MADISON, Wis. — Tim Beckman hasn’t coached a game at Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium. And the first-year Illinois coach can’t lean on many of his players for anecdotes about what to expect from the 81,241 fans in the stands, either. The Illini haven’t played at Wisconsin since 2008, and the only players on the current roster to see action in that game were fifth-year seniors Supo Sanni and Zach Becker.
“I know what it’s like here because I’ve seen it,” Beckman said Friday night at the stadium. “I know it’s going to be a rowdy crowd. It always is, and that’s what Wisconsin’s known for.”
The Illini arrived a little after 5 p.m. Friday and participated in a 15-minute walkthrough on the Camp Randall turf while braving the 45-degree temperatures.
“The quarterbacks find out where the 40-second clocks are, we take a walk, tell them where the pregame is. You’re coaching up to kickoff,” Beckman said.
After some downtime, the Illini participated in team meetings Friday and took in a speech by former Illini running back Wagner Lester (1990) and tight end Josh Whitman, a 2001 Illinois graduate who is the athletic director at Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Despite the recent rough stretch, Beckman is pleased with how his players have responded.
“They practiced extremely hard, credit to the 19 seniors we have on this football team,” he said. “I’m proud of the way they practiced Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.”
The announcers today are Bob Wischusen (play-by-play), Danny Kanell (analyst) and Maria Taylor (sidelines). It is the first of back-to-back appearances on ABC for the Illini, who visit Michigan next Saturday.
Before the game ...
... tune into a two-hour “Saturday Sportsline” on WDWS 1400-AM. Co-hosts Loren Tate and Jim Turpin will kick it off with football recruiting expert Tom Lemming at 9 a.m., followed by News-Gazette college basketball writer Paul Klee at 9:30 and Illinois AD Mike Thomas (right) at 10.
During the game ...
... follow along on IlliniHQ.com with staff writers Marcus Jackson and Paul Klee, whose in-game report will start about 1 p.m. and continue until the final whistle.
After the game ...
... stick with WDWS for the popular call-in show hosted by Brian Moline and former Illini Martin O’Donnell. Want to get something off your chest? Call 217-356-9397 or 800-223-9397 to get on the air.