Bailey 'Jumped Right In' on First Day

Freshman quarterback Aaron Bailey made quite an impression during his first practice at Illinois.

CHAMPAIGN - Newcomer Aaron Bailey made it evident early on during his first practice Monday as a member of the Fighting Illini football team -- he's not a run-first quarterback.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound freshman showed off his strong arm during the morning session as Illinois kicked off the first day of fall camp.

"You've seen him on TV or you've seen him in high school where they were running the football a lot and that's what they do at Bolingbrook (High), but his arm is a lot stronger than I really thought it was," Illini coach Tim Beckman said.

Bailey got his first taste of a college football practice Monday. In turn, the workout provided the coaching staff with a first glimpse at the headliner of the 2013 recruiting class.

According to offensive coordinator Bill Cubit, Bailey passed the first test.

"He needs some work technique wise, but the good thing about it was, you don't want to say (he wasn't) intimidated, but he went out there and jumped right in," Cubit said. "Really impressed, but we've got to get him up to speed with what we're trying to do."

Senior quarterback and returning starter Nathan Scheelhaase appeared to be a prominent figure in aiding Bailey's progression. The three-year starter spent Bailey's reps as close to the action as possible, telling him what to do and answering questions.

Everybody, it seemed, wanted to see what Bailey could do. Cubit, meanwhile, is focused on honing Bailey's skills. The raw talent is there, but there's plenty to refine.

"We've got to get him a little more touch on certain throws, throw the ball a little bit quicker," Cubit said. "We've got to change a few things in his technique in our style, but he's going to be a good player."

Overall, the first day went about as well as it could have for a hyped-up freshman that's just getting started.

"Made some decent decisions, had a couple bad decisions," Beckman said. "... Hey, it was day one."


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