Tuesday Practice Notes…

RANTOUL, Ill. - Quick hitting notes from Illinois Tuesday practice session...

- Jonathan Brown didn't participate in Tuesday's practice, but the senior linebacker is expected to get work Wednesday. According to Coach Tim Beckman, Brown was injured in practice Saturday and hasn't taken contact since.

The plan is to give Brown light reps Wednesday and he must pass a series of tests before he can return full speed.

- Zeph Grimes has taken Brown's spot with the No. 1 defense. Grimes said he's excited about the opportunity and that Brown has been helping him quite a bit. Grimes told me he's up to 225 pounds, the most he's weighed since arriving at Illinois.

- Tight end Jon Davis didn't participate in the scrimmage Monday and was limited again Tuesday. Tight ends coach Alex Golesh said the training staff is being cautious with Davis' knee, but that he expects the junior to return to practice full-go Wednesday. My take is: I'll believe Davis is practicing when I see it… We've heard this before. Illinois needs him to be ready though on Aug. 31, so that's why he's being slow-played.

- Tight end Matt LaCosse (concussion) is set to return Wednesday. He's been out since Saturday.

- B.J. Bello didn't practice with the first or second team defense Tuesday. He's dealing with a groin injury, according to Coach Al Seamsonson, and his reps have been limited. Mike Svetina is the current No. 1 Star with freshman James Crawford backing him up.

- Eric Finney is off crutches and walking on his own, right on schedule after having his knee scoped last week. There's still no set return date, but everybody I've talked with is hopeful he'll be ready for the opener.

- Steve Hull (hamstring) did practice again Tuesday, but did require some extensive stretching during the middle of the practice. He looks like he's improving at a fast rate and is close to 100 percent.

- Dillan Cazley intercepted a pass in situational 11-on-11s to keep the No. 1 offense out of the end zone. The pass was tipped and the freshman corner made a nice play to secure the football in a crowd to end the offense's bid for a score. He continues to rep with the No. 2 and will be counted on to contribute this season.

- After Reilly O'Toole and Hull connected on a long completion, the first team defense stopped the No. 2 offense on four straight plays from about the four-yard-line. It was a big deal for DC Tim Banks, who yelled out, "That's how you finish."

- Freshman wide receiver Marchie Murdock was "de-stripped" following practice. In case you don't know -- this is the initiation all newcomers must go through, a recognition that they're ready to contribute. So far, Martize Barr, Abe Cajuste, Aaron Bailey, James Crawford, Tyler White and Murdock have received the honor, as voted on by their teammates.

- Sophomore Scott McDowell (foot), redshirt freshman defensive lineman Vontrell Williams (foot) and freshman tight end Trevor Kanteman did not practice.


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