Yesterday, I went to the Illini football practice with photographer Vashoune Russell. We were interested in seeing which O-Line guys got the most reps as a “starting five.”
We failed. It wasn’t really that kind of practice.
Instead, we saw Bob Ligashesky repping with the punt team. We saw Tim McGarigle running the linebacking squad through a tackling drill.
Yes, we also saw Luke Butkus working with the O-Line, but the rest of the offensive unit didn’t join them. And no particular group seemed to be working together. It was technique work, not teamwork.
While Vashoune was taking pictures of the O-Line, Mikey Dudek and Dre Brown (both in uniform, neither in pads) ran 40-yard sprints on the sidelines. Dudek wore a functional post-op ligament knee brace to keep his twice torn ACL in place. But he moved well, particularly when jumping repeatedly from left to right as a wide-receiver might do when attempting to juke a cornerback.
He appeared perfectly healthy, and by no means taking it easy. I took that as a good sign. Brown did not join in the jumping, but he too ran at top speed.
Images by Vashoune Russell.