CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) It's going on 40 days since Bret Bielema was announced as Illinois' football coach, and since then he has assembled a staff, met returning players, recruited new ones, persuaded a top player to pull his name out of the transfer portal and made the rounds getting to know administrators and alumni.
Bielema has no plans to slow down. The team started winter conditioning this week, and he still has to finalize a spring roster after he adds a couple more players to the 2021 recruiting class.
"I'm trying to get the best players so we can have the best team we possibly can this year," Bielema said Wednesday. "I'm not going to skip a step to get to where we want to be, but I'm trying to be good now. I don't want to wait three years from now. The way the rules are now, you can try to do that."