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    Post-Game Quotes



    Sept. 6, 2008

    QUOTING ILLINOIS HEAD COACH Ron Zook...

    Overall on the game...
    "Football games are hard to win and obviously you want everything to be perfect and it wasn't perfect, but all the things are correctable. We can't turn the ball over and need to improve our tackling. Things were a little better (than last week against Missouri) but are still not where we want them to be."

    On Juice Williams running the ball...
    "He ran well, some of his big runs were scrambling. We're not going to tell him not to run."

    Overall on the running game...
    "Daniel was close to 100 yards, Juice had his share and Mikel ran extremely well, he practiced well. It was nice to see Troy get a touchdown, he's been through some tough times and I was so happy to see him get that touchdown. The more guys we have, the better we'll be."

    More on the game...
    "There is still work to do, we gave up too many big plays on defense and we just have to go back and grind a little bit. Whether we go back and scrimmage or whatever we do, we're going to get that corrected. It's critical but I know we can fix it."

    About the renovations to Memorial Stadium...
    "I didn't get a chance to enjoy it like they did, but when you come onto the field and look at that press box, I mean my wife just came down from it, she's been in a lot of press boxes and she said it's like no other one that she has been in. I got an opportunity to go up to the colonnade level last night and talk to a lot of the former players. It's a marvelous facility. It really is a beautiful setting and it's great to have the former players back."

    On the Illinois alumni coming back to the game...
    "If you think back to when you were in college, the people that play here will appreciate it more after they leave here. That's not abnormal, I think that is normal. The older guys came back and I've tried my best to tell our guys about the former players and what it meant to them."

    On Miami Thomas' injury on a punt return and the future secondary positions...
    "Miami will probably be out, it's one of those freak things and he hurt his ACL when he pushed down on it. We still have Travon who played corner two years ago and we worked Dere at safety some. We got Tavon a lot of reps today which I thought was good."

    On Martez Wilson...
    "When everything is going, he has a motor and he can play, but when you're thinking, it slows you down. The expectation is much higher but he'll play into that expectation. He knows he didn't play the way I wanted him to play but he's getting better. We coach perfection and if we don't get perfection, we want a level that we're all happy with."


    QUOTING ILLINOIS PLAYERS:

    LB Brit Miller

    On the win...
    "There is a lot to be desired out of our team still. A win is not easy no matter who you play. To get the win, and win convincingly like we did, that's the first step. Now we have to get ready for next week for a team that might be a little bit more athletic, so we have to pick up our game and get a little bit better."

    On the team's emotion...
    "Emotion is that X-factor. Football is one of those games if someone knew how to bottle up emotion and sell, they would be the richest man in the world. We had it at times today. When we made that fourth down stop, that's Illini football."


    LB Martez Wilson

    On stopping the run game...
    "Even though we made some stops today, we still need to stop the run. As linebackers, that's our priority and we just weren't doing that today."


    QB Juice Williams

    On the team's emotion...
    "There wasn't as much emotion on the sidelines. We have to be smart coming out of the tunnel. We can't use too much energy coming out and drain ourselves. Football is an emotional game and the more emotion we have, the more intense we are."

    On the turnovers...
    "The number one thing we have to work on this week is the turnovers. We had two interceptions and put the ball on the ground. That is something that we cannot continue to do."

    On the option game...
    "It spreads the defense out and gives them one more thing to think about. It obviously helps open up holes for the running backs and when you establish the run, we can throw the ball over their heads."


    WR Arrelious Benn

    On the hits he took today...
    "I took some pretty good hits today, but I'm big enough to take them. You just have to get back up and keep moving. Football is a physical game, so you just have to get up and keep fighting."

    On adjustments...
    "Any team across the nation is still working on things this early in the season. Everybody just has to come together and work on timing and get better." On the win...
    "We're happy that we won, but we know that we had some offensive mistakes that we shouldn't have had that could have allowed us to do more than what we did."



    QUOTING EASTERN ILLINOIS HEAD COACH BOB SPOO

    Opening statement...
    "As I told our team just now, we paid our dues and by that I mean we played our bowl subdivision teams and now we get back to our level. There's no question we've been outmatched over these past two weeks. We didn't help ourselves in certain situations and had opportunities to take advantage of things and we weren't able to. Nevertheless, I was pleased about the way our guys came back, particularly in that fourth quarter. We talk about finishing and I thought they did that, and those are some of the pluses we can take away from this game. I thought the turning point was the last five minutes of the second quarter where they put up 14 points in such a short time. That really hurt us and took us out of it. But nevertheless, we had to fight back and I think we hung in and didn't fold. Those are some of the benefits and now we can get back to our level and try to get some wins on the board."

    On Illinois quarterback Juice Williams...
    "He's outstanding, there's no question about that. He's a great player. He's come a long way and he's got another year to go. He's going to put a lot of pressure on people all year long, there's no question. He's that good, and now he's developed into a very fine thrower. He does it all. He's a big guy. I was amazed by their size. They have a great football team and a lot of talent. They can hurt you in a lot of ways.

    On the running game...
    "I thought our running game picked up, but then again theirs did too. We couldn't stop them. But we were functional and we did some good things."

    On the fourth-down play...
    "It's a power-off tackle play. It should be one of those plays. It was one of our biggest backs, but I understand we missed a block and somebody knifed right in there and made a play."

    On how playing Central Michigan and Illinois will prepare them for the season...
    "There's no question about it. We've played two of the better quarterbacks that we'll see all year. They've prepared us for our conference, and the people we're playing the next few weeks are running the spread offense and running quarterbacks. We've seen two very good ones. I hope that's prepared us well."

    On the first-half offense...
    "We only had three first downs in the first half. We couldn't get anything going. Like I said, it was close until the end of the second quarter and if we take advantage of it we go up 14-13 and who knows what happens after that. But it didn't happen that way."

    On Eastern Illinois running back Travorus Bess...
    "He's a guy who has been hurt on and off for four years. He's got some stuff. He has a little bit better quickness than the other two guys. He doesn't have great size, as you can see, but he does do a great job. He's got quickness, he's got some speed - not enough to take it the distance - but he made some fine runs. We have a lot of confidence in his ability. He doesn't make many mistakes out there and he does a lot of good things mentally. He has a lot of heart."


    QUOTING EASTERN ILLINOIS PLAYERS:

    RB Travorus Bess

    On successfully running the ball against a Big Ten team...
    "The offensive line made a lot of big holes for me, and I was able to run through them. We did what we wanted to do, we just didn't come out with a win."

    "It feels really good to know we can do it against one of the better teams in college football. It gives us confidence knowing we can run against them. Now we've just got to keep working hard."

    On his first run that went for 55 yards...
    "When I got the ball, I saw (Illinois') linebackers were running forward really hard, so I cut back, saw a big hole and just hit it. I think someone missed a tackle and I just kept running."

    On going for over 1,000 yards in his career...
    "It feels good. There probably aren't too many people that have rushed for over 1,000 yards, so it feels good. It's a good accomplishment for me."

    On playing the first two games against bowl teams...
    "We showed we could play against top-notch competition, and now for the rest of this season it will be a big confidence booster."


    DB Seymour Loftman

    On creating turnovers in the first quarter...
    "We were pretty excited because we came into somebody else's house, with thousands of people, a new stadium and all that hype, but we just played football between the lines. It was exciting for us to get up that early in the game. It's a big positive."

    How the first two games of the season have prepared the team...
    "Usually when you schedule big games, a lot of people just take it that you just play because you have nothing to play for. We look at it differently. We have something to play for and that's to get better every single week. Don't worry about the scoreboard, but worry about every single play. Every play should be important to you."

    On what makes Illinois a tough opponent...
    "I think it's their size. Big Ten football is really about running the football. They kind of outsized us, but as for speed I don't think they are all that fast. They have speedster guys on their team, but I think their size and their power is what really overpowered us."


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