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Bielema set to return for first Land of Lincoln game

The Illini finish their regular season schedule this week with Northwestern.

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Without head coach Bret Bielema who missed the game due to testing positive for COVID-19, the Illini fell to No. 17 Iowa in Iowa City. Offensive Coordinator Tony Petersen, Defensive Coordinator Ryan Walters and Bielema met the media via zoom on Monday to discuss the 33-23 loss to the Hawkeye’s and preview the regular season finale against Northwestern.

Here’s what Petersen had to say about:

The Offensive Struggles

“We’re not scoring enough points, it’s obvious. Everybody knows it. We want to score more points.”

“We have to find ways to score points win more football games.”

Here’s what Walters had to say about:

Isaiah Gay’s Breakout

“I think midway through the year he really honed in on the fundamentals of playing the position.”

Here’s what Bielema had to say about:

Watching the game from Isolation

“We look really good at times, we do things that are very exciting.”

“Played hard, competitive, did a lot of good things but not doing enough good things in all three phases to win. Not into participation ribbons, we’re into winning games.”

His recovery from COVID-19

“I haven’t seen my girls for a long time, so that’s what I’m looking forward to more than anything.”

“I really have no symptoms. Sometimes I’ll get a little nasal congestion.”

“ I hope to return to the building Friday at the latest. It’s still kind of a work in progress. I feel great other than being in this same damn room all the time.”

“...Offensively, the number one thing is consistency. ...That’s our job as coaches to hold them to that standard.”

The Rivalry with Northwestern

“This is a game of respect.”

The Future

This is a (defense) returning on paper that could be an exceptional level for us in the future.

Individual Players

“Rod Perry should be back this week if everything checks the box.”

“In my entire time as a head coach, to see the improvement [Isaiah Gay has] had is one of the single greatest in season improvements as a player I’ve seen.”