Illini Prepare For Saturday Scrimmage


Aug. 18, 2000

PRACTICE NOTES: The Illinois football team worked out in 70 and 80-degree temperatures for Friday's double session practices. In an intense 30 minutes of team work during the morning padded practice, quarterback Kurt Kittner was 11-of-13 for 230 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown to sophomore receiver Greg Lewis. Sophomore Walter Young had three catches for 63 yards, while tight end Brian Hodges pulled down a 40-yard reception.

Fans can get their first glimpse of the Illini in action Saturday at the Camp Rantoul scrimmage scheduled for 7 p.m. at Rantoul High School. For the past three seasons, the Illinois football team has been gauging its success of fall camp with a two-hour workout at the local high school where admission is free to the public. Part of the scrimmage will pit the first-team offense against the first-team defense. The offense will be sporting blue jerseys and the defense will be wearing white.

"The big thing we are looking for (out of this scrimmage) is to see who is going to perform when the lights go on and the coaches leave the field in a game situation with fans in the stands," head coach Ron Turner said. "We are looking to stay healthy. We want to see good intensity, good emotion and good execution. We want to see who is going to play within the system and who is going to make the plays."

In media interviews on Friday, Turner couldn't stress enough the impact this Rantoul community has had on the team over the past three years. "Rantoul is like a second home for us," Turner said. "They are like family here. I hope we can stay here forever."

"EGGS-CELLENT" HANDS: A Turner family tradition may help Fighting Illini receivers improve their pass-catching skills. To help Illini receivers concentrate on the ball and to develop soft hands, the Illinois team has gone through several dozen eggs this week in post-practice "egg-toss" sessions. When a few players were having trouble catching passes, head coach Ron Turner remembered how his family was involved in a neighborhood "egg-toss" contest each Easter. Now, graduate assistant coach (and Turner's nephew) Dan O'Dell is the designated "egg-tosser" after practice. Not wanting to count the chickens before they hatched, Turner will be watching to see if this idea is "sunny-side up" and not "scrambled."


Saturday, Aug. 19       7 p.m. (at Rantoul HS)
Monday, Aug. 21         8:30 a.m./3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 22        8:30 a.m./1:45 p.m.