Illinois assistant football coaches Tim Salem, Greg Colby fired

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The Illinois sideline reacts to David Reisner’s game-winning field goal against Penn State in 2014.

Illinois assistant football coaches Tim Salem and Greg Colby were fired on Thursday, apparently the only changes there will be to Tim Beckman’s staff following Beckman’s third season as Illini coach.

Salem was with Beckman in 2012 and 2013, coaching running backs and special teams. He was special teams coordinator in 2014, when Illinois’ placekicking situation was a major team weakness. Combined, Taylor Zalewski and David Reisner made only nine of 17 field-goal attempts, and each missed a pair of extra-point attempts.

Colby, an Illinois alum who played football and baseball at the school, was Beckman’s defensive line coach the last two seasons. He served in the same role under former Illini coaches John Mackovic and Lou Tepper. Illinois ranked last in the Big Ten against the run in both 2013 and 2014.

“This is the toughest thing you have to do as a head coach,” Beckman said in an official statement. “Both Tim and Greg are very good coaches, but I felt we needed to make these changes to help our football program move forward. I want to thank Tim and Greg, along with their outstanding families, for all they did during their time as part of the Fighting Illini football family. I wish both of them the best of luck in their next career step. We’ll move forward with replacing them on the staff as soon as possible.”

Email: sgreenberg@suntimes.com

Twitter: @slgreenberg

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