CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Lovie Smith is well aware what could happen this fall, a canceled season is a possibility, but the Illinois football coach is doing his best to bring a glass half full approach to work everyday.
“First off there’s no given that college football will be played,” Smith said. “Right now they’ve told us that we can start practicing and that’s what we’re doing. And until someone tells us differently, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Smith and the Illini were back on the practice field Friday morning, splitting the team in half to help with social distancing. The defense worked out on the grass practice fields south of the Smith Football Center, and the offense in Memorial Stadium. The players are still only wearing helmets, but are expected to put on shoulder pads for the first time on Saturday. Senior center Doug Kramer says he feels safe, thanks to all the protocols put in place, including daily COVID-19 testing for high risk athletes like football players.
“When they were announcing the plans, you kind of have it in the back of your mind like, ‘How is this going to work?’ Kramer said. “I have the most confidence in them, and I feel completely comfortable playing this game this season. And as far as worrying about the offensive line, when I’m out there, I’m thinking about blocking the guy across from me, and not too much about the other stuff.”
“I understand what can happen down the way but to me it’s just about focusing in on what we’re doing right now and I feel good about all of that,” said Smith. “I hope (to have a season), but at the same time I don’t have my head in the sand.”