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Tuesday’s notes and quotes

After practice Tuesday, defensive coordinator Bob Diaco talked about the improvement of the linebackers group, the return of Chris Jones, Illinois, and the cohesiveness of the secondary.

Coach Diaco Quotes and notes:

  • When asked about Luke Gifford’s development Diaco heaped praise on the walk-on outside linebacker:
    • “(Gifford) is a guy we really don’t want to bring out of the game. He’s a stalwart out there, he’s a multi-jobs player, he’s got a lot of tangible skill and intangible skills, he’s long, quick and fast and smart, very football intelligent”
  • Chris Jones was back at practice today dressed in a jersey and helmet. While not going full speed in pads both Riley and Diaco were both pleased to see him out there.
    • “It’s great to see Chris feeling better and doing well and being engaged with the team. Like everybody knew, he’s one of the best players in the league and one of the best players in the country at his position,” said Diaco
  • Diaco noted that the players and coaches continue to get better each day. The players and coaches have both really began to have a better understanding of what they are doing with the scheme:
    • On picking up the plan and intensity of the new defense, “Good so far. Our players are engaged and locked in. They want to serve the needs of the team, university, and the state on defense in particular. They care a bunch and spend a lot of time on their work and on their opponents”.
  • When asked about the respect he has for Illinois coach Lovie Smith:
    • “He’s a great, great coach. He was a great college coach and he’s played great defenses in the middle 90’s at Ohio State and in the NFL he’s produced some of the best defenses in the history of the NFL”.
  • With several injuries at linebacker, the coaches have gone pretty deep into the depth chart with Collin Miller taking a lot of practice snaps this week and Ben Stille seeing several reps against Rutgers last weekend.

Tyler Hoppes quotes and notes:

  • “Experience is a big thing. Being out on the field is a lot difference than practice. You learn things during the game that helps out.”
  • On Tanner Lee’s interceptions: “We need to protect him. Not all of those interceptions are on him you know the line and myself included need to do a better job of protection to give him time to throw the ball.”
  • “He’s fine, he’s got confidence he comes out here every day and he looks good”
  • On Tanner Lee in the huddle, “Oh he’s a leader. Every time we’re in the huddle it’s ‘Let’s go get one here boys, lets go”. That’s really what you need in a quarterback to always stay positive no matter what happens throughout the game.”
  • “He’s always calm in the huddle and that’s what you need out of your quarterback”

Other notes from around town on Tuesday’s practice

  • Coach Langsdorf mentioned they will continue to rotate running backs to help keep everyone fresh moving forward
    • “The depth in that group is good, so I think continuing to roll those guys has been helpful to keep them fresh. I think they’re different style runners, so that’s a good thing too,” per HOL
  • Brenden Jaimes said he was the worst lineman this week when they graded out the line’s performance against Rutgers but felt like he held his own.
  • Mike Riley on the announcement of new interim Athletic Director Dave Rimington
    • “Dave is the perfect guy who cares so much about this place,” Riley said. “For this moment, a very good choice,” said Riley per HOL.


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