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    Weekly Update Archive | Illini in the NFL Website

    Each week the Illini in the NFL update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous weeks. The 2013 NFL season started over the weekend with 24 former Illini on NFL rosters. Whitney Mercilus had five tackles and sack to help the Texans to a Monday night win over San Diego, while Akeem Spence, Hugh Thornton and Michael Buchanan all made their professional debuts.  

    Whitney Mercilus, DE, Houston Texans - Mercilus registered a career high 5 tackles and a sack on Monday Night Football in a thrilling 31-28 last second win over the Chargers. Watch Mercilus sack of Phillip Rivers

    Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Arizona Cardinals - In his debut with the Cardinals, Mendenhall rushed for 60 yards on 16 carries for an average of 3.8 and a long of 11 yards. In addition, Mendenhall was in the backfield for 35 of the Cardinals 71 offensive snaps during Arizona's 27-24 loss to St. Louis. Mendenhall also caught one pass for four yards.

    Chip Shots: Ember Schuldt

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    Ember Chips.jpgGet the inside scoop and peek into the lives of the Illinois Women's Golf team with Chip Shots - the monthly blog that takes you behind the scenes. In this year's first edition, senior Ember Schuldt discusses the start of a new season and the prep work that goes into it. 

    Gameday Central | Training Camp Central

    Exactly one week from the season-opener against Southern Illinois, the Fighting Illini got a sneak peek at what the logistics of a game day at Memorial Stadium will be like. The players suited up in game uniform and took the field for a mock scrimmage of about 50 plays. After the scrimmage, the Marching Illini band and Illinettes dance team played some of their game day tunes, much to the enjoyment of the team. All the classics were played, such as "Illinois Loyalty," "Oskee Wow Wow," "War Chant," "Seven Nation Army," "William Tell Overture," and much more. Led by running back Donovonn Young, the team even showed off some dance moves for the band. 

    Training Camp Central

    Interviews: Beckman | O'Toole | Monheim

    I have to start off today's Training Camp update with the video that took Illini Nation by storm on Friday morning featuring junior quarterback Reilly O'Toole trying to get the football office excited because it's GAME DAY! The video was the brainchild of football graduate assistant Nubis Padhye and, in addition to O'Toole, also features incredible acting from football GA Patrick Embleton, offensive coordinator Bill Cubit, Coach Beckman and tight ends coach Alex Golesh, assistant director of player personnel Matt Sinclar and Padhye himself. Oscar nominations coming? I have no doubts. 

    Here's the video, which had over 25,000 views in its first 3 days (count had to be reset on 8/28): 

    Training Camp Day 18 Notes & Links

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    practice 8-22-13.JPGPost-Practice Interviews: Beckman | Barr | Cajuste

    Thursday was move-in day for thousands of University of Illinois students, but the Illini football team continued to prepare for its season-opener against Southern Illinois. With only nine days until kickoff, Illinois has fully moved into game-week style practices, fine-tuning its game plan for the Salukis.

    Training Camp Day 17: Almost Game Week

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    ManBerg destripe.jpeg

    Post-Practice Interviews: Beckman | Cubit | Lankford

    Illinois moved to the grass practice fields on the east side of Memorial Stadium on Wednesday, as temperatures rose to the mid-80s. The team continued to install and fine-tune the Southern Illinois game plan in a workout that lasted nearly two hours.

    Training Camp Day 16: Back in Champaign

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    Training Camp Central

    Tuesday videos: Beckman | Banks | Cubit | Kynard

    After eight days in Rantoul, the Illini returned to Champaign Tuesday for the remainder of training camp. They conducted a final set of special teams and position meetings at Camp Rantoul before busing back to campus and treating the day's practice as an 11 a.m. game.

    photo 2_8.19.13.JPGTraining Camp Central

    Post-Practice Interviews: Beckman | Brown | Scheelhaase

    The Fighting Illini held their final practice at Camp Rantoul on Monday. After nine practices in eight days, the team will return to Champaign on Tuesday where they'll finish training camp and start preparation for the August 31 season-opener against Southern Illinois. 


    The Fighting Illini got a much needed, and much deserved day off on Sunday. After a closed scrimmage at Memorial Stadium Saturday night, the Illini returned to Rantoul and enjoyed a relaxing Sunday afternoon at the Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center, which is adjacent to the Camp Rantoul practice fields. Some of the players let loose on the water slides and diving boards, while others watched and lounged in the lagoon area of the pool. 

    FreezePops-Pickles.jpgTraining Camp Central | Beckman AM | Beckman PM

    The Fighting Illini held their 14th training camp practice Friday morning, the front-end of their third two-a-day this week at Camp Rantoul. As has been the case after the first of each two-a-day session, the players enjoyed freeze pops and pickles, along with the usual Gatorade, while taking their ice baths right after practice. 

    Why freeze pops and pickles? According to Illinois director of sports nutrition Chelsea Zenner, it's important for the players to replenish their bodies with carbs and sodium within 30 minutes of the end of practice. Needless to say, they've been a hit with the players.


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