If you haven’t yet gotten some sort of a feel for Aaron Bailey’s personality and outlook as he approaches his true freshman season as a quarterback at Illinois, then you’re pretty much out of luck. Bailey, like all Illini players who are fresh out of high school, is off-limits to the media according to a Tim Beckman rule.
Only after a freshman has played in a game — and then received his head coach’s blessing to do interviews — will the media ban be lifted. In the case of Bolingbrook’s Bailey, Beckman’s most decorated recruit to date, that means he’ll go unheard from throughout training camp for sure.
If he ends up redshirting, well, lock it up and throw away the key until the spring.
Or you could just keep reading.
Over the weekend, before Bailey reported to Champaign for training camp, the Sun-Times spoke with him, and with his stepfather, Oliver “O” Carter, about what to expect from the quarterback in the coming weeks.
Both expressed confidence in Illinois’ coaches to oversee a quarterback competition among senior returning starter Nathan Scheelhaase, junior Reilly O’Toole and Bailey as well as to determine whether or not to redshirt Bailey if he doesn’t win the job.
Of more immediate importance to Illini fans, both also expressed confidence that Bailey can shine in this competition starting on Monday.
“Honestly, I’m just confident,” Bailey said. “I have a lot of confidence in myself with my God-given ability.”
Said Carter, who was a key part of the recruiting process for Bailey: “We’re just happy for Aaron to have the opportunity to showcase what he has. And I’m guessing this training camp will show exactly what he has.”
The Bailey camp isn’t closed-minded to the possibility of redshirting.
“It’s whatever fits the team best,” Carter said. “Everybody says there’s no ‘I’ in team. Aaron feels the same way. … Aaron just wants to show what he has and do what’s best for the team.”
But Bailey clearly wants to be on the field in 2013.
“I’ve never wanted to redshirt,” he said. “You never want to go to camp thinking of redshirting. That’s when you’re not giving it your all. Perform your best in camp, give it your all and just try to find a way [to win the starting job].”
Beckman has promised him a fair shake.
“Competition breeds success,” the coach said. “I think there’ll be a great competition, too.”