Illini QB battle will be "great competition"

Published 07/28 2014 04:23PM

Updated 07/28 2014 10:41PM

CHICAGO - Tim Beckman wasn't ready to name a starting quarterback as he took the podium at Big Ten Media Day in Chicago Monday, and according to the head coach, it could be as many as four more weeks before Illini fans find out who will start the season opener August 30 against Youngstown State.  Beckman told reporters he anticipates picking a starting quarterback by the end of two-a-days.

"It's going to be a great competition," Beckman said.  "We look forward to it, and I know they look forward to it."

Redshirt sophomore Wes Lunt - a Rochester native and transfer from Oklahoma State - is viewed by most to be the frontrunner heading into fall camp.  Senior Reilly O'Toole and sophomore Aaron Bailey will be given a chance to win the job as well.  The Illinois media guide released Monday gave no indication as to which quarterback is leading the two-deep, listing "Reilly O'Toole OR Wes Lunt OR Aaron Bailey" at the top.

"All three of them are very, very close friends," Beckman said.  "So there's not the rivalry, that type of thing going on. They all want each other to be successful, because they realize if -- whoever it might be that will be, that person will make our team better, and how important that is in the game of football. This is, you're talking about 105 of your family members being a part of that."

There has been some talk that Bailey could switch positions if he fails to win the starting quarterback job.  Bailey and his father have both made it clear in the past that he has no interest in switching positions, a sentiment Beckman echoed Monday.

"Aaron Bailey is a quarterback," said Beckman.  "That's what Aaron Bailey was recruited for. That's what Aaron Bailey wants to do. He wants to line up at quarterback and lead the Fighting Illini."

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