Tag:Tim Beckman
Posted on: March 7, 2012 6:42 pm
 

Tim Beckman treats his players to porridge

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If you were wondering what Illinois football would be like under new head coach Tim Beckman, it seems the program has taken on a bit of a "Goldilocks and The Three Bears" feel.

As part of Illinois' "All-In Banquet" this week, players who had followed Beckman's rules this semester were treated to a nice meal of steak and eggs. Those players who weren't showing up to all their classes ten minutes early or missed a rep during winter workouts were given porridge.

Some players complained the porridge were too hot, others said it was too cold, but Beckman felt it was just right.

"I think it was a little bit of an eye-opening experience for some of them," Beckman told the Chicago Tribune. "We ask our players to be above and beyond … and compete at a level that we think is a championship level." 

Now, it's important to point out that Beckman holds himself to the same standard that he does his players. Since he missed a winter workout while attending an alumni event, he joined the Illini players who found themselves with a bowl of porridge placed in front of them. In all, 21 Illini players were treated to the steak and eggs.

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Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:10 am
Edited on: March 7, 2012 11:13 am
 

Illinois' Justin Staples to be suspended

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Following a DUI arrest on campus on February 9, in which he was found to have a blood-alcohol level of .157, Illinois defensive lineman Justin Staples was suspended from winter workouts for two weeks.

If Staples thought that would be the extent of his punishment, he was wrong.

Staples will be allowed to participate in spring practice with the Illini, which starts Wednesday, but he'll be missing some time this fall when the games begin.

New head coach Tim Beckman said that Staples will "miss some game time" but did not go into specifics into how much game time that is exactly. It could be a half, a game, or a number of games.

Staples started only one game as a redshirt junior in 2011, but played in all 13 games, recording 16 tackles and a sack.

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:42 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Illinois



Posted by Tom Fornelli


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Illinois.

Spring Practice Starts: Wednesday, March 7

Spring Game: Saturday, April 14

Returning Starters: Six on offense, seven on defense, one specialist

Three Things To Watch For:

1. A brand new coaching staff. Ron Zook and just about his entire coaching staff is gone (defensive line coach Keith Gilmore returns) and Tim Beckman is now the man in charge of Illinois football. Which means that not only will spring practice be the first chance for Beckman and his coaching staff to see his new team at work, but also the time to begin implementing a new system on both sides of the ball. There's no way the team will learn everything over the course of a few weeks, but the process begins now.

2. The quarterback battle. Odds are Illinois won't know who its starting quarterback is until the end of the summer, but the battle will begin this spring. Nathan Scheelhaase has been the starter the last two seasons, but he regressed a bit in 2011, and now that there's a new playbook, he isn't guaranteed to retain his starting job. Scheelhaase will be competing with Reilly O'Toole for the job, though if Tim Beckman's time at Toledo teaches us anything, it's that he's not afraid to go with two quarterbacks if needed.

3. The Star Position. Tim Beckman brought in Tim Banks as his defensive coordinator, and Illinois will be running a 4-2-5 defense that includes the "Star" position. Which is a hybrid of a linebacker and a safety. It'll be an interesting battle to see who claims the position, though outside linebacker Ashante Williams is probably the favorite. Williams may get some competition from safety Supo Sanni and incoming freshman TaJarvis Fuller, a playmaker out of Florida. Those two would be well-served to make an early impression over the next few weeks.

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 4:05 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 4:24 pm
 

Illinois considering new helmets for 2012



Posted by Tom Fornelli


Illinois will take to the football field with a new head coach in Tim Beckman next season, but could the Illini be sporting some new headgear as well?

As the Big Ten Network's Brent Yarina informs us, the school is displaying three new helmets for recruits as they visit the Illinois campus. Though Illinois SID Derek Neal says that just because the helmets are on display, that doesn't mean the school is ready to make the change.

“While our coaches have been displaying those for recruits, those are just options we’ve been exploring for new helmets,” Neal told BTN.com. “No decisions have been made yet on helmet, uniform changes, or if there will even be a change.” 

If Illinois does in fact go through with the change, I'd like to put in a vote for the matte blue helmets with the block "I." Of the three pictured, that one is far and away my favorite.

Photo courtesy of IllinoisLoyalty.com

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Posted on: January 18, 2012 2:13 pm
 

Illinois FB Jay Prosch to transfer to Auburn

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

We mentioned in the wake of Barrett Trotter's departure from the Auburn football program that Gene Chizik appeared to be looking to move in a pro-style direction with his new offensive coordinator hire--a decision that looks even more likely with the delay in replacing Gus Malzahn rumored to be due to Chizik interviewing candidates still involved in the NFL playoffs. But the arrival of a new transfer from Illinois now makes that philosophical shift look more likely than ever.

That player is Illini fullback Jay Prosch, a Mobile (Ala.) native who will be transferring to Auburn in order to be closer to his ailing mother, who is battling cancer. New Illinois head coach Tim Beckman announced Prosch's decision in a statement Wednesday.

"Jay Prosch has decided to transfer to Auburn and will be there for the current semester," Beckman said. "He will have an opportunity to be much closer to his mother, who continues to face health issues. We wish Jay the best as he makes this move."

Prosch could be available for the Tigers as soon as the 2012 season, if the NCAA approves a hardship waiver due to his mother's health; if not, he will redshirt during his transfer year and return with two years of eligibility remaining in 2013.

Though the transfer of few fullbacks would make headlines, Prosch isn't any ordinary fullback. He was named a first-team All-American by Pro Football Weeklyan honor that essentially amounts to the publication naming the sophomore the FBS's top pro prospect at the position. Prosch became the Illini's starting lead blocker as a true freshman and helped the team to an 11th-place finish in rushing in 2010, thanks in large part to his workout-warrior strength and devotion to the weight room.

Prosch recently admitted to the Mobile Press-Register that he may have considered staying in Champaign if not for the Illini's head coaching change, which will see the team move to a spread system that doesn't utilize fullbacks; Beckman reportedly told Prosch he would be used as either an H-back or tight end, and with Prosch claiming he's "never been trained in running pass routes," a diminishing role appeared to be a certainty.

But this begs the question: why transfer to Auburn, whose offense under Malzahn also rarely (if ever) used a traditional fullback? Prosch said he had been cleared to talk to 11 of the 12 SEC schools (the Illini prohibited him from following ex-Illini assistant and newly-hired coordinator Paul Petrino to Arkansas), many of which already employ pro-style offenses and use Prosch-like fullbacks far more regularly than the Tigers.

The answer is very, very likely to be that Auburn is about to become the sort of team that regularly uses a fullback. And fortunately for Chizik, his team stands poised to start by using one of the nation's best.

For daily real-time updates on Auburn or Illinois football, follow our Tiger CBSSports.com RapidReports by Jay Tate here or Cody Westerlund's Illini RapidReports here. 

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Posted on: January 18, 2012 1:57 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 1:59 pm
 

Illinois hires Tim Banks as defensive coordinator

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Tim Beckman has finished filling out his staff at Illinois. The school announced on Wednesday that it had hired Tim Banks to be its defensive coordinator.

"Tim Banks is a great fit for the University of Illinois," said Beckman in a release. "He led an outstanding defense at Central Michigan and made a great improvement at Cincinnati this past season. Tim and I worked together at Bowling Green and I consider him one of the brightest young coaches in the nation. Tim will run a very aggressive defensive system that will work very well with our personnel."

Banks has spent the last five years of his career as a co-defensive coordinator, with the last two coming at Cincinnati and the previous three at Central Michigan. He helped turn around a Cincinnati defense that had a lot to do with the Bearcats success in 2011.

The Bearcats defense finished the season rated 42nd in total defense, but it was ranked 6th against the run, allowing only 96 yards per game. The unit also led the country in tackles for loss with 111 and finished 2nd in sacks with 45.

A trend Tim Beckman and Illinois would like to see continue. While Illinois struggled on offense over the last half of the 2011 season, its defense remained one of the best in the country. If Banks is able to keep the defense on the same level, it will make the transition on offense that much easier.

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Posted on: January 4, 2012 3:04 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2012 3:08 pm
 

Jon Tenuta leaving Illini, back to NC State

Posted by Chip Patterson

Just one day after NC State linebackers coach Jon Tenuta reportedly accepted the defensive coordinator position on Tim Beckman's staff at Illinois, the 31-year veteran assistant coach has decided to return to Raleigh.

Tenuta has played a big role in the Wolfpack's success at linebacker over the last two seasons, coaching all-conference talent like Nate Irving, Terrell Manning, and Audie Cole. On Wednesday, Illinois released an official statement from Tenuta regarding his decision to return to NC State.

"Illinois is a great program and I think the world of Tim Beckman," Tenuta said the official release. "I've known Beck for 20 years and I have no doubt that with the staff he is putting together, he will have Illinois at the top of the Big Ten very soon.

"However, my family comes first and I may have made a decision without fully thinking through the situation with them. My son is a senior in high school and has signed a letter of intent to play baseball at N.C. State, and it is something I just don't want to miss. I was one of the first people to contact Beck and congratulate him on the opportunity at Illinois, and I wish him and the Illini nothing but the best."

The Wolfpack have won 17 games in two seasons since Tenuta joined Tom O'Brien's staff, including two bowl game victories. He spent time with Chan Gailey at Georgia Tech and Charlie Weis at Notre Dame, but was not retained after head coaching changes at both stops.

The decision leaves Beckman with four unfilled slots on the Illinois coaching staff. He will be bringing two assistants with him from Toledo - Alex Goldsh as an offensive assistant and Mike Ward as a defensive assistant - and has opted to retain defensive line coach Keith Gilmore from Ron Zook's staff. Beckman has chosen to wait on assigning specific titles, though it was reported Tenuta would be the defensive coordinator.

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Posted on: January 3, 2012 11:33 am
Edited on: January 3, 2012 1:58 pm
 

Illinois' Mercilus to enter NFL Draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In the wake of Ron Zook's dismissal and the hiring of Tim Beckman, Illinois had already lost defensive coordinator Vic Koenning. Koenning was the man who helped build one of the best defenses in not only the Big Ten, but the entire country. Now the Illini are on the verge of losing the most devastating force on that defense.

Defensive end Whitney Mercilus announced on Tuesday that he would be entering the NFL Draft.

"After a lot of prayer and discussion with my family, I have decided the time is right for me to forgo my senior year and enter the 2012 NFL draft," said Mercilus in a statement.

Mercilus was an absolute beat for Illinois on the defensive line in 2011. Mercilus was named a first-team All-American this season, and deservedly so. He finished his junior season tying the school record for sacks in a season with 16, and he set a Big Ten record with 9 forced fumbles on the year. A mark that is the second-highest of all-time in college football. Tack on his 22 1/2 tackles for loss, which also led the Big Ten, and you get a lot of quarterbacks around the Big Ten high-fiving each other on Tuesday morning.

They can all breath a bit easier now.

Mercilus is ranked third amongst defensive ends by CBSSports.com behind USC's Nick Perry and LSU's Sam Montgomery, both of whom are underclassmen as well. Neither have declared for the draft as of yet, which would leave Mercilus at the top of the list for now.
 
 
 
 
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