Big Ten Teleconference: Illinois' Ron Turner

Illinois coach Ron Turner addressed the media as part of the Big Ten teleconference

New Page 2

Opening statement:


"Obviously another disappointing loss we are looking forward to getting back on the field. The same thing I've said the last couple of weeks—I believe in these kids, I believe in what we are doing. I think I see determination out of this group to get it turned around.


"We have had an extremely tough non-conference schedule, which hurt us record-wise, we haven't found a way to win those games. But I think hopefully will help us as we approach the Big Ten schedule. We have been in some tough, tough ball games. We have been in tough ball games at home and on the road. Hopefully that will prepare us.


"We are just looking forward to getting back on the field, going to work and trying to get better, trying to improve and find a way to get a win against a very, very good Wisconsin team. They are very talented, very well coached; physical, yet they have very good athletes. It will be a huge, huge challenge for us but we will see what we can do.


Have you seen any consistent theme develop with these close losses?


"I think there are a couple things. We have come to play, we have prepared very well. We have come with great focus and enthusiasm. And we have played hard. But I also think at crucial times we have made some mistakes. And that is what we have to eliminate. A lot of them have come on special teams. We have got to play better on special teams. When we have a chance to make plays we have to make them."


Are there any specific changes in special teams or things that you have done to try make things better before his week's game?


"We are trying to coach it better number one. We looked at our personnel to see if we could make some adjustments. We felt all along that we had our best people in there to do it. So if we need to make any adjustments scheme-wise we will do it. We are just trying to get better at all phases. Catch the ball better, protect better, cover better. Just try to get better."


In your time in the league has increasing the number of non-conference games against other BCS-league teams been a focus or a topic of discussion?


"It has been discussed. I think it is more of an individual thing that each school has to look at and say what is best for them. There are some schools that think playing maybe two out of four BCS games is pretty good, it gives you good balance…Others want to play four teams that aren't from a BCS conference and build their confidence that way. I think it is a philosophical thing and the school has to look and see where are they in the program and obviously if you are a young time trying to improve, trying to get better, you have a lot of young guys playing, you might want to take the approach where you are playing three or four non-BCS teams or maybe at the most two and if you are a team that you think has a good chance to win a national championship, be one of the BCS teams, you might want to make sure you play a couple of the top teams in the country so you can get that work and get that exposure and prepare for the season. It is hard to answer that question because I think there are so many variables that come into play and every situation is unique."


Do you hope that the schedule that you have played so far will be good for you in the long run or with the kind of team that you have could you have used a little bit of a lighter schedule?


"Well we probably could have used a lighter schedule to be honest. I don't want to sit here and make an excuse for what our record is and all that stuff. I believe whatever your situation is make it a positive. You know if you are playing on the road, you are playing at night, you are playing—whatever—if you dwell on the negatives I think you are going to hurt yourselves.


"We have played a tough schedule and we are going to do our best to turn it into a positive as we approach the Big Ten schedule and say that it has prepared us. We have played some real tough teams on the road and two road games against the Big 12 and a PAC-10 team that were really tough ballgames and we played a very tough game at home. We are going to look at it and say, ‘that is going to help us as move into the Big Ten season.'"


After Saturday's game a couple of your players mentioned almost starting over as you head into the Big Ten season. Do you feel the same way?


"No, I think I understand what they are saying, though. It is starting over in terms of a record—that we are 0-0, everybody in the conference is and we are all starting over in the same boat. I don't think they believe, and I don't want to speak for them, but we are not totally starting over because we have a lot to draw from starting back in January when we began working and working all the way through and going into training camp and the work and preparation that we did there. And then obviously the four games—we have put a lot into it, we have done a lot of work and had some ups and downs and done a lot of things that are going to help us; that have built the foundation for what we are going to do this season. We don't want to start completely over, erase all that stuff from our minds—that is all there, it is all real and it is going to help us."


Do you feel like they are mentioning more of a washing away?


"Yeah, washing away the feeling of the three defeats but learn from them and understand why and have the determination to make certain it doesn't happen again and learn from the very physical games that we have been in."


There is a proposal before Iowa university to cut scholarships even further (from 85 to 72). What type of effect do you think this would have on college football in general?


"I think it would have a major effect. I think 85, where we are right now, is about the bare minimum. You look at it right now and you bring in a class of 20 to 25 freshman and you play six to eight of them. You could play more obviously but they may not be ready to play. If you cut the scholarships you are going to have to play your freshmen. There is no way around it. We look at our travel list, to get the 64 which we are allowed in the Big Ten and we look at our depth chart and we get thin at certain positions. Get a couple injuries and we've had two injuries at fullback and all of a sudden we are down to one plus a freshman. So it is extremely tough and if they cut them any more it is going to have a negative effect on college football, there is no question."



Badger Nation Top Stories