(WCIA) — Per NCAA rules, Illinois football had a day-off on Sunday after six days of fall training camp. The team didn’t practice on the field, they were limited to meetings, film sessions, etc. After the first week, head coach Bret Bielema didn’t report any significant injuries other than offensive lineman Jordyn Slaughter who is likely out for the season.
Although, Bielema hinted that the Illini roster isn’t complete yet. He says he plans to “add 1-2 more players on the roster, that aren’t here yet,” so the team to reach the maximum of 120 athletes. He didn’t specify whether there would be transfers, walk-ons, or incoming freshman. He also said they would evaluate positions after the first week, noting there could be some minor switches.
“We’ll kind of sit down and evaluate our current roster, and see if there’s some guys that could maybe help us at other positions,” said Bielema. “Maybe it won’t be as dramatic, but we’ll get a little bit more position specific as we focus in but there’s some good competition, competition brings the best out in people, and I think our guys have done a great job of that.”
Bielema also said Mike Epstein is fully cleared to play and should be participating in the scrimmage on Monday. The running back has battled injuries throughout his career, missing close to 30 games, but the Illini junior decided to come back for another season despite the hardships of his injuries.
“We’ll slowly work him back in, he’s a veteran, he’s coming into pick things up real fast, and we’re just going to let Mike go when it’s time to go,” said Illinois running backs coach Cory Patterson.
“We’re doing a maintenance with him where he basically practices every other day, so this week guys under his schedule practice Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,” says Bielema.
The Illini will be back on the field on Monday for their first scrimmage and practice number seven. Kick-off is on August 28th when the Illini host Nebraska.