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At noon each day, beat writer Bob Asmussen will offer a tasty tidbit of news and notes from spring football practice ... free of charge.
CHAMPAIGN - The numbers figure to go up. Maybe a bunch.
In the first four years of his Illinois career, Troy Pollard has 361 yards on 64 carries. The biggest chunk came during his injury-shortened freshman year, when Pollard ran 23 times for 148 yards.
Now a fifth-year senior, Pollard is the solid backup to Jason Ford. With Mikel Leshoure off to the NFL and little other experience at the position, running backs coach DeAndre Smith is counting on Pollard.
"I've been around here a long time and seen a lot of people come and go," Pollard said. "I've met new friends and I'm enjoying the experience."
Ford, who was last year's top reserve, carried 99 times for 480 yards and seven touchdowns.
"I feel like it's a great opportunity," Pollard said. "I'm doing everything I can to stay healthy and compete with Jason Ford. Push him, make him better."
Pollard likes the talent combination of himself, Ford and sophomore Bud Golden.
"It's enough variation going around," Pollard said. "Everybody's bringing their own little thing. Jason brings his power. I bring my vision. Bud's got power and little cuts too."
Known affectionately as "Bucket of Hair," Pollard had a scary moment during Tuesday's practice when he accidentally collided with tight end Eddie Viliunas.
But Pollard was back in the running back rotation within seconds.
"That's our fault," Illinois coach Ron Zook said. "You're coaching fast and hard. We've got to make sure we keep them out of harm's way."