Spring game is back — and here's what to know

Spring game is back — and here's what to know

Beat writer SCOTT RICHEY highlights four items ahead of today's 2 p.m. start at Memorial Stadium:

1. An actual spring game is a byproduct of the Illini actually having enough players available unlike years past. "Years when we didn't, we didn't have the numbers," Illinois coach Lovie Smith said. "We just couldn't. You've got to at least be two-deep on offense and defense to be able to have a spring game."

2. Don't get too caught up in the defined Team Grange (first-team offense and second-team defense) and Team Butkus (second-team offense and first-team defense). All offensive players will wear blue, the defense will be in orange and all quarterbacks will wear white. Some players might wind up on both teams.

3. The respective first-team players won't participate in live tackling, but the second team will — replicating the last open practice. Smith's teams so far in his time at Illinois have not tackled to the ground in practice situations. "Different year — no more than that," was all Smith would say about adding live tackling. "Things change."

4 Fluid rosters aside, the Illini will keep score for today's spring game, which will have the Memorial Stadium video board feed streamed on BTN2Go. "As we go through spring ball, guys keep score every time," Smith said. "You see our offensive lineman go 1-on-1 with the (defensive) line. They keep track of it."