Illinois will battle Virginia in the Micronpc.com Bowl on Dec. 30.
Dec. 26, 1999
MIAMI - In sunny 70-degree weather on Sunday afternoon, the University of Illinois football team began preparation for the December 30 contest against the Virginia Cavaliers. The Illini worked for two hours on special teams and individual position drills, as well as 7-on-7 scrimmage work.
"I was very happy with the first day of practice out here," said head coach Ron Turner. "I thought we got in a lot of good work today and the weather was great for us. Our focus could have been better, but that is a little bit to be expected."
A CELEBRITY SHOWING: Long-time friend of Coach Turner and Miami Dolphin assistant Dave Wannstedt made an appearance at practice today, while the Dolphins had a day off preparing for their Monday night contest with the New York Jets. Wannstedt had very favorable things to say about the Illini and Turner.
When asked if he was surprised with the tremendous Illini turnaround he stated, "I wasn't surprised at all. Ron has done that everywhere he has gone. He did it at USC with me, at Texas A&M and at Pitt when they were having good seasons.
"Ron has been able to pretty much keep the nucleus of his coaching staff intact, which really helps the program. I thought it was a great opportunity for Ron and Wendy and the kids to go to Illinois. It is always good to jump on a head coaching position, but I really felt Illinois was great for him with all the tradition Illinois has."
CRUISING IN STYLE: The Fighting Illini traveled to the Micronpc.com Bowl Welcome Reception in style as they made a grand entrance on a cruise boat. Both teams and travel parties were treated to a cruise and tour of the Ft. Lauderdale intercoastal waters which are filled with mansions of the rich and famous of the South Florida area.
Team captains Steve Havard, Danny Clark, Neil Rackers and Ray Redziniak joined four Virginia players in a friendly football trivia contest in front of the crowd of 1500 fans who were on hand to take part in the kickoff festivities.