Big Ten: Mike Gottfried
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- When Illinois scrimmages Wednesday afternoon in Memorial Stadium, Mike Schultz will coach from the press box.
It's part of Schultz's attempt to simulate a game situation, always a good idea for a new offensive coordinator going through his fifth practice with his new team. But there's another, slightly more embarrassing reason for Schultz's whereabouts.
It will get him out of the cold.
The temperature is hovering around 50 degrees Wednesday, which isn't bad for central Illinois this time of year. But for a Houston native like Schultz who spent the last 11 seasons at TCU, where he held the same job, this might as well be the Arctic. At least it's better than his initial trip to Champaign in January, when a cold front dropped temperatures to 10 below.
Schultz is slowly adjusting to the weather, but he'll get there soon enough. He's not afraid to adapt, which is a good thing in his new job.
"I have come in and fit myself to this offense," Schultz said. "We have new ideas coming in. But have we changed the offense? No. It's not like there's going to be a major overhaul of this offense. There's no need to.
"One of the things coach Zook and I both agreed on is we're going to try to keep everything the same as we can, so the only people really going through a transition are myself and [new offensive line coach] Joe Gilbert. It's two versus 40. Just common sense-wise, it just make sense to approach it that way."
In an age of my-way-or-bust playcallers, Schultz is unique in his willingness to be flexible. Since taking the job in January he has talked with his predecessor, New Mexico head coach Mike Locksley, but not about Illinois' personnel or schemes.
He wanted to come to Illinois with no preconceived notions. It's a clean canvas, and the players will be doing much of the brush work.