Chris Beatty: I knew about Jared Abbrederis being at Illinois. I saw a lot of him on film. He's got some suddenness to him, deep-ball ability, really polished with his double moves. I am excited to work with him. You can tell a lot of these guys have been coached well, so it's about building on what they've been taught already and be able to adapt to a little bit different system in the passing game. I am excited about what we've got. We've got some parts to work with. We have a long way to go, but we're getting better every day.
This group really had Abbrederis and everybody else last year, so how do you make it more balanced and elevate their play?
Beatty: I think it's repetition. As much as we can work with those guys, get better every day, those guys have a chance to be the added element. Right now, people are sitting back, clamping down on our run game, play Jared and not worry about the other receiver quite as much. We want to develop somebody. Within that group, we'll be able to develop somebody at some point.
When you played Wisconsin last year you were worried about its defense, but how did Illinois plan to stop Wisconsin passing game? Was it like what you said: stop the run and take your chances?
Beatty: Just listening to him, since I was a different room, it was to crowd the box, play a safety over the top to cover Jared and take your chances with the other guys. Like I said, for us to take another jump, we've got to be able to develop a number two. We've got some guys who can do that. Until we show it, teams are going to sit back and they are going to over play him, and rightfully so. So we've got work to do.
Who do you think could be a solid No.2 or No.3 guy for Wisconsin this year?
Beatty: Jordan Fredrick is getting better and has played a bunch. Kenzel Doe has done some good things. He's amore of a slot-type guy and has done some good things early on. He's got some suddenness that's excited. Then we've got a bunch of guys. Marquis Mason has made some plays, feeling good about that. Reggie Love has made some plays, so we've got some guys that within all of them could be twos and threes and have some depth. Jeff Duckworth has played a bunch of ball, made some plays, so we're going to fit some pieces together and figure out who is going to be our No.2 and No.3.
What's the big thing you take away from your year at Illinois as a co-offensive coordinator?
Beatty: I think you learn a bunch when you go through a tough year, you work with some different people and you learn how to mesh ideas, and that's a great thing. Being able to put some different things together in a game plan is inevitable and fun. Being able to check your egos sometimes, because there are sometimes people will check it for you when you want to do some things you think might work and the head coach has different ideas. You learn those things, but it's all about getting the team better and not one individual person. It's not smart you are, it's about how smart we are, so you learn those things as you go. It was a good experience to learn and to move on from. It worked out better for me.
What were some of the main reasons you pursued this job?
Beatty: Obviously Wisconsin has had a great program for a lot of years and I had heard a lot about Coach Andersen from Billy Gonzales. Our receiver coach and co-offensive coordinator at Illinois talked a lot about Coach Andersen being a great guy. It was one of those situations where I knew Thomas Hammock and he told me what a great place it was up here. I heard great things about Madison. All those things were good.
What was it like coaching Percy Harvin in high school and what things do you learn from coaching a great player that you carry with you?
Beatty: It was awesome. If it wasn't for Percy Harvin I wouldn't be where I am. I had three times that were top 10 in the nation, and he was a big reason. He scored 90 touchdowns in the three years I coached him. Without him I wouldn't be where I am. He's difficult at times, but that's what the great ones are because they make you better. You know you have to bring your ‘A' game to be able to put them in a position to be successful. He did some things I have never seen, and that's hard to say when I've been at every level. Obviously he's been special in the NFL level. I am proud of him. He got where he wanted to go. You learn a lot because you want to be on the top of your game every day.
What are going to be your recruiting areas?
Beatty: I am going to have Virginia and Washington D.C., which I always have had, and then I would Dade and Broward County in South Florida.
How good is the level of play on the East Coast compared to Florida?
Beatty: It's loaded. There is a ton of talent and those guys will travel. The better players in the state will move. When you have been as successful as we have, especially with Maryland and Rutgers coming into the conference, it makes it a little but more appealing knowing their families can get to those games. With the Big Ten Network, you have access to being on TV every game. If they can't make it to the game, they can always see their son play. There's a ton of talent and I know those players and coaches pretty well, so it would be silly not to try and tap into that area.