Football practice update
News and notes from Thursday''s UI practice:
National Football League scouts have been trickling into Champaign this season, taking a look at Illinois running back Robert Holcombe. They''ll get more looks at the UI''s career rushing leader in postseason all-star games. Holcombe has been invited to the Dec. 25 Blue-Gray game in Montgomery, Ala., the Jan. 10 East-West Shrine Game in Palo Alto, Calif., and the Jan. 10 Senior Bowl at Mobile, Ala. Former Illini linebacker Dennis Stallings improved his pro stock in last year''s Blue-Gray game. Ex-Illinois receiver Jason Dulick played in the East-West game, but wasn''t drafted. Dana Howard was the last Illini to play in the Senior Bowl, earning an invitation in 1995. Holcombe ends a postseason drought for Illinois running backs. Howard Griffith, who played in the 1991 Hula Bowl, was the last to receive an invitation.
Senior offensive lineman Brent Taylor has regained a starting spot at left guard, replacing junior J.P. Machado. Taylor has been a starter on and off during his career.
With Brian Sheard off the team, redshirting freshman Jeff Ziegler has taken over as the scout team quarterback.
The Illini travel by bus today to Bloomington, Ind. They will have a short practice this afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
The Illini had no new injuries in Saturday''s game. Defensive end Ryan Murphy and defensive tackle Garrett Johnson both made it through the game. Illinois has had a healthy week in practice.
While George McDonald-Ashford lost his starting job to Michael Dean, former Centennial star Lenny Willis appears secure at the other receiver spot. Willis leads the team with 26 receptions.
COUNTDOWN TO INDIANA: 1 DAY
The 1990 Illini moved toward a New Year''s Day bowl bid with a 24-10 win over the Hoosiers at Bloomington, Ind. The teams were tied 10-10 at intermission. With Illinois leading 17-10 early in the fourth quarter, Indiana quarterback Chris Dyer took the ball on an option play and appeared on his way to a touchdown. But Illini Chris Green smacked Dyer at the 3, forcing a fumble that Bill Henkel recovered. Illinois quarterback Jason Verduzco led the team on a 96-yard touchdown drive that clinched the win.