Aug 26, 2013
Full Press Conference Video | Illinois-Southern Illinois Gameday Central
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Head coach Tim Beckman met with the media at his weekly press conference on Monday. Selected quotes are below. For the full video of the press conference, please click the link above.
"Boy, you come out to the stadium and you see the new ribbon boards, you see the new scoreboard, you see the tradition that's being put up on the press box with the championships, it gives you a great feeling. Last night, we were able to practice for our student body. I don't know the exact numbers, but it was great to have them here. Probably over 500. It was just a great opportunity to get them on the field and stand there behind me and see if they could kick field goals and eat pizza and watch some football. I think that's what any university and college football is all about: it's about the students and the student-athletes. We're lucky enough to be involved in coaching and lucky enough to be involved in a great sport, which kicks off here Saturday. We know we've got a worthy opponent who has done extremely well late in their football season last year. They've got a lot of great football players back. Quarterback-wise, coming back from a successful end of the season. They've got an outstanding tight end in Pruitt, he'll be wearing No. 4 this year. As you watch tight ends throughout the Big Ten, he is a very fine talent. Defensively, you've got a linebacker in Presume, he's another young man who you can see has been successful. And we talk a little bit about their kicking game; they've got their punter and kicker back. They've got a lot of faces back from a football team that, in my opinion, got a lot better as the season progressed. We're looking forward to it. We can only control what we can control. I think we've had a great camp. We've had 25 excellent practices. We've stayed healthy and that's a must with as many freshmen and sophomores as we have on this roster. But I can tell you this: when we run out there on that football field and they touch Grange Rock, we know that they're going to give everything they've got."
On how the offensive line has grown:
"I think Coach Ricker has done a phenomenal job of bonding a group together. What you want to see as a head football acoch and an offensive line coach is to continue to see them jell and the younger guys that are behind them to start being able to progress in their game so that they get better. I think depth is another concern that we have at that position, so the Joe Spencers and the Christian DiLauros and Austin Schmidts and Dallas Hinkhouses, they have to continue to get their game better so that we can build that offensive line into a solid unit of eight instead of a solid unit of six."
On using more players because of the forecast hot weather on Saturday:
"I know our players have done a phenomenal job throughout the summer and throughout camp. Now, camp wasn't as hot as it has been before. My philosophy, regardless of the weather, is to play your twos and your threes. The only way a player's gonna get better is to play and to be a part of going out there on the football field in a game situation. You're going to see some freshmen out there playing on Saturday. That's just how we're going to become a better football team. I just don't think we're going to get any better as a football team or as a unit if we don't play. Regardless of the weather and regardless of that, you're going to see some twos and a couple two-and-a-halfs - we don't even have threes - a couple of them playing."
What did you do to instill a new attitude in the team?
"As I tell them and as I tell everybody, it's not about what I do. It's about what they do. As a head football coach, you have to instill the proper things but the bottom line is they have to come out and perform it and believe in it. What I've seen with this football team is a credit to what our players have done after the Northwestern game. For the last nine months, there's been a belief and a sense of urgency to perform as a family, perform as a team and those players have been the ones - along with the coaching staff - to formulate it and then to build off of it. As a coach, seeing what they did this summer, I was proud of the way they got better, not just as football players, but we got better as a team."
Where's the anxiety level for the season?
"Huge, anxious. Again, you want to see how far this team has grown. That's all going to be shown with what we do on Saturday at 11 o'clock. What our players have shown us has been huge. From classroom to discipline to being involved in this community, it's leaps and bounds from what it was before. So now it's time to translate that on the football field. There's always correlations between that, in my opinion. I've always seen it in the teams that I've been around, that if you're doing things right off the field, then on the field, it should pay off."