Three items beat writer MATT DANIELS picked up from Tim Beckman’s 15-minute media session Monday:
1. Walk the Lank
Senior Ryan Lankford will need surgery after he broke a bone in his shoulder against Michigan State. Needless to say, the speedy wide receiver’s career is done at Illinois. “For Ryan’s sake, what a great young man, a great family,” Beckman said. “I’m sorry that this had to happen. It’s tough on him. Ryan Lankford will make us better as the season continues. It just won’t be on the football field.” Beckman said wide receiver Steve Hull (head) is expected to play against Penn State after sitting out the Michigan State game. He’s optimistic the same holds true for cornerback/kick returner V’Angelo Bentley (ankle). “We’re hoping so,” Beckman said. “We’d love to get V’Angelo back because of what he does for us defensively and, of course, on special teams.”
2. Tough spot
Nathan Scheelhaase wasn’t at a table in the press box holding court with the media on Monday, his customary afternoon spot every Monday during the season. The Illinois quarterback is likely to be made available to the media after today’s practice. Where he will likely have to hear questions about his father, Nate Creer, getting arrested at Saturday’s game. Not sure if he’ll answer them, but he’ll probably handle the situation with class like the fifth-year senior has done many times on many different topics throughout his Illinois career. “Not knowing all about it, it’s unfortunate, no question about it,” Beckman said. “Nathan’s a great young man, and I know he’ll be able to work through the situation. Nathan can control what Nathan can control.”
3. Positive thinking
Beckman started his session with reporters stating he wasn’t happy with the lopsided homecoming loss his team suffered. “I will say this about this football team,” Beckman said. “We’ve had, for the last nine weeks, a winning record, so this is the first time in nine weeks if you take seven games and two weeks off, that this football team had a winning record or was even. The expectation of this football program is to continue to improve. That’s one of the things we will look at is the last nine weeks we have been successful and we have been winners.” Beckman said he’s not concerned about the first- or second-year players on his roster responding poorly to the three-game losing streak. More worried with how the veterans deal with the current skid. “They’ve been around the losing longer and the inconsistency,” Beckman said.