A crowd of nearly 100 people watched the Illini Sunday afternoon workout at Camp Rantoul.
Aug. 13, 2000
PRACTICE NOTES: After a gloomy morning that threatened rain, the Illini took to the field under sunny afternoon skies for a single session, Sunday. The Illini took the morning off for meetings and rest from the previous days workouts and returned fresh for the 3:30 p.m. practice. The stands of the former Chanute Air Force Base were filled to capacity for the two-hour workout that included team and individual drills and intense conditioning in light shoulder pads and shorts. Among those in attendance were the Rouse, Lewis, Young (Walter), and Washington (Terrell) families spending a Sunday afternoon cheering on their favorite Illini player.
"It was a good practice on both sides of the ball," head coach Ron Turner said "Most of the ones are doing a good job, the twos and threes need to play that way, too. We have got to find back-ups that can play at that level."
MORE RANKINGS: In the soon-to-be-released ESPN The Magazine college football preseason issue, the Fighting Illini squad is rated 24th and one of six Big Ten teams to be ranked. The magazine also rated Kurt Kittner the fourth best quarterback nationally behind Purdue's Drew Brees, Virginia Tech's Michael Vick and Georgia's Quincy Carter. Kittner was given an A for his guts, B+ for his wheels, B+ for his gun and an A for his gray matter.
POSITION SPOTLIGHT - TIGHT ENDS: In 1999, tight ends were responsible for six of Kittner's 24 touchdowns and are ready to make that more in 2000. Senior Josh Whitman and junior Brian Hodges are leading a group of underclassmen which includes redshirt freshman Kenny Boyle and freshman Anthony McClellan who are already showing good things in these preseason workouts.
"I think we are continuing to get better every day," senior tight end Josh Whitman said. "We are working hard on improving on technique and becoming a more sound unit. The younger guys need to work on becoming more physical, but I think we have some real talent this year."
LET'S GO BOWLING - LITERALLY: The results of the 3rd Annual Camp Rantoul Bowling Tournament are in and once again the special teams unit took the team prize. Team captain Patrick Rouse led his unit to its third straight title - undefeated in as many years. Individually, Jeff Ruffin also posted the squad's best score (175) for the second consecutive year.
UPCOMING EVENTS: Monday, Aug. 14 8:30 a.m./3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15 8:30 a.m./3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17 8:30 a.m./3:30 p.m.