CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois football is preparing for a tough challenge at Michigan this Saturday. Head coach Bret Bielema usually hosts a press conference two days prior to the game, but Illinois athletics said Bielema found out this morning his mother has passed.

Now, while the Illini are coming off back to back losses. Offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. says the team’s identity has been established 10 games into the season, so they’ll have to try some new schemes or formations to help shift the eyes of the defense. With the unknown if running backs Chase Brown or Josh McCray will be playing Saturday or not, Lunney says the tough Michigan defense will be a challenge.

“They play fast and physical,” Lunney said. “They’re very, very, very multiple in the backend. I think it’s been well documented. It’s a pro style defense that came from the Ravens tree. To be able to put our best foot forward, we’re going to have to really, we’re going to have to grow. We’re going to have to use the disappointment and the pain from the last couple weeks to propel us forward.”

The Illini kick off Saturday at 11:00 a.m.