CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois football coach Bret Bielema knows who his starting quarterback is ahead of Saturday’s Week Zero season opener against Wyoming. The second year Illini head coach has also informed his team of the QB 1 decision but don’t expect Bielema to share publicly whether Syracuse transfer Tommy DeVito or Artur Sitkowski will take the first snap against the Cowboys.
“I know who the starting quarterback is, the starting quarterback knows who the starting quarterback is and our team knows that,” Bielema said Monday. “I think our guys understand the value of these first games and what it allows us to do. I think we learned that first hand sometimes to show up on game day and let everyone see the University of Illinois unfold for the first time is a good thing so we’ll just kind of stick to that messaging.”
Keeping the decision in house means Wyoming will be kept guessing ahead of the 3 p.m. kickoff at Memorial Stadium. The element of surprise is something the Cowboys are using, they have also not named a starting quarterback. It means a little more to Illinois though with new offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. taking over a unit that struggled last year, finishing 115th in the country in scoring offense under then coordinator Tony Petersen. With Lunney Jr. now at the helm and a transfer quarterback in town, plenty of unknowns remain for Wyoming.
“You know they don’t probably know entirely know what to expect,” Lunney Jr. said. “I’m sure they have an educated guess on what they’ve worked, there’s always going to be first game surprises and to be honest during the course of the year there’s going to be surprises because people and adjust and adapt as the season goes on but the fact that we do have somewhat of an element of surprise and them not exactly knowing what our identity looks like, it doesn’t hurt us.”
For even more Illinois football content, tune into the Your Illini Nation Kickoff Show Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. on WCIA 3. The 30-minute special is entirely devoted to Illinois football.