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Hoge's Notes: Illini Game Presents Unique Situation For Bears

By Adam Hoge-

HALAS HALL (CBS) Just 19 hours before the Bears host the Vikings Sunday at Soldier Field, the Illinois Fighting Illini will play Washington on the exact same playing surface.

It's a unique situation for the Bears, which have improved surface conditions at Soldier Field over the last year since head groundskeeper Ken Mrock started contributing to the maintenance of the field.

"I've talked to Ken about it and they'll do a good job in cleaning up the field for the game," Bears head coach Marc Trestman said Friday.

College games at Soldier Field are nothing new, but it is rare to see one being played the evening before a Noon Bears game.

Fortunately, there is no rain in the forecast Saturday, which could greatly compromise field conditions, but there is a chance of rain Sunday.

"I'm not concerned about it," Trestman said. "We have no control over the weather. We played in some mud in training camp so our guys have been on that kind of a field. These guys have played on it a lot more than I have. But I don't think the field conditions are going to dramatically impact either team to where any team's going to have an advantage."

Trestman went on to say that he thinks wind impacts the game more than anything else.

"It all depends whether you can use the area of the field outside of the numbers," he said. "Fortunately with us in the passing game, the numbers aren't an issue for Jay (Cutler). He can throw the ball outside in wind and weather and he's used to doing it."

Tillman, Peppers Return

Cornerback Charles Tillman (knee) "worked most the practice, if not all the reps," according to Trestman. He was absent Thursday attending to a family matter.

Meanwhile, Julius Peppers was back at practice Friday after missing Thursday with an illness, but he was limited.

"He's going to be fine, but he worked limited in terms of the number of reps today," the head coach said.


- Offensive tackle Jonathan Scott, who was signed back to the team after a week hiatus, said he was not limited in practice at all this week, but his right knee was still heavily wrapped in ice Friday. That's normal protocol as he continues to battle soreness in the knee and he said he would be ready to Sunday against the Vikings. Whether or not the coaching staff activates him will say a lot about his current status.

- The rest of the NFL now has regular season tape on Marc Trestman's offense, but he said he doesn't spend very much time worrying about how other teams scout the Bears.

"I don't think we make an effort to be difficult to scout," Trestman said. "We try to put a plan together that we can efficiently win, our guys can learn in three days, put enough in to where we can manage the game physically but not have to think too much. That would slow us down."

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