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All-Access Video: Zook working the Illini off-campus

Illinois has created their version of Hard Knocks to give the Illini fans an inside look into training camp.

After three practices on campus in Champaign, Ron Zook has taken his team off campus to Rantoul, about 15 miles from the Illinois campus.

The Zooker apparently loves it.

Offensive lineman Jack Cornell said, “It’s kind of amazing how much energy he (Zook) can have at every point in the day.  Doesn’t matter whether it’s 5 o’clock in the morning, 11 at night, or 3 in the afternoon.  He’s always going 100 mph.”

Cornell added, “I think it’s good for everyone to see how hard he’s working is how hard we need to work.”

Illinois opens the season by hosting Arkansas State.  It will be the Red Wolves first game under new head coach Hugh Freeze who tweeted this morning, “So glad I live and coach in a country where we can play music and worship the one true God during our Practice. #PraiseGod."

If it comes down to a Hail Mary, advantage Red Wolves.

Here’s your Hard Knocks, Illini style.

Coaches requiring their teams to know the fight song

Skip Holtz, Jerry Kill, and James Franklin all want to make sure their players know the words to the school fight song. 

As he did a year ago, Holtz will once again ask his team to sing the USF fight song during an evening team meeting during training camp in Vero Beach.

It’s all about creating a sense of pride and paying respect to the tradition of the program.

Franklin recently brought in the Vanderbilt band director to a team meeting to teach the players the fight song.

Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill took it a step further.  Kill brought his team to midfield with the band to practice signing the fight song. (Check out the 4:15 mark in the video)

Kill believes, “This is what college football is all about.”

Dooley turns to William Shakespeare to help Vols

Derek Dooley is looking for results, so he turned to old English poet William Shakespeare, who died in 1616.

Dooley told reporters today that he recently referenced Shakespeare’s “Richard III” in a team meeting.

He explained, “For want of a horseshoe nail: one little horseshoe nail can bring down a whole kingdom. That's what it did back in the 1400s. Just like stepping with your right foot six inches could cause a guy to get on the edge, which causes the quarterback to get a little flustered, the exchange goes bad, fumble, turnover, touchdown.”

"Every little detail of your technique and assignment can impact the game. We've got a long way to go."

Asked how the team responded to the verse, Dooley said, “They were very engaged.”

Boy, can’t you see it right now?  Janzen Jackson engaged in verses from a play written in 1591.

Here’s the video of Dooley explaining what he’s looking for.

1 on 1 drills: Listening & learning vs. Hootin & hollering

Les Miles took the Tigers through “Big Cat Drill” this morning in Baton Rouge.

The one thing that stood out to us was those not involved in the drill were just watching and listening.  There wasn’t much rah rah, hootin and hollering.  It must be designed for that…more of a watch, listen, and learn.

57 miles west of Baton Rouge, UL-Lafayette head coach Mark Hudspeth led the Ragin Cajuns through the same drill.  Let’s just say the atmosphere was a little different.

There’s two ways to skin a cat.  Which one do you like?

By the way, did you see where Les and the Tigers coaching staff hung out after practice?  This is pretty awesome.

Radio guys embarrass themselves during interview with Kevin Wilson

Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson appeared this morning on 1260 AM in Indianapolis with Zakk & Jack.

“Jack” is Jack Trudeau, the former Illinois and Indianapolis Colts quarterback.  Zakk is some guy who spells his name “Zakk.” Really?

Let’s just say the interview didn’t go too well and quite frankly, we understand why.

After being on hold for an usually extended roll-in to the segment that featured the Indiana fight song, Wilson went off on Zakk & Jack.

Just imagine a radio host keeping Nick Saban on hold 3 minutes, then running Alabama's fight song nearly in its entirety, then talking amongst themselves for a few minutes, then joking about Saban’s team?  (Boy, I bet that would go over well. Can you say, "Pink Slips?")

As any head coach inheriting a struggling program like the one Wilson has taken over, there comes a point when you get tired of hearing about all the negatives, no tradition, small crowds, lack of players, and lack of winning.

If you didn’t think you could change that, then you wouldn’t accept the challenge.

After the roll-in featuring the Indiana fight song, Jack joked with Indiana opening up in Lucas Oil Stadium against Ball State, Wilson is getting his guys use to playing at Lucas Oil for when they play in the Big Ten Championship game.

Zakk & Jack: Coach, how you are?

Wilson: Not doing as good as you guys.  You guys got a bunch of jokes this morning.  What’s happening?

Zakk & Jack: You sound like you’ve been doing some screaming at practice, are we yelling at the players already?

Wilson: No, we’re yelling at media guys that don’t have a clue.

Zakk & Jack: You’re not referring to us, are you?

Wilson: No, I’m referring to that fight song.  I remember putting 61 on the Illini a few years back too when I was at Northwestern and they (Northwestern) kinda stunk as the time, too.  Anyway, I’ve got some things to do, what do you guys need?

Zakk & Jack: Oh, you’re already ready to get rid of us?

Wilson: Very much so.  So what’s happening?  I don’t have time to listen to guys to talk about fight songs and Indiana and no tradition.

Later on, after some hairy exchanges, Wilson made the point, “It’s not like climbing Mount Everest.  I just don’t like guys cracking jokes about our program.”

The truth of the matter is that it’s a privilege for the two jackleg radio guys to get to interview a head coach like Wilson.  Let’s be honest, Wilson didn’t have to take time out of one the busiest days of the year, during August camp, to do this interview.  Then you ease into the interview with the fight song and an untimely joke.

Why would any coach in the country ever go on this radio show again?

Listen to the interview, right here.

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