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QUOTABLES: Lovie Smith talks 0-2 start, Covid

Check out what head coach Lovie Smith has to say after Illini lose 14 players due to Covid, and then the game against Purdue.

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

On Saturday, Illinois lost 14 players due to Covid-19 tests and contact tracing, and then lost to Purdue 31-24.

Here’s what head coach Lovie Smith had to say:

On Covid-19:

  • We don’t have a whole lot of positives but we have enough with contact tracing to hurt our team a little bit.
  • The players we missed this week will be out this weekend as well.
  • No more positive tests for us.
  • We can’t afford another group of players to go out.
  • No symptoms really (For Illini who are positive).
  • I think there are three total right now that are [COVID] positive.

On the offense:

  • We had a lot of yards.

On Coran Taylor:

  • I thought Coran [Taylor] came in and did some good football.
  • Forth team quarterback doesn’t get any (Reps)
  • If you talk to Coran, you know he has confidence in himself. Now it is about correcting the mistakes he made.

On the defense:

  • There were some good things, but not good enough.
  • Defensively, I thought we did some things better ... we have to play better pass defense than that.
  • I thought we defended the run well.
  • We liked a lot of things (from the D-line).
  • We took the balls away a couple of times, had a fourth down stop...there is hope, we did some good things.
  • I saw improvement from game one to game two.
  • We haven’t played well. Expect to see those guys play better this week, and they will. (Secondary)

On the election/ having practice cancelled to vote:

  • All of our guys who haven’t voted yet, will be voting tomorrow.
  • I think it is something that is long overdue. What is more important than the presidential election? Along with other things being voted on tomorrow.

On individual players:

  • Jake Hansen forced the offense to turn the ball over.
  • Owen Carney had three sacks and should’ve had two others.
  • He (Carney) had the best game of his career thus far.
  • If Jamal Woods can’t go this week, we feel comfortable going with Newton.
  • We loved Johnny Newton when we were recruiting him. When you put an athlete like that at the defensive tackle position like that, you get excited about that.
  • Matt [Robinson] is getting better.
  • Rod Perry has played good football for us.
  • Chase Brown got some more carries.

On this weekend’s game against Minnesota:

  • Tough loss but a lot to build on this week.
  • We are doing anything we can to win this football game.