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    Annual High School Coaches Clinic Wraps Up

    April 1, 2006


    AUDIO - Post-practice with Head Coach Ron Zook

    The University of Illinois football team stepped up the intensity Saturday with the first full-padded session of the spring practice season. The team worked out for two hours on the grass practice fields in front of a crowd of more than 1,000 fans, coaches and recruits. After an energized, competitive workout, the squad finished up with conditioning.

    "I don't want people to think it wasn't a good practice because it was a pretty good day," Head Coach Ron Zook said. "But we needed to let them know that their play needs to match our expectations. I want to see them be their best every day. In my mind, we are practicing like our game is tomorrow.

    "We got an awful lot (of the offense and defense) in right now. There is more in than all of spring last year. And we are in good condition. These guys are probably in the best shape of their lives."

    Some of the coaches arrived in Champaign-Urbana early enough to observe Thursday afternoon's practice.

    Illinois Head Coach Ron Zook was one of the featured speakers on the main stage at the Assembly Hall Friday morning.

    UI special teams/linebackers coach Dan Disch visits with one of the high school coaches between sessions at the Assembly Hall.

    Informal conversations among fellow coaches are one of the many valuable activities that take place each year at the coaches' clinic.

    Wilson, which manufactures footballs, as well as a broad range of sporting goods, was among the many exhibitors which showed their wares at booths in the Assembly Hall's upper concourse.

    Books and videotapes on coaching strategies and techniques were very popular items for sale at the clinic.

    The high school coaches enjoyed time on the Memorial Stadium field Friday afternoon with the Fighting Illini coaches.

    Ed Warinner demonstrates offensiv e line footwork to the onlooking coaches during the session.

    Illini defensive line coach Tom Sims, with the help of graduating senior defensive tackle Ryan Matha, shows the coaches some ways for pass rushers to shed blocks.

    Later it was Dino Dawson's turn to address the coaches concerning route-running techniques for wide receivers.

    UI defensive backs coach Curt Mallory takes time after his teaching session to answer some questions.

    Coach Zook takes advantage of a little one-on-one time with one of the high school coaches.

    Strength and conditioning coach Lou Hernandez demonstrated a number of strategies for stretching and improving players' speed and strength at the Irwin Indoor Practice Facility.

    The coaches, some 1500 strong, enjoyed a cookout in the West Great Hall of Memorial Stadium Friday evening.

    COACHES CLINIC WRAPS UP: The annual Illinois High School Football Coaches Association clinic wrapped up after three days on Saturday afternoon prior to the Illini practice session. Over 1,100 coaches arrived on the University of Illinois campus on Thursday afternoon to attend coaching demonstrations, presentations and to induct 12 new members into the Illinois High School Coaches Hall of Fame. Among the new inductees is former Illini defensive back Bill Kleckner (1972-74), father of 2005 senior safety Kyle Kleckner.

    "This is my second year involved in the clinic and it is by far the most organized, well-attended high school coaches' clinic I have seen in my time in coaching," Zook said. "This is such an invaluable weekend for us as a coaching staff -- to have over 1,000 coaches on our campus, able to watch our practices and see what kind of tempo we run, what kind of kids we need to run our offense and defense.

    The high school coaches seemed to find the weekend very valuable, according to Jim Innis of Argo, Ill., and Greg King of Sterling, Ill.
    VIDEO of their comments

    Friday night consisted of sessions with the entire Illinois coaching staff, followed by a chalk talk and social hour. This year's keynote speaker was University of Georgia head coach Mark Richt who spoke Friday morning, followed by an hour-long session with Zook.

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