Scheelhaase firmly holds reigns in his final season

CHICAGO — There is no quarterback controversy in Champaign. Tim Beckman made that clear at Big Ten Football Media Days on Wednesday in Chicago.


We recap the Big Ten Media Days from Chicago.

With the phenomenally low numbers quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase put up last season (1361 passing yards, four touchdowns and eight interceptions in 10 games), it has been speculated that backup Reilly O’Toole or even incoming freshman Aaron Bailey might have a chance to knock Scheelhaase from the starting spot.

“Nathan Scheelhaase is our starting quarterback,” Beckman said, a statement he repeated numerous times during the 2012 season. Beckman reiterated that health was an issue for Scheelhaase, who injured his ankle in the season opener last year and missed the following two games.

“People forget sometimes that Nate led us to back-to-back bowl games,” said offensive lineman Corey Lewis, who is entering his sixth year at Illinois and has watched the fifth-year quarterback progress through his entire career.

The bowl streak ended with last year’s 2-10 campaign. But a new system under first-year offensive coordinator Bill Cubit might be what is needed to spark an offense that was sluggish in 2012.

Lewis said a look at Cubit’s resume is all it takes to see what he brings to the table.

“Coach Cubit brings a lot of class,” Lewis said. “And he brings a high-powered offense.”

The pace will be one difference — Lewis said the 80 snaps he played in the Orange and Blue Spring Game went by in the blink of an eye — and the play calling will be another. In the spring game, both Illini squads threw a combined 85 passes.

Cubit’s offense has many questions surrounding it, but who it is that will throwing those passes is not one of them.

Sean can be reached at and @sean_hammond.