Ron Turner on Boers & Bernstein

In his weekly apperance on the Boers & Bernstein show, Coach Turner and Boers & Bernstein discussed how the Illini quarterback situation, and compared Illinois to Michigan in terms of athletic ability based on comments made on the TV broadcast this weekend.

Terry Boers: Hello, Ron. How are you?

Ron Turner: I'm fine, how are you guys doing?

Boers: We're OK. Can you give us the rundown now? Jon Beutjer is not going to, I don't know if he is going to play, but he's not going to start. Can you give us a rundown on your three quarterback kind of tryout thing for Saturday's game?

Turner: OK. We've gotten Brad Bower quite a bit of work in the last couple of weeks. We've taken a good look at him. Chris Pazan's gotten quite a bit of work. So, we've got a pretty good feel for those guys. We're going to get Tim Brasic a little bit more. Tim and Brad are the most athletic of the three that we have, so we will give them a look and see what they can do.

Dan Bernstein: It seemed like you guys were playing with the kind of intensity that you talked about, and the kind of confidence that has been a theme of yours, saying that you guys have to believe in what you are doing. Was it a case of losing that edge against Michigan, or was it simply a case of Michigan just waking up and deciding to play?

Turner: I think it was a case of us losing a little bit of confidence. In the first half, we got a couple of turnovers that really ignited us, things we hadn't gotten. We converted, took advantage of the opportunities that I have talked to you guys about before.

Boers: Yeah, I thought so with that interception and the long return that this was the moment you have been talking about.

Turner: Exactly. Then converting it to points. Getting into the red zone and getting touchdowns instead of settling for field goals. In the third quarter getting that fourth and three stop. Those are all things that we hadn't done that I have been talking you guys about. Then, when we turn the ball over right after that and gave them the ball at the six yard line, I'm not sure we recovered from that. We had been playing, and fighting, and completing and doing a lot of good things, and then we just gave them something right there. That is the kind of stuff that we just have to eliminate. We turned it over three times in the second half, and that was really the difference. Our guys kept fighting, and we still had a chance, but when you turn it over three times and don't get any in one half against a good team like that, it's tough.

Boers: See, that's the thing now. I think you are right, I think that first one there, it seemed like the air just went out of your bubble there a little bit. You just wonder why. It was something that was bad obviously, it was a bad interception. But yet you go, 'well you know what' you still played. You're right there up until that point.

Turner: Yep.

Boers: It's just something about this Ron, and it's just like you said you just seemed to all collapse at that moment.

Turner: Exactly. Our guys kept fighting, and kept competing. It's just, I don't know. The confidence edge that we had built up by making those plays just seemed to, some doubt just seemed to seep in. Some guys were thinking, 'well'

Boers: Here we go again?

Turner: Exactly. You can't do that. You have to be able to over come that stuff, but we also can't just throw a ball right to them and give them the ball on the six yard line.

Bernstein: A caller wants to jump in with Ron Turner here on WSCR. It's Riles in Bloomington on the Score.

Riles in Bloomington: Hey fellas. Hey coach, I want you back for one thing. You deserved your contract. I've got a problem with Mike Mallory's defense. I like Morris Virgil, I think he's a great guy. But, Mike Mallory should be teaching fundamentals like tackling a little bit better. What are you going to do to get better in that?

Turner: Well first of all, I appreciate your comments at the beginning. We work on tackling as much or more than, definitely more than any other team I've been around. We work on our fundamentals, our techniques. We do tackling drills, tackle circuit every day. Like I said, more than anywhere I have been. We just have to believe that it is going to pay off. It better start paying off this weekend against those two backs that we are going against. That's going to be the key. Number one, getting into position to make the play, and when you get there we've got to make the tackle.

In the first half I thought we tackled pretty well. In the second half, we didn't tackle nearly as well as we needed to.

Boers: We appreciate the call. I mentioned this to you Ron, and I heard this during the telecast. I think it was Brent Musberger, but it could have been Gary Danielson. He said that when the starting lineups were out there, that 20 of the 22 players that started the game for you and Michigan. Of the 22 players, in 20 positions, Michigan had the superior athlete. Now, I don't know if you agree with that, or if you just wonder what the hell they are thinking about. I never really thought about it that way. You break down football in all kinds of ways and all different things go through your mind when you break down football, but I thought, "Well, if Ron Turner heard that he would probably say 'Bleh'". I don't know how you look at it, but it was just an odd thing, I had never heard anyone ever say that before.

Turner: Yeah. They definitely have some great athletes; there is no doubt about it. When you are at Michigan, you can recruit basically who you want. Decide who you want, and you've got them for the most part. So you've got some tremendous athletes. I also think we've got some good athletes. I don't know if it is that extreme. A lot of our best athletes are very young. We've got some really good, young freshman athletes.

Justin Harrison, being able to play as a true freshman. Some of the things that he has done. He is going to continue to get better.

Charles Bailey who is playing a little bit for us is a tremendous athlete. He is going to be a great corner for us.

And some defensive linemen. Xavier Fulton is going to be really, really good. Playing as a true freshman.

So, we've got some really good young athletes, whether it is 20 out of 22, I don't know.

Boers: This is just astounding to me. I mean you look at it and say '20 out of 22?' I mean I know they are a good team, but 20 out of 22 is a little bit extreme.

Turner: That's probably a little bit extreme even though they are very, very athletic. I'd like to think we have some good athletes on our team. Morris Virgil is an outstanding athlete. Some of the other guys that I mentioned. Kelvin Hayden, being able to play receiver last year, and being able to go over to corner this year is an outstanding athlete. I think we have some good athletes ourselves.

Bernstein: Car phone John, you're on the Score with Ron Turner.

Car Phone John: Coach, I was at the game. In the first half after the first few series, it seemed like the play calling was really mixing it up very well, and you had Michigan kind of guessing. But in the second half it seemed like we were running Thomas up the middle about one down every series, and it never worked all day. Where he had his success it seemed was off tackle. I was just wondering why it seemed like we were wasting a down when it didn't seem like we were ever gaining a yard up the middle on them. And why we were calling the plays that way.

Bernstein: OK, John thanks.

Turner: I appreciate the call. We were trying to continue to mix it. We go into halftime and take a good look at what we are doing. We have everything charted, what's working for us, and what's not. We tried to come out in the second half and do the same thing. The problem was we had three straight series of three and out.

We looked at what we were doing there. We did run up the middle a couple of times. We did try to run the ball on the perimeter, and we tried to throw it. We just couldn't get anything going. When you have three straight series of three and out and the other team is holding the ball. We didn't help our defense by not moving the ball. Again, we are going to try to continue to mix it and continue to try to look at what we are doing and see what is successful. There is no doubt that Pierre running off tackle, or outside can make some things happen. We are going to continue to try to do that.

Boers: All right, as we let you go Ron. I think Michigan State rang up 51 points on Minnesota, can we expect 51?

Turner: That would be nice. I'm not sure we can expect it, but that would be good. The thing we've got to do is go in there and play our game. We have to control the football and keep their offense off the field some what.

Boers: Oh, yeah because I don't want to see them running because they are really good at that.

Turner: They are, they are really good at that.

Boers: They really are. All right Ron, good luck this weekend.

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