Terry Boers: Here we are with Ron Turner, head coach of the Fighting Illini. Ron how are you?
Ron Turner: I'm good. How are you guys doing?
Boers: Boy, you're good every week, and I don't know how you stay good.
Turner: Well, you have to. It's a new week. We got a great group of kids that is doing every thing we ask. We obviously need to get better. We have to find a way to win games. We have to make the plays when we need to to give us a chance to win the games. You know, again, we have kids doing what they have to do. If they do that then you just have to keep hoping to get better.
Dan Bernstein: And I know we've reached the portion of the season where we begin wondering who you are going to play at quarterback. Is there any wondering to be done?
Turner: No, Jon Beutjer is going to play. Jone Beutjer is going to start and play. Jon's doing some good things. Jon had some throws that he needed to make last week that he knows he needed to make. But he's doing some good things. I went back and looked at a lot of game tape, and we believe Jon gives us the best chance to beat Michigan State. So, Jon's going to start.
Boers: Well, that seems to be a change of mind. Did it take you to go back and look at it again because you seemed to be wavering early on here, Sunday and Monday, about whart you were going to do. So it took you to go back and look at it again.
Turner: Yeah, it did. Right after the game, you know, obviously I was upset with some of the plays that Jon didn't make. That's why we took him out and put the other guys in. Chris went in and did a nice job, so it made us think about it and look at it and say 'Hey, will Chris give us a better chance to win?' I went back and looked at some more game tape, looked at both guys. Thought about what we were going to do. Talked to the staff, and then basically, Monday morning made a decision and announced it at my press conference. Jon was going to start and we believe he gives us the best chance to win. He knows that he's got to make some of those throws in critical times.
Boers: Is there a reason he is not? I mean what is going on? He is certainly a guy that you wanted back. You kind of had the feeling Ron that he gives you a chance to win some of these games with a veteran player like that. Why is he not?
Turner: You know, I don't know. I think in this last game, I went back and looked at it. I looked at his technique. I looked at him throwing the ball. Looked at some film from early, and early he was much more aggressive. He was setting his feet. He was following through. In the game Saturday, he was falling away. He was not following through. A couple of the throws he was just by a little but and that is the reason. Umm, you know he is just out of synch a little bit. He's got to get back to just driving the ball and throwing it with some confidence. Not trying to be too careful. Just get back and throw the football the way he is capabale of doing, and he'll make those plays. He makes them most of the time.
Turner: He's got to make them when we need them.
Bernstein: Pierre Thomas and EB Halsey have been splitting time at running back. Pierre Thomas appears to have, frankly a little more ability. Are you going to use him more?
Turner: Yeah, we definitely want to get the ball in his hands. He carried it against Purdue 8 times and was very effective. We went into the Wisconsin game saying we wanted to get him the ball more than what we did, and it just did not work out that way with the way the game went. But we definitely have to keep Pierre involved, and get the ball in his hands. We like to get it in his somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 times. EB is also a weapon and doing some things, and we want to get it in his hands about that same amount. Either catching the ball or running it. We've got to keep both of those guys involved.
Boers: Is it safe to say this Michigan State game obviously at this point Ron does not seem to be the caliber of the last couple of Michigan State teams with Jeff Smoker at quarterback.
Turner: Well, early I would say that was true, but the last week I would say they really found themselves offensively. They found a quarterback in Drew Stanton. More importantly, I think they found what they want to do. They settled on what they want to do with him and that is keep the ball in his hands. He is their leading rusher right now. They run the option with him. They run quarterback draws. They run the quarterback follow out of the shotgun. They give him the opportunity to make plays running the ball, and he is very effective. He is about 6-2 225, and is a real strong runner. SO he presents some problems with his feet.
Boers: All I thank god for is that he is not Kyle Orton.
Turner: Well, I would agree to that.
Turner: Well, he's pretty good, but right now I don't know if there is another Kyle Orton out there.
Boers: He did it to Notre Dame, too. So, I wouldn't feel too bad.
Turner: Yeah he did, he did really well.
Bernstein: That game Saturday 11:00 AM at Michigan State. You'll hear it here on WSCR. Ron Turner thanks as always for joining us.