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WATCH: Lovie Smith previews Michigan State during weekly press conference

Here’s what the Illinois head coach had to say on Monday afternoon.

Lovie Smith’s Opening Statement

"Whenever you lose a football game, of course there's a lot of disappointment. They all count as a loss when you lose, when you just feel like you didn't give yourself a chance to win. I talk a lot about turnover ratio, when you're down three it really is tough on a game like that, especially when you don't start well. There's a lot of reasons for us to get off to a fast start but we didn't. We had some injuries in the game. There's not a whole lot more to tell you about Wes Lunt. He's getting better; we hope he'll be much more improved tomorrow. Dom Thieman went down with a leg injury. He'll have season-ending surgery tomorrow; I think is when it will be. Others, Malik Turner, didn't finish the game so this calls for concern but he's back in the building. We'll see how it goes this week for him. I think those were the major injuries that we had. [It was a] physical football game, we had a few others. Just our play has to improve, kind of simple as that. We're making a lot of mistakes still, which can be the case when you play some young players more than you would want to. We had some opportunities. It's another week, we're playing a Michigan State football team, started off strong. When you lose as many football games as they have we know the feeling. Two teams that are desperately searching for a win, we're going to go back, continue to make corrections and coach the guys hard and eventually we'll get over the hump."

On the Challenges That Come with Coaching a New Football Team

"When I took the job I expected us to eventually win a whole lot of football games and that hasn't changed. As far as how soon, you come in and want to win every game right away. Normally it doesn't happen that way. We've had opportunities to win games, a few games, we didn't. As far as what I thought, we want our team to play to the best of their ability each week. We haven't done that. It's about moving on and that's where we are right now. It's about us getting ready for Michigan State this week."

On QB Jeff George Jr.'s Progression From Start One to Start Two

"For our team, those were big fumbles that we had. The first play of the game, center quarterback exchange is something that has to be automatic. I think we had our moments. The more you play, you learn more things and you see more things that you like. You can really say that progress is being made once you find a way to win a football game. So much more goes into quarterback play; it's protection, it's receivers getting open. In Jeff's case, in our case, we lost two of our receivers also so the cards haven't come all together right now."

On the Upcoming Game Against Michigan State

"We're going on what we see right now. I'd say they played their best game, probably, of the year this past weekend. We saw a physical football team and kind of lined up and went right at a good Michigan football team. Whether it'll be a good offensive line, power running game with multiple running backs, and two good wide receivers. We feel like we're going to get a typical Michigan State football team coming in there to play."