Can't Wait For Saturday | Coaching at Memorial Stadium won't be new to ex-Cavs assistant

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Greetings from "Can't Wait For Saturday," your morning morsel of college football, courtesy of longtime Illini beat writer, AP Top 25 voter and Heisman state rep Bob Asmussen. He'll give you his views each day on the game he loves.


The new Illinois assistant won't need to alter the color of his work clothes. Just the lettering.

Clint Sintim is going from the the orange and blue at Virginia to the version they wear in Champaign-Urbana.

Sintim, 38, is the new outside linebackers coach, replacing Charlie Bullen, who left after one season to work for the New York Giants. If the NFL calls, you have to go.

Sintim has worked against Illinois in the past. In 2022, he was the linebackers coach for the Cavaliers when they lost 24-3 to Illinois on Sept. 10 at Memorial Stadium.

That game, the Virginia defense that Sintim helped coach wasn't the biggest issue for the Cavs. The offense was a problem, failing on all but one of 16 third-down conversions. Illinois picked off two Virginia passes and forced a fumble in a win that was part of a 7-1 start.

The previous year in Charlottesville, Va., Illinois was no match for the Cavaliers. Led by Brennan Armstrong's five touchdown passes and 405 yards, Virginia rolled 42-14. Virginia outgained Illinois 556-337 in Bret Bielema's third game at the school.

Sintim was Virginia's defense line coach that season,

Wonder if that one came up with Bielema during the interview process? We can ask later when we get a chance to meet Sintim.

With Sintim in the fold, Bielema's 10-person assistant staff is now complete. Four new staff members include three on defense. The only holdovers among the stop troops are coordinator Aaron Henry and line coach Terrance Jamison, who is also co-coordinator, Henry and Jamison have been with Bielema since he took over at Illinois in 2021. The only guy with that amount of time on the offensive staff is line coach Bart Miller.

How is it going to work? We will find out together. Illinois is scheduled to face a string of challenging offenses, starting with the second game at home against Kansas. For the first time in years, line anchors Johnny Newton and Keith Randolph won't be there to help.

Only one coach is changing on the offensive staff, with Justin Stepp taking over for departed George McDonald now at Mississippi) with the receivers.