Pro-bound Illini support Lovie hire

Illinois seniors at the Pro Day all positive about the Illini coaching change and Lovie Smith

V’Angelo Bentley

“Not saying that (former Illini head coach Bill) Cubit was a bad guy or a bad person for the job, but I think once you saw Lovie get hired, you saw the energy come back to Illinois. The Union was packed when he went there Even our guys (said), ‘We’re getting coached by NFL guys. That’s what we want to be. We want to get to that profession.’ I think everyone is excited about it. I’m excited about it. I know those guys are going to come in and put in the work to do better than we did in past years.”

Clayton Fejedelem

“I was a big fan of Coach Cubit. I hope the best for him. But I think Lovie Smith’s going to do a phenomenal job turning the program around to where we want to be. I think Whitman is coming in here and spicing things up and really getting after it.”

Ted Karras

“It’s exciting. I love Coach Cubit and that staff. We’ve been through a lot together, and that’s just the nature of this business. It’s been tumultuous here at Illinois, and I think Coach Smith and the staff he’s assembling will bring some stability and a little bit of -- and I don’t want to say legitimacy -- but it’s a big name coming in here, and it’s exciting times for Illini football.”

Jihad Ward

“I don’t really know what’s going on in the office, but we all love Coach Cubit. He did his part. But it’s time for a change. The athletic director, he made his decision and we just got to go with it. I’m happy with Lovie Smith coming in here. I wish I would have played another year with Lovie Smith. Actually, he thought I was a student-athlete playing again for another year. I was like, ‘No coach. I was in the Senior Bowl.’ He was like, ‘Oh.’ I would love to be coached by Lovie Smith. ...It’s a good feeling. I felt the hope in this football program, and not just the football program but the whole community and the University of Illinois.”

Geronimo Allison

“It’s a big turnaround for the program. I think Coach Lovie will come in and make some changes. I expect nothing but the best for this program, and he’ll make it work.”

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