VIDEO: Lovie Smith On COVID-19 & How He's Altered The Illini's Spring Plans

Matthew Stevens

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois head football coach Lovie Smith conducted a 36-minute media teleconference to update the Illini's spring plans during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Smith spoke on a variety of topics including how he's staying informed on the virus, the use of daily video conferencing, the Illini's updated recruiting plans, a push-up challenge for a media member, his optimism for a 2020 college football season and his family members in the healthcare industry. 

"When you say adapting, this is what we do. Each day we will watch video, if we were in our office we'd be watching video daily and moving our board around. Looking at finding new guys. Our recruiting plan that we had in place, none of that has changed except for we can't see guys. We can't get them on campus so we have to find other ways. Getting them video, showing them Champaign, the University of Illinois, our coaches, you know just everything about our program. Besides that, it's kind of business as usual for us. We're just all doing it remotely from different places. There's communication. We're recruiting. There's a recruiting meeting five days a week still."

This past season Smith took the Illini to the program's first bowl game in five years. The 2019 season included a four-game Big Ten winning streak for the Fighting Illini, which started at Memorial Stadium with a victory over then-No. 6 Wisconsin in one of the biggest upsets of the college football season.

Smith returned to college football in 2016 after spending 19 years in the NFL, including 11 years as a head coach. He led the Chicago Bears for nine seasons from 2004-12 and amassed a record of 81-63 (.563 winning percentage), including three division titles, two NFC Championship Game appearances (2006 and 2010) and a berth in Super Bowl XLI. The AP Coach of the Year in 2005, Smith's 81 wins with Chicago are the third-most in franchise history.