A new era of Illinois is soon getting underway.

The Fighting Illini are preparing for the start of spring practice, marking the first time new head coach Bret Bielema will be on the practice field with his team. Last season’s squad finished with a 2-5 record and is looking to turn heads in Year 1 of the Bielema era.

On Thursday, Bielema met with reporters to preview the upcoming spring practice schedule, talk about potential position changes, speak on recruiting and plenty more. He’s clearly excited to be back in the B1G as a head coach.

Illinois’ 2021 season kicks off in a big way, hosting Nebraska in Week 0 to open up the B1G season. It’s a tough game right out of the gate for the Illini, so Bielema understands his team has to make the most of spring practices.

Here’s what Bielema had to say while meeting with the media on Thursday: