Sep 2, 2013
Full Press Conference Video | Illinois-Cincinnati Gameday Central
Athletics Director Mike Thomas Interview
Interviews: Cubit | Banks | Bentley | Brown | Scheelhaase
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.
"Before I get started, I want to first and foremost congratulate Nathan Scheelhaase for being named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. I think Nathan will be the first to tell you that it's not a Nathan award, it's a team award. Just heard it myself coming from the (Fighting Illini Insider) television show, so I wanted to say congratulations to Nathan. I just talked to LouAnn (Scheelhaase, Nathan's mother) on the phone and she's very proud of her son, just as we are."
On the Southern Illinois game:
"I'd like to go over the game this week. As I mentioned after Saturday's game, a `W' is a `W.' And there's definitely things we can learn from each `W' that we get, but this program is about winning and we've got to learn how to win and we've got to continue to do the things that we think are necessary to win football games. Might not be the prettiest thing, but it's a `W' in the long run. We met and worked on it last night as a team and practiced to get our things situated that we need to improve on. A couple of things that we'll talk to them about offensively: I think that definitely with what Nathan and the offense did with throwing the football (is a positive), but we must protect him better. We gave up five sacks and too much pressure on Nathan. That's not just the front five; it'll never just be the front five. That's backs and tight ends, and also Nathan getting in the right protections. Defensively, we gave up the long ball too much. And experience shows that we're gonna have to improve that each and every week because people are going to attack you off the things you didn't do well in your first game. So we worked on it hard last night and we'll continue to try to improve with the pressure on the quarterback and, of course, the coverage that takes place.
"Special teams-wise, if you look at what you did on the offensive side of special teams, which is returning the football, I'm very proud of V'Angelo and the other 10 guys who returned a kickoff for a touchdown. We had some decent punt returns also, with the two-deep scheme that we used. But we had a penalty that took back an 18-yard return. But we were proud of how our offensive special teams played. Defensive special teams on the other hand, we did not punt the ball very well at all at crucial times. We addressed it with Justin and he knows that as a young man who's a junior, he's got to punt the ball better in crucial situations. Then the kickoff, we had five missed tackles on that kickoff that was returned 60 yards. And you're not going to be successful if you're missing tackles. After looking at the film as a staff - offensively, defensively and special teams - and going out and practicing last night, a `W' is a `W.' This team needs to learn how to win and we need to take advantage of winning and try to build momentum off `W's. Again, we're talking about positive energy. Just like my man (Illinois men's basketball head coach) John Groce talks about all the time, we're going to build on positiveness and we're going to move this program forward. We know we've got a heck of a battle this week against a Cincinnati Bearcat team."
On what Beckman saw with the running game:
"Well, I think the first thing, Loren, is that we didn't hit it (the hole) as backs like we should. I think that we're probably more of a power-type running football team. We were moving the football so well throwing it that it probably took away from a little bit of the running game and what we wanted to do. But you don't always blame it on the five or six guys up front. There are times that there's holes there and we need to hit it and take it."
On how the cornerbacks played against SIU:
"Again, we're very, very young back there and I've mentioned that from the start. I was happy, real happy with the way we played in the first half. Now, the second half is a whole other question. But the first half, when you hold somebody underneath 100 yards and they had a lot of guys back, that's a good football team. Don't take anything away from Southern Illinois. There's teams in that conference that won football games (against FBS opponents) last week. And there's some teams in the top 25 that played FCS teams and had problems with them. SIU is a good football team and we, defensively, have to find ways to create pass rush and we've got to do a better job of covering passes."
On game-planning for Cincinnati:
"A good thing is that we do have a coach (defensive coordinator Tim Banks) who was there not too long ago. So he knows some of those players, there's no question about that. But you're dealing with a new offense, and you're dealing with a different offense than when he was there. But again, you're talking about a program that won 10 football games the last two years and has been a champion the last two years, and has 12 guys back, seven on offense. So you're talking about an offense and a defense that has been successful and has been built to be successful."
On the Cincinnati program:
"They're a good football team. I think Mark Dantonio started it a long, long time ago. And they've just continued to build and build and build. That team has won a lot of football games, it's been very competitive. I've seen a lot of them in my career, being in Ohio. They're a good football team that has been recruited and focused on, and the cupboard isn't bare."
How did you think the team dealt with the heat?
"Did a great job. It was hot. I think we measured it at about 109 on the field. I dropped about seven-and-half (pounds on Saturday). I know y'all don't care, but that's what I dropped. I can't say enough for Aaron Hillmann, this football team, our training staff: just an outstanding job of hydration. Our players were prepared prior to the game with the hydration. We had four guys who had hydration problems, but they all came back out on the football field for a hot day like that, I can't say enough."
How did Corey Lewis do in his first start?
"Corey did good for the first full game. He got in 48 snaps. It's just a delight to see him out there playing because there's that sixth year again. Was he dominating? No. But coming back, it was great to see him out there playing."
On all the upsets around college football this past week:
"It just talks about what football is in this country now. It's become very balanced. Everybody has an opportunity. I've been on that southern Illinois sideline when we were playing Purdues and Ohio States and Northwesterns and teams like that. And, yeah, we felt real good coming off those sidelines because we won some of those football games. And we also might've lost a couple. But that's college football today, I think. It's getting so balanced. It's about evaluating talent. It's about getting people who fit your program to get into your program."