Lovie Smith Opening Statement
"Last week's game is definitely a distant memory for us. Of course, there is some disappointment for us still there. We didn't play well and we were beaten by a better team. We have discussed that game enough. Looking forward to where we are with our season, disappointment, sad, but we get one more chance. When you get one more game to play, you would rather it be against your rival. We are excited to play a good Northwestern team. Coming here, I knew about the rivalry we have with them. They have beaten some good football teams this year and played well. It was a disappointing loss for them against Minnesota last week. We realize what type of football game it will be and we talked about the seniors last home game. Now, it is time that some seniors are playing their last football game for the University of Illinois. That has to be special for them."
On what a win would do for the offseason
"It would do quite a bit. For the morale, of course. We talk a lot about finishing. You remember the last thing that you do, simple as that. This is a taste that we will have for a while and we want to transition right into recruiting the right way on a high."
"Pat Fitzgerald is a good man and a great football coach. I watched them closely on how they ran their program and what type of guys came out of their program. We are pretty familiar with everything surrounding that."
On discussing playing spoiler for Northwestern's bowl bid
"You don't need any of that when you are playing your rival. No matter what level of ball, there is some you need to beat and someone you would love to beat. You don't need anything else to get you pumped up for it besides that. For us, it is just about getting our fourth win. Normally you wouldn't be so pumped up about getting that fourth win, we won't be in this situation very often, but right now we are pumped up about getting our fourth win. Of course, to make it against them and to bring the trophy back home would mean a lot."
On a 3-8 record going out recruiting
"No, I think people are going to look at season, but also they are looking at the direction of the program. That is what we are selling. It is our first year. You know in your first year, you would like to win every game. Most of the time that doesn't happen. Now where we are, it is about our future. You have to look at our future and whether you believe we are headed in the right direction and whether you want to be a part of us winning games in the future. I think a lot of prospects can see themselves in our program, starting with the Chicago area."
On players coming to him for advice on the NFL
"After the season, we have some seniors who are getting ready to take the next step in the business world, in the real world and some of that real world could be in the NFL for some of our players. So, yes, I am giving advice, as much advice as they want and some advice that they don't want, because that is part of my job. I am looking forward to that after the season."