Illinois is off to a rough start. A team lauded as the most talented and experienced of the Lovie Smith era is 0-3 to open the 2020 campaign.

The season started with a 45-7 loss to Wisconsin, followed by touchdown loss to Purdue. Last Saturday, the Fighting Illini were blown out again 41-14 by Minnesota to fall to 0-3 on the year.

It’s not exactly the way many envisioned this season starting for Illinois.

Now, Illinois will play a 1-2 Rutgers team this week. It’s arguably the most winnable game on the schedule for Smith’s bunch, but the Scarlet Knights appear to be a much better football team than in the past four seasons.

On Monday, Smith met with the media for his weekly press conference. He discussed the disappointing start to the season, the recent departure of running back Ra’Von Bonner, who entered the NCAA transfer portal, and what to expect from the week ahead.

Here’s what Smith said during his Monday press conference as the Fighting Illini prepare for Rutgers: