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QUOTABLES: Lovie looks ahead to Rutgers after 0-3 start

Here’s what Lovie had to say about the start of the season and how the team is moving forward.

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Illinois Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

After Illinois lost to Minnesota 41-14 on Saturday, head coach Lovie Smith discussed the game and what the Illini are doing this week to prepare for Rutgers.

Here’s what he had to say:

On loss to Minnesota

  • They have evaluated the video and spent a lot of time watching it.
  • Changes have to be made and they are working to make those necessary corrections.

On players out due to contact tracing

  • The players who were out because of contact tracing protocol will be back on Wednesday this week.
  • It is very exciting and Lovie is looking forward to having them back.
  • They have been able to workout on their own during isolation.

On Rutgers

  • They have a 1-2 record, but their two losses were still impressive. They were able to stay in the game against Indiana and scored 27 points against Ohio State.
  • The Illini are familiar with this Rutgers team and personnel since they play each other often.
  • Illinois are underdogs.

On feelings after 0-3 start

  • Every snap from the Minnesota game was went over in detail and watched numerous times.
  • Now, the team has moved on and are ready to face Rutgers this Saturday.
  • While they are disappointed, there is no panic.
  • There is still lots of football left to be played.

On the expectations before the season

  • There were high expectations coming into this season and they had them for a reason.
  • As seen last season, they know how to turn things around.
  • The season isn’t over yet.

On offensive line

  • They are better than this. They have had discussions and acknowledged what happened.
  • Doug Kramer will be back this week and play this weekend.
  • As a captain, Kramer is an important piece that will help get the o-line back on track.
  • The o-line benefits from having the best players out on the field, which starts with the center.
  • This group of linemen have played together for a while, so having Kramer back should put them back in place.

On Alex Pihlstrom

  • Initially, he was a tight end who came to practice and worked hard everyday.
  • Pihlstrom got stronger and bigger, which got him time on the offensive line.
  • If someone deserves to play, they will get the opportunity to eventually.
  • He was not given a scholarship - he earned it.
  • Moving forward with players who were out coming back, he is still in the mix to play.