Beckman Press Conference Quotes and Player Interviews

Coach Beckman talked to the media on Monday about what he saw in the Western Michigan game and looks ahead to Arizona State this weekend.
Coach Beckman talked to the media on Monday about what he saw in the Western Michigan game and looks ahead to Arizona State this weekend.

Sept. 3, 2012

Full Coach Beckman Press Conference Video

Monday Player Interviews: DE Buchanan | DB Hawthorne | C Pocic | STAR Williams

Illinois head coach Tim Beckman met with the media at his weekly press conference on Monday. Selected quotes are below. For full video of Beckman's press conference, click the link above.

Opening Statement:
"To start off with I'd like to, from the Illini family to Jay Prosch, if you haven't heard, his mother, Iris, passed away this morning. Jay was part of this program and part of a lot of these players' lives. He's got a lot of friends here and I want to send the best to Jay and his family in this time and that we're here for him and that we know what he's going through and we wish him the best. I wanted to start off saying that.

"About the football this last week, let's talk a little bit about it. Positive things I saw, offensively to start first, we talk about ball security. Only having one turnover, we'd like to have zero, of course, but only having one turnover was definitely a plus in what we want to try and get accomplished on offense. Also, time of possession, the first and third quarters were outstanding for time of possession. Offensively, we did some things we felt good about, but of course there are things we need to get better at.

"Defensively, taking the football away. We talk about that every day since we've been here - trying to lead this country in takeaways. To have four in one football game against a pretty good football team, offensively, we're very, very proud of the way we did that. Definitely, I thought what we did against the run, stopping the run on defense is very, very important and was something the front seven, along with all 11, did a good job of stopping the run.

"And then special teams, I think that we're just still a little inconsistent in terms of placement if the football, but I though our punting game, Justin DuVernois, did a great job. Our protection was good. Our kickoffs were a little sporadic. That wasn't consistent enough for me in my categories. And then, of course, we like Nick (Immekus) to make all of them (field goals), but his first attempt went a little wide right, so we've got improve on that. But he came back and did an outstanding job making the next one. I'm happy with the things that we did, but there are things that definitely need improvement in order for us to be a championship program."

Q: What does it mean to have such a veteran group on the defensive side?
"It's huge. Those young men have played football, they've been involved in this program. They know what it is to play in Memorial Stadium. They know what it is to play Big Ten football. I'm proud of their commitment to change, because that was something that each one of those young men had to go through. When Buchanan, Foster, Hawthorne, like you said, Supo (Sanni) didn't get to play this last week, you've got Ramsey, you've got Justin Green - players that are committed to making their senior year the best year that they can make it."

Q: How does QB Nathan Scheelhaase look and will he be ready for Saturday?
"He was out there (at practice) last night. We practice on Sunday nights and he was out there. Definitely not full-go, but I know Nathan is going to do everything he can to be there on Saturday. I'm a firm believer in practice. You've got to go through some practice, at least Wednesday's practice (in order to play). I've found that you're not ready and prepared come Saturday if you haven't practiced. You're just going to have a hard time performing on Saturdays. We're going to see how that thing progresses. I just got done seeing him. He's looking better and better, so he's at least smiling."

Q: Was Scheelhaase's injury an ankle sprain?
"It's with his ankle, yeah. It's not a high ankle sprain, but it's dealing with his ankle."

Q: Who is making the final decision on if he can go on Saturday?
"We've got a bunch of people that get to help make that decision - myself included, both of our offensive coordinators, Nate himself and our training staff. We'll make the best decision that'll help Nathan and help this football team."

Q: If Scheelhaase isn't ready and Reilly O'Toole gets the call, how does that change the way you approach the game offensively?
"Both of them have been repping the same amounts. We're not an offense where the one's get six reps and the twos get two. We do the exact same thing, so Reilly's got about as many reps, and so has Miles (Osei). Both of those two young men are going to be prepared this week to play in this football game, so we'll see how they do and how they progress. But game planning and all that stuff, there will be very little change."

Q: Can you talk about Ashante Williams and the role you see him playing after his good performance on Saturday?
"I said this Saturday and I firmly believe it - you knew as the head football coach and anyone involved in our football program, that he was going to have a good football game because of the way he prepared for it. I think he even mentioned about the three hours of film study that he used to utilize his game prior to playing Western (Michigan). All of those things are crucial and very, very important for us to be successful. I see him getting better and better as his game progresses and I'm excited to see how he plays this week against Arizona State."

Q: How do you prepare for a team like Arizona State that has a new coaching staff?
"We look at it all. We looked at what Pitt was and did a lot of that during the summer. Also, what they did against Northern Arizona. Things that he did at Tulsa. He's been very, very successful. I have the utmost respect for Todd (Graham) and what he's done for his programs at Tulsa, Rice and at Pitt. He's an outstanding coach. I was in Oklahoma when he was in Tulsa, so I know a lot about Tulsa football and about Todd Graham."

Q: Did you see anything from Arizona State last weekend that could give you cause for concern?
"Yeah, they're a good football team. There's not question about it. Anybody that can score that many points can be pretty darn good. Regardless of who you're playing, when you score points like that... And they took the football away quite well, too. They're a very, very good football team."

Q: What are the challenges traveling out west and playing a late game?
"The weather, of course, you know it's going to hot. Heck, it's Arizona and it's September so you know it's going to be hot there. We've talked about the fluids, the hydration. My second year in Columbus we went down to play in Austin our second football game and I thought we did a good job of preparing for the weather and the hydration. So that one of the things. These players understand the importance of whatever time the ball is kicked-off at, you better be ready and prepared to play your A game."

For full video of Beckman's press conference, click here.