The Fighting Illini opened fall training camp on Monday with split-squad practices on the grass practice fields just east of Memorial Stadium. The "orange" team opened things up with a spirited two-hour session at 8:30 a.m., while the "blue" team took the field at 4:25 p.m. and wrapped up at about 6:15. It was perfect weather, with clear skies and temperatures in the 70s for the morning practice and a hint of clouds and a cool breeze for the evening workout.
Training Camp Odds and Ends
One-hundred and five (105) players are present at training camp, the maximum allowed by the NCAA. Several more players will join the squad once classes start, brining the roster size closer to 115 ... The "orange" team consists mostly of first- and fourth-team players as of today, while the "blue" team consists of second- and third-teamers for the most part. Obviously, much of that could change by the time the Illini take the field on Aug. 31. That's what training camp is for, right? ... The team can't wears pads until practice number four on Thursday, so they were in orange shorts and jerseys on Monday ... The offense wore blue jerseys with white numbers, while the defense wore white jerseys with blue numbers ... The traditional plain orange helmets were worn by the whole team ... Freshmen again have a single white stripe and will have the opportunity to earn the right to be de-striped during camp as a reward for hard work ... There were about 20 media members on hand on Monday, including the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, while all three local TV stations did live shots for their 6 p.m. newscasts. Coach Beckman (WAND), Coach Cubit (WICD) and Donovonn Young (WCIA) were guests for the live shots ... The team will have split-squad practices again on Tuesday, with the teams flipping times - blue at 8:30 a.m. and orange at 4:25 a.m.
Season Tickets Are On the Way
Illinois ticket director Jason Heggemeyer and the Illini ticket office staff spent the day stuffing thousands of envelopes with season tickets and parking passes. They'll be shipped out this week and next week, so ticket holders should be on the lookout for theirs was early as next week. This year's ticket design features some great moments in Illini history, including Howard Griffith's NCAA record eight TD performance against Southern Illinois in 1990, Dick Butkus leading the Illini to the 1964 Rose Bowl, Red Grange's famous six touchdown performance against Michigan in 1924, David Williams leading Illinois to a Big Ten title and the 1984 Rose Bowl, the University of Illinois celebrating its 102nd Homecoming, Illinois' historic win at No. 1 Ohio State in 2007 and 2001 Big Ten title-clinching win over Northwestern. Season and single game tickets are still on sale.