Oct. 14, 2013
Full Press Conference Video | Illinois-Wisconsin Gameday Central
Interviews: Cubit | Banks | Scheelhaase | Brown
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 start off by saying how happy we are to be able to come back and play at Zuppke (Field at) Memorial (Stadium). We are excited about being back home and play a game that kicks off at 7 o'clock and play a great challenge with Wisconsin coming in here. As you talk to our football players throughout last week and throughout this week, they're excited about being back. Of course, we used the bye week as a chance to get better and we called it a "bus" week and again, as I've mentioned before, it comes from Coach Groce and a book he had told me about called The Energy Bus and it talks about being positive, talks about building on history, and talks about taking your program and doing what you need to do to make it better. And I definitely believe that our players took advantage of that last week, evaluating themselves and how they can become better football players. The coaching staff did the exact some thing; evaluated on things we need to get better at as a coaching staff and things that are going to make us better. And of course we were able to practice three times last week and we had one last night, a Sunday night practice, to get us used to playing under the lights.
"Wisconsin is a good football team. I have the utmost respect for Gary [Anderson]; he does a great job. I've known him for a while. He worked for Coach [Urban] Meyer out at Utah, that's where we first got to meet one another. I have respect for what he's done at the programs he's been involved in from being a coordinator and an assistant to being a head football coach and you can definitely see that from the way the Badgers played this last weekend against Northwestern. They had an exceptional game on their part and it'll be a great challenge for us, but one we're looking forward to."
On what concerns him most about Wisconsin:
"Well, they've got a lot of guys back, offensively. You look at those films and film from last season, and there are a lot of guys back offensively. They're running basically the same things they did last year: physical up front, running the football, top in the conference right now in offense. Defensively, there are six faces that you see that are very familiar. One that is really familiar for me, and I will bring this up, is Dezmen Southward - is Eli Rasheed, our defensive line coach at Toledo, it's his son - so we used to see him in the summer even before he went to Wisconsin and so I know a lot about him as a young man. He's a great kid, great player. But I know a lot about them and what they do defensively and they do have some of Gary's stuff involved in their defense this year."
Is this a big game for you?
"I think they all are. I mean, you look at it each week and there are only three undefeated teams in the Big Ten with Big Ten records. This is a very balanced conference and you've got to have your `A' game ready every time you step out there on the football field every Saturday and that's a credit to this conference. I think just about top to bottom, it's fairly balanced. There are some young players that are playing in this league this year that have had to step up just as we've had and some of those guys are stepping up. They've (Wisconsin) got a defensive back that now has four interceptions and he's a true freshman. He had to step his game up so that Wisconsin is better and he has. So those are the things that are common in the Big Ten."
On the similarities of Wisconsin's and Nebraska's physicality:
"Very similar. Offensive line-wise, if you look at Nebraska's offensive line compared to Wisconsin's offensive line, big, extremely big, and physical so we're going to have to utilize our players and they understood that. They understood that they were a little bit manhandled in Lincoln. Again, it's moving them around, getting them in the right position, making tackles in the open field was another glaring issue that we had against Nebraska. So those things you continue to work on like you do every day - the fundamentals of football - and you try to get better and put your players in situations so that they can become better. But that's Big Ten football. There are a lot of teams offensively that are going to try to run the power and run the football to establish the offense."
On sticking with the same players through some of the early season struggles:
"With the youth and the players that are playing for us, you're going to go through some growing pains. It's not been about effort, it's not been about lack of assignments or missed assignments. It's been more about just not making the play. And right now with depth that we have and the players we have we're building the defense, especially for the future, and the best way that we know how is to give them reps because they're going to have to play. Yes, there is a little bit of a depth there, Loren (Tate), there is no question about that, but putting them in and letting the true freshmen experience it. The true-freshmen defensive backs, the V'Angelo Bentleys who haven't played but one year; you just have to put those players in those positions because that's what we have now and that's who we have to believe in.
On having the rest of the season without another bye week:
"We've been talking about it quite a bit because these are the seven games that are the crucial games to being a champion in the Big Ten. You've got to take them one at a time. I've never had two bye weeks like this. We've utilized these bye weeks to get healthy, but these seven weeks are the weeks that separate who's going to be there in the end. We're going to take one at a time and we happen to play Wisconsin, who also was in the championship game in 2012. We know that they're a good football team, they've got some good players on their team and we're going to have to play good to be victorious."
On having a linebacker like Jonathan Brown:
"They don't come about all the time, I will say that. I've been very fortunate to be around some great ones and he ranks right up there with them. The thing that I think sets apart the things that Jonathan Brown does is his work ethic off the field. The way he studies the game, really all our linebackers do that, but it's built from Jonathan. He's very apt to be a coach. He wants to help the young players and I think that's really what separates Jonathan from some of the other ones that I've been around."