"They won't start and may not get in until late in the first [quarter], but [defensive line coach] Larry Johnson has been pushing them to get them back into the rotation," one observer said. "This is a huge boost. Even if both aren't in tip-top shape, they both add another dimension to the depth and packages the coaches can toss out [against Illinois]."
So just what kind of shape are Evans and Koroma in after a week of drills with primarily the second-team unit?
Maurice Evans: "He was very excited when he got back onto the [practice] field this week," an observer shared. "He was pretty quiet and had some humbling words with a lot of guys around him. But he tore it up on the field. He really went all-out and took in some extra reps. From my view it was rough on him being away from something he truly loves."
"I thought he looked pretty good. Needs to drop his shoulder on the corner and sharpen up the finer points on rushes, but he was really a handful out there this week," another observer said. "[The coaches] had to pull him back and get him to ease into things. He would come back saying something like, 'Just let me go, coach.' I think they'll let him go Saturday. We'll see how he adjusts to game action again, but he's excited."
Abe Koroma: "Abe was a little tight off the snap this week. He needs to pull down his center. But he picked up the rush pretty well. He is in pretty good shape. Probably has a couple of pounds he could shed, but his surge got better as the week went on," an observer told us.
"[Johnson] really pushed him [in drills]," another observer explained. "He responded pretty well. He's gonna add something to the line and I think a lot of the guys on the [defensive] line are happy to see Abe back."
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