clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bret Bielema updates health of star RB Chase Brown, previews Michigan game

Bielema understands the tall task of winning at the Big House, especially with an injury-riddled roster.

Wyoming v Illinois Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Illinois head coach Bret Bielema spoke to the media on Monday for his pre-Michigan press conference and addressed several topics surrounding his team. The headlining topics of the presser were the health of the Fighting Illini and in particular star tailback Chase Brown, and the upcoming match-up with the Michigan Wolverines.

When discussing the plethora of team injuries, Bielema had a long list to run through:

“Josh McCray, Chase Brown — both those guys are trending in the right direction; very positive and excited but don’t know where we’ll be by Friday for the trip and Saturday for the game,” Bielema said. “It will allow us to continue to rep some of the guys. I thought Reggie Love continued to pop in and do some good things, Chase Hayden has been waiting for his opportunity. Jordan Anderson, we’ve been on the verge of playing a couple different times. So those guys, in particular, at the running back position.”

On facing Michigan with the possibility of being without several key players, Bielema was confident in the players who would step up and play.

“From inside our building it is the next opportunity. I just can’t stress enough that that’s how we kind of look at things. That’s how we talk about it. You know, to get a chance to go play Michigan at Michigan. There’s literally nobody on our roster that played through normal means. So the only two guys that played at Michigan so far on our roster are Artur Sitkowski, who played when he was at Rutgers. And obviously Chase (Brown), who played while he was at Western Michigan.

“I told (the team) yesterday I’ve been able to experience a win as a player and a coach in Michigan Stadium and what that meant and how it felt. And I think that’s something that our guys are excited for the opportunity ahead of us.”

When specifically discussing the challenges the Michigan offense and defense present, Bielema was complimentary and aware of the challenge at hand.

“Offensively ... they have an offensive line that is very good, very talented, big, long, athletic, move extremely well. Behind them is a running back who can be as good as anybody in the country. On top of that you have a play caller in the backfield, a quarterback, who’s being coached by an incredibly great player in his own right.

“Defensively, they got some edge players that are very unique. They have great versatility; I think their coaches use them very, very well. They have some good back end players, a couple of dominant inside players. Their special teams are very accurate in what they do. Jim (Harbaugh) is a very good football coach. This is kind of cool for me to compete against him because I haven’t had this opportunity. I have the ultimate respect for him and Michigan and what they do.”