Illini Coach Tim Beckman: motivation through food



There’s food on the line yet again surrounding Illini football.

Earlier this week it was announced that this Illinois football spring game would have a couple culinary twists. Newly installed coach Tim Beckman decided that the losing team would have to eat frank and beans as their postgame meal.

Not sure what the winners got, but I’m assuming it’s real food.

‘‘This is a competition,’’ Beckman said. ‘‘The winner will be rewarded. The loser will get their beans and weenies. That’s the way it is. That’s life — that’s the game of football.’’

You might remember Beckman’s policy of forcing those players who were late to meetings to eat porridge for breakfast at a special banquet; those who followed protocol received steak n eggs.

And you might recall Beckman’s introductory press conference in which he mentioned lasagna a few times along with the phrase that pays “steaks and cakes.”

This guy is more interested in food than Weird Al Yankovic. (Think about it, most Weird Al’s songs are about food)

Beckman is at much at home on the Big Ten Network as the Food Network. But the spring game has another wrinkle. From the Sun-Times:

In a move that legendary baseball owner Bill Veeck once used, Beckman will let one lucky Illinois student call a play during the game.

‘‘We’re going to go into the stands in a third-down situation and put them on the headset,’’ Beckman said. ‘‘They’ll have four choices. This game is not only an opportunity for our players to get better, but also an opportunity for our Illini faithful to be involved in this game.’’

So after all the bread and circuses, emphasis on the bread,what happened with the actual college football? The orange team got weenies, as the blue team beat them 13-12, in a game decided by yes, a missed extra point.

Sophomore tailback Josh Ferguson was the star of the blue team, breaking off a 68 yard run, and finishing with 150 yards on 20 carries. His teammate Reilly O’Toole, the backup QB, outplayed his counterpart, starter Nathan Scheelhaase on the orange team. O’Toole went 19-31 for 159 yards, no interceptions and 1 TD, getting sacked four times. His 5.1 yards-per-attempt was pretty bad, but it wasn’t as putrid as the 2.5 ypa put up by Scheelhaase.

He finished 11-26 for just 65 yards. He took yet another step backwards as a passer as his longest completion was for only 11 yards. Usually, he makes up for that on the ground, but yesterday he had just 5 carries for 13 yards.

Of course, you got to remember- this is spring football, it is just an intrasquad game, and you hold back a lot of the playbook in situations like this. And the rules are sometimes funky, so take it with a grain of salt.

Then again- in the NFL new coaching regimes usually mean new quarterbacks, and maybe it’s time to make O’Toole QB1?

Food for thought.

Or maybe thought for food.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter, Yardbarker, MSN and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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