Spring Practice: Day Four
Illini complete second session in pads under warm and sunny skies - 3/29/99
The Fighting Illini continued spring football practice by working out in pads for the second time. Day four workouts were conducted under sunny skies and temperatures in the 60's on the East practice field of Memorial Stadium.
Monday's practice was highlighted by spirited 11-on-11 full-contact drills and 7-on-7 drills that included plenty of hitting.
Illinois continues its long-standing tradition of excellent linebackers with another deep and talented core in 1999. With experienced standouts Danny Clark and Eric Guenther sidelined after surgery, younger players are getting the opportunity to show their potential during the spring.
"A lot of guys are getting a lot of repetition," said Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach Tim Kish. "That will help us in the long run and for the fall."
Last season's starters Michael Young and Robert Franklin anchor the linebacker position during the spring while reserve players such as Mon Long, Eric Garrett, and Marcus Hood are taking on an added role in the absence of Clark and Guenther.
"All the linebackers have improved since last fall," said Kish. "They understand the defense better and have put themselves in position to be more productive this spring. Mon Long will help us at outside linebacker and Marcus Hood is showing improvement behind Robert Franklin and Eric Garrett."
One addition to the group this spring is senior Nolan Nawrocki, a former defensive back who has been converted to linebacker.
"Nawrocki has come in and shown a spark," said Kish. "He has a lot of promise despite having never played linebacker."
The Illini return to practice Wednesday, March 31 at 3 p.m. and Thursday, April 1 at 3:45 p.m. Practice on Saturday, April 3 is set for 10 a.m. The second Ron Turner media teleconference will take place Tuesday, March 30 at 11:45 a.m. Media can access the teleconference by calling (217) 244-7532.