WCIA — Illinois football may be without running back Reggie Love III on Saturday against Maryland, Bret Bielema announced on Monday.
“You know, Central Illinois’ finest is going to be at full display on the big scale,” Bielema said.
Atwood native Kaden Feagin and Gibson City native Aidan Laughery are set to be the only scholarship running backs on the roster if Love cannot go, which Bielema said the chances are not great.
“Those two guys are absolutely awesome to work with. The art of preparing for an opponent, understanding what they’re going to do, what they’re going to possibly see, they’re both really good competitors,” Bielema said. “I think [running backs coach Thad Ward] has done an outstanding job kind of getting both of them in a position to be successful. If Reggie can’t go, that’s thrust right on their shoulders and I think they’ll be ready for it.”
Offensive linemen Josh Gesky and Zy Crisler should be back in the lineup after missing the game against Nebraska last week. More help coming on the line as well as transfer Dez Schuster has been cleared to practice. Bielema says the earliest he could possibly see him playing in a game is after the bye.
After the loss to the Cornhuskers, Bielema promised changes in his postgame press conference. With two days to evaluate, the Illini have given their whole operation a look-over.
“I met with the staff, I sat down with the offense and looked at the game. I’d say three areas we looked at were schematics, personnel, and then also in-game adjustments,” Bielema said. “Those were our big three. They’re all big things, but they’re mild things where I think if you look at them individually they’re things that can be easily corrected.”
“At this point when things aren’t going the way we want them to go, I think you have to always really examine everything that you’re doing,” offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. said. “It’s a full blown inspection of everything from A to Z.”
Illinois heads out east to take on Maryland on Saturday. Kickoff is 2:30 p.m. on NBC.