'These past two months have flown by'

'These past two months have flown by'

Christian DiLauro is trying to reach the NFL. And the 23-year-old former Illinois offensive lineman is giving The News-Gazette a weekly look into his journey. Here’s his ninth entry (catch the whole series here):

The start of spring practices at Illinois is on Monday, and it's weird to think that I won't be there this year. It was always one of the events I looked forward to as a player since it meant the end of all the winter conditioning drills.Training and conditioning, though, has made up most of the past two months for me out in Pennsylvania getting ready for my shot at the NFL. A lot of other players have come in to train over the last couple of weeks.

Most of them commute, so they take the later time to train. The group of guys and myself that live in local housing are asked to come in at 8 a.m. I've been waking up around 6:30 every morning to make sure I can eat breakfast and get to the facility early.

I'm talking with my agent a few times a week now, especially with him being at the NFL combine and getting the chance to sit down and talk with the scouts.

Most of our conversations have to do with him talking about which teams are showing interest and what numbers I should be looking to put up at the pro day at Illinois on March 12 in order to better my chances of getting drafted.

It's definitely a shock that these past two months have flown by as fast as they have since I arrived out in Pennsylvania to start my training for this process. It has been great to see the progress that I have made, and shortly I get to put everything I have worked on to the real test and see the results of my hard work.

A few highlights have stuck out to me the past two months. One that really comes to mind is my drop in time on the 100-rep bench press challenge that we do.

Every Saturday, we do this challenge, where we start with 95 pounds on the bar and increase it by 10 pounds every week until we get up to 135 pounds. Then, we restart at 95 pounds.

The first four to five weeks of doing the test, my times weren't that great, but the challenges after that, I had major improvements in my times and almost broke the gym record. Training without getting the chance to actually hit someone is a bit different.

In terms of line play, whenever the pads aren't on, everything is always in the defensive line's favor. When the pads come on, the offensive line is able to play real football. Getting the chance to put pads on the first day is like Christmas morning, too.

Back to spring ball at Illinois. My favorite memory would have to be the spring game every year. My family would come out to watch, and that was usually their first trip out to Champaign every year for them until the season started. It was always nice to be able to see them after being away for a few months.

And I'm looking forward to returning to Champaign soon for pro day. It'll be a great test, and one that I can't wait for.