Spring practice for college football teams wont’ be happening anytime soon. The time when a lot of schools welcome in early-enrollees, improve in areas from the previous season and get acclimated to any coaching changes is now — at the very best — seriously delayed.
But for a team like Illinois, which entered the spring season with some injuries from the previous season, the break from spring practice will at least provide players with a chance to get healthy for the upcoming season. That’s the approach linebacker Jake Hansen is taking, at least.
“We weren’t the healthiest going into spring ball, so it’s going to help us a lot getting everyone healthy,” Hansen said on Monday, according to Gavin Good of the Peoria Journal Star. Hansen also continued to say that he is “100 percent health” after suffering an injury last year, but probably wouldn’t have participated much in spring.
#Illini linebacker Jake Hansen: "We weren't the healthiest going into spring ball, so it's going to help us a lot getting everyone healthy."
— Gavin Good (@itsallG_O_O_D) March 23, 2020
It is an optimistic outlook for the Illini after battling some injuries last fall, and in years past. While Lovie Smith’s bunch would’ve benefited greatly from spring practice, at the very least they’ll have time to recover and hit the ground running this fall.
Last season, Illinois finished with a 6-7 record and appeared in the Redbox Bowl, making its first postseason appearance since 2014. The Illini are hoping to make back-to-back bowl games for just the fourth time in program history.