Friday marks the start of the 2020 Big Ten football season, with Illinois’ 7 p.m. kickoff at No. 14 Wisconsin the opener for the entire conference. Game week, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, still meant a Lovie Smith press conference (plus offensive coordinator Rod Smith, quarterback Brandon Peters and linebacker Jake Hansen) on Monday afternoon. Just on Zoom. Here’s some of what the Illini coach and his players had to say:
Level of play
The Illini have been watching as college football teams in other parts of the country played starting in late August. Hansen noted that play has been “sloppy” at times in the games he’s watched. Lovie Smith is expecting better from the Big Ten.
“I do not expect to see a bad brand of football,” Smith said. “I think we’re going to see exciting football from the start. It will get better each week like it…