Tim Beckman Goes On The Offensive

USA TODAY Sports

I've heard Beckman pin more blame on Ron Zook in the last two days than I did in the year before it.

I said yesterday that there wasn't a whole lot of Tim Beckman's media days press conference that stood out as far as new information was concerned. Really, there were only two things in his entire fifteen minutes that really grabbed my attention. Well, aside from Beckman wishing his mother a happy birthday.

The first was parsing his words to figure out what he was saying about the quarterback situation heading into the 2013 season, which I wrote about yesterday.

The second was in response to a question about the talent and depth he inherited on the roster when he took the Illinois job.

"You know, again, when we came in, I would say the inherited depth was an issue," said Beckman.

Throughout his first season if Beckman addressed the lack of depth on the roster it was more in the vein that the team was suffering through injuries and that they were hard to overcome. He never took a shot at the previous coaching staff, even while his ass was receiving third-degree burns sitting on the hot seat at the end of last season.

"You know, again, when we came in, I would say the inherited depth was an issue." -Tim Beckman

I've addressed the lack of depth Ron Zook left thanks to some less-than-inspiring recruiting classes his last few seasons, but this was the first time I really felt Beckman was saying the same thing, even if he was doing it in an indirect, passive-aggressive way.

Well, it continued on Thursday.

Beckman appeared on The Mac and Spiegel Show on 670 The Score in Chicago, and was asked by host Dan McNeil -- one of Beckman's harshest critics last season -- about the team's depth. And Beckman didn't pull any punches, saying the lack of depth on the Illinois roster that he took over was "inexcusable."

As in there's no reason the roster should have been in the shape it was, even with the departures to the NFL.

While he didn't mention his name or say anything about him, it was clear Beckman was saying that there was no excuse Ron Zook could give for the team being in the shape it was in.

And as I tweeted earlier this morning, I think Beckman finally going on the offensive in this area is my favorite thing he's done since taking the job. I feel like he's finally ready to fight back, and I'm hoping that kind of attitude spreads to the football team.

Throughout the last year fans have been calling for Beckman to be fired, or just ridiculing him for the tobacco incident and the tripping during the Northwestern game. All the while Beckman has been Tim Beckman, remaining positive with a smile on his face.

But now it feels like he's sick of our shit. He's tired of people placing all the blame for what happened last year on his shoulders because, while he played his role, last season can't be solely pinned on him. There's plenty of blame to go around, and Ron Zook deserves his fair share.

I don't know if this football program is going to turn around under Beckman, nor do I know if he'll even survive the 2013 season. What I do know is that his recent "heel turn" of sorts has me more optimistic about his ability to turn things around than I ever have before.

The punches might not land, but I hope he keeps throwing them.

Follow The Champaign Room on Twitter at @Champaign_Room and Like us on Facebook. You can follow Tom Fornelli on Twitter at @TomFornelli.

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