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QUOTABLES: Lovie talks Wisconsin, looks ahead to Purdue

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It’s on to the next one for the Illini.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois dropped its season opener at Wisconsin last Friday, 45-7. On Monday, Illini head coach Lovie Smith discussed the game and what the team plans to do differently Saturday against Purdue. Here’s what he had to say:

On Wisconsin loss

  • The team watched the video and are ready to learn, move on to Purdue.
  • Missing players like Jake Hansen, Daniel Imatorbhebhe, Devon Witherspoon and Isaiah Gay.
  • Run game was played fairly well.
  • Surprising loss, but we’re a better team than that. It won’t continue.

On Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz testing positive

  • The team is tested everyday.
  • No new positives right now, but aware of the situation.

On Roderick Perry

  • There were not at lot of positives on defense, but he was one of them.
  • Very pleased with how he played, and it gives hope for later in the season.

On this next week of practice

  • Every aspect of the game needs to be worked on and improved.
  • This week will give a better indication on where the team really is.

On player rotation

  • Brandon is our QB.
  • Put Isaiah Williams in to get some plays.
  • No major changes will be made based on this game. The whole team did not perform well, including myself.

On Tarique Barnes

  • He stepped up.
  • If necessary, Lovie would feel good about playing him again.

On improving offense

  • Key: need to build sustained drives.
  • There are a lot of good players who can do a lot, just need to involve them.
  • This week they will be getting back to making that happen.

On game atmosphere this week

  • It will be different, but playing at home is special — even with less people.
  • Coming home is exciting, especially for the players since their parents and will be there.
  • After last week, you want to come home to the familiar.