. The annual Fan Appreciation Day follows on Saturday from 5-6 p.m.

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