Illinois football has touch downed in Tampa for their first Florida bowl game since 1999..
55 degrees may be cold for people for Florida but not for the Illini who embraced the warm weather wearing beach shirts off the team bus walking in to the hotel..
It’s a homecoming for a lot of Illini players. 25 of them played high school football in the sunshine state.
Practices won’t start until Tuesday, giving the team some time to settle in and enjoy some of the hospitality.
“You know these guys haven’t been to a lot of bowl games. We’ve always said this is the standard we want to be at,” head coach Bret Bielema said. “Unfortunately they haven’t seen that standard. The way we travel. The way we move into hotels. All these things hopefully makes it a great week for them. We’ll have a little dinner for them tonight with Monday night football. Every day kind of sprinkles in. One day is the aquarium. The next day busch gardens. The next day is clearwater beach. You try to sprinkle something in during the afternoon with practice in the morning. Get up. Do your work and have in the afternoon. In the evening as we get closer to the game, we’ll taper those down.
Ball games are suppose to be exciting. Suppose to be fun but all week is going to be focused on the game,” offensive lineman Alex Philstrom said. “Hospitality is going to be great here. We have a lot of events planned but excited to play one more game with our guys.”