April 11, 2013
2013 Orange and Blue Spring Game
The Fighting Illini conclude their 15 spring workouts on Friday, April 12, with the Orange and Blue Spring Game, presented by Fighting Illini Energy. The annual scrimmage will be played under the lights at Memorial Stadium and wil be televised live on the Big Ten Network at 8 p.m. CDT.
The Orange and Blue teams were determined by a player draft on Tuesday evening. The seniors were divided in half before selecting their teammates and coaching staff. View Rosters
Due to depth issues, nine players - Robbie Bain, Abe Cajuste, Tim Clary, Tony Durkin, Chase Haslett, Samuel Ogunkoya, David Reisner, Cameron Tucker and Sean White - are listed on both rosters and could play on both teams throughout the game.
The game will be played with a normal clock for the first three quarters and a running clock in the fourth (except for the final two minutes if the game is close).
All drives after a score will start on the 30 yard line.
All punts will be fair caught.
Field goals will be kicked but there will be no rush.
Quarterbacks will not be live (if they're touched, they're tackled)
Spring Game Coverage on the Big Ten Network
The Big Ten Network televise the Illinois spring football game live, in high definition at 8 p.m. CDT on Friday, April 12, and will be replayed on Saturday morning, April 13, at 10 a.m. CDT. It will also be streamed live on BTN2Go. Brian Barnhart, former Illinois linebacker J Leman and Kara Lentz will call the game. BTN also will have highlights and analysis from the weekend's Big Ten spring games on Saturday night at 10 p.m. CDT on B1G Tonight Spring Football Edition with Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith.
Ten early enrollees - five mid-year high school graduates and five junior college transfers - are on campus and participating in spring practices, hoping to get a jump on playing time for the fall. The early high school grads are defensive backs Dillan Cazley and Darius Mosely and offensive linemen Jesse Chadwell, Christian Dilauro and Austin Schmidt. The junior college transfers are wide receiver Martize Barr, defensive lineman Abe Cajuste, star Eric Finney, offensive lineman Dallas Hinkhouse and safety Zane Petty.
In additon to the new faces on the field, five new assistant coaches have joined Tim Beckman's staff for the 2013 season. Former Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit will take over as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, and he's joined by his former offensive line coach at Western Michigan A.J. Ricker. A pair of former Illini players, Mike Bellamy (wide receivers) and Greg Colby (defensive line), returned to their alma mater as coaches. Also joining the staff this season is Al Seamonson (outside linebackers), most recently at Central Florida. Marcus Berry also has joined the staff as the director of player personnel.
Illini Merchandise Sale
The DIA and Gameday Spirit Fan Store will host a Fighting Illini merchandise sale on Friday, April 12, in conjunction with the Spring Game. Shoppers will be able to purchase used Illinois team-issued gear in addition to new officially licensed Fighting Illini clothing and souvenirs at discount prices in the Great East Hall of Memorial Stadium from 4 p.m. through halftime of the Spring Game. Free parking is available in the Assembly Hall north quadrant lots.
Football Family Fun Fest Set for April 20
The Fighting Illini football team will host the annual Football Family Fun Fest on Saturday, April 20, from 10-11:30 a.m. on the playing field at Memorial Stadium. Fans will be able to meet the coaching staff and collect autographs, take photos and participate in a variety of fun activities with Illinois players. Football drills and competitions will be available for youngsters age 13 and under in addition to inflatable games like bounce house, obstacle course and giant slide.
Football Family Fun Fest is free and open to the public. Free parking will be available in the NW and NE parking lots of Assembly Hall and in the grass lot west of the stadium if weather permits. In the case of inclement weather, the event will be moved to the Irwin Indoor Practice Facility.
New Scoreboard on the Way
When the 2013 season kicks off, Fighting Illini fans will see a new Daktronics video display at Memorial Stadium. The south end zone is set to receive a new HD video display measuring 36 feet tall by 96 feet wide. Directly below the main video display, a new custom football scoreboard will be installed to show the score, time outs left, down and distance, game time remaining, and quarter information. An identical scoreboard (without video display) already has been installed above the north end zone seats. In addition, a new supplemental ribbon display will be installed below the custom football scoreboard in the south end that will measure over 50 feet wide. The new video board will not be installed in time for the Spring Game on April 12, but will be ready for the 2013 season.
Illini to Host Chicago Homecoming at Soldier Field Sept. 14
On Aug. 7, 2012, Illinois Athletics Director Mike Thomas announced that the Fighting Illini will play the Washington Huskies at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sept. 14, 2013. The game, which is billed as "Chicago Homecoming," will mark Illinois' second game at the historic home of the Chicago Bears. Illinois' only other game at Soldier Field was against current Pac-12 member Washington State on Sept. 1, 1994, a 10-9 victory for the Cougars. The 2013 contest against Washington will be Illinois' first in the city of Chicago since the 48-27 victory over Northwestern at Wrigley Field on Nov. 20, 2010. Tickets for the Sept. 14 Chicago Homecoming game are available now at the UI Athletic Ticket office, by calling 1-866-ILLINI-1 or online.
2013 Season Tickets on Sale Now
Season tickets for the 2013 season are on sale now. Sideline season ticket prices remain the same as last year for the seven-game schedule, $230 for seats outside the 20 yard-lines and $315 for prime locations between the 20s on each side. Single-game tickets, which go on sale on July 23, will be $49 for Big Ten contests and $39 for non-conference games.
Horseshoe and student season ticket prices remain an incredible value at $99 (less than $15 per game), while a new section of $99 family-rate season tickets also are available this season. Horseshoe tickets once again span sections 109-122, the new family-rate tickets are in section 102, while the student season tickets remain in the north end zone (sections 132-137) and in section 101.
Getting it Done in the Classroom
The football team once again excelled in the classroom during the 2012 fall semester, with 42 players earning at least a 3.0 grade-point average, three more than in Spring 2012 and six more than last fall. As a team, the Illini posted a 2.70 cumulative GPA, up from a 2.60 last fall and on par with the 2.71 posted in spring 2012. In addition, 18 Fighting Illini earned Academic All-Big Ten status in the fall.
Five Fighting Illini football student-athletes graduated at the end of the fall 2012 semester: fullback Zach Becker (kinesiology), defensive back Jack Ramsey (communication), quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (communication), defensive tackle Akeem Spence (communication) and tight end Eddie Viliunas (communication). Both Scheelhaase and Spence completed their degrees in three-and-a-half years and have a year of football eligibility remaining. Scheelhaase has started graduate school in recreation, sport and tourism this spring, while Spence has declared for the 2013 NFL Draft, passing up his final year on the football field with an Illinois degree in hand.
Preparing for the Draft
Four former Illinois players showcased their talents at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, Feb. 23-26 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Illini defensive end Michael Buchanan, defensive back Terry Hawthorne, defensive tackle Akeem Spence and offensive lineman Hugh Thornton all had strong performances in front of hundreds of NFL scouts, coaches and general managers in preparation for the 2013 NFL Draft, which will take place April 25-27 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Illinois has had 15 players drafted in the last five years, including five first-round picks, the most in the most by a Big Ten school during that time.