CHAMPAIGN — Tim Beckman didn’t waste much time once practice ended Monday morning at Memorial Stadium to refute a recent Sports Illustrated story about the Illini.
In the piece, which appeared online last Tuesday, Beckman was quoted at the end of the article saying, “I want this program to get better. That’s the bottom line. And that means five or six wins.”
Before any of the assembled media could ask a question after Illinois conducted its first practice in 10 days, Beckman pointed to his right wrist.
On it is a bracelet with the date “12-6-14.” The date of the 2014 Big Ten championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Beckman said he was misquoted in the article, written by Chris Johnson.
“I don’t know how that got quoted that way, but it wasn’t quoted the way that it should be, of course,” Beckman said. “You want to win and go for championships. That’s why you’re in this profession.”
Some may scoff at the notion Illinois may wind up at the conference’s fourth championship game this December considering Illinois is 3-21 in the Big Ten since 2011, the first year the title game was held.
“Whatever it takes for us to get to that, that’s always what our goals are,” Beckman said. “If you get to that game, with the new concept of having this bowl system and the four-game (playoff), you’re going to have a great chance to play for a national championship. Our goals are always to be at Lucas Oil.”