Ron Turner on Boers & Bernstein

Ron Turner had his first visit with The Score's Mid-Day hosts this afternoon when he visited with Boers & Bernstein this afternoon. <br><br> In his first conversation with the ever entertaining Dan and Terry, Ron talked about Illinois' new defensive coordinator, and what he was expecting from his Fighting Illini for the upcoming season.

Bernstein: And with that we bring in Illinois Head Football Coach Ron Turner to WSCR Sports Radio 670 the Score. Hey Ron how are ya? Ron Turner, how are ya?

Turner: Great. What's going on?

Boers: How are things? You're at the Hyatt, right? The Big Ten Football thing going on today and tomorrow.

Turner: Yeah, we've got all the media stuff today and tomorrow. The lunch tomorrow at 11:30. Everything's going well so far.

Bernstein: You know I wanted to ask you in light of the news the other day. You know the trouble with a couple of your players; they got into a bar scrape. Ron this is not exactly what you needed to hear at this point coming into a season that obviously is very important, not only for you, but for the school and everybody involved in this. This is not a great start to this.

Turner: No, it's obviously not the way we wanted to start the season regardless of what happened the year before. We don't want this kind of stuff, we haven't had it. Our guys have been very good about this, we've had very few of these kind of incidents, and it's not the way you want to start, but it's there. We've got to deal with it and handle it. When we go to camp on Monday we've got to focus on our football and handle the situation and get ready to go, which I believe we will.

Bernstein: Now, when you say "deal with it and handle it" previously we have praised you for swiftly dismissing guys who were not embodying what you want your program to embody. A couple of junior college guys who were I think drinking in the dorm or something like that and you got rid of them swiftly. Now with the situation your team is in now, are you going to be able to address this similarly?

Turner: We're not gonna change our philosophy. I'm not gonna change my philosophy. As an athletic department on how we deal with things. What we've always done is found out all the facts first. We've found out exactly what happened, got all the facts, and in some cases let the legal system run its course and then find out what's going on. Then we act. We are going to do the same thing this time. We're not going to tolerate bad behavior and guys doing things to represent the University in the wrong way. Our players know that, but we're also going to make sure we have all the facts before we do something.

Boers: I wanted to ask you. You know you mentioned camp starting next week and I think that is when all the Big Ten schools and colleges in general. Is there something that Illinois fans, who've been down with the last couple of years, a little down in the mouth with this, is there something they can look forward to? A little optimism? I know you are always an optimist about stuff, but something you can sort of expect this year and look for from your kids?

Turner: Yeah, I think so. I think we have a lot of very good young football players on this team. We really do. Our last couple of recruiting classes have been good. We've got a lot of great young players and these guys are very determined. They've had a tremendous off season working together, coming together as a team. I think we've improved our team speed, especially defensively. We;ve made some moves to help ourselves defensively. I think that is where you will see the biggest change, the biggest impact is defensively. With Mike Mallory coming in as coordinator and the rest of the defensive staff and the moves that we've made. Moving Kelvin Hayden, Chris Norwell, Morris Virgil, guys like that to defense. I think that we'll be, I know we'll be much better defensively.

Boers: What's Mike Mallory like? Is he like his dad, or is he kind of lower key? I know there are a lot of people that have a lot of hope for this defense because he's around now.

Turner: From what I understand, I don't know his dad. I know his dad, but not as a coach, I've never coached with him or seen him coach. People that have seen him coach say that he is a lot like his dad. He is very intense, very focused on what he wants to do. He has a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of energy and I think that's going to come across to the defense.

Really I think the reason I promoted him to coordinator is philosophically I believe in what he wants to do and I agree with him. And that is to simplify what we do, and do it better, do it faster, and put more emphasis on techniques and fundamentals, which is obviously what we need.

Bernstein: Ron, will your bosses be satisfied with incremental progress at this point, or do you feel whether its Ron Guenther or some of the high-powered money alumni interests, that you need to actually win important games and make drastic improvements to keep this thing going?

Turner: I really don't know. Ron Guenther and I have a great relationship. He does a tremendous job and he's very very supportive of me and our program and what we do. We're just going to approach this year like any other. We expect big things, and we are going to come out and play as well as we can.

We've got four home games to start out the season. An opportunity to hopefully win some games early, and regain some of the confidence that you have to have. And get some of these young guys, because they got some experience a year ago, lost a bunch of close games and get these guys some wins under their belts so they can get some confidence and take it from there.

Boers: Yeah, so as we let you go. You're early schedule at home, you don't have quite the, I don't want to say killer schedule last year Ron, but it was certainly and early part of the season schedule that didn't do you any favors.

Turner: No, exactly right. We opened up against a very good Missouri team in St. Louis, and lost a very close game. Then coming home we played a game, and then going back to UCLA. You're exactly right, we're at home, so that helps. We've got Florida A&M in the opener, then UCLA, then Western Michigan, and then we get into conference at home.

Again, hopefully we can come out of the gates strong and regain some confidence.

Bernstein: Alright, Ron we hope you get it turned around this year.


You can catch Boers & Bernstein every weekday on The Score 670 out of Chicago from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM.

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