Clinkscale Has Important Role With Corners

When Tim Beckman was hired as the new Fighting Illini football coach, he brought with him three coaches off his Toledo staff. Steve Clinkscale was one of the last ones announced because he helped coach Toledo in a bowl game before assuming his Illini duties. He will coach cornerbacks and play an important recruiting role in Chicago and elsewhere.

Steve Clinkscale has enjoyed a tremendous last couple of years. The topper for him came when Tim Beckman asked him to help coach the secondary at Illinois.

"It's been a great ride. A lot of guys don't have the opportunity to go to back-to-back bowl games, let alone be able to coach in one, and then a week later get a call to say they want you to be a part of this family here and coach in the Big Ten. I was super excited, and I'm happy to be here."

Technically, Clinkscale will coach cornerbacks, and defensive coordinator Tim Banks will handle safeties. But both will work together to make the entire defensive backfield a cohesive unit.

"Coach Banks and I will coach all four of them. When we do different specific drills, I'll take the corners. As far as meetings and everything go, we'll work together.

"It's an area on the team, just like the offensive line, if one guy isn't on the same page with everybody back there, then that's a big play. The big play in our profession for dbs is a touchdown. So we want to eliminate all big plays. We want to create takeaways for ourselves, so were going to make sure we're all together on the same page."

Clinkscale has both cornerback starters returning. He is looking forward to working with Terry Hawthorne, Justin Green and the others listed at his two positions.

"Specifically, I'll have Terry and Justin, Jack Ramsey, all the guys. Our plan is to continue to mentor and coach the players that are here as well as the guys that are to come. There's a couple guys in between the seniors and the freshmen coming in, and we hope to develop them as well. We'll have a great time."

Clinkscale believes in aggressive play by his defenders. They will line up off the ball on occasion, but most of the time his corners will press the receivers at the line of scrimmage.

"That's what we'd like to do. I'm a press, bump man. I'd like to be aggressive with those corners, create those matchups where the quarterback is throwing the ball downfield and has to make a high percentage throw.

"If press man and playing one-on-one isn't our strong suit, we won't do it. But if it is our strong suit, will do a lot of it."

Clinkscale is also considered a talented recruiter. He will have responsibility for the Chicago Public League as well as some out-of-state areas.

"My recruiting territories will be the Chicago Public League and a bit of the south suburbs. Also, northeast Ohio and Pennsylvania.

"The Chicago Public League is a priority. I had it last year at Toledo, so I've already got my foot in the door to the schools there. The entire state is a priority.

"You look at Chicago being the second-largest city in the country, every school there needs to be touched in some sort of way. So it's a big priority for us to establish ourselves and not allow people to come in our home territory and take our players."

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