By Claiming He Was Misquoted, Illini’s Beckman Misfires

BeckmanMy April 3 column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) For Tim Beckman, even when he’s right, it still somehow ends up being wrong.

On Monday morning after spring football practice in Champaign, the University of Illinois’ third-year football coach turned a molehill into something of a mountain when he spoke out against a recent Sports Illustrated story about the Illini.

In the article, which was posted online on March 25, Beckman was quoted in the final sentence as saying, “I want this program to get better. That’s the bottom line. And that means five or six wins.”

Personally, I didn’t have any big problems with that line or the SI article, which I found to be balanced and honest. After going just 6-18 during Beckman’s first two seasons, the program does need to get better. That’s the bottom line. And after last year’s 4-8 campaign, that would mean five or six wins, although I do think that Beckman needs six – qualifying the Illini for a bowl game – in order to survive to coach a fourth season.

In the week after the SI story went live, I didn’t see any backlash on social media about Beckman’s quote and didn’t think much of it myself. But Beckman felt a need to lash back on Monday. According to the Champaign News-Gazette, before the media could even ask a question following the end of Illinois’ practice, the coach pointed to his right wrist.

On it, Beckman apparently is now wearing a bracelet bearing the numbers “12-6-14,” which is the date of the 2014 Big Ten Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Showing off his swag, Beckman told the assembled media that he was misquoted in the SI article, written by Chris Johnson.

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