CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois football coach Bret Bielema did not publicly name a starting quarterback for the Iowa game during his time with local media on Thursday morning but made it clear, his team is well aware of the plan ahead of Saturday’s game in Iowa City.
“I think our guys have 100 percent no doubt who’s going to start under center at quarterback so I was clear and adamant about what we were going to do from Sunday on,” Bielema said.
Bielema made headlines Wednesday with his comments about who the starter will be during an interview on Sirius XM Big Ten radio. But when given the opportunity to follow-up, he declined to elaborate. What we do know is that Luke Altmyer was cleared on Tuesday from a concussion he sustained in the Minnesota game. The Ole Miss transfer went down on the final drive of the Minnesota game, when back-up John Paddock came in leading the offense on an 85-yard game winning drive. Paddock followed it up last week against Indiana, setting a Memorial Stadium record throwing for 507 yards, second most in a game in program history. Bielema knows quarterback gets more attention than other positions, that’s why he’s stuck to his plan all week.
“I definitely had conversations with everybody involved,” Bielema said. “They knew directionally where we were going and what we were doing and that hasn’t wavered. What the outside world knows doesn’t really matter to me but what happens on Saturday is what matters most.”
Bielema also provided several injury updates on Thursday, saying Reggie Love III has practiced all week. He will likely be the go to running back once again, with Kaden Feagin not practicing all week following his injury against the Hoosiers. Pat Bryant practiced Thursday after also leaving the game last Saturday with Bielema adding he expects him to be full go this weekend but it’s “something we’ll figure out that day when we get there.”
Illinois visits Iowa for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff Saturday on FS1.