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Lovie Smith discusses the impact of Memorial Stadium renovations on Illinois recruiting

Here are some quotes from Lovie Smith’s weekly press conference.

Lovie Smith’s Opening Statement

"Football-wise, where we are with our season, we made progress last week. Simple as that. We're getting better as a football team but we need to take bigger steps, bigger leaps to find a way to win football games. I'm not pleased with how we finished the game last week [against Nebraska]. Individually we have some players that took steps, but we had an opportunity. When you play three plus quarters of decent football you've got to be able to finish that up in the latter part of the game. We'll go back to work this week, we know where we are, we're 0-1 in the Big Ten play, which isn't good enough but we're excited about playing for the Cannon this week against a Purdue team that is coming off a disappointing loss also. Injury wise, we're getting a little bit better. Still a little bit banged up, we had a few injuries from the game. When a player doesn't finish the game there's cause for concern, Carroll Phillips being one of them. All the guys are getting better in the hopes that we'll have everybody available this week."

On upgrades to Memorial Stadium

"We're excited about it, we think it's very important. As I said, you're a prospect, you're a recruit; you're going to compare us with other teams and that's a part of the comparison; facilities. So I was pretty excited about that as I am right now. I can't wait to move in to the new facilities, that's a little ways down the road. In the meantime we'll work on getting this football team better."

On the importance recruits place on better facilities

"I think it was important 15-20 years ago, I think it's just as important now. Just like our uniforms and everything you do. Just like I stated here, that's all a part of the overall plan; the commitment that you have for your program. I think it's very important."

On the team's performance in the fourth quarter against Nebraska

"If you don't finish as well as you think you can, it's a long physical game. From a defensive player, when I'm on the field for 18-20 play drives there's going to be a little bit of wear and tear at the end of the game. Yeah, we wore down a little bit, but in a game like that you're supposed to. Offensively, we didn't have enough production to keep drives going so it's a combination of a lot of things and we're not there yet. We're making game improvements, just not those 60 minutes yet."

On Saturday's game against Purdue

"You look at their record, and I'm talking last game, you look at their scores and that's not what you see early on and we're just getting to the heart of our true game plan. It's a big game for us again; they're a capable team, very impressed with their offensive line. It's a Big Ten game with history and that's all you really need to know."