Two big firsts took place on Friday at practice No. 5 of Training Camp. After four days of split-squad workouts, the Illini practiced together as a full unit for the first time this season. They also wore full pads for the first time, which means you could finally hear the sound of pad popping, particularly in the much anticipated "Gauntlet" drill. Needless to say, the coaches and players were fired up about their first opportunity to strap on the pads and do some hitting.
Coach Beckman de-striped the first two players on Friday, with junior college transfers Martize Barr, a 6-0 wide receiver from Washington D.C., and Abe Cajuste, a 6-3 defensive lineman from Miami, Fla., being the first two players deemed worthy of the honor. As they did last season, Illini newcomers began training camp with a single white stripe on their practice helmets. If their teammates and the coaching staff deem them worthy, newcomers can earn their way to being "de-striped" through hard work during training camp. The action signifies that the player is no longer being considered a newcomer to the team. "De-stripers" are announced at the end of practice.
Newcomers who have been "de-striped"
WR Martize Barr - 8/9
WR Martize Barr - 8/9
DL Abe Cajuste - 8/9
Coach Beckman gave an update on STAR Eric Finney, who went down with knee injury on Wednesday. "He'll be out for a couple of weeks," Beckman said of Finney after practice on Friday. "They went in and scoped and found out that it wasn't an ACL, so I'm glad with that. I think he'll keep on progressing. He's on crutches now and maybe the beginning of next week he'll be off them."
Monday Scrimmage Moved
Illinois first full contact scrimmage of Training Camp, which was scheduled for Monday, Aug. 11, at 7 p.m. at Rantoul High School, has been pushed up to 5:30 p.m. and will now be held at Camp Rantoul due to the NCAA denying a waiver request to hold an off-site practice. The scrimmage will still be free and open to the public.
Training Camp Nuggets
Friday's practice started at 9 a.m. and took place on the grass practice fields just east of Memorial Stadium ... The Illini will hold their first two-a-day session of Training Camp on Saturday, going at 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. tomorrow ... Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany will attend Saturday's morning workout and will speak to the team briefly before their 9 a.m. practice ... On Sunday the Illini will make the rounds at Media Day and Fan Appreciation Day at Memorial Stadium before heading off to Camp Rantoul for eight days.