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2021 Illinois Football: Defensive Line Preview

There are a lot of familiar faces inside the Smith Football Performance Center.

Bret Bielema lured back the entire defensive line, bringing much-needed experience and starts back to Illinois.

The most significant change we will see this season is the scheme. Lovie Smith’s bend-don’t-break Tampa 2, 4-3 defense is gone, and Bret Bielema’s 3-4 7-man front will be installed. Bielema coached this scheme during his tenure as a position coach for the New England Patriots.

Before training camp, this change can already be seen in the depth chart.

Screen shot from ourlads.