Bailey not shying away from competition

Published 08/07 2014 05:06PM

Updated 08/07 2014 10:47PM

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Aaron Bailey is preparing for the moment his number is called this season, and he is determined to do it as a quarterback.

"I know I'm a quarterback, and that's what I'm staying with," Bailey said.

Bailey is in a three-way battle for the starting job, and his versatility sets him apart from sophomore Wes Lunt and senior Reilly O'Toole.  Bailey can run just as easily as he can throw the deep ball.

"I just know that it's my God-given ability to be athletic and I take that as a compliment," said Bailey.  "You know I could be just some lousy player, but I take it as a compliment being athletic."

Bailey played in nine games last year as a true freshman - running for three touchdowns and passing for another.  The Bolingbrook-native said he learned a lot watching Nathan Scheelhaase, and he says a second year in offensive coordinator Bill Cubit's system has also helped.

"I know what to do now," said Bailey.  "I feel more comfortable with the playbook to just go out there and perform.  Last year I was thinking a lot, now I can just go out there and play my game."

Whether Bailey wins the starting job or not, he's adamant one thing won't change: his love for and commitment to the Illini.

"This is my school," Bailey said.  "Just because we have a quarterback competition that don't mean anything.  I don't have to run away from competition, that's the biggest thing.  Just come out here and continue to ball."

Time will tell if that's as a quarterback or in some other role.

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