"You always have pressure to win," Beckman said. "I think we've made tremendous strides in what we call the image of the football team. I think we've played much harder. We were more of a disciplined football team last year, but we all know that the game comes down to wins and losses."
Beckman has seen just six wins in his two seasons so far. The Illini are hoping year three is a big jump, and they have the pieces to do it with many starters returning. They have 40 of 50 players from their two-deep on offense, defense and special teams returning from a season ago.
"It starts with belief," said Beckman. "I think as we stepped on the football field last year, that would've been a little bit of a question that we had. As the game progressed, the belief got 'Hey yeah we can do this."
And the players say they're buying in with a belief that is strong from the outset.
"It really starts with the trust," said tight end Jon Davis. "Go out there, we know he's gonna put us in the right positions to make the plays that we need to. And each day we just put that trust into him."
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