The Illinois Football spring season was supposed to be nearing the end of the first week of practice.
Instead, head coach Lovie Smith had to meet with reporters via a teleconference Friday morning to discuss the state of the football program, which, like all sports, has been stalled in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Here is what Smith had to say.
On the health of the team:
“As far as I know, we don’t have anyone who’s tested positive for COVID-19. But since we haven’t been tested, not known for sure. But no known cases for the staff or players.”
If there will be a 2020 season:
“I deal in facts. I assume eventually we’re going to play football. I’m watching the news, listening to the experts just like everybody else.”
“I’m optimistic football will be played.”
“Eventually, we’re going to play football...but in the meantime we are going to do what we can that is bigger than football.”
How the Illini are recruiting with new restrictions:
“You’re thrown curveballs daily. You adjust daily in recruiting.”
“Even without adding anyone (to 2020 roster), we’re confident in our football team.”
“Our recruiting plan that we had in place, nothing has changed. We have to find ways to send them videos of the University of Illinois and of our program.”
On former Illini planning to go to the NFL Draft:
“Luckily we got our Pro Day in before we left. For the most part, our guys have the information they need.”
“Our students have tutors made available remotely.”
On preparing for 2020:
“We have recruiting meetings five times a week still.”
“We finished our off-season workout program...Thursday, March 12.”
“Also mentioned that the coaches and himself are looking over film every day as well.”
“No one is in our building right now. Everyone is home and still meeting remotely.”
“[We are] Allowed to talk with our student-athletes 8 hours a week, 2 hours a day. We still have position and group meetings remotely. We get a little bit better at it each day. We’re getting a lot of good work done away from everyone.”
“Before this virus hit we were preparing to have the best season we had in our time at the University of Illinois ... nothing has changed.”