Ron Zook on the Illini Press Conference

Will this be the year that Illinois fans get to see their team play football over the holidays or just another year of waiting until basketball starts? Ron Zook talks about his excitement for this year's team.

"I'm excited. I told my wife that I want to see where we're at. I look at things in six phases in a year, number one – the recruiting. I was really happy with the way our players attacked the off-season part of things. Can't say enough about how hard they worked in the weight room and in running. We had guys coming in at 6:00 in the morning. Their workouts have been intense – so much different from last year. Physically, I think we're going to be ok. It's still going to come down to the mental part. That's the part that everyone wants to see, including us."

"The seven guys we've had here since January have done a great job. First of all, they have all done a great job in the classroom, and the intensity has been the big thing for these guys. They can see the change themselves. However, I really think in August is when you will see the progress they have made."

"We have turned things up. One day our players do five 300s and you could just see it; and that's pretty good. Your body just doesn't change. We're running right now, what we were doing in the summer. It's that old thing: what the mind can believe, the mind can achieve. Right now our whole approach has been refuse to lose. We're going to do what we have to do. It's all a belief system; it's our job as a coaching staff to push them."

"I told them last week that we're going to have to do it this year. There's going to be a point where we're just going to have to go out there and do it. We're just going to pull up the straps and see what we're about."

"Right now my confidence level is good. I want to see what I see in the weigh room and study table, if some of this stuff will carry over onto the field. We all know what the expectations are here. There's no reason the U of I shouldn't have a good football program here."

"Right now we feel comfortable with things. We're not going to make a lot of position changes. When you start to do that you lose a year and we're not going to do that."

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