Beckman's strategy hits close to home

Beckman's strategy hits close to home

The question surprised Scott Hamilton. In a good way.

On Wednesday, the Unity football coach took a call from the Illinois football office. They wanted to know if Hamilton had time to meet with new coach Tim Beckman the next day.

"Sure," Hamilton said.

Beckman spent about 30 minutes at Unity, talking with Hamilton about a number of subjects. Beckman mentioned some of his ideas about spring practice and getting the high school coaches involved.

"I'm going to be in this guy's corner," Hamilton said. "The more he can do that with the coaches in Illinois and work his way out, the better it's going to be."

Beckman made nine stops Thursday, starting in Danville and going west. He visited all three Champaign-Urbana public schools and St. Thomas More.

While the local schools have produced their share of big-time players (J Leman, Mikel Leshoure, etc.), they aren't considered recruiting hotbeds. Why take the time?

"That's what recruiting is all about, getting out and spreading the word of this staff," Beckman said. "Our ambition of the staff is to recruit this state like it is the state university.

"It's good to see coaches. The lifeline of the program is recruiting."

Filling out

Beckman, who attended Saturday's morning practice with a pair of recruits, said his staff is close to full. Beckman said he has one opening left.

Keith Gilmore will stay from Ron Zook's staff. The announcement on the remaining coaches will come as soon as possible.

"When it seems fit," Beckman said. "I'm not going to spoil anything with them. It's going to be a fine staff, no question."

Missing parts

Fullback Jay Prosch isn't practicing as he deals with a "medical issue," interim coach Vic Koenning said. Koenning said he isn't sure if Prosch will be able to play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

Illinois used freshman linebacker Ralph Cooper at fullback during Saturday's practice.

"We'll make sure we've got somebody who will go bloody someone's nose," Koenning said.

Defensive end Darrius Caldwell has returned to Atlanta, awaiting word from the NCAA on eligibility issues, Koenning said. Caldwell remains with the team, but won't be allowed to go to the bowl.

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports

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blmillini wrote on December 18, 2011 at 8:12 am

Nice to see a couple guys that get it.  Thomas talking about Illinois and the "brand" and how to sell it and Beckman creating positive relationships locally already.  I don't know why anyone would be unhappy with this change.

Salt Life wrote on December 18, 2011 at 9:12 am
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With Prosch out Illinois used freshman linebacker Ralph Cooper at fullback during Saturday's practice. "We'll make sure we've got somebody who will go bloody someone's nose," Koenning said.

I will miss Vic Koenning as defensive coordinator at Illinois. I wish he had been our head coach instead of Zook the last couple of years. Sorry Beckman didn't try hard enough to keep him.

eugene wrote on December 18, 2011 at 10:12 am

You've got to love a coach like Vic. He will be missed next season for sure. I wish him the best next season in NC.

Looking forward to seeing the new coaching staff introduced. Getting excited about a coach that is embracing the task of owning this state for recruiting. Visiting the local coaches appears to be the first step, but I think it is a preview of things to come for the rest of the state.

butkus50 wrote on December 18, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Urban Meyer just landed the seventh best propect in the country on, a five star.

Our guy is really off to fast start. I read Beckman was able to pry a two star recruit from Akron, E. Michigan, Miami Ohio, and Toledo, his first at Illinios, a linebacker from Ohio.

Beckman will announce his assistants soon as all but one are hired according to reports. This should tell us much about our prospects for next year. Let's hope he can attract the best assistants from around the  country that can improve our program.

OKOMIS wrote on December 19, 2011 at 3:12 pm


I had read a few days ago that a 4 or 5 star recruit from a suburban Chicago school had de-committed from Penn state and committed to Ohio State, and thought to myself, isn’t it a shame an Illinois kid wanting to attend a Big ten school  bouncing between two epic proportion scandal ridden programs.. like picking who’s better, Charles Manson or Jeffrey Dahmer…Hopefully what Beckman is doing will change that. That and embracing our past and past players..

Davehanna wrote on December 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm

It is about time! Too much talent right here in Illinois and especially in the Chicago metro area, and not an Illini scout to be found at many of those games.

The Chicago Public and Catholic league schools have bright kids who head out of state. No bond with the coaches up here with the Illini program. I am one Illini fan who hopes to see that change.