Nov. 25, 2013
Full Press Conference Video | Gameday Central
Interviews: OC Cubit | DC Banks | QB Scheelhaase | WR Hull
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.
First and foremost, I want to thank everyone for their comments and concerns for my mother; she's doing great and it's a blessing to be able to talk to her every day, so I want to thank everyone for their concerns. Second, we are in the process of doing
something for the area of Washington(, Ill.), especially the football team, to get them back and involved in this football game that we're having here Saturday. We have to go through some processes with the NCAA, of course, prior to that to get them here for the game against the team up-state. I would like to wish all the teams good luck this weekend in the state championship (games) and, of course, in St. Louis as well as in Indiana.
"About the football game, of course the `W.' It was probably the most rewarding game, experience for this football team, coaching staff, myself and everyone involved in the football program because of the adversity that had to be [overcome] to win that football game. We sure didn't make it easy; that was definitely a bad football game, but the way our defense stopped their offense from scoring, the ability of us stopping a fake field goal, the ability of us with the punt return that happened to us, dropping punts and the turnovers. To come out with a victory speaks a lot for this football team and what they've been going through in order to achieve a win so that was the first thing we talked about last night. A lot of teams don't win football games, especially on the road, when you don't play up to the caliber that you would like to play, but this football team did that. It just happened to be the one that broke the losing streak, but it also was a heck of a football game regardless of if it broke a losing streak or not because this team battled through some adversity to win that game. So I can't be more proud of the team, this coaching staff, and everyone involved in this program."
What changed on defense after giving up 14 points in the first quarter?
"Not a whole bunch, we were just playing better football. There were four plays in that first part of the football game that equaled 144 yards, so those are, of course, big plays and you cannot give up big plays. If you look at the rest of the game - and it's ironic that it's right in half - they had 288 total yards of offense so the other fifty-some-odd plays they gained 144 yards. We mis-fit two of the long runs and I've been saying that a lot, but it's about getting across a block or having a safety in the proper alley to run support, or it's a defensive back, a corner, getting off a block to make a tackle later on down the field instead of letting it go for 60. Those types of things occurred on those plays from a busted assignment to not fitting properly. So if you take those four plays out, we still made the same calls, we just did things better. We tackled better, we got off blocks better and we covered better, and we pressured the quarterback at times and much more than in previous games."
On what Nathan Scheelhaase means to the team and community:
"Everybody in this community and around this university knows who Nathan Scheelhaase is, not just how he plays the game of football, not just how he throws the football, how he runs the football, but how he leads and how much the University of Illinois means to Nathan. I think that anyone that knows or has been around him realizes that we're going to miss not just a great player, but a great person, too. In honor of him, we need to perform as we took all the juniors, sophomores, and freshmen out and said it's our time to perform for these seniors. And they did that on the road this last week and now we have the opportunity to do it at home this week on Senior Day.
"He is involved in everything. I've been around football my whole and there aren't many Nathan Scheelhaases out there. I was blessed enough to coach on a national championship team that had a Heisman winner. There aren't many Nathan Scheelhaases out there."
On Corey Lewis' Senior Day:
"It's what college football is all about. I'm proud to have been associated with Corey [Lewis] and his career, especially this last year. It's going to mean a lot. This family we have here is very close so there are a bunch of seniors out there that I hate to see go. I wish we had a seventh year for Corey, we'd be breaking a lot of records there."
On what the senior class has meant to this program:
"After the Northwestern game last year, they got in the weight room with a purpose and that purpose was to bring this program back. This senior group knows that they've been a big part of getting this this football program going back in the right direction."
On Northwestern's season:
"Wow, I think Fitzy (Pat Fitzgerald) does a great job. I have the utmost respect for
Northwestern and always have. Ironically, that's where I spent most of my time offensively and defensively (when I was) at Toledo. We had a Northwestern grad on staff, so we did spend a lot of time with that football team. Of course now, being the head football coach at Illinois, we don't get as much time because it's our rival, but I have respect for them. It's been a tough football season for them: two overtime games for them and a hail mary. They've been in every football game and maybe a play here or there that they'd like to have back, injuries that we had last year, but they continue to fight. Fitzy has them fighting and you know that's exactly what you're going to get when you come here Saturday from the Wildcats."
On how Northwestern's offense has changed since the injuries:
"Knowing what they've done on offense, being involved with their offensive coordinator at Bowling Green, I feel they've done about the same; maybe not so much quarterback run of course, but basically the passing game has been the same. And the running game is still getting your zone concept, not getting as much options, quarterback powers or quarterback counters. They started out against Michigan State doing that, but then he (Kain Colter) got hurt again."
On the importance of the game on Saturday:
"It's about moving forward. Nothing to brag about, but we've doubled our wins and, of course, I'd like to say we tripled or quadrupled our wins, but we didn't. This program has gotten better and we've made tremendous strides in the things that we do. Of course, going into winter workouts with a win is always important."