CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Football won’t be played in the Big Ten this fall, after the league announced on Tuesday they were postponing fall sports. It was a tough day for the Illini, but head coach Lovie Smith says there are some silver linings.
The Illini didn’t get their traditional spring football practices this year, leaving several young players without time to develop. As the Illini look ahead to a potential competitive season in the spring of 2021, they’re hoping to take advantage of the extra time. This year, the Illini have 38 freshmen, which include 16 redshirts.
“We can get a real good plan to continue to develop our athletes. We have a lot of freshman, and normally our freshman are thrown in there too soon, and now we have a chance to really get them ready to eventually play games,” says Smith.
The Illini had their training camp cut short–they were only five days into practice before the season was postponed. Players had the option to return home or stay on campus. They will resume practice when U of I classes start on August 24th, and they will be limited to 20 hours a week on the field.