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.