Martin O'Donnell talks Illini football with Steve Kelly and Loren Tate on Sports Talk. Catch the replay here.
Bob Asmussen's report from Thursday's practice
Bud Golden didn't want to see Justin Green get hurt. But with the sophomore running back sidelined by a broken ankle, Golden wants to show he deserves more time. "It's an opportunity," Golden said. "It's a competition. I'm sad that he went down, but I've got to step it up and fill his place. He was ahead of me before. I hope he gets well soon." Golden said he went to visit Green on Thursday, his first day back in his dorm room. Illinois coach Ron Zook said Golden is improving. "When he's not thinking, when he's just reacting, I think he's doing a good job," Zook said. Golden said it was difficult to redshirt in 2009, but that he learned from watching the older running backs. ... Bundled up high school football coaches made their way to the east side of Memorial Stadium for the unofficial start of their annual clinic. Zook said 1,200 to 1,500 coaches are expected to attend the event. Zook and his staff will take today off from practice to spend time with the high school coaches. "This will be a good weekend," Zook said. ... Zook said he hopes many of the coaches will stick around for Saturday's scrimmage, which he scheduled around the clinic events. The workout will include special teams at the start.
What was said
"I'll spend some time with him. He's a guy who has won an awful lot of football games and coached a lot of great football players. I think it will be good for the high school coaches to get an opportunity to listen to him. There's not a lot of clinics where you can talk to 1,200 coaches. It gives the coaches an opportunity to get to know him." – Illinois coach Ron Zook on IHSFCA clinic speaker and Ohio coach Frank Solich.
What I'm thinking
Defensive tackle Corey Liuget might be the most important player on the Illinois football team. Or he's in the top three. With Josh Brent sidelined by academic issues, Liuget is the lone experienced defensive tackle. "The tackles, we're stepping up big time," Liuget said. He misses Brent, who is taking classes at Parkland College. "I'm counting on him to be back for sure," Liuget said. "If not, we've got (Akeem) Spence there, filling up his shoes." But Liuget wants him back, not only for playing reasons but "because I want him to get his degree from the University of Illinois." Liuget has learned to adapt to the weather. Thursday's chilling winds didn't bother him. "I'm used to it," Liuget said. "When I go to the NFL, hopefully, I'm going to have to do it anyway." And he is adjusting to the new coaches on defense, including coordinator Vic Koenning. "The new coaches are pushing us hard."