“It’s really gratifying to know that I’m the man now to lead this team”


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — There wasn’t a big meeting to decide who would be the starting quarterback for the season opener. Illinois offensive coordinator Rod Smith ran into head coach Lovie Smith in the hallway recently when the conversation turned to the ongoing competition at training camp.

“Myself and Coach (Lovie) Smith kind of ran into each other in the hall and Lovie’s like, ‘What do you think?'” Rod Smith said. “And I said, ‘What do you think coach?’ He said, ‘I think I know’ and I said, ‘I think I know too.'”

The second year Illini OC says it was ‘pretty obvious the last week and a half’ that Brandon Peters would be named the starter. Lovie Smith made that announced on Tuesday afternoon. The Michigan grad transfer spoke to the media for the first time since getting the nod on Wednesday evening at Memorial Stadium.

“It’s really gratifying to know that I’m the man now to lead this team, and do everything I can to win games,” Peters said. “A lot of my teammates believe in me too, so that really helps, just being the new guy, they’ve really got behind my back and really showed a lot of support through it all too.”

“He’s hitting all the right figures, all the right categories you need to hit right now as a quarterback,” Rod Smith said about his evaluation of Peters. “Just felt like he’s the best one so far right now, and has separated himself, and he’s our guy.”

Peters beat out redshirt freshmen Matthew Robinson and Coran Taylor, along with true freshman Isaiah Williams for the top spot. Rod Smith did not rule out seeing the highly touted Williams on the field at some point this season.

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