Jacob Charest Departs June 8, 2010
As you’ve probably already heard, Jacob Charest is leaving Illinois. Having lost the starting job to Nathan Scheelhaase, Charest has apparently decided to go find a starting spot elsewhere. This leaves the Illini football team with Eddie McGee Clint Brewster Phil Haig three teenagers at quarterback.
That’s right – three quarterbacks on the roster, and not a single one in his twenties. One redshirt freshman (Nathan Scheelhaase) and two true freshmen (Chandler Whitmer and Miles Osei). That’s it.
As long as Nathan stays healthy, this isn’t really that big of a deal. He was going to get all of the snaps anyway, whether he had a senior back-up or a freshman. So as long as we all knock on wood before every game, nothing much changed with this announcement. But it does bring up three giant questions:
1. What happens if Scheelhaase gets (word redacted)?
Two options, really. Either yank the redshirt from Whitmer (or Osei), or go all DC Package all the time. As to the first, it would be a shame to lose Whitmer’s redshirt. But he’s the only other QB who has had this playbook for 6 months and has gone through the offensive install. So unless Miles Osei is Jamelle Holieway, Whitmer is the guy if Nathan gets (redacted).
The other option is Eddie. We know what Eddie can do. Unfortunately, we also know what Eddie can’t do. And the things that Eddie can’t do are the things that have him playing wide receiver right now. Yes, there is the DC Package and specific plays designed for Eddie as our Wildcat quarterback. But I don’t think that package is enough to warrant a serious look at Eddie the QB again.
All of this is moot, however. Nathan will remain a picture of perfect health this season, and I haven’t one worry about any (redacteds).
2. We lead SIU by 38 in the 4th quarter. Does Scheelhaase stay in the game?
Fantastic question. Even made me look at the walkon QB roster to see if there’s a guy that might play the “injury-prevention QB for blowouts” role (Sean Anderson, your table is ready!). Possible, but not likely.
But let’s be honest. We might only have one blowout win. And in the blowout losses, we’ll want Nate to stay in the game and learn against Ohio State’s third string D (playing with their starting safety, of course). So the likely answer is yes. Scheelhaase takes every snap this fall. Even in blowouts.
3. And what if Scheelhaase isn’t ready?
He has to be.
Seriously. After today, he has to be. We absolutely, positively do not have any other options. Chandler Whitmer showed a great arm but an in-over-his-head command of the offense this spring (as most any freshman would). Miles Osei isn’t even on campus yet. And Phil Haig is playing independent league baseball after being dismissed from the Illini baseball team. Eddie might be able to step in if we’re desperate (and I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave him a Petrino QB playbook and told him to read up over the summer), but Scheelhaase really is option A, B and C.
Is he up to it? If any player on our roster could handle pressure like that, it’s probably him. I watched Bob Asmussen’s great video interview with Nathan’s high school coach, Tony Severino, again the other day. He told a great story that will help me sleep tonight. Rockhurst played Santa Fe High School in Edmund, Okahoma in their first game of the 2007 season. They got back to Kansas City around 2 in the morning after the game. Coach Severino got to the school early for something on Saturday morning, and there was Nathan Scheelhaase, running 100 yard sprints at 7 AM because he wasn’t happy with the way he played the night before.
Oh yeah – they had won the game handily.
You’re my boy, Nate. Even before you had to be.