Tate: Ugly start takes its toll

Tate: Ugly start takes its toll

Coaches are human. They’re schooled to maintain a stiff upper lip, to never let their disappointment show. But they have the same emotions, the same highs and lows, as the rest of us.
In just five games, Tim Beckman already is feeling the pressure. He sees his Illini playing poorly. He is aware that the fans are leaving Memorial Stadium early. He, like you, knows what he’s facing at Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday.
And if you want to know how he feels, he has a simple request. Ask him.
Before Wednesday’s news conference, he asked that if media members wanted to know his feelings, come to him and not his assistants.
This stemmed from the previous day’s interview with assistant Alex Golesh, as first published by Rivals.com. Said Golesh in an honest response to the question:
“I think it’s tough on him (Beckman) because expectations were maybe a little bit higher than we’ve achieved so far, especially probably defensively. The expectation’s been that we’re a Top-10 defense. Offensively, I think our expectation was to win time of possession, not turn the ball over, and win with defense. Right now, we’re not doing that.
“I think if it’s not tough on him, you probably got the wrong guy. He lives, breathes and walks around thinking about this nonstop. It’s been hard on him. It’s been hard on everybody.”
Later in the open interview, the recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach again spoke frankly:
“We (coaches) can’t go play for them. Prime example, our job is to put our kids in one-on-one matchups. They have to win those one-on-one matchups, whether that’s up front or at the skill spots.
“If they can’t win those matchups, then we have to go recruit. We have to recruit better players. But if we don’t put them in the right one-on-one situations, then that’s our fault.”
Straight talk that we all understand, but it is apparent Beckman would have handled the same subjects with more delicacy.

More of the same
Running back Donovonn Young was equally candid:
“As a playmaker, you want the ball in your hands,” the Texas sophomore said. “I play physical, and I need the ball. That’s how it is for all the playmakers, Josh (Ferguson), Darius (Millines), all the guys we have. Can this offense run the ball? Definitely. I mean, if we couldn’t, that’s a knock on me, so I’m confident that we can run the ball. I got it six times last week (gained 63). So it’s like ... I mean, you can’t run the ball when you don’t have the ball.”
Referencing the offensive line, Young said:
“I feel like the line has played well despite all the turmoil that’s going on ... so much change. The only person that’s really been in one position has been Teddy Karras (right guard), and the rest of the line has shifted around, played different positions, people have been thrown in. So due to the lack of consistency up front, like the same people, I feel like we’ve done well.”
Concerning morale:
“I’m done talking about it,” Young said. “We need to go out and handle business. We keep getting our butt kicked. It upsets me because I go out and play hard, and I know all my teammates do. It’s frustrating at the end of the day looking up at the scoreboard. Like, we went 7-6 last year, but, man, most of those games that we lost were not as bad as what has been happening.
“I feel bad for the fans. I look up in the stands, and they’re leaving after the third quarter. It hurts when I’m on the sideline because I put in the work during the week, extra work, all the time I put in, and we get beat like we do. In the fourth quarter there’s like nobody up there, and it hurts and I feel bad for the fans because they want us to do good. They come out and support us, but it’s just like, I mean, what can you do?”

Big — or bad — Badgers?
It is appropriate for Illinoisans to be disappointed over being outscored 132-45 in the three losses, but it should be noted that Saturday’s foe hasn’t exactly set the woods on fire. In short order, coach Bret Bielema has fired new offensive line coach Mike Markuson — a spread advocate who didn’t fit the Badger system — and discovered that the latest quarterback transfer, Danny O’Brien, is no Russell Wilson.
If you credit Wisconsin with a strong effort in Saturday’s 30-27 loss at Nebraska, that doesn’t change the fact the Badgers weren’t impressive in four-fifths of the season.
The Badgers escaped 26-21 against Northern Iowa (now 1-4). They had 35 yards rushing in a 10-7 loss at Oregon State. They squeaked by Utah State 16-14 when a 37-yard field goal try went wide on the last play. They beat UTEP 37-26 with a 21-20 edge in first downs. And they looked good in building a 17-point lead before Nebraska rallied.
In five games, the Badgers have four fewer first downs than their opponents, 198 fewer yards gained and roughly the same time of possession. If Utah State had drilled an easy field goal, the Badgers’ record would be the same as the UI’s ... with one difference: Wisconsin’s losses are close. Illinois’ are not.
Regardless of graduation and injury losses, the folks up north expect excellence. They’ve come to demand it and turn out in large numbers to encourage it. Bielema replaced Barry Alvarez in 2006 and won 17 of his first 18 games as coach. He has won at least nine games on five occasions. He’s 27-1 in nonconference games, and his Badgers prevailed in the Big Ten’s first playoff game.
The Northerners believe Wisconsin will gather momentum and send Montee Ball flying through the line like Ron Dayne. The Badgers haven’t shown it yet, but it is expected. At Illinois, the folks don’t know what to expect, and they’ve never been less optimistic.

Loren Tate writes for The News-Gazette. He can be reached at ltate@news-gazette.com.


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peterborich wrote on October 04, 2012 at 11:10 pm

You gotta love Donovonn Young !  Go Illini ! Beat the Stinkin' Badgers !!

Bear8287 wrote on October 05, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Yay Dononvonn!

This team is going to have to dig deep and play with some passion. Mike Mauti should be a good example and how did we allow PSU that kind of motivation?  PSU is a program that's been sanctioned by the NCAA for egregious activity and when Illinois operates within the rules, Illinois is made out to be the bad guys?  Seriously!? Psychologically, we need to turn the tables on that one.

Bret Bielema has said some pretty stupid things that I think the Illini can use for motivation.  Here's hoping for an inspired performance by the Illini on Saturday.

Go Illini!

OKOMIS wrote on October 05, 2012 at 2:10 pm

You would think the PSU team was harmed more by the perfectly compliant and legal “off-campus recruiting visit” by our staff, then the children who were savagely raped as an old and decrepit coach looked the other way and athletic director commits perjury covering it up.

Arborial1 wrote on October 05, 2012 at 4:10 pm

While the Illini coaches trip to Penn State was, according to the NCAA's ruling, "perfectly compliant and legal," it was completely classless in how Beckman and Co. handled the situation, and it was also an essentially useless endeavor in that Ryan Nowicki doesn't appear to be seeing any playing time this year.  Nittany Lions fans continue to wish Ryan well in his FB career; we have no beef with him seeking the best situation for his college career.  On the other hand, I hope TB and the Illini Nation are happy with trading his/your dignity, integrity, and reputation for one reserve OL who might play in future years.  At this point in the UI season, it appears that all the time, money, and bluster expended by TB and staff trying to convince players to leave Penn State should have been spent coaching their current players to perform at a more adequate level than seen so far this year.

The best comment I heard after the UI-PSU game was that the outcome should have been expected when one program hired their new coach from the New England Patriots and the other program found theirs in Toledo.

Regarding your statement about the Sandusky scandal, you may wish to get a firmer grasp on reality and deal with the facts of the case rather than the media-driven spin.  Contrary to popular belief, there has been no factual evidence presented to date that proves that Paterno "looked the other way."  What we do know for a fact is that Paterno reported what he was told about the one witnessed assault to his administrative superior and did not interfere in the subsequent investigation.  Louis Freeh's personal conjecture about this in his now discredited report, and the media's woefully inadequate reporting on the whole affair, don't represent the known facts of the case.   And regarding your assertion of the athletic director's alleged perjury, you may want to wait for the outcome of the trial before you get too high and mighty on that allegation.  With the facts in such dispute, there is no guarantee that the state will be able to prove that Curley or Schultz are guilty of perjury and get convictions on those counts.

Given Illinois athletics' scandal-ridden past - and I can say that as a proud UI alumnus - you may want to get your facts straight before spewing your venomous bullshite about the Penn State sports program which is - and historically has been - vastly superior to the Illini program in any and all publicly verifiable metrics such as national championships, winning percentage, alumni/fan attendance and support, academic achievement and graduation rates, etc.

OKOMIS wrote on October 05, 2012 at 4:10 pm


Former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky traveled to the Outback Bowl in Tampa at the end of the 1998 season with a boy he was accused of sexually abusing, according to a grand jury report.

Identified as "Victim 4," the boy was listed, "along with Sandusky's wife, as a member of Sandusky's family party for the 1998 Outback Bowl and the 1999 Alamo Bowl," the report said.

The victim "traveled to and from both bowl games with the football team and other Penn State staff, coaches and their families, sharing accommodations."



REAL CLASSY PENN STATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OKOMIS wrote on October 05, 2012 at 4:10 pm

What’s even worse is the total lack or remorse most Penn Stater’s  toward the innocent victims..  

 “Louis Freeh's personal conjecture about this in his now discredited report, and the media's woefully inadequate reporting on the whole affair”.. WOW.. talk about denial!!!

give me a break

Arborial1 wrote on October 05, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Really?  That's your response, your best argument?  Go back to counting sheep.  Watch out for the rainbows and unicorns.

You're getting a little bit better handling factual information with each successive rant but you're still having trouble grasping the concept of drawing reasonable and logical conclusions from data, even with the advantage of 20/20 vision when looking through the rear view mirror of life.  Maybe you missed the first day of Stats 101, when they talked about concepts like correlation doesn't prove causation, and you can easily generalize way far beyond the strength and power of your sample.

We all get your sense of outrage about the horrific crimes that Jerry Sandusky perpetrated upon young people.  No one is arguing that Jerry was a monster.  He has been tried and convicted by a jury of his peers and will be sentenced next week, probably, hopefully, for the rest of his life.

So how much of this do you want to hang on Penn State?  And how do you get there?  Do you realize that your argument is based upon saying that "Penn State" should be held responsible for not being aware of Jerry Sandusky's crimes two or three years before they were first known to have occurred and that knowledge was reported?  In case you've missed the actual details of the case, the shower assault that was witnessed and is at the root of the entire criminal investigation occured in 2001.  The bowls games you cite were held in 1998 and 1999.  Even you should be able to do the math here.  Try to think in sequence for a second here and realize that while all your facts may be true, unfortunately they don't support your premise.  See if you can come up with something better next time you want to spew your uninformed opinions.

And who exactly do you actually want to blame, or hold responsible, for Jerry's crimes?  Is it the entire University?  The athletic department? The football team?  The coaching staff?  The Second Mile? His family? Who? And when do they become responsible in this chain of horrible events?  And for how much of the pain and the damage to the victims?  Has it ever occurred to you that serial predators like this actually try to hide all of this activity so they don't get caught.  It's not until something happens and they finally get caught that lots of things become much more obvious in hindsight.  It's even easier to draw those seemingly obvious conclusions way after the fact when you spend all day sucking on the mass media teat and no one ever looks at the source material for what the actual details are.  Speaking of the source material, a 23 year old reporter from the Patriot-News in Harrisburg - Sara Ganim - broke this story and has continues to lead its coverage the entire way.  Jerry Sandusky was finally brought to justice because of this incredibly determined and talented young reporter.  And when you're done smearing all Penn Staters, you should know that she's a recent Penn State grad, and a recent Pulitzer Prize winner as well.  She didn't have a problem taking this story on when she was still an undergrad.

As for your claim of "the total lack or remorse most Penn Stater’s  toward the innocent victims.." - are you speaking West Virginian there or was it just a bunch o typos?  Let's just assume that you're indicating that you feel that "most" Penn Staters either have or have had a total lack of remorse towards the victims.  Are you basing that incredibly definitive indictment on all of your recent personal experience with your vast number of Penn State family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances; your regular perusal of the local Pennsylvania and entire Northeast media; your actual knowledge of the support of , participation in,  donations to, a number of prevention, treatment, education, and advocacy programs by Penn State students, alumni, faculty, and the University itself; or is it that you just haven't seen enough evidence of remorse - however you define remorse - on your local dose of Fox news.  

You have no idea about what you're talking about on this story.  Stick to pontificating about the sad state of current affairs in Memorial Stadium, and await with optimism for hoops season in Assembly Hall.





Bear8287 wrote on October 06, 2012 at 1:10 am

Wow.  At PSU, football comes before all else?

The Freeh report is an independent report.  Why are we to believe that in some way the former Director of the FBI was biased in his report?  Because some PSU alumni say so? Discredited by whom?

PSU president Spanier is gone.  Why is that? Even if you want to believe that Coach Paterno didn't participate in a cover up, do you deny that he did tell higher authorities at PSU about the problem and that it in fact was buried?  This is egregious behavior by the administration at PSU all to save their reputation and beloved football program and of course the revenue it brings.

If you have a problem with the sanctions, take it up with the NCAA.  Some would say that the PSU football program has gotten off easy.  Please tell us again how the PSU administration did the "right thing" here and how the NCAA sanctions are so undeserving.

Arborial1 wrote on October 06, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Once again, let's stipulate that no Penn Stater condones any of the horrific abuse that Sandusky inflicted upon these vulnerable children.  He's a monster and needs to be spend the rest of his life being severely punished to the maximum extent possible for his crimes.  And there has been some institutional failure as well on the part of the University.

The issue is the swift rush to justice by the media, the NCAA, and the public seeking retribution for these horrific crimes.  Somebody needed to pay for this - literally and figuratively, and the easiest narrative to sell was that Paterno - he of the "holier than thou, we do it the right way" attitude - was the best known, most powerful figure at Penn State so he - and his FB program - should be held responsible for the crimes of his former assistant coach since at least one of Sandusky's crimes was allegedly committed in the FB facility.  Great storyline.  Unfortunately, the facts don't quite support it.

Let's start with the FactFreeh Report, which was commissioned by the PSU Bd of Trustees to serve as an operational review of the failure to respond to and report sex abuse, to determine the circumstances under which such abuse could occur in PSU facilities and/or in youth programs held on campus, and to provide recommendations regarding University governance, oversight, and admin policies and procedures.  

Freeh reported interviewing 430 people and reviewing 3.5 million emails during the course of his investigation, which, of course sounds impressive and complete.  Unfortunately, he didn't interview the 5 people closest to the story (Sandusky, Paterno, Schultz, Curley, McQuery) or many other of the principals involved.  And of the 3.5 million emails he reviewed, none were from 2004 or earlier when many of the alleged crimes and the "cover up" supposedly happened or began. Dozens of those who were interviewed have since complained that their information was distorted or left out of the report when it didn't fit, or even contradicted, Freeh's narrative and conjecture.  Try reading the report - it's easily found online - and see how much is factual and how much is conjecture.  Freeh makes tremendous leaps of logic and fact to tie together disparate facts to fit his intended outcome.

Keep in mind that a number of Freeh's other investigations, both at the FBI (Ruby Ridge, Waco, Khobar Towers, Olympic Park bombing, Wen Ho Lee, etc.) and in private practice (MBNA, FIFA, etc) have been criticized, controversial, and/or discredited.

Freeh's PSU report has been severely criticized by Federal Judge Timothy Lewis from Boston as "blundering and indefensible."  Judge Lewis went on to say call Freeh's report "a flat-out distortion of facts so infused with bias and innuendo that it is, quite simply, unworthy of the confidence that has been placed in it, let alone the reported $6.5 million the university paid for it."  

Freeh's own investigators have publicly complained that their investigation and report were never intended, nor designed, to be "the" criminal investigation that would be suitable for the NCAA to use as "whole cloth" and to serve as the only factual foundation for the subsequent sanctions.  Even the PSU BoT has now disregarded much of the discredited report and has chosen to concentrate on the aspects of the report that deal with the operational and governance issues that were supposed to be the main focus of the report.

BTW, Graham Spaner was fired by the BoT due to his complete failure to keep the Board informed of this entire episode, not because of any presumed "cover up" or other direct involvement in the scandal.  His public vote of confidence for Curley and Schultz didn't help him with the BoT either.  He had so compartmentalized the information about the grand jury proceedings and pending legal action that the Board was in the dark until the last minute, and then looked like fools in the national media when the excrement hit the fan.

And the NCAA, oh where to start...  Did you know that (former) PSU Pres. Spanier was the other finalist for the head NCAA job that Mark Emmert now has.  But again, correlation does not prove causation, but it is an interesting factoid.  

Since the NCAAs "rush to judgement," and with unfortunate concordance of the cowardly PSU Board of Trustees and inept acting President, the NCAA sanctions have frozen these mistaken memes in the public's brain.  The NCAA was sure happy to accept the Freeh Report as their own, given their own long history of tedious, shoddy, and often faulty investigations.  Most of us are still waiting to see the chapter and verse from that big old NCAA rulebook that identifies all the NCAA bylaws that the PSU FB program violated.  Illini fans and alums are quite familiar with that rulebook; it's the one that keeps putting us in hot water with the NCAA.  Penn State wasn't very familiar with it, given it's lack of any previous NCAA sanctions.  The NCAA will be anxiously awaiting the January trials of Curley and Schultz because if they get acquitted, the NCAA is going to have a significant institutional integrity issue and PR disaster on their hands.

I'm not making this stuff up.  You don't have to believe me and my opinions, but even two of the most recent NCAA presidents, Cedric Dempsey and Gene Corrigan, are completely flabbergasted at the NCAA's actions - and sanctions - in this case, especially before the legal proceedings that underly the scandal are complete.  They have said that these actions are  without precedent or related to specific NCAA offenses.

Emmert also publicly stepped on his schlong when, in his sanctimonous zeal at his press conference, he criticized the "culture" at Penn State for letting athletics take precedence over academics.  He utterred this incredibly stupid and factually incorrect statement just weeks after the NCAA had honored Penn State for the the academic and on-field performance of the FB team, which has consistently ranked among the top FB programs in the country for their combination of on-field success combined with their academic performance, graduation rates, and number of post-graduate scholars over the past several decades.  In fact, PSU has outranked all of the Universities that Emmert has previously lead himself (Washington, LSU, etc.) in this regard, both in FB and as an entire athletic program.

And if this new philosophy about NCAA sanctions (for poor governance rather than competitive advantage) is going to be the new rule of law, I look forward to the upcoming announcements of similar sanctions at Syracuse (Bernie Fine scandal), Univ. of Montana (multiple sexual assaults of female students by FB players that were ignored and/or covered up by the administration), Duke (lacrosse scandal), and multiple other schools with similar problems.

And in spite of all of this, what do you think the chances are of the Illini being back in a bowl game before the Nittany Lions?


OKOMIS wrote on October 06, 2012 at 6:10 pm


Penn State is a GREAT school with Great alumni... but this quote today from a juror is what makes outsiders think the school or program are more important than the victims.

"There isn't a sentence that I believe is harsh enough for what he has done and how it has affected the university," said Joan Andrews, a juror who has worked for Penn State for 41 years and held football season tickets since 1969. "I don't think there's been one individual in this entire campus that has not been affected by this."


Also you question my time line a few post back..


Victim 6 is taken into the locker rooms and showers when he is 11 years old. When Victim 6 is dropped off at home, his hair is wet from showering with Sandusky. His mother reports the incident to the university police, who investigate.

Detective Ronald Schreffler testifies that he and State College Police Department Detective Ralph Ralston, with the consent of the mother of Victim 6, eavesdrop on two conversations the mother of Victim 6 has with Sandusky. Sandusky says he has showered with other boys and Victim 6's mother tries to make Sandusky promise never to shower with a boy again but he will not. At the end of the second conversation, after Sandusky is told he cannot see Victim 6 anymore, Schreffler testifies Sandusky says, "I understand. I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won't get it from you. I wish I were dead."

Jerry Lauro, an investigator with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, testifies he and Schreffler interviewed Sandusky, and that Sandusky admits showering naked with Victim 6, admits to hugging Victim 6 while in the shower and admits that it was wrong.

The case is closed after then-Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar decides there will be no criminal charge.

June 1999
Sandusky retires from Penn State but still holds emeritus status.

Dec. 28, 1999
Victim 4 is listed, along with Sandusky's wife, as a member of Sandusky's family party for the 1999 Alamo Bowl.

let him retire but still holds emeritus status – REALLY ??? sound like a deal was cut....let him take a kid to the Alamo AFTER he confessed?? really


OKOMIS wrote on October 06, 2012 at 6:10 pm

By the way it’s mighty noble of you to admit “there has been some institutional failure as well on the part of the University” you think???