Suspended Illini putting in work

Suspended Illini putting in work

CHAMPAIGN — The indefinite part of the indefinite suspensions for Bennett Williams, Nate Hobbs, Lou Dorsey, Carmoni Green and Deon Pate continues. There’s no telling when those five players — the first three starters for Illinois in 2017 — will return to the field.

For now, the Illini’s suspended players continue to practice with the team. Williams, Hobbs and Pate went through individual position drills during the open portion of Wednesday morning’s workout at the Memorial Stadium practice field. Dorsey and Green were ready to work with the scout team offense, prepping the Illini defense for Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. kickoff against Western Illinois.

“They’re in the younger guys’ ears,” sophomore defensive end Bobby Roundtree said. “They’re trying to tell them what to do and keep them comfortable. You can actually see they’re trying to be good coaches because they’re not out there yet. They want us to win. When they get back, it will be much better.”

Illinois is down a pair of defensive starters with neither Williams nor Hobbs available at safety and cornerback, respectively. Their absence — plus an injury to sophomore cornerback Tony Adams — led to an even younger than typical secondary against Kent State with true freshmen Delano Ware and Quan Martin getting the start in their Illini debut.

“I’m still learning from those guys,” said Ware, who had four tackles and a pass breakup against the Golden Flashes. “Those guys have experience over me. I’m still talking to them every day, and they’re helping me improve as well, giving me tips and advice. Those are my big brothers. They’re helping me, and they want to see everybody win.”