- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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Illinois senior defensive back Supo Sanni said Tuesday the Illini deserve to be criticized for their play this season, but their fans need to be patient with first-year coach Tim Beckman.
Illinois fans have been critical of Beckman this season as the Illini have gone 2-9 overall and 0-7 in the Big Ten. The Illini are currently on an eight-game losing streak and have been outscored 283-104 during that span. They play their final game of the season against rival Northwestern on Saturday.
“They have a reason to be critical,” said Sanni, who has played 42 games in his career. “We don’t want to be that team in the bottom of the Big Ten.
“I have full confidence in Coach Beckman and what he’s doing. I know he’s going to work hard and get where we want to be. Just give our new coach a chance. It’s a new day and be patient. I think this program is going to turn around. We’re going to do the necessary things to get back to where we want to be. Illini Nation will be back on top.”
Beckman was hired last year after Illinois fired Ron Zook, who at Illinois went 34-51 overall and 18-38 in conference with three bowl appearances in seven seasons. Beckman previously spent three seasons at Toledo, where he was 21-16 overall and 17-7 in the MAC and went to two bowl games in three seasons.
Illinois last won a Big Ten championship in 2001 and has just once won bowl games in consecutive seasons (2010, 2011).