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."

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.