'It provides motivation for the offseason'

CHAMPAIGN — No team played more true freshmen in 2017 than Illinois. Lovie Smith sent 22 of them on the field at some point in the season, with 16 of them breaking in as starters last fall.

March 13 Bob Asmussen chat

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 10:00am

How has the Illinois offense looked in the first week of spring practice? Which players have made a move up the depth chart? What are the primary goals for the defense?

For the answers to these questions, and anything else on your mind, check in with our longtime Illinois football beat writer.

UI football notes: One 'step at a time'

Here's what caught Illinois football beat writer Bob Asmussen's attention during Thursday's spring practice at Memorial Stadium:

Illinois coach Lovie Smith, who wore a protective boot on his left foot during Tuesday's workout, was boot-free on Thursday.

"You didn't see me sprinting or anything out there," Smith said. "Step at a time."

Asmussen | It's Cam Thomas' team ... for now

The Illinois football team now belongs to Cam Thomas. For at least the next five months.

The grizzled veterans are gone. Chayce Crouch is now in pharmaceutical sales. And Jeff George Jr. is transferring to another school.

The Illinois quarterback room is down to sophomore-to-be Thomas and walk-ons Cam Miller and Charlie Reinkemeyer.

Illinois receives large donation

A little more than a month after the Levenick family provided a generous donation towards the new Football Performance Center, another family has contributed a significant gift for the facility project for the Illinois football program.

Pearl ‘excited about seeing my ceiling’

DANVILLE — Julian Pearl has an entire college football career to look forward to at Illinois, with the anticipation only growing from his April 21, 2017, commitment flip from Northern Illinois to signing in December with the Illini. 

Smith drawing up life's next big step

CHAMPAIGN — Some families gravitate toward law enforcement. Some become teachers. And others favor sales.

For the Smiths of West Virginia, there is one career path: coaching.

From a very young age, it's what new Illinois offensive coordinator Rod Smith knew he was destined to do.

'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):

March 5 Bob Asmussen chat

Monday, March 5, 2018 - 10:00am

What is first on the Illinois to-do list for the spring? Will the team suffer because it isn't having a final scrimmage? Which players will move into important roles for 2018?

For the answers to these questions, and anything else on your mind, check in with our longtime Illinois football beat writer.

Dudek healthy as spring ball nears

CHAMPAIGN — Mikey Dudek doesn't want you to forget. He's actually 1 for 1 passing in his Illinois football career thanks to a 22-yard completion to Geronimo Allison in the Illini's 2014 homecoming win against Minnesota.