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.
Recap from last week, again, I think it's like a déjà vu type of deal. Again, (we had) an opportunity to win a football game. An opportunity that you have to make plays in a football game to win that football game. We turned the football over too many times, plus, we had opportunities to create turnovers or have those turnovers and be beneficial for us. That did not occur and again, there's a loss. As this football team moves forward, we know it's rivalry week. I was very excited with our players today. We practiced on Monday instead of Sunday; we practiced this morning. We felt that getting the guys here on Monday would be an added addition to them having a day off. So we had our practice this morning; we watched film, finished up the film from Purdue and then we got directly to the team up-state. They're a very, very good football team, very, very good program. Coach Fitzy has done a great job up there and that's what rivalries are all about. I've been involved in the best of the best and that's what you play the game of college football for, is these rivalries. So we'll be excited and we know that it will be a challenge but also a great opportunity for us."
What do you see from Northwestern?
"They're playing extremely hard. You see a team getting better every week. We were so familiar with one another prior to me getting here at Illinois, I know what type of program is run up there. Coach Pat does a great job. He's got a good staff. Mick McCall, his offensive coordinator, was on staff with me at Bowling Green. Dennis Springer, his running backs coach, was on staff with me at Bowling Green. They've done an outstanding job. You can see, the seven years that he's been there, they've really established themselves."
How big would a win be this week?
"It's huge. You say you're only as good as your last game. It's a very, very important football game. It's a rivalry football game, that's why they usually play it last. I've been involved in great ones, I mean, the best of the best. They're very important. We try to do some special things to try to give this game even more of a rivalry atmosphere, so it's very important."
What does Northwestern do so well offensively?
"Well, Mick does a great job of changing up the tempos and he utilizes more personnel packages. Again, Kain Colter has had a great year. He has run the offense exactly the way you try to run that offense. I think it's utilizing and understanding what they're going to do to us based on the tempo and personnel packages that they're using, and then always knowing where Kain's at because he's done a fabulous job of using his feet to get out of trouble when he needs to get out of trouble."
How has the defense improved recently?
"Well, we're not giving up the big chunk play. (But) we gave up three big chunk plays in this last football game and those happened to be the ones that hurt us. Again, it comes down to those plays. I think our defense has played better at leveraging the football and doing those sorts of things, but still, it comes down to making that stop when we need that stop, and we didn't make it. So you're only as good as the W's that you have and that's what this football team understands."