A shore thing

CHAMPAIGN – When he's not picking off passes, Muhammad Abdullah enjoys dips in the ocean, strolls on the boardwalk and fresh seafood for dinner.

So land-locked little Champaign-Urbana is taking some getting used to for the beach bum of the Illinois football team.

After wait, Creydt helping Illinois

CHAMPAIGN – This summer, it was Lindsey Creydt's turn to call Terri Sullivan.

The phone calls went the other direction 15 months earlier, when then-Illinois-Chicago softball coach Sullivan tried to recruit Creydt, an infielder from Springfield.

News and notes from Wednesday's practice

Each day, Lenny Willis looks a little better on the practice field. Give him another week or two, and the receiver might just get his old job back.

Willis made his 1999 debut Saturday against Michigan State, catching two passes for 19 yards.

Record keeper

NORMAL – As Jay Niemann drove home last Saturday night, the Northern Iowa defensive coordinator had reason to be satisfied with his day's work.

Hours earlier, his unit limited a Southern Illinois offense averaging 45 points in its first three games to 14. With Northern Iowa's offense its typically productive self that night at the Uni-Dome in Cedar Falls, the Panthers handled the No. 25 Salukis 34-14.

Svihlik a hit for Illinois baseball

Senior second baseman D.J. Svihlik hit a two-run double in the first inning and junior outfielder Creston Whitaker a two-run single in the sixth as the Blue defeated the Orange 8-5 in Game 1 of the annual Orange and Blue World Series on Wednesday at Illinois Field.

Payton Plaudits

News-Gazette staff writer Jeff Huth selects his top five candidates for the 1999 Walter Payton Award, Division I-AA football''s version of the Heisman Trophy:

Tatelines: Competition for UI jobs gets tougher

Make way, it's going to be October on Friday. Trees are turning. 'Tis the season for homecoming weekends and basketball tuneups. Halloween and exhibition basketball contests. Thanksgiving and basketball signings.

Following his heart

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – If he thought more like an accountant, Adewale Ogunleye wouldn't be in the Indiana lineup Saturday against Illinois.

Instead, the future lawyer would be sitting in a hotel room in some pro city, waiting for Sunday's game against the Jets or Colts or Browns. He'd have an expensive-but-free meal, look at the huge number in his checkbook and wonder why he left Indiana early.

Tatelines: UI's Young gears for Randle El

Michael Young isn't worried about reduced playing time this week.

As happened frequently in the Louisville aerial circus, the Illini linebacker is replaced by a defensive back when rivals flood the field with extra receivers. Young is not a part of the UI's "nickel package."

News and notes from Tuesday's practice


Seth Tesdall has seen plenty of action in three-plus years at Illinois, playing in 29 games at defensive tackle. But Saturday, he might himself in an unusual place: the starting lineup.