As I've been saying for weeks now I believe that when the season finally starts against Southern Illinois on August 31 that Nathan Scheelhaase will be your starting quarterback, but that he won't be the only quarterback who sees the field during a game. Though that was all dependent on whether or not Aaron Bailey was going to take a redshirt season this year.
Well, while there's no definitive answer to who the starter will be and whether or not Bailey will play, the coaching staff did show its hand a bit during media day on Monday.
First there was Tim Beckman saying that at the moment Scheelhaase is your starting quarterback.
"They're comparable, meaning that right now (they're comparable) if you took the stats and those types of things," Beckman said. "They're not comparable in the things that they do and do well. Reilly's arm is a little bit stronger than Nathan's. But Nathan, the way that he carries the football and runs the football, he does those a little bit better than Reilly
"They both have intangibles that are very comparable to making the offense successful. And when Reilly's in, of course we're throwing the ball a little bit more. When Nathan's in - his arm has gotten stronger - but he enables us to do more things with sprint-outs, play-actions and those types of things that can enable him to be better."
Which isn't exactly a surprise to anybody, though it should be pointed out that Beckman went on to make sure every one realized the competition wasn't over, as he talked about both Reilly O'Toole and Aaron Bailey. However, you'll notice how Beckman compares Scheelhaase and O'Toole without mentioning Bailey, and that could be because Bailey still has a lot of work to do to become a serious contender for the job. Which makes sense seeing as how he just got on campus a few weeks ago.
But there was something else from the Chicago Sun-Times that caught my eye when it comes to Bailey. Just because he probably won't be starting doesn't mean he's not going to see the field.
As I've hinted could happen, it appears Bill Cubit has a plan for the incoming freshman.
Quarterback: This is the position all Illini fans are talking about, with good reason. Beckman has repeatedly called it a three-way race between incumbent starter Nate Scheelhaase, junior Reilly O'Toole and true freshman Aaron Bailey.
First-year offensive coordinator Bill Cubit stopped himself from completely tipping the coaches' hand Sunday.
"Nate's probably the guy," he said. "But Reilly's pushing hard."
Bailey might have to give a mind-blowing performance to remain in the hunt to start the season opener, though Cubit has devised a package specifically for the mobile freshman and expects to implement it in games.
Again, Cubit starts by mentioning only Scheelhaase and O'Toole, but then you'll notice that part at the end I highlighted.
Cubit has devised a package specifically for Bailey and plans to use it in games.
Which, to me, makes it sound as if Bailey will not be redshirting this season. You don't go designing a whole package of plays for a guy you don't have any plans on having available.
So while he won't win the starting job -- or he probably won't anyway -- we should probably expect to see Bailey on the field in some fashion this fall.