Cool weather no problem for Illini, others

Cool weather no problem for Illini, others

Editor's note:  Plenty of Illini football talk is on tap Saturday on WDWS' SportsTalk.  Guests include offensive line coach Tom Brattan and athletic director Mike Thomas.

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Unusually cool August weather will greet Tim Beckman’s Illini when they open practice Monday.

That won’t change things much for the Illini’s training staff.

“It does make it a little easier on us, but on the back side you worry,” head athletic trainer Jake Naas said. “It’s very similar to last year. For the most part we had a pretty mild camp weather-wise, and that first game (88 degrees at kickoff) and second game (81 degrees at kickoff) had excruciating temperatures on the field.

You worry about (the players), their bodies, trying to get used to the heat and be ready for that come game time.

“Obviously we’re dealt our hand. It’s not the worst to see a couple days (at camp) where the temperature gets up so their body gets used to it.”

So the routine will stay the same: Hydration with unlimited water and Gatorade throughout the day is emphasized. Weigh-ins before and after practices will help show how much water the players are losing — and how much needs to be replaced. Mandatory cold tubs at the end of the day will help the players regulate body temperatures to a healthy number. And the coaches will work with the staff nutritionist to make sure players are getting the right foods, too.

High school practice in Illinois starts Aug. 11.

“I’m an old school guy,” Fisher coach Matt Leng said. “I like it really, really hot. You can go inside to cool down.

“We definitely need those hot days for the kids because they need to get used to it. It’s a different type of ball game, a different type of mental battle the kids have to deal with, when they put the pads on. You’re carrying more weight and have more heat.”

Important dates
Aug. 4 — Illinois football practice begins
Aug. 11 — Prep football practices begin
Aug. 13 — All other fall prep sports practices begin
Aug. 18 — First competition date for high school boys golf
Aug. 25 — First competition date for prep boys soccer, volleyball, cross country and girls tennis
Aug. 29 — First competition date for prep football
Aug. 30 — Illinois football home opener against Youngstown State
 

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