Defensive trouble concerns Beckman
Three items beat writer MATT DANIELS picked up from Tim Beckman’s 15-minute media session Monday:
1. Avert your eyes
Tim Banks couldn’t do that when breaking down film of the Wisconsin loss. The much-maligned defensive coordinator said it wasn’t easy to watch the repeated issues — missed tackles, not enough pressure and lack of turnovers — befuddle the Illinois defense once more.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of things we need to get corrected,” Banks said. “As we say every week, we’ve got another opportunity to prove what we did last week is not who we are (and) not what we stand for.”
Beckman said Illinois blitzed on 27 of 36 plays in the second half against Wisconsin in an effort to create more pressure. With little success.
“We were trying to get people around and involved in the box as much as possible,” Beckman said. “We still have got to be able to get off blocks and make tackles to help ourselves on defense.”
2. Petty cashes in
A new face emerged as a defensive starter against Wisconsin. Zane Petty replaced Taylor Barton at free safety and is slated to start again against Michigan State. Petty made a game-high 14 tackles against the Badgers. Barton is now listed as the backup to strong safety Earnest Thomas, with Jevaris Little as Petty’s backup on the Illinois depth chart.
“He just has matured,” Beckman said of the junior college transfer who missed last spring with a shoulder injury. “He had to prove himself to this coaching staff ... because we didn’t get to see him do much other than ride a bike after having the surgery. He’s proved he’s got the capabilities of being a good football player.”
3. Injury update
Or lack thereof. Beckman didn’t indicate if V’Angelo Bentley or Miles Osei would play against Michigan State this Saturday. Beckman said Bentley’s left foot is still in a boot after he was injured early against Wisconsin and said Osei was “good,” when asked about the wide receiver/returner’s status. Osei suffered a concussion against Wisconsin and did not play in the second half. STAR Eric Finney, who missed more than a month of the fall and the start of the season with a left knee injury, sat out against Wisconsin with a shoulder injury he sustained last week during practice, but Beckman expects him to play against the Spartans.
“I credit our football team on that one,” Beckman said in reference to Osei’s injury. “He did not show the signs that something was wrong to the coaching staff, but a couple of the players came up and said, ‘Miles isn’t Miles.’ We went to Miles at halftime, and I said to Miles, ‘Are you doing all right?’ He didn’t look right, and he wasn’t speaking all together, so as a father I decided that maybe we needed to look into this a little bit more, and our doctors did a great job. He wasn’t ready to go. Something was wrong.”