Illini coming one win short of bowl, extra practice “infuriating” for Bielema

Local Sports

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Coming into his Illini tenure, Bret Bielema had missed qualifying for a bowl game just twice in his 12 seasons as head coach, his first and last year at Arkansas.

Even though the Illini have been to just two bowls in the last decade, the expectations from Bielema himself were still high. And it was about more than just making it to the game.

“Obviously because we didn’t qualify for a bowl game the season is behind us, which is a little bit unique for me,” says Bielema. “To come away one game shy is, to be quite honest, infuriating for me. The expectation is to be playing in a postseason game, but more importantly practicing now. That’s the one thing that irritates me more than anything.”

Bielema and his staff are still dug in deep recruiting. The Illini won’t hit the field again for a few months, when Spring practice starts.

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