Illini, Beckman to Take on FCS Foe
“Well, first, just talking a little bit about Saturday’s game. Of course, disappointment. As I mentioned Saturday after the football game: we win as a team and we lose as a tema. There’s no fingers to be pointed. That’s the greatest thing about playing the game of football is that it’s everybody. We’re a family of 105 football players and 15 coaches, and we’re all together in this and we could’ve all been better at everything that we did Saturday evening. It’s disappointing, no question. One thing I will say about this football team is that they were back. We flew in, got in around 6 o’clock in the morning and we were back out here on this football field for practice last night. After we evaluated that tape, we graded that tape. We watched it as a football team and we made our corrections that we needed to make so that we’re capable of playing. There’s no question the difference in feeling from when you go from a Western Michigan win – which we know Western Michigan scored 50 points last week – to a loss to Arizona State. But this team has got resiliency and I look forward to seeing how we perform on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and, thus, how we perform on Saturday.”
On Illinois’ defensive breakdowns against Arizona State
“Well, as I mentioned, and you could tell even from the field, there was some, what we call eye violations, eye-control violations. We didn’t stay with the men that we were supposed to be staying with. They were running two and three receivers through a zone – which, give credit to Arizona State, they’re a good football team and good offensive, defensive and special teams schemes – but they were running three through zones and we had a couple miscommunications in our man coverage. Maybe it was by the speed of the game. But we didn’t have everybody on the same page early in that game, so that was something that we have to get adjusted and we worked on last night.”
Did the speed of the game affect the defense’s communication:
“Yeah, I think the speed at which they were running plays is something that’s hard to practice but we did practice it as best as we could and I think it’s something that does put an advantage – but they have to be able to perform what they need to perform in that quick of a time, also. I’m not going to say that was the whole reason – we have to have ownership in what some of those mistakes were as a player and as a coach – but we know that it did have a little bit of a factor on coverages being called and being on the same page with all 11.”
What did you think about the performance of Reilly O’Toole and Miles Osei at quarterback?
“Again, the three turnovers is what you think about. Those are definitely things we can’t do and be successful. I thought Reilly came in and stepped in and made some crucial plays with his arms and his feet scrambling. We just aren’t consistent enough on offense. We don’t have that big hitter that we need to have every now and then. We’ve got the six, the four, the six and then the minus-four. So we’ve got to become a consistent offense. Speaking of Miles, I thought Miles did some things, too, with his feet (but) made some unforced errors. He tried to get things into coverage that there’s no need to get it into that coverage. Definitely learning experiences for them and I know that they’ll just improve.”
What can you say about the starting quarterback for Saturday?
“All three of them practiced last night, so I can tell you that. Nathan could’ve went in an emergency situation on Saturday night, but we just didn’t feel that that was necessary and that was the right thing for our football team and for Nathan.”
Do you think about resting Nathan Scheelhaase against FCS opponent Charleston Southern?
“No, we’re going to play whoever’s ready to play. We need to get better as a team. We don’t have any time to rest. We’re not even close to where we need to be right now. As a coaching staff, we need to play our players. That’s why they come play college football: it’s to play on Saturday afternoon.”
What does Charleston Southern do schematically?
“They’re an option football team. You’ll see three backs in the backfield. They’ll get in multiple formations, but they’re more of a three-back football team. Defensively, you’ll see what we call an under front quite a bit. They’ll play a little bit of quarters (coverage) and a little bit of man. A lot of people have been playing man on us, so I’m sure we’ll see a little bit of man and a little bit of pressure. Special teams, they’ve played very good in the first half. What’s really hurt Charleston Southern in the last two football games is the second half and turnovers have really been a factor in their football games.”
How do you try to boost the defense’s morale after Saturday?
“I think that they’ve stepped up. Yesterday, they were the ones who came in early and watched the tape on their own before they watched it with the coaches. We’ve got great senior leadership. I wish all of them were playing, but they aren’t all playing because of some injuries and some things. We’ve got some great leadership over there. yes, they were hurt, as well as the staff and everybody, so I’m sure they’re very willing to make a change.”
On the team’s new helmet stickers:
“We gave out – you’ll see the state of Illinois on the backs of their helmets, they have stickers. The blue ones stand for football rewards and the white ones are for not being on a list. It’s a reward for production. The white sticker on their helmet is for rewarding for doing what they’re supposed to do. The goal is to get 12 white stickers – that means 12 weeks of doing things right, not being late to class or late for the training room or whatever. And they also get rewarded for the achievement they have on the football field.”
How do you create more big plays?
“It’s all 11 have to do it. We had too many negative plays in crucial situations that put us out of being successful. We can’t have a second-and-long. We’ve got to be able to establish the first-down run game and not get ourselves into trouble. It’s all of us. To make a chunk play, it’ll be a running back maybe carrying it, but it’s the wide receiver that’s making the excellent block down the field to spring the running back for six.”