Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
RANTOUL, Ill. -- I'm finally back online from Camp Rantoul, where Illinois conducted the first of two practices this morning. We're still having a few Internet issues here, but I'll have a ton of stuff in the late afternoon/early evening, so check back often.
The big news today was coach Ron Zook's announcement that senior defensive tackle Sirod Williams will miss the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee. Williams was projected to start on a talented Illini defensive line before suffering the injury on somewhat of a freak play Saturday. He'll undergo surgery, redshirt the season and be back for 2009.
ESPN.com recruiting guru Tom Luginbill told me last week that if Illinois could get Cory Liuget on the field this fall, the freshman could do some damage. Now Liuget has a chance to win a starting job.
I'll have practice observations, player updates and an interview with sophomore linebacker Martez Wilson in a bit. But undoubtedly the highlight of the day was the team's post-practice trip to a water park located just north of the practice fields. Watching 300-pound men navigate a water slide was hilarious, and I spent most of the time standing next to Zook, both of us shaking our heads at the scene.
Zook also became the first Division I-A coach ever to expedite some interviews for me. When he saw me outside the team lunch room, he asked me who I was waiting for. Moments later, cornerback Vontae Davis and Wilson appeared. Magic.