Here we go...

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After what's seemed like weeks of buildup, the Fighting Illini finally returned the practice field today, beginning preparations for the 2011 season. The team was split into two groups, the orange and blue, so that the young players can get more hands-on instruction. While that certainly helps them learn the ropes faster, it does make for a long day for the coaches and support staff, who are on the field and out in the heat for four-plus hours. By all accounts, day one was a success. It's clear that the team worked hard in the off-season and that they're ready to go this fall.


A few familiar faces took in the action today, including interim AD Terry Cole and Associate AD Tom Michael. All practices through the end of Camp Rantoul are open to the public, so if you're a football fan, I'd encourage you to come out to Memorial Stadium these next two days or to Camp Rantoul starting on Monday. It's great chance to see the team up-close and personal and it's an opportunity that isn't available during the season. But be sure to check the Training Camp schedule before heading out, as it has been known to change often.

Most of the talk amongst the media today centered around Trulon Henry's "move" from safety to linebacker. While Henry is currently listed as an LB on the roster and did workout at the SAM position today, it might not be accurate to call him a LB, at least in the traditional sense. In defensive coordinator Vic Koenning's system, the SAM linebacker spot that Henry worked out at today often plays like a safety. Since Koenning arrived prior to the 2010 season, the position has been held down by two former safeties, Nate Bussey and Ashante Williams, which makes Henry seem like a good fit. So while much was made of Henry's "change" today, his role may not end up changing much when all is said and done. 

Post Practice Interviews: Coach Zook | Trulon Henry 

I'm starting to see via Twitter that Illini fans are getting their season tickets in the mail. So, if you haven't gotten yours yet, be on the look-out. For those of you that haven't purchased tickets yet, the DIA announced today an incredible promotion for Fighting Illini Kids Club members. All Kids Club members (current and new) will get a free ticket to the Sept. 3 game against Arkansas State and can purchase addition tickets for only $10 each. That's not all...joining the Kids Club is free until we reach 5,000 members! It's a great opportunity to bring the whole family out to Memorial Stadium. 
Before I wrap this up, I've got one more thing for you. If you haven't seen the footage from Coach Zook's waterski life jacket cam, it's worth a watch.

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