The Fighting Illini had their second of four split-squad sessions on Tuesday, with the "blue" team practicing at 8:30 a.m. and the "orange" squad taking the grass practice fields next to Memorial Stadium at 4:25 pm on a cool, overcast day in Champaign. With a large group of freshmen and newcomers, the Illini coaching staff continued go through the basics and take advantage of the extra reps the split-squad practices provide. The third of four split practices will take place on Wednesday, the last day before the team can wear full pads, with the order flipping so the orange goes in the morning and the blue in the afternoon.
Chicago Homecoming Marketing Campaign Begins
Danny Ecker highlighted the six-week promotional campaign the DIA has launched to promote the Sept. 14 Chicago Homecoming game at Soldier Field today in a story on chicagobusiness.com. The marketing bonanza includes TV and radio spots during Chicago Bears preseason games and their season opener on Sept. 8, as well as digital, print, online and elevator ads, and billboards placed throughout downtown Chicago. The campaign also has another innovative component - anyone in the Chicago-metro area that purchases a ticket through Ticketmaster, sports or otherwise, will be asked to input a special Illinois-themed slogan to confirm the purchase rather than the usual, goofy bot-detecting sequence of characters. Examples include "Our State. Our Team." or "Illinois Homecoming in Chicago." Are you going to the game? Tell us on Facebook!
Dick Butkus to Appear at Chicago Homecoming Events
Fighting Illini and Chicago Bears Hall of Famer Dick Butkus announced that he will attended several events surrounding the Sept. 14 Chicago Homecoming game, including a kickoff luncheon on Sept. 12 at Chicago Wildfire that will benefit the Illinois I Fund, Butkus Foundation and I PLAY CLEAN. Butkus will also make an appearance at the pregame Illini Fest Tailgate event before the game against Washington at Soldier Field, and will flip the coin on the field prior to the game. Registration is now open for the Butkus Luncheon.
Check out some sights and sounds from Day 1 of Training Camp on Monday: