Illinois Football head coach Lovie Smith, offensive coordinator Rod Smith, and Illinois Basketball head coach Brad Underwood addressed the media on Monday afternoon to offer updates regarding their respective programs.
The football team couldn’t extend their winning streak to five games in Iowa City last Saturday, but return home for Senior Day to take on Northwestern.
HC Lovie Smith
- “I’ve been in sports a little bit. There’s a rivalry everywhere. You know what’s at stake. Contempt, dislike, whatever word you want to use, you need to beat your rival.”
- “Any team that’s coached by Pat Fitzgerald, you know how they’re going to play. Sixty minutes, clean football all the way.”
On Brandon Peters and the questionable no-call late in the Iowa game:
- “It’s kind of obvious what it was. If that’s not targeting, what is? Our quarterback was knocked out of the game, it should have been called.”
On Senior Day:
- “For this senior group, you look at them. First class to move into the Smith Center. First class to go to a bowl game in a few years... Hopefully they’ll leave here with a good taste in their mouth.”
- “We want to send [the seniors] off regular season wise on a high note. And it’s our rival. We haven’t beaten them since I’ve been here... It doesn’t matter what your record is during rivalry week, that’s always the case.”
OC Rod Smith
- “We know the challenge at hand. It’s a rivalry game, anything can happen. Throw the records out the window.”
On Brandon Peters’ status:
- “Should he have to go, I’d be comfortable with Matt Robinson. When you’re in a backup role, what’s important is how you learn from your mistakes. Hopefully Matt has learned from his mistakes in the Michigan game.”
On how everyone will be spending their Thanksgiving holiday (like all smart men, both coaches had great things to say about their wives):
Rod Smith is expecting to host Matt Robinson, Josh Imatorbhebhe and Trevon Sidney, among some others, for Thanksgiving dinner.— Gavin Good (@itsallG_O_O_D) November 25, 2019
"They've tasted (my wife) Charlene's cooking before, so they were quick to say yes when we invited them." #Illini
#illini Lovie: The Smith household will be full (on Thanksgiving). Mary Ann makes an excellent turkey. Celebrating 39th anniversary today.— Jeremy Werner (@JWerner247) November 25, 2019
Illinois Basketball has strung together a three-game winning streak with favorable home matchups against Lindenwood on Tuesday and Miami the following week as part of the Big Ten/ACC challenge before those weird early December conference games.
HC Brad Underwood
- “Back at it again, another quick turnaround. Day 11 in a row for us. Excited to get back after it. We had a great feeling in the locker room the other night.”
On the Hampton win:
- “I was really proud of our guys... We did the small things, we executed. That was encouraging to see.”
- “I felt like it was the first time we didn’t have the ball stick. Some times I feel like we’ve tried to force the ball too much to Kofi and had it stick.”
- “Defensively, it was not one of our better games. But, I think the score had a little bit to do with that.”
- “I love the fact that we’re not fouling... When you’re No. 1 in the country in rebounding, we take a lot of pride in that.”
On Kofi Cockburn and his impact:
- “We know Kofi is a unique piece in terms of his physicality and his size... We’ve made some changes systematically. We’ve seen better flow the last three halves.”
On the new flopping rule:
- “I’m so happy they’re putting that in. There’s no need for trickery. We have one of the most fantastic games that can be played... No one’s getting away with it.”
Underwood also added that Tevian Jones’ situation has not changed, and he remains suspended.