(WCIA) — Before the Illini turn the page on the Lovie Smith era, the team still has one more game left to play. The Illini will face Penn state on Saturday, with offensive coordinator Rod Smith stepping in as the head coach. Defensive Ends coach Billy Lindsey will switch roles as well, calling the defense in place of Lovie.
Lindsey was a new hire to Lovie Smith’s staff, joining the team in January 2020. Lindsey says this is the first time he’s stepped into a defensive coordinator role, and has embraced the challenge of the extra responsibilities this week. Lindsey says this game is all about gutting out another win for the team.
“Just make it fun for the kids because that’s what we coach for,” says Lindsey. “Put them in the best possible positions to be successful and execute at a high level. Get them to play with great effort and be great teammates and trust the guy next to them, and that’s all we can do as a coaching staff. Our defensive group of guys have done a great job of that this week.”
Illinois will kickoff against Penn State at 4:30 CT on FS1.