Beckman, Cubit brush off sideline argument

Illinois’ struggles on the football field came to a head on the sidelines Saturday when head coach Tim Beckman and offensive coordinator Bill Cubit were visibly arguing and had to be separated by other coaches.

The argument came moments after backup quarterback Reilly O’Toole’s fumble in the end zone was recovered by tight end Matt LaCosse for a safety. O’Toole came in on a third down play midway through the third quarter with Illinois trailing 35-21 after starter Nathan Scheelhaase’s helmet was knocked off, and he had to sit out for one play.

The safety deflated much of the momentum Illinois had built after trailing by as much as 28. After the game, Beckman brushed off the confrontation with Cubit, saying it wasn’t a big deal.

“It was just a heat-of-the-moment thing,” Beckman said. “We both want to be successful. I probably should have called a timeout to get Nathan back in.”

Illinois could have burned a timeout and Scheelhaase would have been allowed back into the game. Beckman elected not to call the timeout and go with O’Toole instead. It was the only play O’Toole played in the game.

Cubit said Illini fans shouldn’t take anything away from the argument with Beckman.

“There’s no dysfunction,” Cubit said. “It’s in the game. That’s the way it is. Everybody’s out there competing. You’d be shocked at how many times … it just happens. You get caught up, and it’s one of those things.”

Scheelhaase said he did not see the confrontation between his head coach and offensive coordinator. He said his helmet came off on the previous play because the chinstrap broke, something that’s never happened to him before.

“I didn’t (see it),” Scheelhaase said. “I was trying to find a helmet. It’s one of those things where emotions are running high. Those things happen. Shoot, it happens between us players all the time.”

Sean can be reached at [email protected] and @sean_hammond.