Wednesday Morning Practice Notes...

Quick hitting news and notes from Illinois' Wednesday morning practice session.

RANTOUL, Ill. - Nathan Scheelhaase met his father in the end zone as players exited the practice field Wednesday. The two were discussing Scheelhaase's ankle after the starting quarterback was rolled up on after throwing a pass in 11-on-11s near the end of the morning workout.

The senior had trouble getting up and walked with a noticeable hitch in his step for the rest of practice.

"You need to get out of there, son," Scheelhaase's father yelled from the sideline, able to watch because practices at Camp Rantoul are open to everyone.

At first he refused to leave his No. 1 unit, but after struggling with his drop on a play-action pass, backup Reilly O'Toole took over for the final two series of the day.

Coach Tim Beckman confirmed it was Scheelhaase's ankle that was giving him trouble, but didn't seem too concerned about the injury. The Illini practice again Wednesday afternoon, so it's something to keep an eye on.

- Jonathan Brown (concussion) is progressing, according to Beckman, and is on track to return to full contact drills by Friday. The senior linebacker ran laps around an adjacent field and will go through more cardio in the evening.

Zeph Grimes continued repping with the starting defense in Brown's place.

- Matt LaCosse (concussion) returned to action after missing the last few days. He was in a no-contact jersey, but he appears healthy and should be full go soon. The more I see LaCosse, the more I like. He has the prototypical body-size of an NFL tight end in the making and the athleticism to provide both a blocking and catching element.

- Another player that's starting to grow on me is safety Taylor Barton. He picked off a Reilly O'Toole pass early in the practice, a highlight for sure. But the thing that sticks out to me is how consistent he is. Seems to always be in the right place and is doing the right things. He may not necessarily jump off the page, but he's had a steady training camp so far. The current two-deep at safety appears to be Barton and Earnest Thomas, with Caleb Day and Zane Petty as the backups. I saw Jevaris Little get some looks there, too.

- As far as corners go, Eaton Spence had a nice day. He has good to great ball skills, something I've known for a while now. But I watched him have no touble in one-on-one tackling drills against wide receivers catching passes near the line-of-scrimmage. V'Angelo Bentley did not have his best day in these drills, missing two tackles in pretty bad fashion.

- The more I see Wes Lunt, the more I realize how good he is. He just has the look of a player that could make it at the next level.

I'll have more from the second practice evening… If there's anything else you'd like to know, feel free to ask me on the premium message board…


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