Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pigskin in the spring

Spring practice has begun for the Illini with Rashard Mendenhall and Arrelious Benn being two of the players expected to step up this year if the Illini are to improve upon last season's win total. And from the sounds of it, Ron Zook is not going to tolerate anyone failing to bring intensity at all times. That is something I appreciate from a head coach.

For those of you wanting to check out Mendenhall, Benn, Juice Williams, and the rest of the team, you have a couple of chances to do so in April. There will be a spring game in Chicago on April 14th followed by a spring game in Champaign on April 21st. For more details, please read the official information below that was sent out by the university:


The Fighting Illini football team will bring a Spring Game to Chicago for what is believed to be the first time since the 1970s. The event will be held at 1 PM on Saturday, April 14 at St. Rita of Cascia High School , a college prep school located in Chicago 's south side. Admission is free.

Combined with Coach Ron Zook's recruiting successes, the Illinois Renaissance project, "construction pricing" including $60 horseshoe season tickets, and an amazing 2007 home schedule (including Michigan , Wisconsin and Penn State ), the Chicago Spring Game serves as yet another example of the energy and excitement that is building around the Fighting Illini football program. The special event further extends the meaning of the 2007 Fighting Illini football theme "It's a Brand New Ballgame" as well as the Illinois Athletics tagline, "Illinois: It's Where We Live. It's Who We Cheer."

"We are fortunate to have a progressive and driven coach like Ron Zook," said Assistant Director of Athletics for Sales and Marketing Chris Hanna. "Coach Zook is passionate about all aspects of Illinois football - from winning games to recruiting to making contact with our fan base and filling Memorial Stadium. We are very excited about both the Chicago Spring Game and the annual Spring Game in Champaign ."

The Fighting Illini will host the Champaign Spring Game at 1 PM on Saturday, April 21 at Memorial Stadium. Admission to the Champaign Spring Game, which also serves as the final spring practice, is $5. The $5 Champaign Spring Game ticket will also allow fans to enter two events that take place just prior to football as part of the Spring Sports Festival. Fans can show their football ticket at Saturday's Noon men's tennis match with Minnesota as well as the Noon softball game against Ohio State for free admission.

The Champaign Spring Game ticket is also good for Friday's (April 20) 6 p.m. softball game against Ohio State , Sunday's (April 22) Noon men's tennis match against Iowa , and Sunday's 11 a.m. softball doubleheader against Penn State . The Champaign Spring Game is sponsored by The News-Gazette, WDWS and WHMS.

Illinois: It's Where We Live. It's Who We Cheer.
Call 866-ILLINI1 or buy online at

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