Beckman peeved by Ricker's exit

Published 07/23 2014 02:49PM

Updated 07/23 2014 06:36PM

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Tim Beckman had some strong words Wednesday when describing the process of hiring a new offensive line coach on short notice.  His former offensive line coach A.J. Ricker left for Missouri earlier this month, less than four weeks before the start of fall camp.  That forced Beckman to make a fast hire.  He brought in Tom Brattan, who wasn't retained at Maryland after 13 years on the Terps' staff.  Beckman says it was important to find a coach who was unemployed, rather than doing to another school what Missouri just did to him.

"I wasn't about to steal somebody from another program," Beckman said.  "I've been in this profession too long.  I'm not sure I want one that just is gonna jump out of the ship this late."

Ricker had been hand-picked for the job by offensive coordinator Bill Cubit, but he was approached about the Missouri job in July after longtime coach Bruce Walker retired.

"I honestly said to AJ, I said 'I wouldn't take it. I wouldn't do it,'" Beckman said.  "Because I thought AJ's a dang good football coach, and AJ is a heck of an offensive line coach - but timing was all of it with me.  But he took it.  It's his alma mater.  I totally understand."

In replacing Ricker, Beckman may have found a gem in Brattan.  He spent the last 13 years at Maryland, but he has strong ties to the midwest.  He previously coached at Northwestern and also recruited the state of Illinois for the Terrapins.  Brattan becomes Illinois' fifth offensive line coach in the last five years, and he says in some of his early meetings with his new players he is stressing loyalty.

"'I'm not leaving after a year. You're gonna have me here.'  That's the first thing I said to them," Brattan said.  "I'm not one to make promises or guarantees, but I think that's important.  So if I'm Nick Allegretti, and I've come here, I want to have the same face when it's all said and done.  I think that's important.  It's not about jumping from place to place.  As I said at the beginning, you come here, you establish yourself, you watch them grow.  That's what it's all about."

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