Oct. 28, 2013
Full Press Conference Video | Illinois-Penn State Gameday Central
Interviews: Cubit | Banks | Bates | Brown | Lewis
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.
"We weren't at all happy with what happened at Homecoming and, of course, we want to get better, but I will say this about this football team: for the last nine weeks, we've had a winning record. So if you take the first nine weeks, seven games and two weeks off, there were nine weeks where this team had a winning record or was even. The expectation of this football program is to continue to improve and that's one of the things we will look at as a football team in that the last nine weeks we have been successful, we have been winners, and now we have to get back into that winning phase of it again. The last thing that I'll say is that the last three opponents that we have played are nine and two in the Big Ten. We all know the capabilities of Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Michigan State. They've shown it in the last couple of years of them playing very, very good football. They are very good football programs and very established football programs and we knew we were faced with a great challenge, one that we wanted to accept. I really believe that other than last week's second half, we really competed at the utmost top levels to give us a chance to win. We did not play well in the second half the way that we wanted to play, but we are ready for the final five weeks of the football season, realizing that one of our goals, which is to get to a bowl game, is still achievable with one game at a time and we have a five-game season in front of us with Penn State happening to be our next opponent."
On Ryan Lankford's season-ending injury:
"He's got a bone that's broken in the shoulder that has to be surgically fixed, so for Ryan's sake - what a great young man, great family I'm sorry this had to happen, but Ryan Lankford will make us better as this season continues, it just won't be on the football field. He's a tremendous leader for us and will continue to be that."
On who will have to fill Lankford's spot:
"We've got Steve Hull back, so you've got three seniors [at wide receiver] that have played a lot of football: Myles Osei, Steve Hull, and Spencer (Harris). That means a Martize Barr, a Devin Church that has played a little bit of running back and a little bit of wide receiver, and Justin Hardee are the other names that will have to take over that role along with D.J. [Dionte] Taylor and Pete Bonahoom. Those will be the faces you'll see out there with Lankford being out."
What do you do to keep up team morale?
"You stress positives. Our four defeats have all been to top-25 football teams and we're not a top-25 football team now. We have capabilities as we continue to improve with the youth that we're playing with, but we have to be perfect and we haven't been perfect in situations. We have to score touchdowns when we need to and we have to make sure we defend things better. We can't turn the football over in big games like that. You can see the last three football games that we've had turnovers that have cost us points and touchdowns. The focus is on what we have to control. I think the morale has been outstanding. We've got great players and great character on this football team."
What do you see from Penn State?
"I think they've got some new faces, they have four offensive linemen back that we played against last year, so they have some familiar faces, they've got a great wide receiver, got a freshman quarterback, and probably things weren't clicking for them last week as you watch that film, but, boy, did they play a good game against Michigan. Defensively, you've got up-front guys that are older, that are senior-type guys that are older that are good football players. You've got a linebacker that's back, and a secondary that's a little bit like ours, got some new faces that continue to be building. They're older than we are; they've got six or seven seniors they start on defense and I think five on offense. I still think Penn State is Penn State. They are very physical, they do what they do well, which they always have, and I think Coach (Bill) O'Brien has done a great job with this program."
On facing Penn State QB Christian Hackenburg:
"For a freshmen, he's got a very, very strong arm, I think he's got great intelligence for a freshman, and you can see why he's earned that opportunity to be a starting quarterback at Penn State as a freshman."
How do you try to shield the players from negative media and fans?
"All I'm stressing is the positive things they've done and we'll continue to do that. We'll watch the film of them making the good play and then we'll show them not making that good play and say `Hey, you've done it. We just have to do it on a more consistent basis.' And that's the bottom line: we have to be more consistent because we can play good football and we've shown that."