Freshman offensive tackle Ryan Nowicki was the hot topic of conversation for Illinois head coach Tim Beckman on Monday. Nowicki hasn't played a snap for the Illini yet, but his transfer from Penn State was a major talking point for the media ahead of Saturday's matchup with the Nittany Lions. When asked about his feelings on the transfer, Beckman had the following to say (via CSNChicago):
We were contacted by a young man prior to anything happening and we pursued him. This game was developed for opportunity…I regret that this ended up being this much and is still talked about, but it did give a young man an opportunity to make a decision on what he wanted to do.
Beckman was also asked about whether or not he was using the situation for bulletin board material, and responded with the following:
This is our first opportunity to play in the Big 10. Our ultimate goal is play in the Big 10 Championship. I’m not big into bulletin board stuff, never have been, it’s about preparing the players and getting them excited to play.
Nowicki will likely spend plenty of time on camera regardless of whether or not he plays against the Nittany Lions. The Illini will host Saturday's game, so he'll at least avoid the wrath of PSU fans. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 11 a.m. CT. Both teams are 2-2 on the season, and it will be shown on ESPN, ESPN3D, and Watch ESPN.
For more on Illini football, visit Illinois blog Hail To The Orange, plus Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire and SB Nation Chicago. For more on Nittany Lions football, visit Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries.