The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

September 3, 2013

Illini looking to build

(Continued)

“I know that we worked hard on it (Sunday) night, and we will continue try to improve with the pressure on the quarterback and of course, the coverage that takes place.’’

But, defense isn’t the only area that Beckman is looking to make some big improvement this week.

The offense, which did score 42 points and roll up 464 yards, still had several breakdowns and only one offensive lineman graded out positively in the film.

“They didn’t play well enough,’’ Beckman said.

And what did he want to see, “a physicalness, a presence, moving people off the football.’’

That was evident in the numbers as Illinois (1-0) was held to just 49 rushing yards and the Illini quarterbacks were sacked five times on Saturday. But Beckman pointed out that it wasn’t completely on the five offensive linemen.

“There are times there were holes there, we just needed to hit it and take it,’’ he said of running game. “It wasn’t just DY (Donovonn Young) or Josh (Ferguson). It’s learning the structure of what we are trying to do offensively. I have no question that they can do it, because I’ve seen them do it. We just have to do it better.’’

Ferguson, who led Illinois with 49 rushing yards to go along with 102 receiving yards, echoed those same comments.

“From a running back standpoint, we need to be more patient and find the holes quicker,’’ he said. “Our linemen did all they could do. We made a few adjustments at halftime, which helped in the second half, we just have to build off of that.’’

Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Monday after a career-high 416 passing yards, admitted that he made some mistakes in his calls.

“On any protection issues that we had, two that I can think of were on me, not getting the protection slid the right way,’’ he said. “That’s something I have to do a better job of, and it will help me feel better waking up on Sunday.’’

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