Chicago Sun-Times
With Sun-Times sports reporter Herb Gould

Illini healthy, Zook happy, Reilly O'Toole ready

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There was a good vibe coming from Champaign on Sunday, the first day after an opener since 2006 that the Illini could bask in the glow of a win.
On top of that, the injury report was encouraging.
Akeem Spence (ankle), Michael Buchanan (knee), A.J. Jenkins (quadriceps) and Reilly O'Toole (shoulder) are sore, but aren't expected to miss more than a precautionary day or two of practice time to heal up.
``We even had no one cramp up,'' said Zook. ``I don't know that I've ever played or coached in a game where we had no one cramp up.''
In what he also believes is a personal first, Zook was pleased that Illinois had no penalties in its 33-15 victory over Arkansas State. It was Illinois' first penalty-free game since a 1993 contest vs. Wisconsin.
``That's a tribute to the coaches,'' Zook said. ``We've been demanding and these guys want to please. And the officials did a nice job of letting them play on both sides.''
THE REILLY FACTOR: Zook has no qualms about burning the redshirt year of true freshman quarterback O'Toole, who injured his shoulder when he drilled during mopup work.
``We're going to get Reilly on the field as much as we can, to get him ready,'' Zook said. ``God forbid, but if something were to happen to Nathan [Scheelhaase], we're going to need him and Miles [Osei, a sophomore backup]. We all think Reilly can help us win, so let's get him ready to go.''
O'Toole said he's good either way, playing or redshirting, and Zook clearly wants him to play.
``I'm concerned about winning games right now,'' Zook said. ``I think he can help us. I don't want guys to want to redshirt. You want guys that expect to come in here and play, and he's earned the chance to do that.''




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This page contains a single entry by Herb Gould published on September 4, 2011 2:38 PM.

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