Guarantee might come back to bite coach Tim Beckman
BY STEVE GREENBERG Staff Reporter November 2, 2013 7:44PM
Updated: December 4, 2013 6:46AM
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Illinois coach Tim Beckman spoke the words:
‘‘We’re going to get that ‘W.’ It’s going to come. And it’s going to come this year.’’
This was after an overtime loss Saturday to Penn State. Heat-of-the-moment stuff. And it’s not like staying positive is a crime.
But if Beckman proves incorrect — if the Illini lose every one of their Big Ten games for the second consecutive season — those words might come back to haunt him.
He made, essentially, a guarantee. Illinois fans, if not athletic director Mike Thomas, will hold him to it.
Good coaching and bad
A week after picking up all of eight first downs in a 42-3 loss to Michigan State, the Illini had 27 of them. Coordinator Bill Cubit’s offensive game plan was effective, and the defense made coordinator Tim Banks and Beckman look good, for the most part.
But there was some really questionable stuff, too. Poor clock management late in each half. A complete aversion to running the ball near the opponent’s goal line. Passing the ball on fourth-and-one in the fourth quarter instead of running it or kicking a field goal.
And the coup de grace: another penalty for sideline interference, Illinois’ third in its last nine games. Do Beckman and his staff not get that they have to stay out of the other team’s way?