Terry Boers: Ron Turner is on the line, the Illinois football coach. The Illini host Indiana, Saturday, Senior Day down in Champaign. Hello, Ron.
Ron Turner: How you guys doing?
Boers: We are doing well, how about you?
Turner: Doing fine.
Boers: Are you really though? You doing okay?
Turner: Oh yeah, I'm fine. I'm doing fine. Just fighting along and battling along. As I have told you many times, we've got a great group of kids. I like this team. We are frustrated for them. Very disappointed and frustrated for them. I come in every day and see them, and they push me up and say hey 'Let's Go! It's a new week, and let's do what we can do and try to get a win.' They are doing what they can. If you have a team that you really like, you just have to come in and go. Obviously we are all disappointed, but you've got to keep fighting.
Dan Bernstein: Do you think your players are looking at this as a real chance, perhaps your best chance at a victory?
Turner: Probably. Honestly, probably. I think they know that for most games, other than maybe the Minnesota game that we prepared well. We've come in emotionally good, which is hard to believe losing as many as we have that they can stay that way. Last week was as good as we have had all year. So they are very disappointed, and I think they believe if we keep doing it something good is going to happen. We play a team right now that is coming in now on a little roll, but a lot of confidence. Their huge win at Minnesota was not a fluke. They just physically beat them. They have to be coming in with a lot of confidence.
Boers: The one thing I have noticed in the last couple of weeks, and certainly at times with the defense Ron, which I have talked about before has gotten better. I don't want to say it's great, but it certainly has looked a lot better than it did earlier in the season.
Turner: No doubt. We're definitely not great, but we are definitely better than we were early. We're more aggressive. We're coming off the ball better. We're tackling better. We are doing a lot of things better. We had a few breakdowns the other day that hurt us, and some mistakes that hurt us. You know fumbling the ball. In that kind of game with the wind conditions the way they were in a tight ball game, it was a matter of who made mistakes. We fumbled the ball and gave it to them on the thirty-something yard line, and then we get a punt blocked. That was the difference in the game.
Defensively we had a few breakdowns here and there. We are coming off the ball better. We are more physical. We are attacking the ball better. We're playing our schemes better. We are not perfect yet, but we are playing them better than we were early. Mike Mallory and the staff have done a great job of sticking with what we have been doing all along, as Indiana is. They are playing their defense a lot better because they are sticking with what they are doing. We're trying to do the same thing and trying to get better.
Bernstein: This is Joe on a car phone on WSCR with Ron Turner. Hi, Joe.
Joe on a Car Phone: Hi guys. Coach I wanted to ask you, with quarterbacks like Jon Beutjer and Tim Brasic did you ever think about changing to a more pass oriented offense like they came from with their high school programs?
Turner: Well, we've thought about. We always try to play to the strengths of our team, but we feel one of the strength of our team is the offensive line run blocking and our running backs when they are healthy. We do throw the ball quite a bit. We don't get in the shot gun and spread like a lot of team do. That is something that we have talked about. Something that we did a little bit, that we had in our plan to do a little bit last week and the weather kind of controlled that. With the talent that we have and the quarterbacks that we have, that is something that is definitely in the plans.
Bernstein: We appreciate the call from Joe, and this is car phone Jack on the Score with Ron TUrner. Hi, Jack.
Car phone Jack: Hey coach. I thought you guys had everything for a potential upset last Saturday. Number 84 Kendrick Jones, he looked like a special player. Just a question on the Big Ten, do you see the possibility of two undefeated teams? I think the league overall is as strong league, and just your comments.
Turner: Yeah, I agree. First of all about Kendrick Jones, he did play a great game Jack. He is really matured. He has really grown up and he has competed really hard on Saturdays. He has made some great plays for us. He is playing fast. We have got to find a way to continue to get him the ball, and we are doing that. We were moving him around in the last few games more than we ever have. Putting him outside, putting him on the strong side, weak side, inside, moving him around. We will continue to do that. He is really playing well.
As far as the Big Ten, I agree. I think it is a real strong conference. I think it will be hard for anybody to go undefeated in this conference, let alone two.
Boers: All right Ron, we wish you luck Saturday against Indiana. I think I would agree with the assessment before, this is going to be a great chance for your guys to get the win you have been looking for for a while now.
Turner: Yeah, we have been looking for it, and we've been fighting for it. We just have to go out and get it now. Go out and take it, and find a way to do it. Hopefully we will have a good week of preparation and go out and get it done.
Bernstein: All right Ron, good luck.
Ron Turner on Boers & Bernstein
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