Illinois Football Holds Double Sessions

The University of Illinois football team took a day off on Sunday after Saturday evening's scrimmage at Camp Rantoul, but they returned to practice on Monday with a morning and an evening workout. Read more on the Illini's practice courtesy the University of Illinois.

Story courtesy the University of Illinois Sports Information Department.
RANTOUL, IL — After a day off from practice, the Illinois football team returned to work Monday with a pair of workouts — one morning, one evening. The team once again avoided the rain for the early session and welcomed cool temperatures in the night practice. In full pads, the team worked on short-yardage and goal line situations, which brought out the spirit and competition between the offense and defense.

"There is no doubt we got better today," Illinois head coach Ron Zook said. "We had a lot of competition and that is fun to watch. The team had fun, they got after it and then they left it on the field."

ILLINI FOOTBALL PREVIEW SHOW: Fox Sports Midwest will air a 30-minute Illinois Football Preview Show on Sat., Aug. 26 at 9:30 p.m. CT. The station will follow up with two more additional broadcasts at 1 a.m. CT on Sun., Aug. 27 and 2 p.m. on Tues., Aug. 29. The show will also be available "on demand" for all regions that have that capability.

HALL OF FAMER ENSHRINED: Former Fighting Illini wide receiver David Williams was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., on Saturday as part of the Class of 2005. Williams, who finished his career as the second-leading receiver in NCAA history, became the 16th Illinois player or coach to enter the Hall when the class was announced on May 18, 2005. The group was officially inducted on Dec. 6, 2005, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City before being enshrined in South Bend this past weekend.

The enshrinement weekend began on Thursday with a reception and Friday was highlighted by a celebrity golf scramble and concert. Saturday featured the Enshrinement Fanfest, which included food, games and fun for the whole family, as well as a parade. The Class of 2005 then took part in a flag football game and a youth football clinic before signing numerous autographs and posing for pictures. The festival was capped off by a reception, silent auction, dinner and show, featuring ESPN College GameDay personality Rece Davis hosting a "fireside chat" interview format with all 20 enshrinees.

POSITION SPOTLIGHT — RUNNING BACKS:

Running backs coach Reggie Mitchell
On Monday's practice format: "Because of some of the injuries that we have, we were trying to get some of the other guys some reps and get them going. Just in case they have to play, they'll have the reps where they can come in and play."

On returning to practice after yesterday's day off: "It's tough to come back off the off day. They've been grinding, grinding, grinding, then they had a day off. Plus, it's a little cool out today and it's a two-a-day practice, so they're probably trying to save themselves for the afternoon. I thought as practice went along they picked up the intensity."

On the running backs unit: "It's been interesting because Pierre's been out and Rashard has been struggling most of last week until Saturday. We moved Charles Bailey over there, and he's had some opportunities to get some reps. So Pierre being hurt is not that bad because we know what he can do. We've been able to give some of the younger guys a chance to get some reps."

Senior running back Pierre Thomas
On the effect injuries have had so far: "The injuries happen. We're out there working hard trying to recover from those injuries. It gives the younger guys a chance to step up and be accountable. And that's what a lot of guys are starting to do. We're getting the young guys a lot of reps and I think they're all starting to progress."

On Charles Bailey's switch to running back: "Seeing him in the scrimmage, he surprised me. He surprised a lot of guys. We got on the bus after the scrimmage and guys were going ‘Uh, oh, E.B., Pierre, Rashard, you better watch out, you've got another back coming to take your spot.' He's a good player and he could play anywhere. Just bulk him up a little bit and he'll be an outstanding running back."


Story courtesy the University of Illinois Sports Information Department.

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