Illini players back Bret Bielema after roster evaluation comments: “We all have Coach B’s back and we all know that he has our back”


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois senior captain Doug Kramer Jr. saw the comments his head coach made about the future of the program and the roster reconstruction at hand on Monday. So did sophomore running back Chase Brown, who talked with Bielema about his press conference before Tuesday practice. Both guys say they don’t understand why it was blown out of proportion.

“I think it’s very easy to take things kind of at face value and out of context without truly understanding the full situation and question that was asked,” Kramer said. “When he’s talking about certain things about the future and about recruiting, you have to understand that it’s about the future and about recruiting, not about disbelief in the current guys in the building. When I read it, I kind of thought, ‘I don’t know why this is receiving so much heat?’ and I didn’t take it personally. That’s really all it was, just a little bit of noise on a Monday.”

“You know sometimes things might sound worse than it actually is, you know what I mean?” Brown said. “I know some guys talked to him but we didn’t take it the wrong way, we know what he’s talking about and he’s being realistic.

“We didn’t take it in a way that he was already trying to look ahead and looking to transition but something that you have to consider is we have an older O-line group and a lot of them will be transitioning out of here whether it’s NFL or whatever they decide to do, so I know that’s been on coach’s mind,” Brown said. “From what I saw, it was a snippet, something that was pulled out of context.”

“Coach B has always been honest with me,” Kramer added. “His leadership is second to none and I stand behind him no matter what and I see everything on Twitter going off but really what matters to me and what matters to this team is what the individuals inside that building feel and we all have Coach B’s back and we all know that he has our back.”

Illinois visits No. 7 Penn State Saturday morning at 11 a.m. in a nationally televised game on ABC. The Illini (2-5, 1-3) are 23.5-point underdogs.

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