Illinois defense aims to be better prepared for Charleston Southern

Preparation is the word Illinois defensive coordinator Tim Banks says has been his team’s motto all week long.

He knows his defense was out game-planned, looked overmatched and confused against a fast-paced Arizona State offense, who scored 45 points against “a proud Illinois defense”:, the most it has allowed in a regulation game since 2009.

“We were disappointed in how we coached across the board,” Banks said. “There were a lot of different things we wish we had done to be successful, but, at the end of the day, there is no rewind button. You just have to move forward and get ready for the next one.”

That next one is Charleston Southern, and the Illini are focused on making sure they aren’t so ill prepared for an opponent again. Beckman says the Buccaneers are going to be a “fast-paced offense”: as well, using the option and lining up players from different slots on the field.

However, Charleston Southern is an 0-2 FCS team. The last time the Illini faced a FCS team was South Dakota State last year, and Illinois beat them 56-3. The Illini are a perfect 11-0 against FCS teams with an average margin of victory of 29 points. In their first game, Charleston Southern threw the ball more, and the other they ran the ball more, but Banks thinks they’ll try to run the ball if the score doesn’t get too far out of hand early.

But for this defense, it doesn’t matter which team this next game is against. Saturday will be a game for it to regain some of its pride back from Tempe, Ariz.

“We still feel like we’re a top defense in this country,” defensive end Michael Buchanan said. “We want to get back there on the field, regardless of our opponent, and we want to show the world again that we are a top defense, and we do have a lot of talent on the defensive side of the “ball”:”

To prepare for the option-style offense Charleston Southern will run, Illinois’ scout team quarterback in practice has been running the option without a football. It’s forced players to focus only on the guy they are responsible for and not commit any of the “eye violations,” which occur when players looked away from their man for a different receiver.

A loss like last Saturday’s can be deflating for a team, but Illinois players say they haven’t lost any confidence, especially on defense. Banks told his players that confidence comes from their preparation, and he has assured them that they’ll be prepared for what other teams are trying to do. If anything, that one loss seems to make them want to come back and show everyone that the Arizona State game was more of an aberration than the normal.

“We have the best front seven in the country, I firmly believe that,” linebacker Jonathan Brown said. “We know we’re still a good defense. We’re just ready to go out there and get a chance to prove it again.”

Jamal can be reached at [email protected] and @JamalCollier.“”: