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Illinois football coach Tim Beckman promises more wins

In this Aug. 31 2013 phoIllinois head coach Tim Beckman is seen before an NCAA college football game against Southern

In this Aug. 31, 2013 photo, Illinois head coach Tim Beckman is seen before an NCAA college football game against Southern Illinois in Champaign, Ill. AP Photo/The News-Gazette, Bradley Leeb, File)

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Updated: April 5, 2014 6:29AM

CHAMPAIGN — Tim Beckman claims to be his own worst critic. That’s probably unlikely, given how much competition the coach has from frustrated Illinois football fans.

But give Beckman — 6-18 in two seasons here — points for telling Illini Nation what it needed to hear Monday, two days before the opening of spring practice.

“We’ve got to win more football games,” he said. “There’s no question about that. We all know that. So …”


“So, we’re going to win more football games.”

Boom — it’s out there. “More” could mean five wins after last season’s 4-8 finish. Six wins would mean a bowl game and any bowl no matter how low on the postseason totem pole, would be a pleasant destination and just what the doctor ordered for Beckman’s reputation.

“Is there pressure on me to get to a bowl game? Well, there is from myself. I push myself to get our football team to a bowl game because I enjoy going to bowl games,” he said.

Has anybody told me or pressured me by saying I’ve got to get to a bowl game? No.”

If Beckman’s third Illini team merely creates the impression that the program is moving forward — however that manifests itself in the win column — then the coach should be able to keep the wolves at bay. But if the Illini go 1-7 in the Big Ten again, Beckman probably can forget about Years 4 and 5 in his contract.

In the current two-deep depth chart, the Illini return 19 players on defense and 15 on offense with significant playing experience.

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