Bret Bielema got his first glimpse of his new team.

On Wednesday, Illinois opened up spring practice, kicking of a new era of Illini football. It marks the first time Bielema has run a practice in Champaign and is the beginning of the 2021 preparations.

Last season, Illinois finished with a 2-6 record. When Bielema was hired, he was able to recruit several members of last year’s team back to Champaign, giving him an experienced and veteran team in his first year.

Still, there was some rust on the tires as the Fighting Illini hit the practice field on Wednesday. Speaking with reporters, Bielema expects to see a significant improvement when his team is the on the field next, and said that he saw “typical first day” stuff.

Here’s what Bielema had to say following Illinois’ first practice of the spring: