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Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany paid a visit to Saturday morning's practice in Champaign. Delany spoke to the team in the Memorial Stadium squad room, where he was presented with an Illinois helmet and #25 jersey in honor of his 25 years as B1G commissioner, before taking in practice with Big Ten chief communications officer Diane Dietz, Illinois executive senior associate AD Jason Lener and former Illinois AD Ron Guenther, who is now a consultant for the Big Ten. Delany also did a few interviews, including one with Illini Productions, during the sixth stop of his 12-stop conference tour during training camp. Full recaps and photos from each visit can be found on the Big Ten Blog at bigten.org. 

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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.  


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The Fighting Illini held their fourth and final split-squad practice Thursday on an unseasonably cool, overcast day on the Memorial Stadium grass fields. Dressed in shorts and shells for the second straight day, the blue team had a quick turnaround with a morning workout right after going Wednesday night, while the orange squad was on the field for Thursday's evening session. 

Coach Beckman was pleased with what the split-squad practices accomplished. "Reps, teaching the young kids as fast as we could, building camaraderie among their group and then seeing them come together tomorrow," Beckman said of the split practices. "It's what we've done and it's been successful."

The Illini take the field as a full team for the first time tomorrow and will also be in full pads for the first time this training camp. Look for video of the always intense "gauntlet" drill sometime tomorrow afternoon. 

Training Camp Day 3 Links & Notes

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Training Camp Central | Buy 2013 Football Tickets

Post-Practice Interviews: 

Coach Beckman | DC Banks | OL Coach Ricker | LB Monheim

The Fighting Illini passed the halfway point of the four split practices on a warmer, humid Wednesday. After two days of wearing only helmets, the team strapped on shoulder pads for the first time on Wednesday. The Orange team had the quick turnaround after practicing on Tuesday evening, while Blue waited until Wednesday afternoon. Thursday will be the last day of the split practices and the team will go in full pads for the first time on Friday morning.

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Post-Practice Interviews:
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.

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Post-Practice Interviews: 
Coach Beckman | OC Cubit | LB Brown | QB Lunt

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. 

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Photo Gallery | ESPN.com Chat

Fighting Illini football coach Tim Beckman made the rounds at ESPN Headquarters on Thursday, doing nine interviews in three hours as part of the Big Ten "car wash" in Bristol, Conn, over the last two days.

The day started off with a hitch, as dense fog at Champaign's Willard Airport pushed our flight to Hartford back an hour. After landing and making the short trip from Hartford to Bristol, Coach Beckman, his wife Kim and daughter Lindsay, arrived at ESPN at 11:45, about 45 minutes after the scheduled start of the "car wash" schedule. That meant we had some catching up to do.

Flip the Switch!

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IMG_5564-blog.jpgThe new 96' by 36' Daktronics HD video display at Memorial Stadium was turned on for the first time on Friday and it was magnificent. The Illini Productions video crew was able to do some testing on the main board in the south end zone as well as the new east and west ribbon boards and the auxiliary video screens on the east side. The frame around the video display is still getting the finishing touches put on until it looks like this, and the new sound system is not quite ready to go yet, but there's still plenty of time to get everything up and running before the Aug. 31 season-opener vs. Southern Illinois. 

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Photos | Sights and SoundsBeckman on SportsTalk Live

Illini Football Twitter | Illini Athletics Instagram | Day 1 Recap

After eight hours of interviews and photo shoots on Wednesday, the Fighting Illini were back it bright and early on Thursday for the second and final day of Big Ten Football Media Days and Kickoff Luncheon at the Hilton Chicago. 

Head Coach Tim Beckman and seniors Tim Kynard, Corey Lewis and Nathan Scheelhaase started things off with breakfast at 7:30 before heading to media roundtable interviews for two hours. This is probably the toughest part for the players, as they just sit in the same seat for two straight hours answering the same questions over and over, the same ones they answered over and over to the TV networks the day before. As expected, the Illini had a steady stream of media attention throughout the session and, as expected, they handled themselves well. 

Big Ten Media Days: Day 1

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Beckman Press Conference: Video | Transcript

Player Interviews: Scheelhaase | Kynard | Lewis

PhotosIllini Football Twitter | Illini Athletics Instagram

The unofficial end to summer, Big Ten Football Media Days and Kickoff Luncheon, began Wednesday at the Hilton Chicago. Over 500 media were credentialed for the two-day event, where the college football world gathered to get an early read on one of the nation's top conferences.