Illini Training Camp: Day 10

Aug. 13, 2014

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Interviews: Coach Beckman PM | Coach Beckman AM | Coach Cubit AM

RANTOUL, Ill. - The Fighting Illini held their second two-a-day practice of Camp Rantoul on Wednesday, beginning with a fast-paced morning session that lasted just shy of two hours.

While the offense's highlights - including a few pretty passes from Wes Lunt to Mike Dudek and strong runs from Josh Ferguson, Donovonn Young and Devin Church - caught many eyes, the defense also counted a few attention-grabbing plays, including an Earnest Thomas III interception where he wrestled a deep ball out of Dudek's hands and a pick-six by T.J. Neal Jr.

After practice, a number of kids from the nearby Little Wings Day Care stopped by and slapped hands with Illini players as they exited the field. Head coach Tim Beckman and a number of players chatted with them and thanked them for coming to practice.

The Illini returned to action in the afternoon, holding another two-hour practice on the Camp Rantoul fields. This time in full pads, Illinois continued to fine-tune fundamentals in the individual periods and hone team concepts in the 7-on-7, inside running and 11-on-11 portions.

During the day's second practice, the Illini coaches' wives held a food drive and fundraiser for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, accepting donations of food and funds in exchange for a pork chop on a stick. Beckman's wife, Kim, was thrilled with the turnout of Illini fans and the proceeds of the drive.

Along with the food and fund drive, a pair of youth football teams practiced on the field just west of the fields of the Illini use, then after both the Rantoul Falcons and the Fighting Illini finished their practices, the Illinois players greeted, took pictures with and signed autographs for the kids.

De-Striping Update
Junior college transfer defensive lineman Joe Fotu and freshman linebacker Tre Watson happily hung their helmet stripes on the whiteboard on Wednesday morning, then freshmen Chayce Crouch and Tito Odenigbo shed their stripes in the evening as they were de-striped for their performance so far in camp. Illini newcomers begin training camp with a single white stripe on their practice helmets. If their teammates and the coaching staff deem them worthy, newcomers can earn their way to being "de-striped" through hard work during training camp. The action signifies that the player is no longer being considered a newcomer to the team.

Newcomers who have been "de-striped"
WR Geronimo Allison, 8/9
LEO Carroll Phillips, 8/9
WR Mike Dudek, 8/9
DL Jihad Ward, 8/9
OL Nick Allegretti, 8/11 AM
LB Henry McGrew, 8/11 AM
WR Malik Turner, 8/11 AM
OL Jake Angona, 8/11 PM
DL Paul James III, 8/11 PM
DB Chris James, 8/12
OL Peter Cvijanovic, 8/12
DL Joe Fotu, 8/13 AM
LB Tre Watson, 8/13 AM
QB Chayce Crouch, 8/13 PM
DL Tito Odenigbo, 8/13 PM

Illinois will have one practice on Thursday beginning at 4:15 p.m.