“First, I’d like to start off just like I told our football players: I’m proud of the way they played. I’m proud of the way we started, but the proudest thing I was, was running out on the football field and seeing all those dads lining the field, seeing the 1953 and ’63 teams there for this football program and that’s what it’s about. It’s about playing for your dad and it’s about (being) lucky enough to get to see my son play and it’s about playing for the tradition. The ’53 and ’63 teams came back last night and got to speak to the football team. So we’re happy with the way we played. There’s definitely plenty of things we can get better at, as all coaches say, but I’m very happy with the way that we have responded after the open week.”
Discussing the team’s confidence:
“That was a challenge. You need to continue to build the program and we talked about coming out fast in this football game and doing what we felt was necessary, and there were great touchdowns and there were great runs and great tackles, but it was the lead-up plays to me again. Steve Hull catches third-and-long and Reilly O’Toole’s long run there at the end of the football game on 3rd-and-18 that sometimes they’ll get talked about, and those are the plays that this team is making and that’s what you see as being so successful and winning football games for us because we’re making those plays.”
Talk about the roles the tight ends have played this year:
“I think they’re huge. They’ve done an outstanding job. I think Matt LaCosse had probably his career day, but there’s going to be many more. Evan (Wilson) had an outstanding catch. Thank goodness he’s 6’7″. He got up and I thought he was going to hit his head on the upright, he got up so high. So I’m happy to see that. He’s a big target – I think I might even have completed that one – but (I’m) happy the way our tight ends played. I think Tyler White is going to be a factor for us as we continue on through the Big Ten.”
Discussing Nathan Scheelhaase:
“I can’t say enough what Nate Scheelhaase has done and it’s not just about throwing touchdown passes. It’s about coming in on Mondays (and) over-studying so he can have the best opportunities to be successful. Sitting with Coach (Bill) Cubit and coming up with a plan that we know that we can get adjusted on the football field through Nate. And I think that Nate’s really buying into this system and you can see the way that he’s been playing, and he grasps it and he loves doing this.”
Discussing the depth on the team with more players playing today:
“Still young. Still got 80 freshmen and sophomores, but we got them in the football game and that’s what it’s about. It’s about these players getting the opportunity to get in games and play for us because they’re going to have to, and that’s just part of this program.”
Discussing Aaron Bailey and Reilly O’Toole playing more today:
“I thought they did a good job. There’s no question about it. I thought Reilly ran our offense the way that we wanted him to and take up a little bit of time in that fourth quarter. Aaron came out and did some things, too. It’s really the first time that they got to experience more of a out-in-the-field offense instead of the third down or goal line offense, so I thought they both did well.
All quotes are from fightingillini.com.
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