Expectations surrounding Lovie Smith’s Illinois team were starting to heighten as Smith’s staff has brought in a bevy of talent.

But any glimmer of hope for the Illini to make any improvement took a significant hit in Week 1 as Illinois was pummeled by Wisconsin.

The loss left many Illini fans frustrated with Smith, who has led this program since 2016.

Now, the Wisconsin loss is behind Illinois. But the schedule doesn’t ease up as the Illini host Purdue, a team that is riding high off a win against Iowa. Here is what Smith had to say at his regularly scheduled Monday press conference.

It’s clear from these quotes that Smith saw his team as a group ready to go out and compete against its Big Ten opponents. That was quickly proven false by the lackluster performance from the Illini. For Smith’s sake, hopefully his team is as anxious to get back on the field and improve. Otherwise, it could be another long season in Champagne.