The Daily Illini

Redshirt freshman Isaiah Williams throws the football during practice on March 23.

Peters, Williams battle for starting quarterback spot

By Josh Pietsch, Assistant On-Air Editor April 15, 2021

On a football field, the most important player is the one under center at quarterback. For the Illini, who have two players with starting experience at the position, there is a seemingly tight battle for...

Illinois head football coach Bret Bielema and his wife Jen Bielema pose for a photo with their daughters Briella and Brexli in front of the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center on Dec. 12. The Bielema family hopes to reside in Champaign for a long time.

Coming home: Bielema family reunited after months apart

By Gabby Hajduk, Staff Writer April 8, 2021

Bret Bielema had been planning a March 26 reunion with his wife, Jen, and young daughters, Briella and Brexli, for months. Not seeing his family since a short stay in New Jersey for Christmas, Bret hoped...

Illinois running backs coach Cory Patterson runs through a drill with a few players. Patterson is coming up on his fourth season with the Illini and is the only coach Bret Bielema kept from Lovie Smith’s staff.

Cory Patterson works with new coaching staff, position group in year four with Illini

By Josh Pietsch, Assistant On-Air Editor April 8, 2021

Illinois football running backs coach Cory Patterson was the lone coach retained by Bret Bielema from Lovie Smith’s coaching staff. Patterson is moving to coaching running backs after spending the past...

Junior Daniel Barker runs drills during practice on Tuesday morning. Barker, as well as senior Luke Ford, will be important pieces for Bielema’s offense next season.

Ford, Barker look to become more involved as tight ends gain importance

By Gabby Hajduk, Staff Writer April 5, 2021

While Illinois football might be a little thin at the wide receiver position this year, Bret Bielema inherited two talented veteran tight ends to incorporate into his new system: Daniel Barker and Luke...

The Illinois football team’s offensive line performs drills during practice Sunday. Several offensive line veterans are returning for another year at Illinois.

Illini offensive line returns veterans, comes back tougher under new coach Bart Miller

By Josh Pietsch, Assistant On-Air Editor April 1, 2021

After being just the second hire made by head coach Bret Bielema, new offensive line coach Bart Miller caught the eye of many with an impressive opening press conference. High expectations for the young...

Defensive back Marquez Beason talks to new head coach Bret Bielema on the sidelines during practice Tuesday morning. Five Illini players are looking to have a breakout spring campaign, including Beason.

Five players to watch as Illini continue spring practices

By Gabby Hajduk, Staff Writer March 30, 2021

The Illinois football team has officially completed week one of spring football and is just three weeks away from the Orange and Blue spring game. While players are still adjusting to head coach Bret Bielema’s...

Assistant head Coach and wide receivers coach George McDonald prepares players at a lifting and conditioning practice for Illini football on Tuesday. Though McDonald may be a new coach, he brings hope for a better team in the future.

George McDonald sees quick improvements in inexperienced receiver corps

By Gabby Hajduk, Staff Writer March 29, 2021

When Illinois football took the field at Memorial Stadium Tuesday for its first spring practice, emotions were high. New coaches walked onto the grass with a whistle in hand for the first time, while...

Junior Chase Brown completes a drill during the University of Illinois’s first football practice on Tuesday. New head coach Bret Bielema has been making changes to the Illini’s offense and defense after taking over for former head coach Lovie Smith in December.

Illini make changes on offense, defense as spring practices begin under new staff

By Josh Pietsch, Assistant On-Air Editor March 25, 2021

Tuesday morning, the Illinois football team started spring football and practiced for the first time under new head coach Bret Bielema, and an almost entirely new staff. With the new staff, though, comes...

Redshirt senior Josh Imatorbhebhe jumps to catch a pass during the game against UConn on Sept. 7, 2019. Imatorbhebhe is now training for the NFL draft.

Illini provide confidence for Imatorbhebhe with NFL career on deck

By Carson Gourdie, Assistant Sports Editor March 9, 2021

He was a talented Georgia product who had his sights set out west. A four-star recruit, Josh Imatorbhebhe signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Southern California, a place that produces...

Senior Jake Hansen tackles the opposing ball carrier during the game against Northwestern on Dec. 12. Hansen has decided to return to the Illini for a sixth season.

Jake Hansen puts NFL dreams on hold, has unfinished business in Champaign

By Carson Gourdie, Assistant Sports Editor March 4, 2021

Five years is a long time in college, and Jake Hansen decided it was best if he passed up the NCAA’s offer for an extra season. It didn’t matter that Bret Bielema sparked new life into the program....

Senior linebacker Jake Hansen stands ready on the line of scrimmage during the game against Rutgers on Nov. 15.

Linebacker Jake Hansen announces return to Illini

By Josh Pietsch, Staff Writer March 1, 2021

Illinois senior linebacker Jake Hansen has announced his return to the team for a fifth year of eligibility. Despite declaring for the NFL draft earlier this year, Hansen announced via the Illinois Football...

Former Illini running back Reggie Corbin rushes the ball during a game against Wisconsin at Memorial Stadium on Oct. 19, 2019. Corbin signed a deal with the BC Lions in Canada to continue his playing career.

Reggie Corbin looks to jump-start football career in Canada

By Carson Gourdie, Assistant Sports Editor February 22, 2021

Former Illini running back Reggie Corbin possessed speed, quickness and a canning ability to catch a defense off-guard early.  But with his college days over a year past him now, the All-Academic Big...

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