Day Two: Team Orange Tidbits

Quick hitting news and notes from Illinois' Team Orange afternoon practice on Day Two of fall camp.

CHAMPAIGN - After the weather was mild and laid back Tuesday for the morning session, the orange team got the luxury of practicing under the sun in 82 degrees heat (my weather app said it felt like 86) in the afternoon. Here are a few notes from the open period…

Here's your first team offense…

QB: Nathan Scheelhaase
RB: Donovonn Young
TE: Evan Wilson
TE/H: Jon Davis
WR: Ryan Lankford, Martize Barr, Spencer Harris
OL: Michael Heitz, Simon Cvijanovic, Alex Hill, Ted Karras, Corey Lewis

And your first team defense…

DL: Austin Teitsma, Abe Cajuste, Tim Kynard, Houston Bates (Leo)
LB: Jonathan Brown, Mason Monheim
CB: Eaton Spence, V'Angelo Bentley
Star: Eric Finney
S: Earnest Thomas, Taylor Barton

- Really, I don't see any surprises among either team at this point. This is kind of what we were expecting heading into camp and so far the two units have remained intact.

- Cajuste is a guy that can play any and all of the DL spots, with Jake Howe the one missing from the top 11 during the time I watched. I'll credit Barton – he's still in there holding on to his spot. I‘ve said for some time that Zane Petty will probably take that position, so we'll see how it plays out.

- Jon Davis has been in a green, no-contact jersey the past two days. He's been involved in all the drills, so he's clearly not seriously injured. I'll see what I can find out.

- I'm not going to hype Aaron Bailey every single chance I get. But… it's not a matter of if he'll play. It's when and how much. I'm not saying the kid is already in the mix to start. But his talent is so obvious out there.

- I say this with extreme respect – but Corey Lewis doesn't look comfortable to me. After all he's been through, I know his gate and motions aren't always going to be fluid. But I saw him quite a few times stretching his left knee out today and laboring around out there. I'm not sure how serious it is, but given his history I can't help but feel worry for the guy when I see him exhibiting pain or caution.

- A few guys on defense that really stand out are Brown, Monheim and Bates. You guys know what Brown can do when healthy. You saw it his sophomore year. Monheim, like Mike Svetina, has taken his body to another level. And Bates is another guy that looks physically impressive and is moving with a lot of confidence. I think he was made to play that Leo position. I think Earnest Thomas is another player that I think is on track to have a good year, too.

- I watched Eric Finney as much as I could. The JUCO transfer has big shoes to fill at the Star position, taking over for Ashante Williams. To me, he looks shorter than the listed 6-foot-1, but he's definitely 205 pounds. His upper body is in a good place. He has the build I think a Star/hybrid needs. He moves really well too and didn't have any issues in the 11-on-11 simulation I got to see. He's also going to be a gunner on special teams, so you'll probably hear his name often this fall.

Whoa! Aaron Bailey takes a spill...

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