Big Ten Media Days: Tim Beckman In The Penn State Import Business

Apr 14, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Tim Beckman during the first half of the spring game at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE

"I'm a proactive guy," Tim Beckman said before launching into an explanation of the rumors surrounding Illinois and Penn State. Beckman claimed the reported PSU transfer (lineman Ryan Nowicki, not named by Beckman) approached Illinois even before the NCAA's sanctions came out. The new Illini coach denied his staff actively poached State College, but confirmed he had reps near campus in case any players wanted to visit.

Nowicki might not be the only one, as Beckman repeatedly used plural nouns in talking about his interest in PSU's roster. He said Illinois sent a list to Bill O'Brien with the names of players it was after.

"I spoke with coach O'Brien, but not in-depth about the situation," he said on his formal contact with Penn State. He was asked more questions about Penn State than other coaches probably will be, for obvious reasons. He had nice things to say about O'Brien.

"Playing Illini tempo" is the new thing for the blue and orange, along with competing. Competition was mentioned many a time. "We have got to establish the run first," Beckman said of his new offense and quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (who's being pushed by the rest of the depth chart) as the coach imports that frantic Toledo attack.

As for his surprising emphasis on Illinois' rivalry (?) with Northwestern, Beckman played up the collegiate angle, dropping a "that team up state" to describe the despised (?) purple and black.

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