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 going to get started by just congratulating our Illini soccer team for making it to the next round and heading off to Chapel Hill. Coach Rayfield has done a great job with our program. I'm happy for her and happy for our soccer team heading on out to Chapel Hill. A little recap on the football game: you know, again, (in) the game of football, you have to make plays and Minnesota made more plays then we did in that football game, and they ended up winning the football game on us. I thought our kids played with good effort. They did exactly what we asked them to do but when the time comes to make a play, we either didn't make it, overthrew it, didn't make the catch, didn't make the interception or missed a tackle. But that's the way the game of football is made up. So you have to give credit to Minnesota. They made the plays we didn't make them."
How are you going to get more involved in the offense this week?
"Every week, I sit with the offense on Mondays, usually Monday mornings, to watch game tape or our opponent's tape, and then just give them what I see maybe they're doing defensively and this is something that we might be able to help attack a little bit. So I've been doing more and more of that. I just got done meeting with them and this afternoon I'll spend time with the defense and then also the special teams. So we just talked a little bit. Went over some short-yardage plays that we definitely need to see if we can try to secure to be able pick up some short-yardage gains."
How would you evaluate Nathan Scheelhaase's play so far this season?
"I think it's been just because, and I want people to understand this, any position that you play, especially at quarterback, when you go from being the guy, brand-new in the system, 15 practices of spring football, goes through camp and is the guy during camp, (he) gets hurt in the first game and gets immediately gone for about four weeks, and then he has to come back. Then he takes on a Louisiana Tech team, because he's maybe not totally healthy but he wants to do it for the football team. He realizes he might be the best guy suited to do that. Comes in, gets dinged up a little bit. At that time, we get him back; he's been fully healthy now for about two weeks, gets dinged up in the Michigan football game. So I think with him being first year in this system, I think he's done a good job. I wish I could say that he's completed every pass that we've asked him to complete. If it comes down to a playing, I'd say that I think he's done a good job. If it comes down to leadership, I think he's done an excellent job. Our players buy into what Nate says, buy into what Nate does and the way he works, so our players understand that he'll give us everything we need as a quarterback."
How's Jonathan [Brown]?
"He looked good. He looked better this morning. He's not been cleared, but it's a day-by-day thing. He's no longer in the sling and we're hoping for the best for this weekend."
Mason [Monheim] has been one of the bright spots. Did you think he'd be this good this early?
"I can't say enough for him. Well, I mean, any time an 18-year-old comes in and steps in and plays Big Ten football as well as he does, I think it surprises us all. I think Mike Svetina, for a young man that is also 18 years old and might be three days younger than Monheim, played a good football game this last week. I think the people that surround him, the front line and the secondary, that all help those freshmen when they're out there playing, it speaks highly for them. Minnesota's got a good offense and they were able to hold Minnesota's offense to 300 yards. I think they had 78 yards passing and you had two true-freshmen. I don't know who else in BCS football who's playing with two true-freshmen at linebackers and there might be. I don't know, I don't care. I know we are and it speaks highly for what our defense is doing to make those young men successful."
Is there something you see in recruiting that you can find more of those guys that can make an impact earlier or is it just kind of roll of the dice?
"No, I think it's something that you see and you look for. You look for guys that want to be great. You look for guys that are willing to do what it takes to be the best in everything they do, not just football. Mason Monheim is a 4.0 (GPA) student. Mike Svetina was a leading scorer on his basketball team and a 4.0 student. Both of them, right now, I think maybe they've got one B on their grades right now. They're those types of kids. V'Angelo Bentley comes from a program that's just outstanding and understands it. `Hey, football's it,' but so is academics and so is being a responsible adult."
As you look at Purdue, what causes some concerns?
"I think (they're) very athletic. That win last week was very, very big. And the way they did it, being on the road, we all know how it is to play in Iowa City and then to go down and score and kick that field goal to win that football game. Robert Marve, who I played against two years ago, him directing that team down the field, I thought was outstanding. Defensively, they've got a defensive front that's very active. They play a lot of guys. They play a lot of man coverage and do some things extremely well on defense, so again it'll be another challenge for us and I think each week you step out there on that football field in the Big Ten, every game's a challenge."