CHAMPAIGN — Like all backup quarterbacks, Reilly O'Toole approaches each week of practice as if there's a legitimate chance he might get the nod. For the first time in the sophomore's collegiate career, there's a significant injury to starter Nathan Scheelhaase and O'Toole says he's ready to step in.
"Not much has changed," O'Toole said. "Even before Nate (got hurt) I was getting a lot of reps, just now it's with the ones. Miles (Osei) and I are splitting ones and twos."
Scheelhaase, who injured his left ankle during the third quarter of Saturday's 24-7 win against Western Michigan, was fully dressed for Tuesday's practice, wearing the purple jersey designated for injured players. For the most part, he did not participate in drills during the open portion of practice, and when he did, he moved gingerly.
O'Toole and Osei, the third-string quarterback, split reps with the starters Tuesday.
"I feel good about Reilly, and I feel good about Miles. Those guys had a good day today, and they'll get better throughout the week, and we'll see where they're at," co-offensive coordinator Chris Beatty said.
The coaching staff has maintained it needs to see Scheelhaase participate in a good portion of practice for him to play Saturday at Arizona State. Today's workout will go a long way in determining if he can play this week.
"We need to see him practice a little bit, see him run, be able to protect himself. It's a long season. It's a marathon, not a sprint," Beatty said of Scheelhaase, who wore a protective walking boot after Tuesday's practice. "You want to make sure he's in the best position to be there for the next 11, 12 weeks and not just one week. We want to make sure he's close to 100 percent; if not, we feel good about the other guys, and they'll lead us to where we've got to go.
"We're prepared for him not to play, and if he can, we'll adjust. We'll see where we're at at the end of the week."