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Lovie: Fine tuning for Wisconsin underway

Written by corres2

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Illinois football opens the 2020 season in just more than two weeks in Madison, Wis. When the Illini play, though, is still to be determined. Kickoff hasn’t been set, and the actual day of the game — scheduled now for Oct. 24 — likely fungible with the Big Ten initially saying the season could begin the weekend of Oct. 23-24.

Lovie Smith’s fifth team continued its revised training camp Tuesday morning after an off day Monday. Here’s some of what the Illinois coach had to say afterward:

The opener in Madison

We’re not, by any means, ready to play Wisconsin yet. We’ll be ready, but we’re not yet. … I think every coach you talk to more than two weeks out would tell you we’re not ready to play yet. We’re right on time, but we’re not ready. What do we want to get accomplished? Everything. Nothing is fine tuned yet. We have most of the situations in. Now you’ll just keep trying to get better at them daily. Practice, experience. All that helps. That’s where we are. I’m not displeased at all by any means.

Passing game improvement

I feel like every time I’ve talked I’ve talked about my confidence in what (quarterback Brandon Peters) can do in our system. We want to take another step. Passing game wise, we had some big plays thrown up — especially to Josh (Imatorbhebhe), but we have other weapons. I’m anxious to see how we spread the ball around a lot more, and get this next group of running backs really involved with our offense.

Backup quarterbacks

If you’re a guy in a backup role, especially the quarterback position, Brandon has missed some games in the past. If I’m a backup quarterback I’d say there’s a chance I may have to play. Last year I had to play. We pretty much have the same quarterback group, so guys know that they have to be ready. We don’t have to tell them that, and they will be ready. We’ve seen improvement from the Matt Robinsons and Coran Taylors. All of our quarterbacks have really made improvement throughout.

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

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