CHAMPAIGN — Unless he's got some help, Tim Beckman doesn't sleep but a few hours most nights.
"I just don't unless I'm taking NyQuil or whatever it is to sleep," the first-year Illinois coach said.
Chances are Beckman won't get in more than a few winks ahead of Saturday's season opener against Western Michigan at Memorial Stadium, his first as a Big Ten head coach. Plenty of family — including Mom and Dad — will be in attendance.
"It'll be a little bit of nerves; I do get a little bit of butterflies, as they say," Beckman said. "This is a dream come true for us, and I'm sure it is for this coaching staff. We're excited about being here. We're excited about seeing what our players can do after being with them for eight months and to see how far we've come since spring football and to see how they respond to adversity and to success."
The game plan for the Broncos is in place, but Beckman has stressed to the Illini that the days leading up to Saturday's 11 a.m. kickoff (ESPNU) are crucial.
"I'm a firm believer that you can get a lot accomplished in the last 48 hours. It doesn't have to be all physical; it needs to be a lot mental," he said. "That's one of the things I've challenged the football team with, and they'll hear about it (today): The focus we need to have for those 48 hours wins games."
Because of Hurricane Isaac, there's a chance Saturday's game will be played in a rainstorm. Illinois practiced in the rain Sunday, and Beckman has talked with the team about the possibility of playing in adverse conditions.
"We've definitely looked at some of that stuff with the hurricane coming up here, especially in the kicking game," he said. "I've been in northwest Ohio, which is a lot like central Illinois. We get tremendous winds. I've been in those situations at Blowing Green, that's what we called it instead of Bowling Green, and Toledo, so we'll be ready, and we've talked a lot about the wind."
Injured safeties Supo Sanni and Steve Hull were limited in practice participation Wednesday. Beckman said their status for Saturday is uncertain. Patrick Nixon-Youman and Earnest Thomas are listed as starters.
"Give me one more day. We're hoping to hear a little bit more on both those guys," Beckman said. "You saw Hull out there doing a little bit more work than Sanni."
Beckman also said backup linebacker Ralph Cooper would not play the first quarter Saturday against the Broncos.
"I'm going to sit him for the first quarter for a discipline issue that I have. He'll be able to play in the second quarter," Beckman said.