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.
"I'll just start off with saying that these last two weekends have been real, real tough; there's no question about it. Not just for this football program but for the Illini nation. We understand that. Our intentions are to continue to get better. We're taking this season as a one-game season. We know that we have to perform better to be successful. We can't turn the football over. We have to stop teams when they do have the opportunity to score in the red zone. We have to score in the red zone. We have to have more faith in being able to make field goals and punting the football in the right areas. Just together as a team, it's been sort of a snowball effect that's happened to us during these football games. I think we have competed and the kids have fought, but we've got to not be giving up big plays and not being successful enough on offense on third down or critical situations that we've got to be successful on to win. That's kind of how the feeling for the last two weeks has been and now we've got a new season and we have to take it one step at a time."
The team went through a snowball effect last season, has that affected this team, this year?
"We talked about it long and hard last night. We talked about that this has to be a new process and we have to continue to push ourselves. No one likes to lose. There's not a young man in that room, or a coaching member, or a trainer, or a manager, or anybody that's involved in this football program that likes to lose. We've got to continue to strive to get ourselves better and find out what the problems are and fix them. That's what practice is for and that's what (we are) given (in) opportunities in Big Ten games against Wisconsin. That's what we have to do we have to get better."
What is Jonathan Brown's status for this week?
"We'll see. We, of course, did our practice last night. As the game progressed in that football game, you could see that he just wasn't Jonathan Brown. We had to stick two true-freshmen in there and I'm proud to say Mason Manheim was the Freshman Player of the Week in the Big Ten. I'm sure he'd say the same thing; he'd rather get it with a `W'. But I'm proud of those two that came in and Jonathan, we'll see and make that evaluation. Today is their day off; he's been getting his treatment this morning already. And we'll see how he feels tomorrow."
On Mason Monheim:
"I knew Mason was a good football player when we looked at him two football seasons ago when he was back in high school. I know he's very competitive; he comes from an outstanding program. I knew that he had the ability to play, it's just mentally, how quickly can you grow up being an 18-19 year old man and coming in here and playing Big Ten football. I'm proud seeing he and V'Angelo Bentley, Justin Hardee, Mike Svetina, and Dami Ayoola, those guys to be able to come in and play as freshmen."
Why was Penn State more physical on Saturday?
"You saw it during the game. I thought they were a more physical football team. Is it our youth? I don't know. I think our front played decent. You know, (Akeem) Spence and (Glenn) Foster and (Michael) Buchanan and (Justin) Staples and (Tim) Kynard were all players that ended up playing decent for us. We've just got to grow up. They played more physical then we did as you watch that film."
On the similar style of Wisconsin's offense to Penn State's:
"We've got to go out, like I told the team last night, this is going to be a physical football game. This is Big Ten football. This is why we play in this conference. This is what this conference is all about. So were going to have to step up our intensity and make sure that we can match what the Badgers have."
On the situation with Earnest Thomas III being ejected:
"As I mentioned even after the game, and not seeing it on film, with the concussion issue that is going on in college football and pro football, those situations are going to happen. Was it helmet-to-helmet? That's a judgment call. That's a judgment call made by an official and I totally respect his judgment. I have talked to the (Big Ten) office; we will have Earnest back for the next football game. It was not an intentional blow by any means. I hated losing him, no question about that. But the rule is in effect for the protection of the student-athlete. I'm totally behind protecting our student-athletes."
On playing on the road at Wisconsin:
"It's one of those unique places that you get to play at in college football. We practice certain periods to blaring music as much as we can so that we can constantly practice on communication and how we are going to communicate in an environment where you're not going to be able to do it with your voice. Those are things that we work on so our players will be prepared because they've been involved in those situations."