Tim Beckman may only have one Big 10 win in two years on the job at Illinois, but he’ll get another year to try to turn things around in Champaign.
Matt Wettersten of WCIA (Champaign) talked with Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas on Monday, who told him Beckman will not be fired following a 4-8 (1-7) season. Illinois is 6-18 under Beckman and its only conference win came this year against Purdue, which went 1-11 and didn’t have a Big 10 victory.
Keeping Beckman around, though, does make some sense for Illinois. He secured the transfer of Wes Lunt earlier this year, with the coveted ex-Oklahoma State quarterback eligible to play for the Illini next fall. Former four-star recruit Aaron Bailey should battle Lunt to be the team’s starting quarterback, so there’s certainly some talent there.
But the problem for Beckman is that Illinois can’t stop anyone. The Illini were 105th in scoring defense this season (35 points per game) and 94th last year (32 points per game). For Beckman to keep his job past 2014, those numbers will have to improve — and unfortunately for him, those numbers don’t have much to do with a promising quarterback situation.
D’haquille Williams may have some additional explaining to do to NFL personnel if another report is accurate.
Monday night, Auburn announced that the star wide receiver had been dismissed from Gus Malzahn‘s football program. A day later, reports surfaced that Williams’ dismissal came after he went on a weekend “bar rampage” following one of his friends getting the heave-ho from a local drinking establishment over a dress-code issue. It was alleged that Williams had punched a pair of security guards, a bartender’s assistant and an unnamed patron of the bar.
The unnamed, however, now has a name.
According to the ABC affiliate in Montgomery, Ala., and a citing a source close to the AU program, Tigers center Xavier Dampeer‘s jaw was on the receiving end of one of Williams’ alleged punches. The website wrote that “Dampeer has been treated and released from East Alabama Medical Center, according to a worker at the hospital.”
Malzahn was asked Tuesday if any other Tiger players were involved in the incident. “I’m not going to get into any details,” the coach said according to al.com.
No charges have been filed in connection to the incident.
“We cannot file charges until the injured person(s) comes forward,” Auburn police chief Paul Register told the television station. “Unless an officer personally sees a fight, no arrests can be made.”
If Illinois is going to improve upon its solid 4-1 start to the 2015 season, it’ll have to do so without a significant cog in its offensive machinery.
On the official injury report release Thursday night, the Illini confirmed that Josh Ferguson has been ruled out of Saturday’s game against No. 22 Iowa. The decision is not exactly a surprise as Ferguson has been doubtful in the run-up to the road game against the Hawkeyes.
Ferguson sustained an injury to his right shoulder in the first quarter of last Saturday’s last-second win over Nebraska, and has been unable to practice at all this week.
Ferguson’s 381 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and 5.4 yards per carry are all tops on the team. He’s added 12 receptions for 28 yards and another touchdown coming out of the backfield.
With Ferguson sidelined, the bulk of the running-game load is expected to shift to Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Through five games, Vaughn is second on the Illini with 325 yards and a pair of touchdowns.