New Illinois coach Bret Bielema already has an idea of what he’s going to prioritize as the Illini’s head coach.

During a radio interview on Saturday morning, Bielema discussed how much experience he has recruiting the state of Illinois and said it would be a priority for all 10 of his assistant coaches.

He also told a humorous anecdote about a time he was “stuck in a shed” with New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton:


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As for the rest of his staff, that’s still to be determined. Bielema said he hasn’t discussed openings with any potential candidates.

Bielema has experience coaching all over the Big Ten and the mid west in general, so he’ll likely have no shortage of candidates with regional ties to interview. In addition to being the head coach at Arkansas and Wisconsin, he’s been an assistant at Kansas State and Iowa. He was also an assistant for the Badgers for two years before getting the head job.

His first test as Illinois’ head coach will come in early February for National Signing Day. The Illini signed 14 players during the Early Signing Period.

Bielema replaces Lovie Smith after a 2-5 season.