(CBS) Former Bears and Bucs coach Lovie Smith is no stranger to quarterback controversy. During his nine years in Chicago, the Bears started 11 different quarterbacks. And in the latter of his two years in Tampa Bay, Smith demoted Mike Glennon and gave the full-time starting job to then-rookie Jameis Winston, who was drafted No. 1 overall.
It’s with that perspective that Smith — now leading the Illinois football program — weighed in on Glennon’s current situation in Chicago, where he’s been tabbed the starter for 2017 but sees rookie Mitchell Trubisky waiting in the wings after he was drafted second overall.
“Mike will handle it well,” Smith said in an interview on 670 The Score. “Mike’s a pro. It’s a little bit of a different situation when we were down in Tampa. In Tampa, I was starting Jameis Winston right away, let it be known he was our guy right away. Mike was going to be in a backup role there. I don’t pay attention that much, but I keep up a little bit. I think it’s the other way around (now). Mike’s the quarterback there. It will work itself out. The cream of the crop will always come to the top, and it will all work itself out. I know they have a great coach in John Fox. Those guys will figure it all out.
“If you just talk to Mike a little bit, you’ll be able to see early on, extremely bright, knows the game. From being in a backup role, he’s seen it. He’s been the guy to go on the field right away, he’s been able to look at it from afar. So I think he’s just going to bring a lot to the table. All of his teammates are going to love him, believe in him, trust his leadership.”
Smith believes the quarterback situation for the Bears will be “all good” this season.
“When you have two good quarterbacks, you have two good quarterbacks,” Smith said.
Listen to Smith’s full interview below. He also discusses expectations for his Illinois squad this coming season.