Tim Beckman met with media on Monday.
Oct. 21, 2013
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'm proud that our team is 3-3. I think we've made tremendous strides on the offensive side of the football and in special teams. We all know that we have to get better on defense. I think that it was expected that we would be better on offense because we have returning starters on offense, quite a few of them. We expected to be better on special teams because we have some people back there doing that that have done it before in the Big Ten and in college. Defensively, we are not to where we would like to be right now, but we know we can continue to get better because we have a lot of new faces that are out there playing a lot of football for us and we have to get better on that side of the ball. I know that we put in and tried as much pressure as we possibly could in the second half. As a matter of fact, we blitzed on 26 out of 36 plays trying to get people around and involved in the box as much as possible and we still have to be able to get off blocks and make tackles in order to be successful on defense. So if you look at it statistically, we've played two top-8 defenses in the country with Cincinnati top-8 and Wisconsin being sixth. This week, we'll have a challenge because we play the No. 1 defensive team in the country and that's Michigan State. I'm sure Coach Cubit will have some things ready to roll and then, defensively, we've got to be able to start fast, which we did not do this last week and that was one of things we thought we needed to do to beat Wisconsin and we did not do that."
Who will return punts if Miles Osei and V'Angelo Bentley can't play Saturday?
"On the punt return, there are three that will vie for it this week: [Darius] Mosely, of course has done it, Martize [Barr] upset me with the fumble a little bit but I know he's very capable of doing it, and Caleb Day are the three that will be really competing for the punt return. The kickoff return we will go with Lankford to compete with the other three that I just mentioned."
On any possible changes on defense:
"Defensively, we need Teko Powell involved. Of course, he had the foot [injury] so he only got in nine plays and you just can't rush him back into the game. Jarrod Clements is getting more and more reps, Jaylen [Dunlap] will have to get more reps if Bentley is not available and same with Mosely. So you're talking a sophomore and three true-freshmen, but they're going to have to be ready to go. [Eric]Finney was out for the football game too with a slight shoulder problem."
What did you think of Steve Hull's performance on Saturday?
"Loved it. I mean, what a great opportunity. The young man was told he was not going to play anymore because he can't tackle and gets a couple other opinions from some NFL doctors. He comes back and we decide that the best thing for him and this football team is to play him on offense and, boy, has he been playing pretty good. I think he's done a really great job of making plays like players do. I always tell him that players make plays and he has made some plays for us this year."
On Michigan State's struggles on offense:
"They have four offensive linemen back, they're physical. They're still trying to find that [running] back to replace Bell. They've got some very skilled wide receivers that are big. The tight end area, they're 290 pounds, two of their tight ends, so they're a big offense. I know what the philosophy has been at Michigan State offensively. I think as you watch the games progress, they are getting better and better."
On facing Michigan State's strong defense:
"Yeah, their defense is good, there's no question about it. They've done some good things and have some good players. Their corners are very good coverage guys and are older guys. Their linebacker corps has been very successful and played a lot of football. Their defensive front is huge, so you can see why they've been so successful for so many years on defense."
On what continues to be the issue for Illinois' defense:
"We're losing gap responsibilities, we're getting washed, and we're getting doubled, we're getting moved too far, and we've got to stand our gap controls. When we move, or try to move, our front, you've got to be right because if you're not, then they're going to get really washed. It's attacking, playing your gap control and then, of course, tackling. You saw it again, you see the missed open-field tackles, you see the defensive backs and you see the perimeter, but it's occurring on the inside too. Of course, everyone sees the outside ones that are missed."
On what the defense is improving on:
"You can see that we're making strides in covering man-to-man better, we're making strides in not showing coverages as much. Again, this is new to what they're doing and I think that all of the young players have made good strides as we move into the second half of the season."