Beckman: Bentley has 'knack' for returns, needs to improve D

Beckman: Bentley has 'knack' for returns, needs to improve D
August 5, 2014, 3:30 pm
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Vinnie Duber

There are few Illini players with as much potential as V'Angelo Bentley.

Last season as a freshman, Bentley flashed the big-play ability that could make him a great playmaker for the orange and blue. He found the end zone twice as a return man and had one of the Illini's three interceptions.

He was a member of a defense that struggled, but he was just a freshman, part of a youthful secondary that figures to be better in 2014.

It's that return ability, in particular, that has folks real excited. That includes his head coach.

[MORE BIG TEN: Tim Beckman: Experience finally on the Illini's side]

"I've been very blessed being around some great returners now with (Ted) Ginn and Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon. (Bentley)'s got talent, there's no question about that," Tim Beckman said Monday. "He's got a knack for it. It is a knack thing to do, and he does a great job with it. I'm very excited for him and for that punt-return team. I think we've got a lot of great faces, a lot of familiar faces."

But while the return ability might be special, there's still plenty of room for improvement for Bentley at his true position, according to his coach.

"He's just got to continue to make plays on the ball. It was really his first year as a true starter last year. He's got to play the deep ball better, that was something that we told him he must get better at doing. And then I'd say also he's got to be a better tackler, especially in the open field. Those are the two things we've talked to him about," Beckman said. "We talked to every player about setting three goals up for them or expectations for two-a-days. And that's what they're supposed to meet."