Big Ten: 2010 camp opens

Opening camp: Michigan

August, 9, 2010
Schedule: Rich Rodriguez and the Wolverines are on the field right now in Ann Arbor for their first preseason practice.

What's new: After losing linebackers coach Jay Hopson to Memphis, Rodriguez promoted Adam Braithwaite to safeties and outside linebackers coach. He also added special teams to the plate of secondary coach Tony Gibson, who will continue to work with free safeties and cornerbacks. Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson will work with the linebackers. There was a lot of talk this spring about the 3-3-5 defensive alignment, as Michigan must replace standouts Brandon Graham and Donovan Warren.

Sidelined: Defensive lineman Will Heininger (knee) is the only player out because of injury, and he might not play this season. Running back Vincent Smith is expected to be 100 percent for camp after undergoing offseason knee surgery. Running back Mike Shaw appears on the team's 2010 roster, although he had some eligibility issues to clear up with summer school.

Key battle: You might have heard, but Michigan's quarterback spot is undecided and Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson resume the competition today. The Wolverines also need to identify a featured running back or two, and Smith, Shaw, Michael Cox and Fitzgerald Toussaint are in the mix. Kenny Demens will push Obi Ezeh at middle linebacker, and J.T. Floyd looks to cement himself as a starting cornerback opposite Troy Woolfolk. Both kick specialist jobs also are up for grabs.

New on the scene: Michigan still needs its freshmen to play, especially on defense. Look out for defensive back Cullen Christian, defensive lineman Richard Ash and linebacker Marvin Robinson, among others. In a perfect world, Michigan could redshirt quarterback Devin Gardner, but if he's the best option, Rodriguez won't hesitate to play the freshman.

Back in the fold: Center David Molk was Michigan's best offensive lineman before knee problems cut short his 2009 season. After a strong offseason, Molk will boost a line that has enough talent and depth to be the team's biggest strength this fall. Receiver Junior Hemingway, who had a strong start last fall before being sidelined by mononucleosis, also returns to the mix.

Breaking out: If Denard Robinson builds on his spring performance, he could be the difference maker for Michigan's offense this fall. Receiver Roy Roundtree could be on the verge of bigger things after leading the team in receptions (32), receiving yards (434) and receiving touchdowns (3) last year. Hopes are high for defensive end/linebacker Craig Roh, who recorded 7.5 tackles for loss as a true freshman in 2009. Safety Cam Gordon was the star of spring practice and could be poised for a big year.

Quotable: "There's a lot of hungry football players up in Ann Arbor, and I think they're as excited as I am to get going. We have some questions, certainly, on both sides of the ball." -- head coach Rich Rodriguez

Opening camp: Northwestern

August, 9, 2010
Schedule: Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats hold their first practice at 5 p.m. ET today in Evanston. The team moves training camp to Kenosha, Wis., from Aug. 15-22, and holds a scrimmage there Aug. 21.

What's new: Fitzgerald made no staff changes, but Northwestern has another new starting quarterback, as Dan Persa takes over for All-Big Ten standout Mike Kafka. The Wildcats also have a new-look secondary after losing three starters, including star cornerback Sherrick McManis. Defensive line coach Marty Long is on the field after missing the Outback Bowl because of an illness.

Sidelined: All five players who missed spring practice, including superback Drake Dunsmore and guards Doug Bartels and Keenan Grant, are expected to be ready for camp. Star linebacker Quentin Davie missed most of the spring with a foot injury, but is 100 percent for practice.

Key battle: Northwestern needs a starting running back after its ground game was grounded in 2009, and the competition resumes today. Sophomore Arby Fields is the frontrunner to win the job, but he'll continue to be pushed by Stephen Simmons, Scott Concannon and others. Northwestern is pretty set at two secondary spots with safety Brian Peters and cornerback Jordan Mabin, but the other two positions need to be settled in camp.

New on the scene: The Wildcats lose two starting receivers and might look to freshmen Rashad Lawrence, Tony Jones and Jimmy Hall to step up. Adonis Smith could be a factor at running back if Fields can't lock down the top job. Several freshmen should see time right away on special teams, including return specialist Venric Mark.

Time to step up: All five starters return along the offensive line, and Northwestern should have its most depth in recent memory after some strong recruiting. There's simply no excuse for the team to struggle in the run game any longer. Northwestern annually produced 1,000-yard rushers under the late Randy Walker, who went out of his way to challenge the offensive line and its coach in practice. Fitzgerald needs to demand the same accountability from a group that should not only protect Persa, but create rushing lanes.

Quotable: "We have 17 wins over the last few years. And that foundation of success, I think, has provided us with motivation to take the next step. And what is that next step? First and foremost, it's going to be to go to a bowl game for three straight years, something that never happened in our program before. It all happens because we believe we've got great players." -- head coach Pat Fitzgerald

Opening camp: Wisconsin

August, 9, 2010
Schedule: Bret Bielema and the Badgers hold their first preseason practice at 3:35 p.m. ET today at Camp Randall Stadium.

What's new: Not much in terms of personnel, as Wisconsin returns 16 starters, including 10 on offense and its entire offensive line. Bielema hired a new secondary coach in Chris Ash, who joins the staff after spending eight of the past 10 seasons at Iowa State. Wisconsin also welcomes Greg Jackson as nickel backs and assistant linebackers coach. Bielema oversaw special teams the past three seasons, but now will assign the units to four assistants.

Sidelined: Backup quarterback Curt Phillips is out until at least October following ACL surgery on his right knee. Running back John Clay (ankle), offensive lineman Peter Konz (lungs) and linebackers Mike Taylor (knee) and Chris Borland (shoulder), all are cleared for the start of practice.

Key battle: Look toward the defensive line. Wisconsin loses both of its starting defensive tackles in Jeff Stehle and Dan Moore, and will be looking for several young players to step up. Junior Patrick Butrym started two games last fall and is a strong possibility for one of the top spots, but Jordan Kohout, Eriks Briedis, Ethan Hemer and others are in the mix for playing time. J.J. Watt has locked up a starting defensive end spot, but Louis Nzegwu and David Gilbert continue to compete on the other side.

New on the scene: The Badgers need to upgrade their special teams play in 2010, which creates opportunities for incoming freshmen to see the field right away. Keep an eye on players like Beau Allen, Frank Tamakloe, Peniel Jean and Cameron Ontko. True freshmen are more likely to see the field on defense than offense this fall.

Back in the fold: Taylor started the first seven games last fall at linebacker and was leading the team in tackles before tearing his ACL against Iowa. The redshirt sophomore returns in practice and should form a dynamic young linebacker tandem with Borland, the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

Breaking out: Lance Kendricks put Badgers fans at ease about the loss of Garrett Graham with a career-best performance in Wisconsin's Champs Sports Bowl win against Miami. Kendricks steps into a featured role after recording 29 receptions for 356 receiving yards. Watt also should have a huge season at defensive end. Overshadowed by O'Brien Schofield last fall, Watt recorded 15.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks last fall.

Quotable: "I do like the fact that our kids, the majority of our players that are going to be significant players in this year's senior class, all went through the scars of [the 2008] season themselves, in addition to myself and several of my coaching staff. So we'll make note of any mistakes that were made that year. But again, the 2010 season is based on the individuals that are in that room." -- head coach Bret Bielema

Opening camp: Michigan State

August, 9, 2010
Schedule: The Spartans hit the field for their first preseason practice today at 3:30 p.m. ET.

What's new: Mark Dantonio made his first staff change in quite some time, as he hired running backs coach Brad Salem to replace Dan Enos, who left to become Central Michigan's head coach. The Spartans are transitioning to a 3-4 alignment on defense as they look to maximize their talent there. Keith Nichol, who spent most of the 2009 season as Michigan State's No. 2 quarterback, has a new position: wide receiver. Although Michigan State has good depth at receiver, Nichol enters the season as a projected starter.

Sidelined: The Spartans are relatively healthy entering camp. Offensive tackle Henry Conway is fully cleared to practice after sustaining a neck injury. Linebacker Justin Wilson, an 2010 recruit, isn't on the roster and will spend time at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas. The December on-campus assault involving Spartans players resulted in the departures of several players, including nose tackle Oren Wilson.

Key battle: Offensive line is a group to watch this month, and especially the competition at right tackle. Senior J'Michael Deane and junior Jared McGaha are listed as co-starters on the preseason depth chart. Conway, who generated some buzz before his neck injury, should be right in the mix. Another battle takes place at kicker, as Kevin Muma and Dan Conroy try to replace standout Brett Swenson.

New on the scene: Michigan State's recent recruiting success is well documented, and the coaches should see the fruits of their labor this fall. Two incoming recruits, William Gholston and Max Bullough, will enter the rotation at linebacker right away. Running backs Nick Hill and LeVeon Bell also might work their way into the mix.

Back in the fold: Johnny Adams started two games at cornerback as a freshman in 2008 before missing 10 games last fall with a shoulder injury. Granted a medical hardship, Adams returns and enters camp as a projected starter. Michigan State's secondary really needs playmakers, and Adams could provide a big boost this fall.

Breaking out: Keshawn Martin made the most of his touches in 2009, averaging 22.8 yards per reception, 28.9 yards per kick return and 7.4 yards per punt return. Michigan State will make a much stronger effort to get the ball in Martin's hands this fall. All-American Greg Jones is the leader on defense, but the Spartans also need promising young players like Jerel Worthy, Blake Treadwell, Trenton Robinson and Adams to step up.

Quotable: "We have a lot of experience back. That speaks to our leadership as a program and as a team right now. From the way our players have worked thus far and winter workouts, spring practice and now summer conditioning, it would not seem that we're overconfident. We have some things that we need to prove. I think that's very evident." -- head coach Mark Dantonio

Opening camp: Ohio State

August, 6, 2010
Schedule: Ohio State's first preseason practice takes place today in Columbus.

What's new: Not that much. Jim Tressel's staff remains intact, and Ohio State returns 16 starters, including 10 on offense. The only spot that sees a decent amount of turnover is safety, as the Buckeyes lose both Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell. They also will have a new look along the defensive line, although Cameron Heyward is a familiar face, one opposing offensive linemen won't be happy to see.

Sidelined: Ohio State is healthy entering camp, although the Buckeyes are down a running back as Jermil Martin will transfer. The Scarlet and Gray will have incoming freshman running back Rod Smith on the field after Smith met his academic requirements.

Key battle: Let's start at kicker, a position that always means a lot to a Tressel-coached team. Aaron Pettrey departs, and Devin Barclay needs to rebound after struggling at times this spring. Punter Ben Buchanan and freshman Drew Basil are possibilities if Barclay can't hold down the top job. The other key battle takes place at left tackle, as junior Mike Adams tries to lock up a starting spot ahead of Andrew Miller and others.

New on the scene: Ohio State isn't deep at wide receiver and could find room for James Louis and Corey Brown. Defensive back Christian Bryant will have a chance in the secondary, and linebacker David Durham also might make an early impact. Carlos Hyde could work his way into a crowded mix at running back after enrolling a year later than expected. Basil will be a factor on special teams.

Back in the fold: Tyler Moeller is cleared for full contact after suffering a head injury last summer as an assault victim. Moeller played linebacker early in his career, but was on track for a possible starting job at safety in the spring of 2009. As Ohio State looks to replace Coleman, Moeller might be the answer.

Breaking out: Everyone is raving about sophomore defensive lineman John Simon, a weight-room superstar who saw some action last season. There also was some buzz this spring about linebacker Etienne Sabino, who should join Ross Homan and Brian Rolle in the starting lineup. Ohio State needs a No. 3 wide receiver, and watch out for redshirt freshman Chris Fields.

Quotable: "We're a very capable team. I think we should be a team that's being targeted. I know we'll be a team that's being targeted. And we'll always get everyone's best shot. And with that in mind, we better make sure our best shot's ready each Saturday. But it's just part of the deal." -- head coach Jim Tressel

Opening camp: Indiana

August, 6, 2010
Schedule: Coach Bill Lynch and the Hoosiers open practice today at 4 p.m. ET.

What's new: The defense has a new look in terms of both personnel and alignment. Indiana is switching to the 3-4 set this year as it tries to spark a unit that has struggled for most of the last decade. The Hoosiers lose seven starters on defense, including linebacker Matt Mayberry, defensive end Jammie Kirlew and safety Austin Thomas. Mo Moriarity returns to Indiana as offensive line coach after a successful run in the state's high school circuit.

Sidelined: Indiana enters camp very healthy, although linebacker linebacker Ryan Phillis is out with a foot injury. Safety Mitchell Evans returns after missing spring ball with a hip injury, and wideout Damarlo Belcher is fine after battling a hamstring issue this spring.

Key battle: The Hoosiers lose a lot at linebacker and defensive back, and besides senior Tyler Replogle, there are few guarantees at those spots. Evans and converted receiver Matt Ernest are projected to start at strong safety and cornerback, but expect plenty of competition. Thomas and Leon Beckum will compete for time at inside linebacker. Indiana also must replace left tackle Rodger Saffold, a second-round draft pick in April. Andrew McDonald is the projected starter, with Josh Hager behind him.

New on the scene: The Hoosiers hope three junior college transfers can help their long-suffering defense. Cornerback Lenyatta Kiles and linebacker Jeff Thomas went through spring ball and should contribute right away at their positions. The most heralded of the three arrivals, Andre Kates, a one-time Florida commit, gets on the practice field today.

Time to shine: Running back Darius Willis has shown he can be a difference maker for Indiana, but he has got to stay healthy. After dealing with various injuries his first three seasons, Willis looks to spark the Hoosiers' rushing attack and add balance to what should be an excellent passing game.

Quotable: "What we've talked to our guys about is learning how to finish. When you go back and look at it, I really mean that. We were about 12 plays away from playing in a really good bowl game." -- head coach Bill Lynch

Opening camp: Purdue

August, 6, 2010
Schedule: Purdue will hit the field for its first practice at 4:25 p.m. ET Saturday.

What's new: The Robert Marve era is under way, as the Miami transfer enters camp as Purdue's clear-cut starting quarterback. Marve has done everything right off the field, and after admittedly being concerned about his surgically repaired knee this spring, he should be able to push himself in camp. Purdue made an important staff change during the offseason, as former assistant Gary Emanuel returns as co-defensive coordinator/defensive line coach. Emanuel will play a big role in trying to boost the Big Ten's worst rushing defense. The Boilers also have a completely new-look secondary as all four starters depart.

Sidelined: Starting running back Ralph Bolden is out indefinitely following ACL surgery in early May. Head coach Danny Hope hasn't ruled out Bolden's return this season, but this is Bolden's second ACL injury in the past five years. Also, defensive tackle Kevin Pamphile, a projected starter after the spring, will be out until October after surgery to help a stress fracture in his foot.

Key battle: The secondary and the offensive line are the two position groups to watch this month. Safety Albert Evans is Purdue's lone returning defensive back with legit game experience, so there will be major competition at both cornerback spots and one safety spot. Purdue has two returning starters along the offensive line in left tackle Dennis Kelly and right guard Ken Plue, but the other three spots are wide open. Keep an eye on junior Nick Mondek, who tops the preseason depth chart at right tackle despite only switching from defensive tackle this spring.

New on the scene: Defensive tackle Bruce Gaston has impressed the coaches with his speed and will compete to fill Pamphile's starting spot during his recovery. Also keep an eye on two high school teammates from Florida -- wide receiver O.J. Ross and defensive back Ricardo Allen -- who could see the field early.

Back in the fold: After a year-long suspension from school, Justin Siller is back with the team and poised to make a big difference this fall. Michigan fans certainly will remember Siller, who started three games at quarterback in 2008 and also played some running back. He's listed as a wide receiver and could be a dangerous No. 2 option behind All-Big Ten selection Keith Smith. Purdue will find a way to get the ball in Siller's hands.

Breaking out: Al-Terek McBurse was a heralded recruit who took a little longer to make an impact last fall because of some initial eligibility issues. McBurse will get the first shot at running back after showing impressive burst on kickoff returns in 2009, averaging 24.6 yards per runback with a touchdown. Everyone knows about defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, but keep an eye on Purdue's other D-linemen, namely Gerald Gooden and Kawann Short.

Quotable: "When he came to Purdue, it was as a transfer from Miami, and a lot of things [were] written about him, a lot of controversy. He's done a great job fitting in. The team has embraced him. His teammates love him. Exceptional player and exceptional athlete and great teammate. We like everything about Robert Marve, and we certainly think he has the potential and talent for us to win on Saturday." -- Purdue head coach Danny Hope

Opening camp: Iowa

August, 6, 2010
Schedule: Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes hit the field for their first practice at 11:30 a.m. ET today.

What's new: The offensive line certainly has a new look after the departures of Bryan Bulaga, Kyle Calloway, Dace Richardson and Rafael Eubanks. Iowa will be breaking in a new right tackle, most likely Markus Zusevics, and the center spot is up for grabs between Josh Koeppel and James Ferentz. The only other spot that gets a major overhaul is linebacker, as standouts Pat Angerer and A.J. Edds both depart. Iowa is one of only 11 FBS programs to return its coaching staff fully intact for 2010.

Sidelined: Iowa enters camp relatively healthy, although linebacker Ross Petersen won't participate in full-contact drills for at least a week because of a torn pectoral muscle.

Key battle: The competition at center between Koeppel and Ferentz should be good, but Iowa really needs to identify a second starting cornerback opposite Shaun Prater. Amari Spievey leaves a huge void, and the Hawkeyes will be looking to players like Micah Hyde and Jordan Bernstine to step up. Bernstine missed all of last season with an ankle injury, but he played as a reserve in his first two seasons. The situation at running back also should be very interesting to watch during camp.

New on the scene: Iowa doesn't typically play many true freshmen, but heralded tight end recruit C.J. Fiedorowicz should see the field following the departure of standout Tony Moeaki. Homegrown product A.J. Derby is a very interesting young prospect, but indications suggest he'll redshirt this fall.

Back in the fold: Jewel Hampton entered last summer as the projected successor to All-American Shonn Greene at running back, but a series of knee problems ended his season before it began. Hampton is back in the fold but must beat out Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegher for the starting job. He'll miss the season opener because of a suspension, but we should finally see Hampton's return in Week 2 against Iowa State.

Breaking out: Iowa opened up its passing attack last season and saw Marvin McNutt and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos emerge as legitimate deep threats in the Big Ten. Johnson-Koulianos likely will finish as Iowa's all-time leading receiver, and McNutt averaged 19.8 yards per reception with eight touchdowns. Both players could have even bigger years in 2010. Along the defensive line, everyone knows about Adrian Clayborn, but watch out for Broderick Binns, Karl Klug and Christian Ballard, who should see increased opportunities to make plays this fall.

Quotable: "We tend to be a developmental team. We were 9-0 at one point last year, and we were a good team, we had played some great football, but we weren't a great team at that point. In January, we were a pretty good team. We really grew. So it's a race against time. I don't know where we stack up in that race right now." -- Head coach Kirk Ferentz

Opening camp: Minnesota

August, 5, 2010
Schedule: The Gophers hit the field Friday for their first practice.

What's new: Another offensive coordinator, the Gophers' third in as many seasons. Jeff Horton isn't bringing dramatic changes like his predecessor Jedd Fish, and he'll try to simplify things for senior quarterback Adam Weber, who retained his starting job after spring ball. There are also a ton of new faces on defense as Minnesota loses nine starters, including productive linebackers Lee Campbell, Nate Triplett and Simoni Lawrence. The Gophers also have a new wide receivers coach in former NFL player Steve Watson, who must identify some playmakers after the loss of standout Eric Decker.

Sidelined: We thought Kim Royston would be in this category, but the senior safety has healed extremely well from a broken leg this spring. Royston won't be 100 percent for the start of camp, but barring any setbacks, he should be ready for the start of the season. As one of only two returning starters on defense, Royston provides a strong presence in the secondary. Linebacker Sam Maresh, a possible starter, isn't with the team as he improves his grades at a junior college.

Key battle: Name a spot on defense and there's probably some competition there, as Minnesota must find answers at linebacker, defensive end and cornerback. The linebacker group should be particularly interesting. Mike Rallis locked up a starting job this spring, but the other spots are open as Keanon Cooper, Gary Tinsley and others are in the mix. Cornerback also is a spot to watch as Michael Carter and Christyn Lewis try to lock up starting spots.

New on the scene: Head coach Tim Brewster and his staff have recruited well, and it's time they start to see the rewards. Lewis and tight end Tiree Eure both are junior-college transfers who should contribute right away. Minnesota really likes redshirt freshmen offensive linemen Ed Olson and Brooks Michel, and incoming freshman tackle Jimmy Gjere is a name to watch. It also will be interesting to see if freshmen running backs Lamonte Edwards and Donnell Kirkwood can work their way into the mix.

Breaking out: Brewster sings the praises of defensive end Ra'Shede Hageman, and Minnesota could really use a boost in the pass rush from the redshirt freshman. MarQueis Gray didn't win the starting quarterback spot, but he's a guy who needs the ball in his hands one way or another. Replacing Decker will be tough, but Minnesota has high hopes for Da'Jon McKnight, who averaged 18.3 yards on 17 receptions last year.

Time to step up: Without a doubt, Minnesota's offensive line is the group that needs to elevate its play in camp. The line boasts both experience and some exciting young talent, and the players are used to coach Tim Davis and his demands. Minnesota simply can't rank last in the league in rushing year after year. It's time for the line to get tougher, come together and build off of a strong spring.

Quotable: "We're bigger. We're stronger. We're faster. We're more athletic than we've been. And rightfully so. We need to be. We know that we're going to play one of the most challenging schedules in America this season. And our players are going to have to be prepared." -- head coach Tim Brewster

Opening camp: Penn State

August, 5, 2010
Schedule: First practice takes place today in State College. Practices will be scheduled around the end to Penn State's second summer academic session, which has final exams beginning Aug. 13.

What's new: Quite a lot. Penn State loses six first-team All-Big Ten performers from 2009, including quarterback Daryll Clark and defensive tackle Jared Odrick, the league's co-Defensive Player of the Year. All eyes will be on the quarterback spot as last year's backup, Kevin Newsome, competes alongside Matt McGloin and two true freshmen, Paul Jones and Robert Bolden. The Lions also will have a new-look lineup at linebacker, although Nate Stupar and Bani Gbadyu are familiar names.

Key battle: Everyone knows about the quarterback race, which likely won't be decided until late in camp. But there are other battles, too. The offensive line has to be better this year after struggling against elite defensive fronts like Iowa and Ohio State in 2009. Penn State is set with standout Stefen Wisniewski at right guard, but the left guard spot will feature plenty of competition between DeOn’tae Pannell and Johnnie Troutman. Both players have experience but one needs to emerge.

New on the scene: Penn State brings in the Big Ten's top recruiting class and should see some immediate contributions from its freshmen. You know about the quarterbacks, but keep an eye on defenders like Khairi Fortt, Dakota Royer, C.J. Olaniyan and Mike Hull. Penn State must replace five starters on defense and build depth there as well.

Switching it up: Chaz Powell ranked fourth on the team in receiving last season, but he practiced at cornerback this spring and could be a big contributor there. Sophomore Stephon Morris did some good things as a true freshman in 2009, but Powell should push him.

Breaking out: You just know Penn State will have a new group of stars on defense after losing Odrick, Navorro Bowman, Sean Lee and others. Devon Still is poised for a big season at defensive tackle if he can stay healthy, and Jack Crawford could take the next step and become one of the league's premier pass-rushers. The linebacker group should be very interesting, as Michael Mauti, a fan favorite, gets his opportunity to shine. If Penn State finds a capable quarterback, wide receiver Derek Moye might have a breakout season.

Back in the fold: Mauti tore his ACL in camp last summer and missed the entire 2009 season. He'll definitely be in the mix for a starting spot, most likely at outside linebacker.

Quoting: "We've got a tough schedule and we've got a good young squad that's got a long way to go to be good. We've got a bunch of kids that'll work at it and get better each week. Before it's all over, we'll be a pretty good football team. How many games we'll win? I don't know." -- Head coach Joe Paterno

Opening camp: Illinois

August, 4, 2010
Schedule: First practice takes place Thursday at Memorial Stadium. First group hits the field at 4 p.m. ET and the second group at 5:30 p.m. ET. Team practices three times in Champaign before moving to Rantoul, Ill., on Aug. 9, for 15 workouts.

What's new: Uh, like, everything. Ron Zook is still the head coach, but he has six new assistants, including coordinators Paul Petrino (offense) and Vic Koenning (defense). Illinois is breaking in new systems on both offense and defense, and redshirt freshman Nathan Scheelhaase takes over at quarterback following the departure of four-year starter Juice Williams. The new-look staff has some familiarity, as Petrino, quarterbacks coach Jeff Brohm and tight ends coach Chip Long all worked together at Louisville during the Cardinals' juggernaut days. Illinois needs a No. 1 wide receiver to emerge after Arrelious Benn's departure to the NFL.

Sidelined: Strong-side offensive tackle Corey Lewis, a projected starter this spring, sustained a torn ACL in spring ball and likely will miss the season. Illinois needs a strong camp from Ryan Palmer as he steps into a featured role.

Key battle: Illinois has two experienced defensive line pieces in Clay Nurse and Corey Liuget, but the other two spots should bring plenty of competition. Glenn Foster had a nice spring and could be the answer at the second defensive tackle spot, while several players, including Michael Buchanan and Nate Palmer, compete at the "bandit" position.

New on the scene: Although veteran Eddie McGee can shift from wide receiver to quarterback if needed, true freshman Chandler Whitmer likely is a play away from the field. Whitmer enrolled early and impressed the coaches with his knowledge this spring. He enters the fall as Scheelhaase's backup. Also keep an eye on safety Trulon Henry, a junior college transfer and Benn's older brother. He enters camp as the backup to Supo Sanni at free safety.

Breaking out: Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins nearly left Illinois in the winter before deciding to stay and turn around his career. Zook and Petrino raved about Jenkins this spring, and he'll likely be Scheelhaase's top target. Running back Mikel LeShoure will carry the load after a very impressive finish to 2009. Cornerback Terry Hawthorne also could have a big year after making an impact as a freshman last fall.

Back in the fold: Illinois really missed Martez Wilson, and the middle linebacker finally gets to hit people again in camp after being fully cleared by doctors. Wilson suffered a herniated disk in his neck in the 2009 opener against Missouri and underwent season-ending surgery. The one-time, can't-miss recruit has one final chance to break out. Cornerback Miami Thomas also returns after tearing his ACL in camp last year.

Quoting: "The players, we didn't execute. People want to jump on the coaches and blame the coaches. The last time I saw coach Zook catch a pass or make a tackle, they were wearing leather helmets. It is on us now. They brought in new coaches, but at the end of the day, we're the ones playing." -- defensive end Clay Nurse



Monday, 12/22
Saturday, 12/20
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
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Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12