Football coach Tim Beckman puts players on ‘Illini Time’
BY HERB GOULD email@example.com March 6, 2012 8:50PM
In this photo taken March 1, 2012, new Illinois head football coach Tim Beckman yells instructions to his players during spring football workouts in Champaign, Ill. Beckman promises to build intensity into his team. They lost six in a row last season. Those six losses are why Beckman has his job. They're the reason Ron Zook, who came to Illinois renowned for his own brand of intensity, was fired. (AP Photo/The News-Gazette, Darrell Hoemann)
Updated: April 10, 2012 10:54AM
If new Illinois football coach Tim Beckman had his way, fans would be advised to be in their seats at 10:50 for 11 a.m. kickoffs and at 2:20 for 2:30 p.m. kickoffs.
Beckman has instituted ‘‘Illini Time’’ as he prepares for his first round of spring practice, which begins Wednesday in Champaign.
To underscore the importance of details, Beckman formed the All-in-One Club, in which players and coaches who qualify receive the preferred meal at quarterly banquets he plans. At the first meal, the winners received steak, eggs and fancy pastry. The non-qualifiers ate porridge.
‘‘It’s ‘Illini Time,’ ’’ Beckman said Tuesday of his rule that players be 10 minutes early. ‘‘If your class starts at 9 and you weren’t there at 8:50, if you were there at 8:52, you’re out. It’s about being 100 percent involved in doing all you can do.’’
Only 21 players and four coaches needed steak knives. The rest were good to go with spoons.
‘‘I’m sure they weren’t happy when they were eating their porridge and the other guys were eating homemade cinnamon buns,’’ Beckman said.
He pointed out he didn’t make the club himself.
‘‘I missed a meeting,’’ he said. ‘‘I was down in Naples, Fla., speaking to the alumni.’’
All jobs open
Incumbent quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase will have to re-earn his starting job, Beckman said. So will every other returning starter.
‘‘It’s an open position,’’ he said. ‘‘Every position is open. He’ll take the first snap because he’s been the starter, but we’re going to play whoever’s the most consistent. And that’s for every position.’’
Look for Scheelhaase and Reilly O’Toole to take their share of snaps in practice and in games. Beckman, who played two quarterbacks last fall at Toledo, already is on record as saying he likes a two-quarterback approach.
Illinois’ spring game, which will be called the Blue and Orange Game, will be a competitive contest, Beckman said. He plans to divide the team with a draft and hand out a variety of trophies.
‘‘We found some trophies, some that hadn’t been given out since 1993,’’ Beckman said. ‘‘We’re going to dust those off and give them out, bring back some of the tradition of this football program.’’
The spring game is set for 2 p.m April 14 at Memorial Stadium.