College Football: Illinois prepares for Chattanooga, Thursday night | Sports

CHAMPAIGN – Are you ready for Saturday at Memorial Stadium?

Now, before everyone else starts getting upset, yes, Illinois Fighting Illini plays the Chattanooga Mocs tonight, Thursday, at 7:30 p.m. A contest on the Big Ten Network.

Burr for the Illinois football team, it’s Freeze Saturday.

“It was kind of a unique preparation,” said Illinois coach Brett Bilima, whose team also played Friday earlier this season in Indiana. “I’m watching football on Monday night, but I write in my staff notes talking about it being Thursday morning tomorrow.”

You see, Bellema and Illinois began their preparations for Chattanooga, ranked No. 9 in the latest coach poll for FCS (Football Championship Division) teams, on Sunday, which would be a regular Tuesday for the team.

“We have changed the days in our mentality,” said narrow-minded party Luke Ford. “Today (Sunday) is Tuesday, tomorrow (Monday) will be Wednesday, Tuesday will be Thursday, Wednesday will be like Friday where we will go to the hotel.

“The coach has his say and one of his favorite things is ‘It’s not about what’s going on, it’s how you react or respond to what’s going on. This week will be one of those things we have to respond to. ”

Another popular proverb of Belima is “Respect everyone, fear no one.”

This will also be used this week as most people think the Big Ten should have no problem beating the FCS.

“People outside (the building) look at things differently than the people in the building,” Belima said. “I don’t even know if our guys would say FCS, and I know I didn’t.”

And did Belima use last Saturday’s Southern Illinois win, a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, over Northwestern 31-24 as a reminder to his players?

“It’s easy to serve, but every Saturday is a constant reminder, not only FCS, but anyone can receive anyone on any football day,” Belema said. “It really comes down to how the two teams look on Saturday (or Thursday, in this case). You don’t have to do anything but give your best and the things you do are usually good enough to put yourself in a position to win.

“Thursday night (tonight) is going to be Chattanooga, but it’s 11 against 11 in all three phases of the game.”

Bielima’s message about Chattanooga being a good football team, the team that had a first-round draft pick last April in the Cole String Guards for the New England Patriots, was well received by the Illinois players.

“I saw a movie and I can tell, they are a good team and they have some really talented players,” said Isiah Williams, a sophomore at Illinois. “We’re approaching this game the same way we did the first week with Wyoming. They weren’t opponents in the Big Ten but we prepared for that game just as if it was the Big Ten. It’s the same thing we did this week.

Much of the preparations for the Mocs, who took a 3-0 win including a 38-20 win over Eastern Illinois on September 10, are preparing for their ground game led by Junior Ailym Ford, who averages 110.3 yards per game with four touchdowns.

“They have a really good comeback,” Illinois defense coordinator Ryan Walters said. “He plays behind his pad and is difficult to bring down because of the low center of gravity. He turns vertical, loves to play from north to south.”

While tonight’s game will be shown on the Big Ten Network, it can also be heard on the Illini Sports Network, including on Danville stations WDAN-AM 1490 and WDNL-FM 102.1.