CHAMPAIGN — Hopefully, the third time is the charm.
University of Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Tim Beckman began his third year on Saturday with the annual Spring game at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, and there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered leading up to the start of the 2014 season.
Leading up to the spring game, the team held a draft to divide the teams. Quarterback Wes Lunt was the first player selected by a group of seniors on the Blue team that included fellow signal caller Reilly O’Toole. Running back Josh Ferguson was the first player taken by the Orange squad.
The Blue team won handily, defeating the Orange team 38-7, as O’Toole fired a couple of first quarter touchdown passes, one to Kevin Carroll for 10 yards and another to Justin Hardee for 25 yards.
Perhaps the most talked about topic throughout the spring practice sessions was the quarterback battle between Lunt, O’Toole and Aaron Bailey. While Beckman is reluctant to name a starter for the season just yet, it appears that the job is Lunt’s to lose. However, according to Beckman, all three have played well during the spring season.
“I thought Reilly started out good throwing the football, and Aaron did a good job of running the football early, and it definitely shows what he’s capable of doing”, Beckman said after the game. “(Lunt) probably didn’t have as good of a game as I’ve seen Wes play before, mainly because he didn’t get into the game early on. He (Lunt) played the second and fourth quarters, and I didn’t factor in the decision of that move, because I probably would have rotated him and Reilly every other series”.
Offensively, Ferguson led the Orange team in rushing with 61 yards on 11 carries, while Bailey, who does his best work from an option standpoint, carried the ball 14 times for 16 yards, including a 2 yard touchdown run in the second quarter.