Illinois football has been in a rut for the better part of the last decade but that may be about to change.

New head coach Brett Bielema has been encouraged by how his players have approached this year’s fall camp in advance of the season.

Speaking to the media (per 247Sports), he had a lot to say about the team practicing hard:

“Guys are definitely practicing very hard, trying very hard to retain everything we asked them to do from the spring to where we are now. The thing that jumps out to me, I listen and I hear our guys practice…the football knowledge, the IQ, the acumen to be able to communicate, to get it across to one another, especially the younger players, is a very positive thing.”

He also has been a big fan of the players’ mentality heading into the season:

“I like the mentality these guys are playing with. When we say, ‘Keep stacking days,’ it’s not the physical nature. What I told you on Monday, you have to remember Tuesday. What I told you on Monday and Tuesday, you have to remember on Wednesday. That sounds easy, but at times as a football player, it’s never really thought of it that way. I like their approach in that manner.”

Bielema is looking to get Illinois back on track as they haven’t finished above .500 in a season since 2011.