CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois’ bye-week is coming at the perfect time. After a 24-0 shutout loss to Wisconsin on Saturday, the team could use some time to reset. Head coach Bret Bielema says this gives the players some extra time to recover, while the coaching staff will be focused on re-evaluating their roster in the midst of the team’s struggles.
“I want to continue to build our roster, we’ve done that with some of our roster,” says Bielema. “Whether we want to pull back, or continue with that our try new guys, it’s going to be critical. I think the part for us as coaches is we don’t have all the periods that you want to work with on fundamentals, to this week is going to be huge for fundamental practices.”
Bielema hinted at younger players seeing more playing time in the coming weeks, but also added he’ll try to balance that with the NCAA’s redshirt rules. Athletes are allowed to compete in up to four games and still qualify for a redshirt season to maintain four years of eligibility. Bielema also added the opportunity for coaches to hit the recruiting trail this week, but for the players, their main focus is getting a little R&R.
“You pour into what your coaches tell you, you get extra film time, and most importantly you get that recovery so you can be as fresh as possible,” said Illini senior Owen Carney.
The Illini will need all the recovery and preparation they can get. Their next game after the bye week is on the road at Penn State. They’ll play the No. 7 Nittany Lions at 11 am CT on ABC on October 23rd.