(CBS) With starting quarterback Wes Lunt out four to six weeks with a leg fracture, the Illinois football team may turn to sophomore quarterback Aaron Bailey, who the coaching staff had originally intended to redshirt this season.
Bailey will compete with senior quarterback Reilly O’Toole this week for the starting spot ahead of Saturday’s game at Wisconsin, the Chicago Tribune reported.
While Bailey will have every chance to win the starting job, a redshirt is still a possibility if he doesn’t win it, coach Tim Beckman said.
“Aaron’s going to know that maybe the opportunity we had of redshirting him, that’s not going to occur now because he has to help us win football games,” Beckman said, according to the Tribune. “That’s all Aaron Bailey wants to do.”
Bailey was a much-heralded recruit out of Bolingbrook in the 2013 class, but he’s raw as a passer. He saw spot duty as a freshman, mostly out of special packages in which he was intended to run the ball. Bailey completed was 2-of-5 for four yards and a touchdown in 2013 while adding 83 yards and three scores on 20 carries.
The Illini staff has been open to the idea of getting Bailey playing time at other positions, but he’s wanted to play quarterback.
O’Toole started for Illinois in a loss at Nebraska on Sept. 27 when Lunt was sidelined with a knee injury. He struggled mightily, going 17-of-38 for 261 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.