Illini at the Fight Hunger Bowl: Day 2

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Interim head coach Vic Koenning Post-Practice Interview
LB Trulon Henry Post-Practice Interview
RB Donovonn Young Post-Practice Interview
Day 2 Photo Gallery

Illinois' second day in San Francisco was less scripted than the first, fitting in with the laid-back local vibe. After a morning practice, the team and staff were able to enjoy a free afternoon and evening, seeing the sights or just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful weather. But before we get to the rundown of day two, be sure to check out the great recap of the first night's trip to Alcatraz by our Illini Productions crew (Alcatraz trip | Player Reaction to Alcatraz).

The Illini went through their second practice at Laney College on Wednesday morning, getting a solid workout in under bright sunshine and temperatures in the low 50s. Former Illinois linebacker Tim Bourke, a four-year letterwinner in the mid-1980s, was in attendance for the second-straight day. Also joining the team for the day was Stewart Mandel from SI.com, the online home of Sports Illustrated. He is working on a story about the uncommon situation of an interim coaching staff leading a team into a bowl game. He talked with a number of players and coaches in addition to watching practice. Sports information director Kent Brown, assistant SID Derek Neal and I all got a chance to talk with Stewart during practice.

We also had a chance to discuss the news of the day: the agreement between the Big Ten and Pac-12 to play 12 intra-conference football games and a number of contests in other sports. We all are looking forward to that beginning, with the football series starting in 2017 and basketball games starting as early as next season.

Bridge.jpgBecause we didn't have any afternoon or activities, Derek, my wife, Mandy, and I were able to do some sightseeing. We took a cab to the Golden Gate Bridge and walked across, enjoying the incredible views of the San Francisco Bay. After we had walked about halfway across, we looked back and noticed a low cloud over the bridge behind us. We walked the full length of the bridge and turned back, getting some cool photos of the cloud obscuring some of the San Francisco shore. It was completely clear of cloud cover when we reached the end and we ran into football graduate assistants Kolby Jackson and Jon Carvin and Jon's wife, Lisa, in the parking lot.

Bridge fog.jpgAs we looked back to the bridge, a dense fog was rolling in, and by the time Kolby, Jon and Lisa reached the first tower, they were completely enveloped in fog! It was incredible to see how quickly the fog can roll in during the afternoon and evening.

Derek, Mandy and I enjoyed a nice seafood dinner in Ghirardelli Square and a quick stop into the Ghirardelli ice cream shop for a sundae before heading down to Fisherman's Wharf. We ran into the Kolby and the Carvins again on our way to the Wharf and ended up walking around with them, enjoying the end of a street performer's show on stage at the Wharf and checking out some of the shops.

It was a tiring day but we really enjoyed having some free time to check out one of the most well-known landmarks in the United States. Tomorrow is another full day with practice, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl kickoff luncheon and a team dinner event on Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf.

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