Nickerson takes leave from Illini

Nickerson takes leave from Illini

Here are three items Illinois coach Lovie Smith said in his weekly press conference that caught the attention of beat writer SCOTT RICHEY:

Thoughts with Nickerson

Illinois will be without defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson this week after his mother died unexpectedly Sunday evening. "When anything happens family-wise, our policy — what I insist on doing — is taking care of your family," Smith said. "The rest of us will pick up the slack if anything else needs to be done. ... We have a couple different options. We have a few guys that know a little bit of football on that side."

Thoughts with Texas

Smith used his platform to discuss another tragic event in the country, speaking about Sunday's mass shooting in Texas before he discussed anything football related. "Our thoughts and prayers should be down in Texas again," he said. "You assume on a Sunday you go to church and that's a safe haven for you to worship. Unfortunately, that's not where we are right now. Again, we just have to pray and hope they can make it through a tough situation."

Depth gets tested

More than a dozen Illini were out Saturday against Purdue because of injuries, a mix of out-for-the-year types (Tony Adams and Jake Hansen) and those with no clear timetable for a return (Mikey Dudek and Ra'Von Bonner). "We have a lot of injuries," Smith said. "Is this the norm? I don't know. We didn't have this many last year, but it happens like that. ... You find out a lot about your football team. We're already playing a lot of players — a lot of young players. What this has allowed us to do is see more players."

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Moonpie wrote on November 07, 2017 at 7:11 am

"We have a few guys that know a little bit of football on that side."

Gee, Aw Shucks, if that were true perhas your record would be better and you'd at least be headed for a Terlet Bowl.

BruckJr wrote on November 07, 2017 at 8:11 am

The next crossing pattern that these guys cover this year may well be their first.