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Lovie Smith goes full Beckman, calls Northwestern "the school up north"

Rule No. 1 to coaching, especially at the University of Illinois: Never go full Beckman.

New Illinois head football coach Lovie Smith — wow, that still feels so weird to say — held a press conference Tuesday to introduce his new coaching staff, and...


Illinois hired Smith, the former head coach of the Chicago Bears, to further distance itself from the Tim Beckman era, which could accurately and succinctly be described as a dumpster fire. The last thing Lovie would want to do at one of his introductory pressers would be to emulate Beckman.

And, well, he already failed.

Beckman infamously tried to create a heated rivalry with Northwestern as well. Beckman called Northwestern "the team up state," and insulted injured players by associating them with Northwestern. From Illinois' report:

"To promote team unity and further motivate players, Coach Beckman promoted the football team's rivalry with the Northwestern University football team in a variety of symbolic ways pictured below.


"Coach Beckman prominently displayed the above countdown clock, which tracked the time remaining before the annual game against Northwestern."

no ncat

"The above sign depicting a Northwestern logo in a circle with a line through it was hung in multiple prominent locations, including the athletic training room. Players who lost competitive drills during winter training sessions were called "cats" and required to wear purple jerseys for the remainder of the practice sessions. Players too injured to participate at all in football practice were also required to wear purple jerseys while engaged in rehabilitation/conditioning workouts. Coach Beckman explained that the purpose of the purple jerseys was to motivate players to work hard to return to the pride of wearing Illinois' orange or white colors during practice. Coach Beckman explained that he patterned this after other football programs."

Good to see Lovie's return to college is off to a great start!