Josh Whitman: "Really excited to be headed out west." Good for Illinois to be a conversation again on the great day for college football.
Josh Whitman: "We have not been in a bowl game for too long." Great to have a team back. This team went through a lot of adversity.
Josh Whitman: "Being happy does not mean being satisfied. We have bigger goals."
Calls Wisconsin and MSU "transcendent wins" for the program. Said the win at Purdue was one of his favorite wins.
Josh Whitman: We left some wins out there on the field ... but that may have changed the universie.
Josh Whitman: "We needed to get in the postseason. We knew that for a long time." Goal in a few years won't be to win 6 games. We want to win division, win Big Ten, play in NY6 games
But in order to do that, you have to follow a progression.
Josh Whitman: Lovie and I talk regularly. Always talk 2, 3, 4 times a week. We'll have a formal sit down at some point. New recruiting calendar makes that challenging. We'll reflect after that. But we're always sharing ideas both directions. Not a lot unsaid at end of yr
Josh Whitman: Bowl "is a great opportunity for us to say thanks" to donors, fans who believed. A lot of people stepped forward and showed tremendous amounts of faith without evidence.
Illini AD Josh Whitman: "I knew when we were sitting together at 2-4, I told you we had a group of people over there that were doing everything possible to turn it. ... It wasn't hard for me to have faith that the program was changing." Doesn't make it easier to watch struggles
Lovie Smith: Last night, we had a lot of our top recruits on campus. How we finished was watching the Big Ten championship game. We saw a team we beat out here play our champion in a tough game.
Lovie: The goal is to become Big Ten champs someday. Our program will eventually get there. In the meantime, we're going to keep building. It's a process we're going through right now. Part of the process was a bowl season. Won't apologize for six wins. We're excited.
Lovie: We get a chance to practice more. We're focused on recruiting and academics. We'll start prepping for Cal this week but hitting the road recruiting. About to get on a plane. The response we've gotten has changed.
Lovie: Don't know an awful lot about Cal yet. But they're a bowl team from a tough conference. That'll be a good challenge for us.
Lovie: No injury updates right now.
Lovie: The anticipation of the bowl reveal was there. Word started getting out. We still had a lot of excitement. It's something we'll remember.
Lovie: Last bowl game (with Ohio State in 1995) was against Tennessee and Peyton Manning.
Lovie: We just kept fighting. Every time we lose, I really take it hard. When you win, you enjoy those moments. During that time we weren't playing good football, you focus on what you have to do to get it right.
Lovie: Recruiting nonstop. had an excellent week last week. Lot of great prospects on campus this past weekend who are buying in to what we're telling them.
Lovie: The best football team I think we'll have in a long time is this one we have coming next season. But there's a big difference for us between 6-7 and 7-6.
Lovie: Bob Ligashesky is just a great coach, great man, know what you're going to get every day.
Lovie: We want to be a bowl team every year and have our program to where it's more than (just making a bowl). But in 2019, that's exactly where we want to be."
Lovie: I was involved a lot more as DC. Don't plan on making any changes as all.